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Launched in 1957, the Speedmaster was originally positioned as a chronograph for motorsports. However, thanks to NASA selecting the Speedmaster as the official watch for its astronauts, Omega’s flagship chronograph forever became associated with space exploration. While the Omega Speedmaster rightfully earned its “Moonwatch” nickname after it accompanied the historic Apollo 11 mission in 1969, the Speedy had already enjoyed more than a decade of history before that milestone moment.

Transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68
Transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 Pre-Moon

This is why when the topic of vintage Speedmaster watches comes up, you’ll often hear the term “pre-moon” models when discussing early references. The Omega Speedmaster 145.022 is a particularly interesting reference family because though the vast majority of these models are considered post-moon Speedmasters, there’s also the transitional 145.022-68 Speedmaster that is categorized as a pre-moon Speedy. Join us as we uncover the details of the transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68.

How The Transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 Differs From The Rest

The 145.022 is the longest-running Speedmaster Professional reference to date, manufactured from 1968 until 1988. During that two-decade run, Omega made several sub-references.

  • 145.022-68
  • 145.022-69
  • 145.022-71
  • 145.022-74
  • 145.022-76
  • 145.022-78

With the introduction of the ref. 145.022, Omega brought about some notable changes to the Speedmaster such as replacing the iconic Caliber 321 manual-wound movement with the easier-to-produce Caliber 861 manual movement. Most Speedmaster 145.022 sub-references also included a printed Omega logo on the dial and “First Watch Worn on the Moon” emblazoned on the caseback.

Transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68
The transitional Speedy 145.022-68 has an applied metal Omega logo

However, 145.022-68, made for one year starting in 1968, is called a transitional model because it still retained some design details of its predecessor, the Speedmaster ref. 145.012 while also equipped with the then-new Caliber 861. For instance, the Speedmaster 145.022-68 still has the applied Omega logo (instead of the printed one found on later sub-references). Also, its caseback still featured the Omega seahorse and the “Speedmaster” inscriptions without any mention of the moon landing (which would only happen in 1969), thus explaining its “Pre-Moon” Speedmaster status. The inside of the caseback is stamped with “145022-68ST.”

The bezel of the 145.022-68 has a dot over 90 (DON) and a dot on the lower right of 70

Furthermore, the transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 has what vintage Speedmaster collectors call a DON bezel. DON stands for “Dot Over Ninety” because if you look closely at the bezel, there is a dot over the number 90. Future Speedmaster bezels (starting with some 145.022-69 examples and all 145.022-71 examples), would have the dot next to the 90. Then there’s the dot placed by the lower right side of the number 70 (which would later shift up on later 145.022 models) and the accent above the “e” in “TACHYMÈTRE” (which would later disappear on other 145.022 sub references).

The caseback of the Speedmaster 145.022-68 with the Omega Seahorse emblem

To recap, telltale signs of the transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 include:

  • Applied Omega logo on the dial
  • Caliber 861
  • Dot Over 90 Bezel with dot next to 70 (lower right) and accent in “TACHYMÈTRE”
  • Exterior caseback with Omega Seahorse and Speedmaster inscription
  • Interior caseback stamped with 145022-68ST

A Sought-After Vintage Speedmaster

Due to its short production run and unique details, the transitional Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 “Pre-Moon” is a collectible vintage reference and a favorite among Speedy collectors.

This transitional vintage Speedmaster is a collectible reference in the vintage market

This particular model illustrates the transition between the early Caliber 321 Speedmaster models and the following Caliber 861 Speedmaster watches and draws a line between the pre-moon and post-moon landing Speedmaster watches.

If you’re interested in Omega watches and particularly vintage Speedys, then the transitional Speedmaster ref. 145.022-68 is certainly worth a look.

Written by

Celine Simon

Celine is a freelance luxury watch writer who has enjoyed working in the horology industry for over ten years. Like many of the high-end timepieces she writes about, she comes from Switzerland—the heart of fine watchmaking. From Singapore to Montreal to Geneva to Dubai, Celine has lived all over the world but now calls Southern California home.