Michael Collins’s Gold Speedmaster Is Not Going To The Omega Museum
The gold Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI BA145.022-69 that belonged to Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins fetched a record price at Heritage Auctions’ Fine Timepieces auction on June 1st. My first thought was that Omega must have acquired the watch for its museum, as I had guessed in my announcement article for this auction from May 10th (click here).
In that article, you will find all the details about this specific gold watch owned by Michael Collins. When we published the announcement for this auction about a month ago, the highest bid was at US$50,000. From there, and it quickly went up to around $180,000 including the buyer’s premium. During the auction itself, the highest bid was $765,000, including the buyer’s premium. This is the highest amount ever paid for a gold Omega Speedmaster Professional.
Record price for a Speedmaster BA145.022-69
In the past, more of these astronaut-owned gold Speedmaster Apollo XI BA145.022-69 references have been sold at auction. None of them have ever fetched anywhere near this price, though. It’s also interesting to know that Michael Collins’s Rolex Day-Date only fetched US$37,500 at auction in 2018. It shows that those were different times when it came to watches and the appreciation for both the pieces and the important people who wore them. When I saw the final price for Michael Collins’s gold Speedmaster Professional, I immediately wondered when I would be able to see it in the Omega museum.
A series of 1014 pieces, 32 of which went to the NASA astronauts
I somehow just assumed that Omega wanted to have this piece for the brand’s impressive museum in Biel. After all, there, you can also find Speedmasters worn and owned by other astronauts, including some flown ones. In the Omega museum, you will also find the gold Speedmasters #1 and #2 (of 1,014 pieces in total) that were presented to President Nixon and Vice President Agnew. As far as we know, 32 NASA astronauts received the gold Speedmaster. Most of them got it during the banquet dinner for NASA astronauts on November 25, 1969 in Houston, Texas. According to Philip from MoonWatchUniverse, he found proof (images) of 18 astronauts actually wearing their gold Speedmasters, of which four did during NASA training. In the Omega museum, you’ll also find the gold Speedmaster Apollo XI that belonged to Ken Mattingly (Apollo 16).
Not to the Omega Museum
Anyway, I reached out to the folks at Omega, and they let me know that they didn’t get Michael Collins’s Omega Speedmaster Apollo XI BA145.022-69. They didn’t even put in a bid. Omega’s budget probably wasn’t an issue given what the brand has bought and paid at past auctions. My contacts told me, however, that they already have astronauts’ watches in the museum and that they viewed this as an opportunity for the Speedmaster community to actually own something incredibly special.
Some thoughts on this BA145.022-69 number 19
On the one hand, I feel slightly disappointed for selfish reasons. This means I will probably not be able to hold this watch in my hands. On the other hand, I think it’s very cool that this watch will end up in the hands of a collector instead of a brand. It shows once more how strong the Speedmaster is in today’s market. The CK2915 that fetched US$3 million also proved that point, proving that collectors and enthusiasts are willing to spend that much on a Speedmaster. In the past, only references by Patek Philippe or special Rolex watches were able to fetch these amounts. Now, though, Omega can claim a place on that list with some of the recent incredible results.
Congrats to the buyer of this special gold Speedmaster Apollo XI owned by Michael Collins! For more details about the watch, visit the Heritage Auctions site here.