Fratello Friday: My Top 3 Most Interesting Omega Speedmasters


Omega Speedmaster Pro ACPAmong all the watches with interesting histories, Omega’s Speedmaster Professional is one that truly stands out. It was – and still is – the official watch for NASA astronauts performing EVA (extra-vehicular activities). NASA chose the Speedmaster to become the official chronograph watch for astronauts in 1965, after a process that included rigorous test procedures.

 

As some of you might know, at Fratellowatches we have a weekly recurring item called ‘Speedy Tuesday’. In this series, we put a special Omega Speedmaster in the spotlight. Whether it is the very first Speedmaster from 1957, a collectible limited edition that commemorates the Apollo space program or just a regular Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ that has been with the first owner for over 30 years, we love to put these stories online. Ever since we started the “Speedy Tuesday” series, in May 2012, we have come across some very cool and rare Omega Speedmaster watches. For this Fratello Friday, I selected three of the most special Speedmasters that we’ve come across in the past year while preparing our “Speedy Tuesday” posts. While it would have been easier to select 10, or even 20, choosing a top three makes one think harder to determine which are most special or have the more interesting story.

1. Reinhard Furrer’s Speedmaster Professional

This is by far my first choice of Speedmasters that I’ve come across in the last year. The dial marks it as rather unusual, with radial Arabic indexes on the counters. This particular watch was in use by astronaut Reinhard Furrer of the ESA (European Space Agency, a counterpart to NASA), who flew with the Space Shuttle STS-61A mission in 1985. The son of another ESA astronaut handed it over to me for inspection, as he didn’t knew exactly what he had in his hands. After the Apollo program, NASA decided to hold another competition for an official watch for astronauts. In 1978, after a similar test procedure they performed in the 1960s, NASA chose – again – the Omega Speedmaster Professional to become the official watch for the Space Shuttle program. Omega shipped 56 Omega Speedmaster Professional watches to NASA for use during the Space Shuttle missions. You probably guessed it already by now; this particular watch is one of those 56 watches. I was able to wear it for a week or so, and it is hard to describe the feeling it gave me — wearing a watch that has been on the wrist of astronauts and aboard one of the Space Shuttles. Unfortunately, after taking pictures and sorting some things out for the current owner, I had to give it back. The full story on this particular watch can be read here.

Omega Speedmaster - Reinhard Furrer

 

2. 1969 Speedmaster Professional BA145.022 With Burgundy Bezel

In 1969, just after the Apollo 11 mission that successfully put Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong on the Moon, Omega introduced a gold Speedmaster Professional with a burgundy-colored bezel to commemorate the mission. Omega produced 1,014 pieces of this model. The first 28 went to the White House and the next 26 were given to the NASA astronauts at that time. Number 1 was offered to President Richard Nixon, but he declined it (probably because of some policy regarding gifts). This particular one is on display in the Omega museum in Bienne, Switzerland; I had the honor to put it on my wrist when I visited there at the end of 2011. A number of readers and contributors to the Speedy Tuesday series have reported that they own one of these 1,014 gold Speedmaster Professional watches. One of them can be found here and another one can be found in an article that dates back to 2008, long before Speedy Tuesday was initiated. Just recently, Fratellowatches co-organized a small Speedmaster collectors’ lunch in The Netherlands and one of the attendees brought his gold Speedmaster Professional BA145.022 watch. (see photo) So, although it is not the rarest of the Speedmaster watches, I would definitely put this gold Speedmaster Professional BA145.022 model in my top 3. The gold dial with onyx markers and black hands are simply stunning. The caseback has a horizontal “First Watch Worn on The Moon” inscription, and each watch is numbered.

Omega Speedmaster Pro BA145022 - gold

3. Speedmaster Professional ‘Automovil Club Peruano’

Here’s a Speedmaster Professional that has a bit of mystery around it. Although Omega keeps good track of historical pieces in its archives and museum, this particular Speedmaster caused a bit of confusion. This Speedmaster Professional has ‘A.C.P.’ on the dial, which stands for “Automovil Club Peruano.” Nothing strange here, as providing special dials to jewelers or certain clubs were not unusual at the time this watch came out. The part that is somewhat of a puzzle is the fact that this watch has “Professional” written on the dial. As mentioned previously, the Speedmaster became the choice of NASA in 1965. Because of that, as the official story goes, Omega decided to have the word “Professional” added in 1966.This particular watch, however, was delivered to the Automovil Club Peruano in 1964, three  years before the Speedmaster Professional was officially introduced. It’s possible Omega used an old stock of movements in these particular watches, which were shipped to the A.C.P. in 1964, as I’ve found similar models with official Omega documentation that indicates that. The truth is probably less exciting that we think, but are these details that can keep collectors busy for years. More information can be found here.

Omega Speedmaster Pro ACP

If you have a special Speedmaster or a Speedmaster with a nice anecdote or personal story, feel free to contribute to ‘Speedy Tuesday.’

5 Responses to “Fratello Friday: My Top 3 Most Interesting Omega Speedmasters”

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  1. regular guy watch

    I just found one picture of this speedmaster ACP on masterofthespeed instagram´s account.
    I´m peruvian, car racing fan and a beginer watch collector, so you do the math here. I´m all in.
    I think the connection to 1966 could be around the “Caminos del Inca” (Inka trail) raid race, it first edition was on 1966, see wikipedia here -> https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caminos_del_Inca_(carrera)
    ACP means Automovil Club Peruano (spanish for Peruvian Automobile Club) who are the organizers until these days
    There is a guy who writes this race´s yearbook, I´m trying to get in touch with him, maybe he knows something about this story. Also the first winner of the race is still alive, he won the race 7 times, so he is considered a legend between peruvian race pilots, nobody else has won that many times, and it will around for a while, nobody alive is even close, other winners have only 2 victories

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  2. Capt. Rob

    I have an ED White Speedie passed down from my grandfather. It sat in a drawer for many years until I did some research and discovered this sweet gem of a watch right under my nose. I am picking up a Speedmaster Pro Apollo 11 with box, papers and the patch for a pretty good price in 3 days. Maybe that will be more of a daily wear than the Ed White!

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  3. I enjoy reading these articles , the mystique around the “Speedy Pro” models is very interesting .
    I own two ( not limited editions), but just having them excites me .
    Thanks

    Reply
  4. charilaos.kinezos

    I.do.have.omega.speed.master.2004.model.one.of….the.last.automatics.eta.movements.with45jewls.wow.have.a.nice.day.charilaos

    Reply
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