Almost 20 years ago, Omega celebrated its 150th anniversary in 1998. For this occasion, they introduced a watch that was based on the Speedmaster’57 Replica from one year earlier. A watch collector from Denmark has purchased this 150th Anniversary of Omega model, after it had been on his radar for a couple of years already. Let’s have a closer look at Morten’s gold Speedmaster watch.
150th Anniversary of Omega
With only 150 pieces of this gold Speedmaster produced, it wasn’t an easy task to find one. However, Danish collector Morten found one in Spain (at Icone Watches) in mint condition and fair priced, so in a split-second he decided to go for it. Morten told us that he didn’t speak about his hunt for this Speedmaster ‘150th Anniversary of Omega’ much, as he didn’t want to wake up competition. With only such a low amount of pieces available (and thus much less available in the pre-owned market), it is sometimes better to keep your mouth shut.
The Gold Speedmaster’57 in Detail
Not only the case material of this gold Omega Speedmaster’57 is different from the stainless steel Speedmaster’57 Replica 3594.50. Omega also decided to use another movement, caseback and crystal for this particular limited edition watch. The caseback is has – unlike the stainless steel Speedmaster’57 Replica – the Qualified by NASA inscription and has a unique number (X/150).
Underneath the caseback is Omega Caliber 1863 (instead of 1861), which is a nicely decorated version of the regular hand-wound caliber 1861. The production of the caliber 1863 (and 1861) started one year earlier, so this is one of the first references with this movement. Omega also decided to equip this 150th Anniversary of Omega Speedmaster with a sapphire crystal instead of the Hesalite (plexi) crystal that was (and is) used for the Moonwatch and Speedmaster’57 Replica. The gold and the use of a sapphire crystal also adds a nice bit of weight to the watch of course. The matte dial and gold broad arrow hands and Omega logo gives a great contrast. The yellow gold BASE 1000 bezel and lyre lugs case also matches perfectly with the gold elements on the dial of course.
The Speedmaster 150th anniversary of Omega, or gold Speedmaster’57, has reference 3693.50.81 (or 3193.50 for the version with gold bracelet) and was only in production in 1998. The case reference is BS145.0052 (not the reference number of the watch). The 18 carat yellow gold case is identical to the Moonwatch and ’57 Replica in stainless steel, so 42mm in diameter. The lug width is 20mm and the watch originally came with a black alligator strap or the 18 carat yellow gold bracelet, reference 1479/812 (indeed, the same reference is available in stainless steel). At the time, stainless steel reference 1499 and 1498 bracelets were already used, the ‘new style’ type of bracelets. These only appeared in gold a bit later, but only on the regular gold Speedmaster Professional. The stainless steel Speedmaster’57 Replica was delivered with 1498 and later 1998 bracelets, depending on the production year. The steel version was not limited or numbered.
Morten is a watch collector for nearly a decade. He started out as a collector of many different brands, but along the way he realized that only a few brands sparked his fire. Besides this gold Speedmaster, Morten owns a number of Rolex watches. However, he decided to narrow down the collection a bit more by having a couple of iconic watches from his favorite brands. His two favorite watches are a Rolex Sea-Dweller 16600 and this gold Speedmaster 150th Anniversary of Omega edition. He is now on the hunt for an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202 ‘Jumbo’. A perfect mix of iconic watches.
That said, he also has a reservation for the Omega Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday Limited Edition. When it was announced on January 10th, he immediately fell in love with it and went for it. His all-time favorite Speedmaster for now is the stainless steel Speedmaster’57 Replica reference 3594.50, the watch that inspired Omega for the gold version Morten owns. He prefers the lyre lugs over straight-lugs and loves the matte dial.
Morten adds that he wears his gold Speedmaster 150th Anniversary of Omega watch a lot, he doesn’t baby his watches nor have them polished. Wearing and enjoying is his watch credo. The gold Speedmaster goes together well with both formal as casual attire, so a perfect all-rounder.
The gold Speedmaster’57 Replica is a pretty rare watch with only 150 made. I’ve never seen one in the flesh to be honest, or at least not that I can remember. Not too long ago we covered the story that Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) can be seen wearing the gold Speedmaster’57 on a couple of photos that you can find on-line. However, we tracked two of them down that can be found for sale. One with box, papers and original strap and gold folding clasp at a German seller, for 16.900 Euro (click here) and one (also with box, papers and original strap and folding clasp) for 9800 Euro at a seller in Portugal (click here). Quite a price difference for the same watch (and both in good condition), so please do your home work. It shows that not many of them pop up for sale so it is difficult to appraise them.
The gold Speedmaster’57 3693.50.81 came originally in a black leather box (flat wide model) with a certificate of authenticity.