In the last few weeks and months, we’ve received quite a bit of e-mail about the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 reference. This particular reference was produced in 1967 and 1968 and is the last Speedmaster with caliber 321 movement. Also, it was the Speedmaster with this column wheel movement that had the highest production, somewhere between 27000 and 28000 pieces. The 145.012, together with the 105.012, was also the Speedmaster that Omega sent to NASA for use during Extravehicular Activities (EVA) by astronauts during the Apollo missions. We know now that the 105.012 reference was actually used by Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin on the Moon in July 1969. However, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was wearing the Speedmaster Professional 145.012.
The Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 is quite ‘steady’ in its configurations. So you could say that the characteristics to look for are quite straight-forward. Nevertheless, we receive quite a bit of messages from readers who want to buy a Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 and have some questions about it, or people who actually have or found one, and have some doubts about its originality. This article is meant to give some insights in the Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 and what to look for. I will also give some examples of do’s and don’ts and right and wrongs.
Popularity of the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67
The 145.012-67 is one of those references with caliber 321 movement that is still relatively affordable. It is the caliber 321 Speedmaster with the highest production, which means that it should also be the easiest Speedmaster with that column-wheel movement to find. However, I also noticed that prices are increasing rapidly. This reference was actually the first Omega Speedmaster that I bought myself, in 1999. It was still in the pre-Euro era (although in 1999 the conversion rate was already communicated, the coin itself wasn’t there until 2002), and I paid 2000 Dutch Guilders for my Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67, which is now about 900 Euro in those days. Later on, I bought a couple more of those 145.012 references and I think the last one was in 2003 or 2004, for a whopping 1300 Euro. I can’t remember whether it had the correct bezel, but in those days, nobody really cared about this. In recent years however, the price of the 145.012-67 was between 2500 and 3500 Euro, depending whether everything was original (hands and bezel are the main concerns these days) and whether it came on the original reference 1039 bracelet. That was until 2015. It is with quite a bit of amazement that I’ve monitored and watched the market for these Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 models this year.
As the pre-decessors of the 145.012 (105.012, 105.003, 105.002, CK2998, CK2915) went up in price quite a bit, it seems the 145.012-67 profits from this as well. A profit for those who already have one of course. The 145.022 models on their turn, seem to step into the price bracket that was formerly the one of the 145.012. I am currently looking for a 145.022-76 for a friend of mine, and it seems to be impossible to get a decently priced one that she can wear on a daily basis. Truth to be told, and you might laugh, I prefer the looks of the 145.022 over the 145.012 to be honest. However, the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 has the column-wheel caliber 321 movement that a lot of Speedmaster enthusiasts are so keen on owning. Below, a nice 145.012 that is being offered for sale (here).
Don’ts and Perhaps Wrongs
Before I head over to the do’s and rights, let me get back to the e-mails I was referring to earlier in this article. We receive a lot of watch – and especially Speedmaster – related e-mails on a daily basis, mainly questions about a a watch that someone owns that we discussed or the typical “I have 3000 Euro/USD to spend, what should I buy?”. With regards to the Speedmaster related e-mails, there are some interesting ones between them that concern the Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67. Or should I say Speedmaster 145.012-67? I have received three different e-mails (from three different persons) who have this Speedmaster 145.012-67 that doesn’t say ‘Professional’ on the dial. I have seen one of them in the flesh as well. ‘Professional’ was added since the 105.012 reference, in 1964 and onwards. The story goes that Omega added ‘Professional’ after the Speedmaster was chosen by NASA to be their official chronograph timepiece for astronauts in 1965, but that is not the case. It was already added to the dial before that.
I would say that a Speedmaster 145.012-67 without ‘Professional’ has a faulty or better said, incorrect dial. However(!), I also have to add that it isn’t always that black & white as described in articles or books. There is a huge grey area as a result of what was quite common in those years: use what you have. This also explains the “transitional” models from certain brands. Either huge stock on parts or a change of supplier caused that some references have models that should look equal, but don’t. For the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012, this was mainly in the use of hands. At some point, Omega started using the flats (or straight end) chronograph seconds hand instead of the drop shaped chronograph seconds hand. So you might find 145.012 models with the newer type of hand, that was later used in the 145.022 as well. I can’t imagine though, that it would be ‘OK’ for Omega to finish-up a pile of non-Professional dials in a watch that is basically the 2nd generation of ‘Speedmaster Professional’ watches. A watch maker might have been sloppy, but it is easier to assume that the dial has been swapped during a later period when the original dial was damaged for example, and a watch maker just added a non-Professional dial he had in stock.
