Tag Archives: Alaska Project

Rare and Unusual Omega Speedmasters @ AQ: part II

Rare and unusual Speedmasters from the AQ archives

Rare and unusual Speedmasters from the AQ archives

A few days back we highlighted some of the rarest and most unusual Omega Speedmaster models found in the Antiquorum archives and as promised, today we’re back for part two! This time we’re working our way up from 2003 – we sort of forgot at which page we left off last time ūüėČ .

Omega Speedmaster ref. unknown Racing Dial caliber 321

Omega Speedmaster ref. unknown Racing Dial calibre 321

First up is a Speedmaster in a rather peculiar configuration: a racing dial and telemeter bezel. While we don’t have our Moonwatch Only copy at hand and won’t comment on originality, it does seem legit and if so, it was a stellar buy at 3.080 USD including commission.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 345.0809

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonphase 345.0809

A moonphase display is a somewhat whimsical complication. While of little use to most of us, it adds a touch of romance to a dial that’s hard not to love. Omega first introduced this feature to the Moonwatch in 1985, in a limited run of 1300 pieces of the reference 345.0809. The differences compared to the current Speedy Moon are subtle yet noticable; the current version uses rings around the subdials for an arguably more luxurious look, while the vintage one has a more utilitarian feel to it – save for that charming face on the moonphase disc. This example was sold at the 2004 December 1st New York auction for USD 3.680 including commission.

Omega Flightmaster X-33 Prototype 09/22

Omega Flightmaster X-33 Prototype 09/22

Enter Omegamania, the auction that caused quite a stir and achieved top results for a huge number of lots. The prototype pictured above is a wonderful mash-up of Omega’s most iconic lines: named Flightmaster, it used a case similar to that of the Seamaster Chronograph and would grow out to become the Speedmaster X-33 ‘Mars Watch’.¬†The hammer fell at 16.520¬†CHF including commission.

Omega Speedmaster Moonphase 'Teutonic' TA 345.0810

Omega Speedmaster Moonphase ‘Teutonic’ TA 345.0810

And another Speedmaster Moonphase – although this one is arguably more of an acquired taste. The distinct eighties style ‘Teutonic’ case in two-tone (titanium and yellow gold), the white dial, the moonphase – somehow it seems to work. This rare Speedmaster (300 pieces) in seemingly perfect shape was sold for a quite impressive 9.440 CHF including premium.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project ST 145.0022-69

Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project ST 145.0022-69

Boom. Holy grail alert Рone of the original Alaska Project Prototypes. The Alaska Project was lead by Pierre Chopard from 1971 to 1973, trying to explore and improve the limits of the original Speedmaster Professional. Included in the sale was the red outer case, designed to improve its resistance to low temperatures. Final price? 64.900 CHF including commission. 

Omega Speedmaster Professional Italy DD 145.0022

Omega Speedmaster Professional Italy DD 145.0022

Indeed you’re right – we’re skipping a lot of the usual suspects and high-profile models. Here’s another one we love and that’s very rarely seen: the¬†Omega Speedmaster Professional Italy DD 145.0022. Were it not for a friend of ours who owns one, we’d probably have a hard time locating one.. The two-tone is such a huge change compared to the regular Speedmaster look, although it -in our opinion- hardly detracts from the instrumental nature of the watch. This watch was made as a limited edition for the Italian market and sold at Omegamania¬†for 14.160 CHF including premium.

We’re sorry guys – this is it for today. We’ll be back for more soon!

SpeedyWatches @ Monochrome part II: The Reinhard Furrer Speedmaster

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

Remember our posts about the Reinhard Furrer Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ a.k.a. Alaska Project III – the original article and the service pictures? Well, it’s one of the highlights of¬†Bonhams on December 10th 2014 auction, giving watchcollectors (with deep pockets) the rare chance to own an actual NASA Speedmaster. Since we had the chance to extensively research this particular watch (our master watchmaker took it fully apart!), we can highly recommend it – it’s a very special watch with unrivalled provenance and looks to die for.

Our friends over at Monochrome-Watches took this opportunity to write an article on the Reinhard Furrer Omega Speedmaster Professional, using pics provided by SpeedyWatches. Thanks for a great read Brice, and we’re proud to have contributed to another stellar article on one of the prime watch blogs!

The Reinhard Furrer Omega Speedmaster Professional NASA 145.022

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

Earlier today we promised more pictures and details of the Omega Speedmaster Professional NASA¬†145.022 with so-called ‘Radial’ dial. No more waiting – ready for take off!

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

As noted by in the comments section of our previous post, it is indeed the very same Speedmaster that was first featured on FratelloWatches: the one that was once owned by Reinhard Furrer. After his untimely death the watch was given by his family to a friend and fellow astronaut, who now still has the watch in his possession.

