Sixty years ago, Omega launched the iconic Speedmaster. Twelve years later, it earned the ultimate distinction – selected by NASA for their space program to be worn during the Apollo 11 moon-landing mission. According to communication from the Omega Museum accompanying this lot, after being re-qualified by NASA, a very small batch of Speedmasters were delivered in 1978 for NASA’s Space Shuttle program following design studies code-named ‘Alaska III’. Forced to comply with the U.S. government’s ‘Buy American Act’, Omega worked with an American case manufacturer and chose the ‘Star Watch Case Company’ of Michigan for these Alaska III models. Fifty-six were ordered by NASA and issued to astronauts, with a further batch being ordered soon after. The present lot is of the latter batch, and has not been issued. Fresh to the auction market, its details are utterly fascinating. While the dials of these watches were crafted in Switzerland, it’s lacking “Swiss Made” at 6 o’clock. In virtually unused condition, it has sharp lug bevels, with a case back featuring the Star Case Company hallmark, as well as the NASA script SED12100312-301, both of which are perfectly crisp. The ‘radial’ dial is unique to this model, and features subdials with radially-oriented print that is visually pleasing. This ‘Alaska III Speedmaster’ is one of the most intriguing examples of the model to ever appear on the market. With its unique configuration, direct linkage to NASA, and exceptional condition it is a superb trophy timepiece. We sincerely thank Petros Protopapas of Omega for his invaluable research on the present lot.
Case/Bracelet: The case is in wonderful original and hardly ever worn condition, and in our opinion has remained unpolished. The factory finish is consistent throughout. The case and lug bevels are crisp, with sharp facets. There is very minor shallow wear throughout, a few heavier nicks to the band around the 9 o’clock. The case back serial number is crisp. Dial: The dial is original and in like-new condition. The lume plots and hands have turned a sandy colour Movement: The movement and chronograph are running.
<a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">Paul Boutros</a><br> Head of Watches, Americas<br> +1 212 940 1293<br> <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>
Speedmaster ‘Alaska III’
<p>Omega's rich history begins with its founder, Louis Brandt, who established the firm in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1903, the company changed its name to Omega, becoming the only watch brand in history to have been named after one its own movements. A full-fledged manufacturer of highly accurate, affordable and reliable watches, its sterling reputation enabled them to be chosen as the first watch company to time the Olympic Games beginning in 1932. Its continued focus on precision and reliability ultimately led their Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch to be chosen by NASA in 1965 — the first watch worn on the moon.</p><p>Key models sought-after by collectors include their first, oversized water-resistant chronograph — the reference 2077, early Speedmaster models such as the CK 2915 and 2998, military-issued versions of the Seamaster and oversized chronometer models such as those fitted with their prestigious caliber 30T2Rg.</p>