Omega collectors, rejoice! An ultra-rare collection of your favorite watchmaker’s wristwear is up for grabs.
In July 1969, Omega created limited-edition Speedmaster Professional watches to commemorate Apollo 11’s historic moon landing. The first 28 pieces made were reserved for President Richard Nixon (ref. #1) and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew (model #2), as well as the 26 astronauts who paved the way for moon landings via Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Three of those watches will soon be up for grabs—no spaceflight required.
The coveted watches are now taking bids online in RR Auction’s Space Exploration and Aviation sale ending April 20. The Boston-based auctioneer will offer 949 items in the sale including Skylab memorabilia, satellite and space probes, as well as rare items linked to astronauts like Neil Armstrong. Up to nine bids have already been placed on Speedmaster references 9001, 9002, and 9003 leading the sale with estimates ranging from $100,000 to $350,000.
Only 19 of the 26 astronauts attended the gala dinner where the commemorative Speedmasters, made for living and deceased astronauts, were gifted. The Apollo 12 crew was stuck in quarantine post landing and the Apollo 1 crew was being recognized posthumously at the time. Models presented to astronauts Ron Evan and Alan Bean, as well as to Gus Grissom (commander of Gemini III) are now leading RR Auction’s sale with unique features. On the caseback of each piece is a specially engraved quote, the name and missions of the astronaut, and a “unique number” marking when the astronaut flew to space.
The late commander Grissom’s Speednaster is the top lot in the sale and is estimated to fetch over $350,000 at auction. His family accepted the 18-karat gold watch at the dinner on November 25, 1969 in Houston, Texas. It is uniquely distinguished by the fact that it may be the lowest-numbered example to ever reach market as reference #3, following behind Nixon and Agnew’s pieces. “It’s a stunning timepiece, honoring an astronaut who gave the ultimate sacrifice—his life—for the American space program,” says Bobby Livingston, executive VP at RR Auctions.
Alan Bean became the fourth person to walk on the moon via Apollo 12 in 1969. He was able to receive and sport his Omega Speedmaster, after following in the footsteps of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Ron Evans, however, was part of Apollo 17’s space crew and was presented a Speedmaster with a new set of numbers not part of the original 28 examples. Crews of Apollo 14 through 17 were gifted Speedmasters (numbers 1001-1008) in 1972 to 1973 with a special inscription that reads: “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.” Bean and Evans’s watches have high sales estimates of $200,000 and $100,000, respectively.
You can place your bids now for all three watches part of the Space Exploration and Aviation auction now on the RR Auctions website.