Two very interesting e-mails came in the last few months as well (the most recent one is from last week), where people have a 145.012 with a straight-lug case (and no crown-guards, obviously). One of them has a ‘Professional’ dial and the other has not. As one of the guys who mailed me pointed out as well, it wasn’t until 1969 when Omega finally delivered all 105.003 watches to the market (straight lugs, pre-Professional). So a mix-up is possible of course, but very unlikely. The only way to get certainty about this is to contact Omega in Bienne to see if they have any facts on these combinations.
These are tough questions or inquiries to answer. Although the easiest thing would be to say that these watches are faulty, I am always a bit reluctant to say so as I’ve seen odd things in the past as well and Omega is not as ‘strict’ as well in their claims whether something is correct or incorrect. But in the end, if they don’t know the answer, nobody knows (except for first owners with a good memory).
Do’s and Rights
Except for the later Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 versions with straight or flat-end chronograph seconds hands or the funky Racing dials, this reference is pretty straight forward. The above described odd variants are an exception but since I received a couple of e-mails with similar questions, I thought I should mention them in this article.
The racing dial versions are something very rare, so I won’t go into detail on those. Then we have the versions that came with a red chronograph seconds hand, which aren’t as rare as the ones with a racing dial, but it has not always been registered with Omega whether a watch had a red (or orange) seconds hand. Some do have this ‘note’ in the archives though, so if you have one of those and doubt originality, you might want to go to www.omegamuseum.com to retrieve an Extract of the Archives.
Normally, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 should come in a a-symmetrical case, have a Dot Over 90 bezel (DON), tritium ‘T Swiss Made T’ dial (with long indices) and tritium hands, single step caseback (with Seahorse engraved). What I’ve noticed, and my own Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 is an example of that as well, is that the hour markers and minute markers seem to be very white on some models where other models have a bit of yellow-ish patina. It is a common difference in dials and hands of that era, when different suppliers were used for dials (and tritium). The 145.012 Speedmaster Professional below is offered for trade on OmegaForums, click here.
So don’t be afraid that someone tried to remove the tritium from the dial if an Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 looks very white, it is quite common.
Although I am not a purist when it comes to very small details myself, as I rather have a watch that is wearable and technically in perfect condition than a watch that is worn out but with all original parts, some aspects that I find important for a reference 145.012-67 are:
- original dial & hands (no Super-LumiNova replacement ‘cal 321’ hands);
- original case (no replacement case or caseback);
- original movement (no replacement movement, that doesn’t correspond with the watch or production year);
- technically perfectly functioning watch;
- no signs of moisture or other damage on the movement;
- correct (or time-correct) bracelet ref.1039 or 1116;
- bezel with Dot Over Ninety;
Less important but still interesting would be the original set of pushers and crown. On the other hand, this might conflict with the technically perfect working condition as the seal in the crown wears out at some point and the pushers wear out as well over time. I also mentioned the Dot Over Ninety bezel that is important, but personally I think it is a bit overrated. I see heavily damaged bezels (remember that the in-lay is made of aluminium and can easily be scratched) with the famous DON and I personally prefer a better looking bezel, even if it means that it is a non-DON bezel. However, if this is important to you and a Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 does not have the original hands and DON bezel, keep in mind that these do not come for free these days. Where you could pick up a set of hands for 200 Euro and a bezel for 100-150 Euro a few years ago, expect to pay around 500-700 for a nice and genuine DON bezel and around 300-400 Euro for a set of original tritium hands with drop shaped chronograph seconds hand.
The moment you start looking for a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 you will pay the highest price of course, but I also understand that if you are not in the watch trade, they aren’t being offered to you often. Expect to pay 5000 Euro/USD for a good example, with all original parts and bracelet. These prices will rise in the coming months and years, I have no doubt. So if you are able to source one but have to pay a bit too much for your taste, re-consider it as it will be worth it at some point in the near future. Better a bit too expensive now than either not available at all in the future or only for even higher prices. Go eBay, Chrono24 or have a look at the sales forum of OmegaForums.net for example.
One Last Tip!
If you are on the hunt for a Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 or which ever other vintage or limited edition Speedmaster, make sure to get a copy of the Moonwatch Only book. The reference for the Speedmaster. Although 250 Euro might seem steep on a book, imagine the cost of a mistake you make when buying a vintage 145.012 or limited edition Speedmaster. Purchase it here through our sister-company’s webshop, it makes the perfect Christmas gift. Amongst other great tips and detailed descriptions of Speedmaster watches, this book tells us that the serial number ranges of the 145.012 go from 24,066,xxx to 26,554,xxx and the rare range of 27,320,xxx.
A big thank you to Simone, Michael, Dave, ac106 and SpaceFruit for the use of their images in this article.