This is an updated version of our Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide, one of our best-read articles on Fratello since 2014. It has been a while since we’ve given this a proper update and prices have changed over the last few months and years. Although this article is not meant to be a price guide, there are some indications included.
If you are already a Speedmaster collector, this might not be interesting to you, as I will cover some basic information as well. However, I will make it a multi-part article that gets more ‘enhanced’ over time. Also, I would like to make this a ‘living document’ that means I will add new information as time passes so it will always be up-to-date. If you have anything to add, please let us know using the comments box at the end of this article or via e-mail. Please use the contact form.
An introduction to the Omega Speedmaster isn’t necessary we think. We all know about this iconic timepiece, so let us give an introduction to how-to use this Speedmaster buyer’s guide instead. Bit and pieces of the extensive Speedmaster history will be covered when discussing some of the models (reference numbers) out there.
In this series of articles, we will focus on the various steps to take when you are in the process of buying – or collecting – Speedmaster watches. I will give some hints regarding Speedmaster prices, but as this may vary on the part of the world you are living in (taxes, currencies) I won’t emphasize on this too much.
For now, much more important are the details you should look for when you’ve found a Speedmaster of your choice.
One of the questions I often receive is to give some guidance in all the different models out there. If you are new to Speedmaster watches, it might seem like a bit of a horological wilderness. If you’re looking for the actual Moonwatch model (the reference that went to the Moon), read this article validated by Omega. If you are looking for the current Omega Speedmaster Professional that is closest to the original Moonwatch, click here.
I will not go into detail in each model or reference number, as we probably did so in one of our Speedy Tuesday articles. Use the links given in the article or the search function on our website.
I will make a distinction between the following models for this Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide:
For now, I will skip the modern collection of Speedmaster watches with the F. Piguet based 33xx movements, the Speedmaster caliber 9300 (a.o. Dark Side of the Moon) and Racing Caliber 9900 models and so on for this Omega Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide. They will be added in a later stadium.
Although not all of these Speedmaster models in this section are considered a ‘Moonwatch’ – as they were introduced way before NASA chose Omega to become the official timepiece for their astronauts – I will still use this category for them in this Speedmaster buyer’s guide. These early models are considered to be the ancestor of the Moonwatch.
The very first Speedmaster as Omega introduced in 1957. Together with the Seamaster 300 (CK2913) and Railmaster (CK2914) this model had a sporty look with its curved lugs, black dial and broad arrow hands. Initially meant to be a sports chronograph, using the dashboard clocks of Italian sports cars of that time as an inspiration.
The CK2915 has multiple versions (you will find a -1, -2, or -3 added to the reference number) that could be considered more or less as small updates if you want. If you are looking for a CK2915, expect to pay a fortune (recent results have sky-rocketed the price of the CK2915). More important: try to find an original one that has not been tampered with. There is so much money going on in these very first models, that it also attracted crooks that are after your money. In a bad way. Newly made cases, movements from other watches, refitted bezels from a later period and so on. Be very cautious in any case.
The CK2915 houses the Omega caliber 321 movement, with a column wheel chronograph. This Lemania (caliber 2310) based movement went out of production in 1968 when Omega introduced the Speedmaster Professional 145.022.
Often considered to be the second best thing when it comes to vintage Speedmasters, but a small confession has to be made here. I love this version actually a bit better than its predecessor. This particular reference number already looks a bit like the ‘Moonwatch’ with its black bezel and Alpha hands. Where the first Speedmaster had a bit of a military look, in my opinion, this watch is a more subtle sports chronograph.
There is quite a bit of variation in the CK2998, where the different styles of hands are the most important identifier. One of the most sought-after CK2998 models is the one with the ‘lollipop’ chronograph second hand.
The 105.002 needs to be mentioned as well. There is actually no real difference between the last variation CK2998(-62) and the 105.002 except for the reference number. Omega changed the reference number syntax, which means getting rid of the CK identifier and 4 digit numbers. The 105.002 was actually made in a very small period of time (1962) before its successor was introduced (105.003). This makes the 105.002 perhaps even more collectable than some of the CK2998 models.
Oddly enough, in the past I’ve been offered 105.002 for quite a bit less money than a CK2998. Expect to pay approximately 25.000 Euro for a nice Speedmaster CK2998. When there is a box or/and papers as well, the price will be influenced. You might also be interested in the so-called FAP models that were delivered to the Peruvian Air Forces.
The 105.003 reference already looks a bit more like the Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’, with its white baton hands. This Speedmaster is actually the most affordable pre-Professional model out there. Prices of this 105.003 reference have gone up in the last few years, expect to pay at least 10.000 Euro for a good condition model. 105.003 that are pristine can and will surely add some thousands extra.
The Speedmaster 105.003 was introduced right after the ‘transitional’ 105.002, in 1963. It was in production until 1966.
The 105.012 and 145.012 are actually the references used by Apollo 11 astronauts. It is also the model that has the a-symmetrical case due to the use of crown guards. These crown guards were added after NASA commented on the risk of knocking off the pushers due to rough use. The 105.012 and 145.012 are considered to be the certified models and used Professional on the dials since 1966. It is verified that Buzz Aldrin wore a 105.012 when he set foot on the Moon while Michael Collins wore his 145.012 when waiting in the capsule for Aldrin and Armstrong to get back. Armstrong didn’t wear his watch as the Bulova board clock broke down, as the legend goes.
