Your Speedmaster Story — A Christmas Gift, Jim Lovell, And A Doctors Watch
A few weeks ago, we asked you to share your Speedmaster story with us, and with the Speedmaster community. Besides admiring other people’s Speedmaster watches, it’s the stories that make the watches truly special.
The cool thing about Speedmasters is that there’s often a very nice story behind the reason for buying them. People tend to purchase Speedmasters for a specific and special reason. These vary. For example, maybe you joined the Speedy club because of your connection or association with the space program? Perhaps your first Speedy was a gift, an heirloom, or a blind trade? We are interested in hearing and reading these stories. And we bet you are too! For this week’s installment of Speedy Tuesday, we share three stories we recently received. And we have more coming up soon as well!
Your Speedmaster Story
We are interested in reading your story, and we’re happy and proud to share them with all the Speedmaster fans that come to this website every Tuesday (and on other days). Hopefully, we meet (again) at one of the Speedy Tuesday events where you can show us your watches and share your stories face-to-face. Make sure to create a profile on Fratello and sign-up for our newsletter. This way you are the first to know about upcoming (Speedy Tuesday) events.
This week, we have Speedmaster stories from Edwin, Vince, and Ryan.
Edwin — A Christmas Gift
My Speedmaster story probably isn’t as sexy as some of the others you may receive, but it’s one that has given my Speedy a permanent place in my collection.
My name is Edwin. I’m 36, and I’m from Southern California. A couple of years ago, my wife and I got together with her family for lunch to celebrate my father-in-law’s birthday. We ate at a quaint Cuban restaurant in the Old Town District of the city of Orange. After lunch, the women in our group decided they wanted to grab pastries from the coffee shop next door and browse the local clothing and gem shops. My father-in-law and I decided we would break off from the group and browse some more masculine shops, like the local cigar shop and a vinyl record store. After browsing the cigar shop, we hopped next door to the vintage watch shop.
My burgeoning collection
At the time, my burgeoning collection included pieces from Hamilton, Mido, and a Tissot that my wife gave me for our wedding anniversary to kick off my obsession with mechanical watches.
As we were browsing the display cases, my eye caught a gleam of light bouncing off the Hesalite crystal of a vintage Speedmaster. I let out a breathy, “Oh yeah,” and hurried toward it. My father-in-law asked what it was, and I told him, “That, sir, is my grail. The Omega Speedmaster, also known as the Moon Watch.” As I explained the historical significance of the watch to my father-in-law, the salesman interjected that the model for sale was a reference 145.022 from the ’70s and that these reference numbers actually flew on Apollo missions (Apollo 17, if my research is accurate).
The salesman told me the price, and while it was fair, was still many times more than I had ever spent on a watch or anything that wasn’t a car. I looked at my father-in-law and said, “One day I’ll own one of these.” We browsed for a few more minutes then carried on with our day.
More giddy than usual
Six months later, Christmas was upon us. My father-in-law loves Christmas. Growing up in Cuba, he experienced harsh poverty and oppression, and Christmas in America allows this otherwise frugal man to indulge in the robust American marketplace. That Christmas, he seemed more giddy than usual, and I assumed it was because he was excited to shower my daughter, his first and, at the time, only grandchild, with gifts.
Shortly after dinner, he clapped his hands and said, “Ok time for presents!” Naturally, he gave my daughter the first gifts and then gave some gifts to my wife. Then my mother-in-law handed me a stack of four boxes that were all bound together. I untied the stack and opened the first box. There was a card that said “Happy Birthday,” and nothing else. I opened the next box, and a card said, “Happy Fathers Day.” The third box, “Happy Veterans Day” (I served in the US Marines).
Finally, I opened the fourth box, the largest of the stack. Inside was another card, and a smaller rectangular box. The card read “Merry Christmas.” I snapped open the rectangular box to discover the very same 145.022 we saw in the vintage shop six months earlier. I was blown away. I didn’t know if I should accept such an extravagant gift, but I could tell from the look on my in-laws’ faces that it meant as much for them to give it to me as it did for me to receive it.
Loved like a son
My in-laws have no sons, only daughters, and from the day we met, they have treated me very much like their own son. The Speedy is extremely special to me because it came from them, and because the manner in which I received it will always be memorable to me. Eventually, when I hand this watch down to my daughter and/or son, it won’t just be a piece that I bought, but a piece that came from their grandparents, who gave it to me, a strange kid they met 17 years earlier who they’ve loved like a son, and who loves them just as much.
Vince — Jim Lovell
Hello Fratello watches! I’ve been reading your articles for a while and it is nice to reciprocate with something for you to read!
I’ve had my Speedmaster (3126.96.36.199.01.005) for a few weeks shy of a year. Here is my story.
