Already three years ago, we created an overview of all gold Speedmaster Moonwatch models that Omega released since 1969. It seems that the interest in gold watches, and gold Speedmasters, is picking up. A number of our friends, colleagues and readers purchased a (vintage) gold Speedmaster in the last few years. Time to update our overview of Speedmaster Moonwatch models in gold. This article is divided in two parts, from 1969 (BA145.022-69) till 1994 (Apollo XI 25th anniversary). In part two, we cover the models from 1995 and onwards. That part will be updated soon as well, as the Apollo XVII and Starmus models can be added to that overview.
Already in the early days of my interest in Speedmaster watches (late 1990’s), I am familiar with the gold Omega Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI from 1969 as my friend and watchmakers has one. This watch was (and is) one of the coolest Speedmaster watches out there in my opinion. It isn’t so much about the gold in the first place, but that it has an interesting story to it.
A story we’ve told a couple of times here: There are a total of 1014 of these watches, #1 was offered to President Nixon and #2 was offered to Vice President Spiro Agnew. Both declined the watch though, for compliance reasons. During a banquet on the 25th of November 1969, 19 watches were offered to the NASA astronauts. Later on, other astronauts who couldn’t join the banquet or who did later missions (than 1969) also received their gold piece. This watch has the engraving “to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.” A quote that Jim Lovell also gave during a Q&A session at the Speedmaster Event in Houston last May. There seems to be a bit of an uncertainty whether Apollo 13’s Jack Swigert and Fred Haise received one, but I’ve been told that they were offered one later on as well. However, they do not appear in any overviews of the watches given to astronauts. A number of watches (with another type of engraving) went to some Swiss managers of Omega and Lemania at the time.
In any case, all other watches of the 1014 pieces in total, were put on the market and have the “The First Watch Worn on the Moon” engraving. My watchmaker has one of those, of course.
Although this model is probably the best known gold Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch model out there, Omega made a couple more. Not only the regular Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ was available in gold for a long time, they also made a number of special editions and limited editions. This article will list the gold Moonwatch models that we know of, now. My colleague Blaise did some digging too, to find some rare gold Moonwatch models as well. These are also listed in this article. I decided against including the bi-color models (like this one or this one) or the non-Moonwatch models in gold for these two articles.
To start with the most famous gold 1969 Apollo XI model that I described above. It was introduced after the Moonlanding in 1969 and in production till 1973. There are a few versions produced, with different case backs. Unless you are able to get your hands on an official ‘astronaut’ watch (like we showed you here (Wally Schirra’s watch) and here (Ken Mattingly’s watch)), you will probably be looking at the following caseback:
The BA145.022 can be found for sale relatively often. However, to get one with its original Mooncrater box is a bit more difficult. It goes without saying that the models that have their original box will fetch more. Prices are quickly approaching 25-30K Euro, depending on the condition.
Introduced in 1979, but only delivered to the market in 1980. Chuck Maddox referred to it as 11 years after Apollo 11. I first saw this model on the wrist of astronaut Tom P. Stafford, when I was in Sochi in 2014. Both Ben of Hodinkee (here) and I wrote about it (here). This model was in production from 1980 till approximately 1987. I have a German Omega catalogue from that period, stating a list price of 23.000DM, which is about €11.500,- Euro (just as a rough conversion, no inflation etc). This watch is not a limited edition, but it was a time-limited production and the watches were numbered. The general assumption is that there are approximately 300 of these, of which half went to the German market. 20 pieces were done in white gold, all for the German market.
I was quite mesmerized by Stafford’s gold Moonwatch model, so I started to look out for one as well. I found and bought one last year, in Munich. Although I do have the gold bracelet, I also like it on a leather strap. See below.
As you can see, it has a display back (snap-on, not screwed-down) showing the caliber 861L movement. The ‘luxury finish’ variant of the famous Lemania based caliber 861. If you look closely, you will see that it is basically the same as the caliber 1861 movement Omega started using in 1997 for all Moonwatch models. This 345.0802 was actually the first Speedmaster reference to feature a display back.