The strange thing is – although it is common to accept that the 105.012 and 145.012 are the true Moonwatch models – that these references are the least expensive calibre 321 Speedmaster Professional watches you can buy. The 145.012 is a bit more common and was the last calibre 321 in production, until October 1968. You will be able to find a 145.012 starting around 7500 Euro. The 105.012 is considered to be a bit more valuable, you will find them with cases made by suppliers HF and CB.
In 1968 Omega decided to update the Speedmaster a bit. The dial doesn’t feature the applied Omega logo anymore (although you will find the occasional ‘transitional’ model where Omega probably grabbed parts that were still on the shelves in Biel) and the movement has been changed to the Lemania based Omega calibre 861. This movement does not have a column wheel mechanism but a cam lever. The 145.022 has been in the collection until the around 1983.
In those early years, the dial was ‘stepped’ like the previous calibre 321 dials. These are a bit more sought after than the late 1970s and 1980s models. Also, later 145.022 models should be easy to find with box and paperwork. Expect to pay approx 4500 to 5000 Euro for a decent early Speedmaster Pro 145.022, more for a complete version with box and papers.
There are also a few different case backs for the 145.022, from the similar 145.012 caseback to the current case back with the ‘First Watch Worn on the Moon’ inscripted case back. Most sought after are the ones with horizontal inscription (which also comes in two flavours, the most sought-after version is where it has Apollo XI 1969 engraved below the “First Watch Worn on the Moon” inscription).
The 145.022 is also the reference number for a gold model. One with a burgundy bezel as a commemorative edition for the President of the USA, other members of the White House and Apollo astronauts. We wrote a Speedy Tuesday article on these gold models often, but also have an overview for you with all gold Speedmaster Moonwatch models. Prices on these gold models start around 25.000 Euro, depending on condition.
Since 1983, Omega started using the 145.0022 coding for the Speedmaster Professional. Until the late 1980s, when Omega changed the coding system to their PIC system. In 1989, the 3592.50 was the Speedmaster Professional reference. Actually, it was only the reference coding that changed in 1983. In the late 1980’s, other things such as the bracelet also changed. In 1997, the movement was upgraded the Omega calibre 1861 (small modification in construction) and the dial and hands were applied with Luminova instead of Tritium. This update was done with the reference 3570.50 (although the few very first of these references still had a tritium dial and hands). The current reference number of the original Moonwatch is 3188.8.131.52.01.005.
Often covered for Speedy Tuesday are the Mark series. If we do not consider the Speedmaster Professional (145.012/145.022) as a Mark I, there are 4 official Speedmaster Mark Series. The first one was the Mark II (introduced in 1969), followed by the Mark III, Mark IV and Mark V.
Even though some of them were also considered a Speedmaster Professional, none of them were flight qualified for manned space missions by NASA. Only the Mark II and Mark V feature the same hand-wound movement as the Speedmaster Pro 145.022. The others have different automatic (Lemania based) calibre 1040 chronograph movements. The last Mark, the V, was introduced in 1984 and is the last one of this series. Below, a Mark III, Mark II Racing, Mark 4.5 (see next paragraph).
These Mark series are not as popular among the majority as the Speedmaster Professional, prices start at around 2000 Euro. Some models tend to fetch more though, also depending on condition and whether they are complete with box and papers. We covered the Mark series often here on Fratello and perhaps we will find the need to create a Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide on its own for these models.
A small correction – although it was never official – on the text above. There is a watch that is being considered the Speedmaster Mark 4.5. This is a watch similar to the Mark IV, but with a Lemania 5100 based movement (Omega caliber 1045). Another Mark related watch is the Speedmaster Teutonic, a watch very similar to the Mark V but also with the Omega caliber 1045 movement. The Teutonic was only meant for the German market in the mid-1980s. Prices are around the same as the Mark series.
Another Speedmaster that should be mentioned here is the Speedmaster 125. It marked the 125th anniversary of the Omega company in 1973 and has this big clunky case and features Omega calibre 1041. This is basically the same movement as the calibre 1040 movement, but with a chronometer certification. In fact, it was the first automatic chronograph movement with chronometer certificate ever. It was always assumed that there were only 2000 made of this watch, but recent research seems to fight this number. Also, it is quite easy to find one, so the produced number must have been much bigger. Expect to pay around 2500 Euro for a good condition model.
Other collectible Speedmaster models worth mentioning in this Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide are the early Speedmaster Professional Moonphase watches (1985). Only 1300 were made of this model and highly sought-after. Later on (in the 2000s), Omega did a re-release of this particular model and it is still in the collection. Another highly-sought after Omega Speedmaster is the one with the ‘Professional’ case and with Lemania 5100 based Omega calibre 1045 movement. This Speedmaster Automatic reference 376.0822 has also been nicked ‘the Holy Grail‘ by the late Chuck Maddox. Only 2000 pieces have been made in 1987. Be very aware of the watches that are being offered with service parts. This should be reflected in the price. A good bit of research and price indication can be found here.
The Omega Speedmaster Professional Quartz LCD models are also interesting for those who are into buying Speedmaster watches. Perhaps not an everyday wearable piece, but certainly interesting to own.
Although there are a couple more Speedmaster watches that are probably worth mentioning here, these are the models that fetch most request per e-mail. Let me know if you are missing any other specific collections here.
This first part of our Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide gives you an introduction to several important Speedmaster models. I emphasized the ‘Moonwatch’ models a bit more than on the other Speedmaster families. For specific Speedmaster price guidelines, also make sure to visit Speedmaster101.com.
*This article was published first on August 5th 2014 and updated with new information and images.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more