In 1965, Ed White became the first American astronaut to walk in space. Needless to say, he is a hero. But he was so much more: an aeronautical engineer, USAF Officer, fighter pilot, crewmember of Gemini IV and Apollo I. He puts my entirely life, and likely yours, to shame. Mr White tragically passed in an accident training for the first Apollo mission, but his dedication to excellence lives on. I would have never studied the man had it not been for watches. But more impressive than any of that other stuff is that fact that he has a Speedmaster named in his honor (please don’t take me seriously, ever). Appropriately, like the man, it is a damn special one.
This 105.003 is what was worn during that historic Gemini IV first walk. The reference had a very short production, bridging a gap between the Moonwatch 145.012 and previous (essentially 2998 with an updated reference) 105.002. It was the first ever Speedmaster with the baton-styled handset that is today iconic. It was also produced before the traditional Moonwatch style case with its lyre lugs. There are also no crown guards. The face is familiar, the 39mm straight-lugged body is foreign. It is still powered by the monumental calibre 321.
The influence the Ed White has held among Speedmaster collectors cannot be overstated. The model is revered. This may in part be to its instant recognizability. In part, its immense historic significance. Nonetheless, I believe them still to be undervalued. The watch has accomplished more than the initial 2915 or 2998. In the Zeitgeist, it slots just below Armstrong’s 105.012. I don’t generally wish to comment on valuations. I do wish to say that this is a disproportionately important Speedmaster which is only today finding appropriate recognition. That which came first is not always the most significant in my view.
The example is new-to-market from its original owner. If you’re anything like me, that’s music to your ears. It hasn’t been fucked with. The crystal has wear. Its case shows scratches. The dial is grey-faded. There’s a little browning on the pumpkin tritium’s edges. The bezel is a mid-tone grey, not black. All of that, in my eye, is exactly as vintage should be. It comes with an original box for a well-regarded London retailer.
Find this Ed White Speedmaster here from Subdial for 10750 GBP.