A Beautiful Omega Speedmaster CK2998-62 From April 30, 1963
We bumped into a beautiful second-generation Omega Speedmaster, also known as reference CK2998. There are quite a few iterations of this reference, and this is the CK2998-62. Omega produced this watch on April 30, 1963. That happened to be Queen’s Day (Queen Juliana) here in the Netherlands, so perhaps it was a double celebration for the original Dutch owner.
1963 Omega Speedmaster CK2998-62
The Omega Speedmaster CK2998-62 was the last iteration of the second Speedmaster generation. The short-lived reference 105.002 succeeded it before turning into reference 105.003. Although the Speedmaster 105.003 was the first watch that was tested and qualified as the Moonwatch by NASA, it was the Speedmaster CK2998 that was used in space for the first time by NASA astronaut Wally Schirra in 1962. Schirra, Slayton, and Cooper bought their CK2998s privately and also used them “at work”.
Possible rally history
I wonder if the original owner of this Speedmaster CK2998-62 was aware of that fact or if he just used it as a sports watch. According to the dealer, this Speedmaster CK2998-62 was offered to them by the widow of the first owner, who was involved in the Dutch Tulpenrallye, the oldest car rally in the Netherlands, dating back to 1949. He may very well have used this Speedmaster as Omega originally intended — as a chronograph for racecar drivers.
Finding a nice and original Speedmaster CK2998 is not an easy task these days, but it is possible. However, it’s not every day that you’ll find one in good condition and with just the original owner before you. In this case, it’s a Speedmaster with an original Omega strap and a period-correct buckle. The Speedmaster CK2998-62 measures 39.7mm in diameter, or actually, the bezel does because it sticks out a bit. The case is a little smaller at 38.2mm in diameter. As you may know, the first three Speedmaster generations all had the straight-lug design, and the case bands were identical. Only the bezels changed from the first generation (CK2915) to the second generation (CK2998). The third generation, the 105.003, was the first Speedmaster to use the white baton hands. The CK2998 had leaf-shaped hands and came with different chronograph seconds hands depending on the iteration. On this Omega Speedmaster CK2998-62, you will find the leaf hands accompanied by a white chronograph seconds hand with a “drop” short end.
Tritium without the Ts
As you can see in the pictures, the bezel is the black “Base 1000” version. This is quite rare and was only in use for a few years. The dial used tritium for luminous material, but in those days, it wasn’t mandatory to indicate this with Ts around “Swiss Made”. This became a requirement for all dials that left the factory after April 1, 1964.
First Omega in Space
In 2012, Omega decided to reissue the straight-lug case for the modern Speedmaster with the First Omega in Space model. This watch was discontinued just a few years ago (we covered it here). Omega also used the straight-lug case on some other watches, such as the CK2998 variations, the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary from 2017, and the Hodinkee H10 model from 2018. The 2020 Speedmaster Calibre 321 uses a slightly different case but is based on the original 105.003. The size of 39.7mm for the CK2998/FOiS/Calibre 321 and the 38.6mm for the Speedmaster 60th Anniversary seem to hit a sweet spot with today’s collectors and enthusiasts. However, an original Speedmaster CK2998 will strike a chord with most Speedmaster purists.
With a serial number in the 18,9xx,xxx range, Omega can date this watch back to April 30, 1963. The shipping could have taken place much later, as we’ve seen on earlier extracts that displayed both the production and shipping dates of Omega watches. Needless to say, inside the Speedmaster CK2998-62 was Omega’s caliber 321, a column-wheel chronograph movement that ticks at 18,000vph. Unfortunately, we have no word on the price of this example, but feel free to reach out to the seller, Spiegelgracht Juweliers in Amsterdam.