Omega’s Speedmaster Professional – like this full serviced Ref. 145.022 here from 1989, with Omega inner/outer boxes and instructions manual – is one of Omega's longest running models, and for obvious reasons, it has a lot going for it. A perfectly balanced stance, clean and striking dial, robust manual winding chronograph movement, and – importantly – an incredible history behind it Omega will never (ever) let the world forget.
But honestly, would you if you were Omega?
First a little on the legendary Speedmaster pedigree - Omega introduced its Speedmaster chronographs in 1957, as a sports and racing chronograph, complementing Omega's position as the official timekeeper for the Olympic Games. Many different chronograph movements marketed under the Speedmaster name.
The manual winding Speedmaster Professional or "Moonwatch" was worn during the first American spacewalk as part of NASA's Gemini 4 mission and the first watch worn by an astronaut walking on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission. The Professional remains one of several watches qualified by NASA for spaceflight and is still the only one so qualified for extravehicular activity (EVA). The Speedmaster line included other models, including analog-digital and automatic mechanical watches.
Beginning in 1962, NASA – anticipating the need for astronauts on space missions to move about in space outside the ship (EVA walks) thus necessitating the need for a wristwatch to withstand the difficult conditions of space – anonymously purchased a series of chronographs from different watch brands in an effort to find the best watch available for astronauts to wear in space.
In 1964, the watches satisfying all pre-requirements were officially purchased by NASA and subjected to a series of tests and pre-selection processes called the “Qualification Test Procedures.” Only three watches of six chronographs successfully survived this arduous pre-selection phase. The three remaining were then subjected to 11 different tests – some of the most rigorous trials endured in the history of horology.
By early March 1965, testing was complete, leaving – you guessed it – only the Speedmaster was left standing. At the time, NASA’s testers wrote, "Operational and environmental tests of the three selected chronographs have been completed; and, as a result of the test, Omega chronographs have been calibrated and issued to three members of the Gemini Titan III crews."
On 20 July 1969, the first manned lunar landing resulted in NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong as the first to step onto the Moon’s surface. As the electronic timing system on the Lunar Module was malfunctioning, Armstrong left his watch aboard as a reliable backup. Nearly 20 minutes after his first step, he was joined by Buzz Aldrin wearing his Omega Speedmaster Professional – making the Speedmaster the first watch worn on the Moon. Alas, a few months after this mission, Buzz's watch was stolen and lost to history.
Regardless, it is from here the Speedmaster steadily gained a reputation of a reliable and historic timepiece – since the epic first steps on the Moon, the Speedmaster Professional remains the only NASA-qualified watch for EVA walks.
This Speedmaster Professional comes with its Omega-signed bracelet, leather strap, nylon strap, springbar tool, and Pelican travel case.
1989 Omega Speedmaster Professional Ref. 145.022 Chronograph, w/Box & Papers
DIAL: Detailed Omega Speedmaster Professional-signed dial, with crisp dial writing and correct handset - no imperfections.
CASE: Iconic twisted lug stainless-steel case measures 43mm x 48mm, which retains its brushed finished on sides and sharp caselines. Speedmaster icon, with detailed inscription, on caseback remains crisp.
CRYSTAL: Domed acrylic crystal, no cracks.
BAND: Omega Speedmaster-signed stainless-steel bracelet, which will fit an approx. eight inch wrist. This Speedmaster also comes with a black nylon strap and brown leather strap.
MOVEMENT: Omega 861 manual wind movement; serial number dates this Speedmaster to 1989.
CROWN: Omega-signed stainless-steel crown.
CHRONOGRAPH PUSHERS: Pushers depress with satisfying click. Chronograph hands snap back and reset to zero with no issue.
Of note, this Speedmaster Professional comes with Omega inner/outer boxes and instructions manual .