There is no shortage of adjectives one could throw at this title . . .321, chocolate, radium, pre-moon, base 1000, and alpha-handed, I could go on. Save to say this: the 2998 is a sweet spot in pre-moon references for its alpha handset, chunky steel case, and historic significance. No, I don’t mean the moon landing (that’s a 105.012). Wally Schirra wore a 2998 on the Mercury Atlas 8 in 1962 and that exact watch was the inspiration for the recent-ish FOIS release. Both are a bit of a niche within the genre of Speedmaster as a whole, but an undeniably attractive one.
The 2915 was the first Speedmaster and the first chronograph with a tachymeter bezel. In 1959, the design was updated to this, the 2998. This generation introduced a now iconic black bezel and alpha hands. Vintage charms like a plexi crystal, applied logo, and 321 remained. This isn’t the moonwatch by strict definition, but it has been to space. The 2998-4 was worn by Wally Schirra on the Mercury Atlas 8 in 1962. It’s a legend if any watch ever were. Apollo 11 never touched one (as far as I know). Yet, I feel an unbalanced attraction to pre-moon and FOIS Speedmasters simply because of their hand silhouette. The 2998 holds a special appeal for me for that simple reason. Call it personal preference or derangement.
This circa 1960 reference is wearing its age honestly. The radium lume has gone golden pumpkin since application. Its dial is black in darker lights, but a warm dark chocolate tone in brighter circumstance. The color is evenly distributed. Its bezel has light wear, consistent with its age and implied originality. Naiad crown is present. The case has stout lugs, though I will say I’m not studied enough to determine an unpolished from polished example given their factory-rounded profile. It comes on a 7077/6 dated 3.59 from the strongest name in Speedies with an extract.
Find this 2998-2 here from The Davidoff Brothers for 39500 CHF.