If I were to ask a group of watch collectors what just might be the most iconic watch of all time, I guarantee quite a few will say the Omega Speedmaster. While it was initially intended as a wristwatch for racing, the Speedmaster is most famously known as the moon watch. This is because it was selected by NASA as their official watch, worn during the first American spacewalk as part of the Gemini 4 mission, and was the first watch worn on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission.
The selection process NASA went through to select a suitable wristwatch was vigorous. Between Rolex, Omega and Longines-Wittnauer, each watch went through testing in extreme conditions and as we all now know, the Omega Speedmaster came out as the most reliable and durable.
The reference 145.022 is perhaps the most popular vintage Speedmaster, largely due to its higher production numbers than earlier references and also its relatively accessible price point. It is the reference collectors go to when they are just starting out, looking for their first vintage Speedmaster.
With that being said, the example I have here today is indeed a 145.022, but it couldn’t be further from what I just mentioned as it is an extremely rare and elusive racing dial variant. The 145.022 racing dial is unique in many ways compared to the standard black dial Speedmaster. Characterized by a grey dial with orange indices and logo, red chapter ring, an orange chronograph seconds hand and black based, white hour and minute hands, it was unlike any Speedmaster that came before it. While the Speedmaster Mark II is most famous for having a ‘racing’ dial, it is not entirely known why a small batch was made for the 145.022. It could very well have been a test by Omega and by some data out there, it is estimated that only around 150 were cased, making this one of the rarest Speedmasters in existence.
While any racing dial 145.022 Speedmaster is considered special in its own right, what makes this example even more unique is in its condition and completeness. With a beautiful immaculate dial and dot over 90 bezel, the colors of this racing dial remain bright and vibrant. The bracelet is its original 1039 flat link, which dates it to the 2nd quarter of 1970, matching the watch perfectly as it was produced in June 1970. Furthermore, the extract further confirms that this watch was indeed cased with a racing dial and destined for the Swiss market.
This without a shadow of a doubt, is one of the holy grails of Speedmaster collecting and I am extremely lucky to be able to find and offer one in this state.