- A Rare and Important Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Registers and Tachometer Flown on Apollo VII by Astronaut Donn F. Eisele
Speedmaster Professional, Circa 1965, Movement 24002987, Ref. S105.012-65, NASA Serial No. SEB12100039-002
- diameter 42mm.
Accompanied by flown Apollo VII mission patch, flown Apollo VII beta patch, flown first day cover, flown American flag and flown Apollo VII mission insignia medallion numbered '53'. Also accompanied by presentation display featuring photographs of Apollo VII launch and astronauts after flight, photographs taken by Donn F. Eisele aboard Apollo VII looking back at Earth, with views of Hurricane Gladys and booster rocket falling away, and card reading 'First Manned Apollo Flight, Apollo 7 October 11-22, 1968, Schirra - Eisele - Cunningham' with each astronaut's authentic signature.
The present watch was issued by NASA to Astronaut Donn F. Eisele and flown aboard the Apollo VII Command/Service Module on October 11, 1968.
It is one of the very few remaining flown Speedmaster Professionals from the Apollo program still in private hands.
The watch bears the engraved NASA serial numbers on the back, 'SEB12100039-002', and on the side, 'S/N38'. It was originally fitted and worn in space with a stainless steel bracelet, however that is now lacking. Eisele was very fond of this watch and wore it long after the Apollo mission.
This model, Ref. 105.012, was in production for only a few months in late 1965. The shape of the case on this model differs from its predecessor, Ref. 105.003, in that here the lugs are ridged, while the early model had more standard tapered lugs. In addition, this was the first model to feature protective shoulders to each side of the crown and chronograph pushers. In 1967, this model was replaced by Ref. 145.012.
Omega became the official watch of the Apollo program almost by accident and without any marketing effort on the company's part. In 1962, NASA purchased dozens of commercially available watches in retail stores in Houston, Texas for testing.
After rigorous examination, the Omega Speedmaster won the right to be worn by the astronauts in space. Its easily readable design and sleek chronograph construction, not to mention its durability in extreme temperatures and positions, helped it gain the contract.
Astronaut Edward White was the first astronaut to wear a Speedmaster in his spacewalk during the Gemini IV mission in 1965. Legend has it that Omega only found out that the watch on White's wrist was their own after examining photographs of the activity.
Omega would remain on the wrists of the Apollo astronauts until the program came to an end in 1972. In the years that followed, the firm would remain close to NASA. To this day, Omega Speedmaster watches are still frequently flown in outer space.