I am not a watch collector. Before owning the Omega I’ve worn a handful of watches, and none was worth in excess of $300. But my fascination with the moon and the moon watch were defined by a couple of key events. Born in 1965, my earliest childhood memory was the moon landing. I remember my parents had friends over, but don’t remember anything about the landing itself. But I do remember asking my Dad on that warm July night if we could walk outside to look up at the moon.
I wanted to see the men on the moon. I distinctly remember walking down our front steps, getting far enough from the house to see the moon, and looking up at the moon with him. That moment planted a seed, and I have always been fascinated with space travel and read many books about both the astronauts and what it took to accomplish the lunar landings.
The Museum of Science and Industry
When I was 10 I visited the Museum of Science of Industry in Chicago. They have the Apollo 8 command module there. Also on display were some personal artifacts of the crew, including Jim Lovell’s Speedmaster. I remember gazing through the case and thinking, “That’s one cool looking watch!” I never actually saw someone wearing one in person until about 25 years later. My brother’s neighbor. It brought back memories of seeing Lovell’s and again the feeling of, “that’s one cool looking watch!”. The symmetry of the dials. Its elegant simplicity. Its classic beauty. Seeing the watch again as an adult coupled with all I had read about the space program and knowing the story behind the watch made me have an even deeper appreciation of it. I never obsessed about the watch, but always knew that if I ever splurged on a watch, this would be the one.
So when my 25th wedding anniversary was approaching last year and my wife asked what I wanted — I knew I wanted THE watch. The Omega Speedmaster Professional in all its hesalite beauty. I didn’t want a vintage one, or a used one, but a brand new shiny one that I could call my own, wear every day, and scratch up myself.
A few of my own scratches
It was the perfect way to both treat myself to a watch that inspired me when I was 10 and to wear a constant reminder of our marriage. I knew that every day I wound the watch it would remind me of how you need to take care of your marriage to make it tick. Every time I see the hands circling forever it would remind me that my wife and I will be together forever.
I’ve worn the watch every day since I acquired it. I’ve put a few of my own scratches on it. I love to wear it. It looks great on ANY strap. I’d be happy to wear it every day on the same strap, but putting it on different ones sure is fun. The watch still has me star struck every time I put it on — just like a 3 year old looking for the men on the moon, or a 10 year old gawking at Jim Lovell’s Speedmaster in a museum display case.
Thanks for taking the time to read my Moonwatch story, and I appreciate all Fratello watches does to educate us about this incredible watch. I can’t wait to read the stories others will send you, and I humbly submit to you mine.
Ryan — A Doctor’s Watch
For years, I’d wanted to own an Omega Speedmaster for all the obvious reasons any mechanical watch fan would. I really fell in love with the FOIS, but for my first Speedmaster I wanted something different. I worked with the talented Australian Omega watchbuilder Adam Lewis to create my very own custom Speedmaster. While it was tempting to create a tribute model to the Ed White, I really wanted a timepiece that couldn’t be confused for any other reference, because it would be a mix of parts that I wanted and never existed historically.
I, therefore, had Adam Lewis replace the handset with SMP hands, source the exhibition case back from the sapphire sandwich, and install the ceramic pulsations bezel from the CK 2998 panda. I commissioned this watch to commemorate and celebrate the opening of my primary care clinic in Washington DC — the first primary care clinic based in this Planned Parenthood affiliate.
A source of calm and happiness
Of course, everything has changed for everyone since the arrival of this pandemic. Since the exponential spread of COVID 19, I have been designated the COVID test coordinator for Washington DC northeast and an officer in the DC Medical Reserve Corps for emergency COVID care deployment.
We’ve converted our primary care clinic into a testing center for the disease. It’s been tough to battle misinformation, public panic, competing and dangerous political crosswinds, and the resulting shortage in medical supplies and personal protective equipment like gloves and surgical facemasks. And while it can seem silly in comparison, I’ve derived genuine joy from this doctor’s FOIS. I’ve worn it every single day since it was delivered to me. Its mere presence on my wrist has been a source of calm and happiness, and a talisman I always have by my side at work. Wristwatches are silly, expensive, and totally arcane, but if the joy of watches is in the story, I’m happy with the one I’m creating with this Speedmaster right now.
I took these photographs with a Leica Q in natural light. The UG Tri-Compax is a reference 12283 with HOX stamping on the bridge.
Submit your Speedmaster Story
We have more Speedmaster stories coming up, but we’d love to read yours too! It doesn’t matter if you’re not a professional writer. Most of the time, submissions read very nicely, but if they need a final polish we have a managing editor who will happily take care of that. What does matter, however, is that your story is accompanied by some high-resolution images of your Speedmaster watch. We are happy to share your Instagram account in the story as well, of course. Submit your story, accompanied by a few pictures, to [email protected].