FratelloWatches did a rather comprehensive write-up on the history of this watch and the late Mr. Reinhard Fuller. It is worth a read! As their is little to none to be added to the Fratello post, we’ll stick to pictures and a few remarks on the specifics of the watch and it’s design.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

A few notable differences

This Omega Speedmaster 145.022 is different from your regular Speedy Pro on two key points: the dial and the caseback. While the dial features the exceedingly rare Radial number alignment, the caseback is engraved with NASA issue numbers.

An example of a Speedmaster with a similar dial can be found in the¬†OmegaMania catalogue. The obvious difference compared to a regular Speedy Pro is the alignment of the numbers of the subdials, but the complete lack of any ‘Swiss’ wording at 6 o’clock is also very unusual – and thus quite notable.

While Ace Photo Studio did an excellent job in the 10 minutes (!) we gave them for this shoot (no Photoshop!), the high-res picture by Antiquorum is really the only way to get a grasp of the fine details. The picture below allows us to fully admire the detailed print of the subdials:

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978 by Antiquorum

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978 by Antiquorum

But as stated, while the lay-out of the numerals of the subdials is obvious, it is not the only thing that caught our eye when admiring this Speedy. What about the lacking ‘Swiss’ designation – in whatever form?

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978 by Antiquorum

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978 by Antiquorum

Is there any way to make sense of this? While it might seem puzzling, there might be an explanation. Please – do not hesitate to share your views in the comments! Note – we are still looking for ways to verify the segment below;

The Star Watch Case

Something that is often discussed in Speedmaster circles is the ‘Made in America’ rule. Supposedly NASA insisted that the majority of parts -or value- of their equipment should be made in the USA. So how does a Swiss watch company -with the only watch certified for use by NASA at the time- get around this?¬†Omega’s solution was to have the cases made in the USA, and so they did. They contracted an American case maker and had them make Speedmaster cases. While this may seem like a random thought, it actually isn’t: the mark of the Star Watch Case Company can easily be seen in the pic of the caseback below – it is the line starting at 3 o’clock.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

While rules for ‘Swiss Made’ or any other designation have changed quite drastically in the last 20-30 years, it is not that much of a leap to think that the 50% value added in the USA (including casing, regulation) would exclude the Speedmaster Professional in NASA-disguise from using such wording on its dial.

It is documented that Omega did contract the Star Watch Case Company for just this reason – if interested, you can read more about it right here.

Below you’ll find a few additional pictures of this stunning watch. Once more: do not hesitate to share your views in the comments!

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

We would like to thank the following entities for making this happen:

  • First of all of course the gentleman collector who owns this stunning Speedmaster. It would not have been possible without your cooperation!
  • Ace Photo Studio for the excellent job performed in the very short time frame we permitted – please note, these pics were made in just 10 minutes without any Photoshop! Kudos guys! Their website is not up yet, but don’t hesitate to ask us for details.
  • FratelloWatches for finding out about the watch and its whereabouts.
  • Antiquorum for the high-res pic as found in the OmegaMania Auction.
  • Military Watch Resource and user Camfam for the info on the Star Watch Case Company.

Add.: this watch is the very model being auctioned by Bonhams on December 10th 2014.

Sneak Preview: NASA issue

Omega Speedmaster Professional 'Radial' 145.022 ca. 1978

Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Radial’ 145.022 ca. 1978

Recently SpeedyWatches.com was fortunate enough to have a chance to play with this superb Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022.

This watch is the real deal: NASA-issued (numbers engraved on the back) and the exceedingly rare radial dial. A wonderful piece of history – stay tuned for more pics!

OmegaMuseum.ch Alaska Project Pic

Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project

Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project

Are you following Omega on Facebook? If not, you probably should..

Today Omega shared a picture of one of the original Speedmaster Professional Alaska Projects on their Facebook page – an instant home run. As Omega’s description is pretty perfect, we’ll quote them on this one – don’t forget to visit OmegaMuseum.ch and said Facebook page!

The OMEGA Speedmaster “Alaska Project” Titanium Prototype: Our Vintage Watch of the Month!

In 1969, when the first lunar landing was imminent, OMEGA engineers set themselves a new, nearly impossible challenge: a watch created especially for outer space use that would improve on the previously flight-certified Speedmaster Professional.

One of the results was the Speedmaster ‚ÄúAlaska Project‚ÄĚ prototype. This extraordinary chronograph, with its titanium case and distinctive red anodized aluminum outer case had incredible resistance to a wide range of temperatures and was, arguably, space-proof.

NASA was pleased with the performance of this ‚ÄúAlaska Project‚ÄĚ watch but the use of titanium proved too costly at the time and because the original Speedmaster Professional was so well suited for use in space, this standout chronograph prototype was not industrialized.¬†

In the years since, OMEGA created some variations of the robust timepiece, including a Speedmaster Moonwatch ‚ÄúAlaska Project‚ÄĚ limited edition, but the first prototype is an important part the brand‚Äôs legacy. And that special bit of history is on permanent display at the OMEGA Museum in Biel. For more about the OMEGA Museum, visit¬†http://www.omegawatches.com/museum¬†and watch the video on YouTube:¬†http://youtu.be/_Vx2ay5EUvQ.