The ‘Stafford’ model as I’d like to refer to it, was made to commemorate the Apollo landings and the re-qualification of the Speedmaster for the 1980s Space Shuttle missions. I wrote an in-depth article on these gold Speedmaster Stafford watches a while ago.
Below, the white gold version next to the yellow gold version. Market value depends on the condition and whether the box and papers are there. The yellow gold version can be found starting at around 11.000 Euro. The white gold version is so rare with only 20 pieces, it can easily go around 40K Euro. We leave the bidding up to you.
Then, it took a couple of years before Omega introduced another Speedmaster in gold. The previous model, the 345.0802, had a long run from 1980 and 1988 and indicated that perhaps it wasn’t the time for gold Speedmaster. However, in 1992, Omega celebrated the 50th anniversary of the caliber 321 movement (introduced in 1942), or the 27 CHRO C12 as it was called in those days. Reason for a gold commemorative models. A rare watch, that comes in two flavors. One has the nicely finished caliber 863 movement and is limited to 999 pieces (3691.50 for the leather strap model, 3191.50 for the bracelet model), the other one (3194.50 with bracelet, 3694.50 with strap) has the chronometer version of that movement, caliber 864 and is limited to 250 pieces. The latter also has a display back.
The above pictured Speedmaster Professional Jubilee 27 CHRO C12 is offered for 8700GBP.
Another chronometer version of the Speedmaster is this white gold BC348.0062 (or reference 3192.30). Available with bracelet or strap (3692.30). We have covered this watch on Speedy Tuesday, as one of our readers owns one of these rare beauties. We also took photos of the one from the Omega Museum in Biel. Limited to 500 pieces, to commemorate the Apollo XI mission. It has the caliber 864 movement, which is identical to the caliber 863 but with Chronometer certification (COSC). This watch was delivered with a very special leather box, in the shape of a book.
These white gold 25th Anniversary ref. 3692.30 (old reference BC148.0062) used to be relatively friendly priced under 10.000 Euro up to a few years ago, but not anymore. Expect to see prices between 15.000 and 20.000 Euro.
Perhaps the rarest gold Moonwatch model of them all, the Speedmaster Pro MIR. Only 7 of these were produced. Two on gold bracelets (3197.50) and 5 on leather straps (3699.50). The stainless steel MIR models are already rare, as this 1x production of 10 pieces, 1x production of 35 pieces were in space. This gold version was on board of the MIR spacestation for 365 days, July 1993 to July 1994. The last time one of these were offered was in 2007, during Antiquorum’s OmegaMania auction.
I end this 1st part with the gold Moonwatch models that was just part of regular production, references 3695.50 (leather strap) and 3195.50 (gold bracelet). These models came with the nicely finished caliber 1863 movement. Omega discontinued them a couple of years ago, as there was – likely – too little demand for full gold Moonwatch models.
Prices for these watches are all over the place, heavily depending on condition and whether there’s a box (and papers) to go with the watch. You might find something around 10.000 Euro, but often not with (correct) box and papers.
As you can read, there is quite a bit of variation of Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch in gold. In the 2nd part, we will continue with some more special gold ones to have a complete list (as possible) of all of them. Personally, I think a number of these watches are still undervalued. Of course, the first Apollo XI 1969 commemorative edition is well-known and comes with a certain price tag, but the others can sometimes be picked up for very interesting prices. They are quite rare though, which does require some effort in searching and identifying. Sometimes, they are even cheaper than some of the limited edition stainless steel models, which doesn’t make sense to me, as many of these gold models are also limited or numbered editions. My own Speedmaster Pro ‘Stafford’, ref. 345.0802 is a watch that I bought just to own one. Put it in the safe and be part of the modest collection of Speedmasters. However, I find myself wearing it very often, even though I am not a guy for gold watches in general. If you see a gold Moonwatch model, make sure to try one and don’t stare blind on the Apollo XI 1969 model, there are some rarer gold versions out there.
Gold Speedmaster ‘Moonwatch’ Image Gallery
This article appeared first on July 28th, 2015 and has been updated since.
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