While the Omega Speedmaster Professional is often referred to as the “Moonwatch” since it was the first watch to make the epic lunar voyage with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin in 1969, the Speedmaster did indeed have a history prior to its space exploration days. In fact, Omega launched the Speedmaster in 1957–a dozen years before that momentous moon milestone. Here are four quick facts about the vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 to know about.
1. The Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is a Pre-Moon Speedmaster
Omega produced the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 in 1967 and 1968, which is of course before the 1969 lunar landing. Therefore, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is categorized as a Pre-Moon Speedmaster. Speedmaster “Moonwatches” are engraved with “First Watch Worn on the Moon” text.
As a “Professional” model, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 sports a steel 42 mm asymmetrical case with crown guards, a stepped dial with an applied Omega logo. The Speedmaster Professional 145.012 also includes the “Dot over 90” bezel (where the dot is placed on top of 90 on the tachymeter scale), which is correct for its era. Later Speedmaster bezels (post-1969) had the dot next to the 90.
While the 145.012 is similar in shape to the preceding ref. 105.012, it includes taller pushers. It is worth noting that the “SP” in this particular model, the 145.012-67SP, stands for “special” and it refers to the enhanced water resistance of the case thanks to the winding crown, pushers, and crystal.
2. The 145.012 was the last Speedmaster with Caliber 321 movement
The Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 was the last Speedy to run on the legendary Caliber 321 movement. Based on the Lemania 2310, the Omega Caliber 321 is a manual-wound chronograph movement with a column wheel. It features 17 jewels, operates at 18,000 beats per hour, and offers a power reserve of 44 hours. The dial of the watch houses a 60-second chronograph register, a 30-minute counter, and a 12-hour counter.
For many Omega enthusiasts, the Caliber 321 is one of the most important movements in the brand’s history. It powered all Speedmaster watches from 1957 until the production of the Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.012 ceased in 1968. The succeeding Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.022 ran on the cam-controlled Caliber 861 chronograph movement.
Protecting the Caliber 321 inside the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is a steel caseback engraved with “SPEEDMASTER” and the Omega Seahorse emblem.
3. Astronaut Michael Collins wore a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 during Apollo 11 Mission
Astronaut Michael Collins was the Apollo 11’s command module pilot and while Armstrong and Aldrin embarked on their lunar landing, Collins stayed in orbit around the moon. On his wrist, Collins had a Speedmaster Professional 145.012.
According to Air Space Magazine, when Collins became the Director of the National Air and Space Museum, he wanted to add his Omega Speedmaster Professional to the exhibit. However, when his watch’s serial number was checked, it turned out that Collins had unknowingly been wearing Armstrong’s Omega Speedmaster Professional 105.012 ever since they returned from their mission. The two astronauts’ Speedys got mixed up after they were cleaned post-mission. Collins eventually got his own Speedmaster Professional 145.012 back.
Today, Collins’ Omega is part of the traveling Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission exhibit.
4. The value of the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is steadily increasing
Although the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 always had the reputation of being the most affordable vintage Omega powered by the Caliber 321, the value of the watch has increased significantly in the secondary market over the last few years.
Indeed, there has been increased interest in vintage Speedmaster chronographs in general. Therefore, as more watch enthusiasts discover the provenance of the ref. 145.012, these models are being picked up quickly, thus driving up the value in the market. It’s also important to keep in mind that next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. Given that the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 was part of that mission, worn by Michael Collins, this will undoubtedly bring even more attention to this vintage Omega Speedy model.
An important reference in Omega’s history, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 marked the end of the Caliber 321 generation of Speedmaster chronographs. For vintage Omega enthusiasts, this is a fantastic reference to add to any watch collection.