Tropical ‘Ed White’ 105.003-65 Omega Speedmaster
The Speedmaster is a perfectly executed chronograph with one of the most storied narrative arcs of any watch. But it’s a bit clinical in its precision. Utilitarian. Often, even a bit cold. I think through all the 861 Speedmasters of the early 90s with Luminova and solid backs. Each is an excellent watch. But I don’t often feel much when I look at them. Let me put it this way. Buzz Aldrin is a brilliant man. He’s a fighter pilot, astronaut, handsome, and punched a man in the face for suggesting the moon landing was faked. All around class act. But I don’t want to make love to him. I want to want to make love to whatever is on my wrist. Or be extremely attracted at the very least. We’re a bit in the weeds now, but do you see what I mean? That’s precisely why this particular Ed White is so perfect. It transcends the expectation.
In my experience, a vintage (or particularly pre-moon) Speedmaster gives off a entirely different feel altogether. There’s an honesty about Speedmasters from before the landing, and subsequent push to commercialize it. They have to be held in the hand. The metal is beat up. The acrylic crystal will wear many encounters with door jambs. And the details are, often, all different. This Ed White, for example, looks familiar at first glance, but then you notice the case is symmetric, no crown guards, DON, and straight lugs. And it’s not remotely cold or clinical, it’s warm as a summers day because someone loved it and took it out in the sun. It’s a Speedmaster with quite a lot of that overly-romanticized notion we call soul (I try not to use the word, but often fail).
For this and many other historic reasons, the 105.003 is worth about twice a normal modern production. That actually seems quite reasonable to me, considering the 321. Omega will charge you another 10k on top of this ask for their modern 321. So perhaps the lens from which to view the original Ed White is that it’s a classic which hasn’t yet taken off. No one can deny its pedigree, being worn during the first historic space walk on Gemini IV. The production run was short too, bridging a gap between the Moonwatch 145.012 and previous (essentially 2998 with an updated reference) 105.002. It even introduced the baton-styled handset we know today. There’s a lot going for it. And a modern one will still cost far more dearly than the actual watch it references. Buzz Aldrin’s personality with all the glowing sex appeal of Emily Ratajkowski, all for nothing more than if you asked Omega to make you one now. Like the Speedmaster design itself, it just makes a lot of sense. I’m getting worrying good at rationalizing 15K USD watch purchases these days.
This one comes with an Extract of Archive confirming UK delivery in 1966. Curious then, I wonder where it got all its UV sunshine? Definitely elsewhere. The DON bezel is present and 321 is running well. The dial tone is matched in the bezel, to lovely effect. It comes on a 1067 flat link from a well-regarded London retailer.