OMEGA | SPEEDMASTER REF 145.022-69 ST 'STRAIGHT WRITING', A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE IN 1971
Estimate: 5,000 - 8,000 USD
SPEEDMASTER REF 145.022-69 ST 'STRAIGHT WRITING'
A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET, MADE IN 1971
Caliber: cal. 861 manual winding movement, 17 jewels
Movement number: 31'615'130
Case: stainless steel
Closure: stainless steel Omega bracelet with folding clasp, no. 12, endlinks stamped 47
Dimensions: 42 mm diameter, bracelet circumference approximately 215 mm
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: Accompanied by Omega presentation box, and an Extract from the Archives confirming date of manufacture on May 28, 1971 and subsequent delivery to the United States.
The case is in good overall condition with scratching from wear visible throughout. In our view, the case has possibly seen a light polishing in its past, still retaining strong definition to the well proportioned lyra lugs, the case overall with light pitting. The bracelet has surface scratching and stretch from wear, consistent with the age of the timepiece. The endlinks are very loose and may have been added later. The crystal is original, and still retains the Omega symbol in the center. The bezel is original with wear and scratching, with some loss to the blackened material. Caseback is further engraved "FLIGHT-QUALIFIED BY NASA FOR ALL MANNED SPACE MISSIONS, THE FIRST WATCH WORN ON THE MOON", and is missing the black lacquer that is normally in the engraving.
The dial is in very good overall condition. There is some light loss to the luminous material at 3 o'clock. The hands towards the central part are missing some of the white paint from wear.
The chronograph function is operating properly, and dustcap is still present. The movement is running at time of cataloguing, however it was not tested for the accuracy of time or duration of the power reserve and may need service at the buyer's discretion. Please note that Sotheby's does not guarantee the future working of the movement.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.
The Speedmaster 145.022 was a long-standing reference and is considered a turning point in the Speedmaster’s continuous development. It is indeed the first Speedmaster reference to be powered by the new caliber 861, a cam-switch movement deemed easier to produce in larger quantities, sadly marking the end of the caliber 321 era. The reference 145.022-69’s was produced between 1969 and 1971. Interestingly, its chronology can be split into two main periods: pre-moon and post-moon.
In July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were the two first men to ever walk on the lunar surface. Omega had already begun production of the 145.022-69 and started selling them after this date. However, in 1971, the Swiss brand issued a series of examples bearing a new commemorative caseback layout. These celebrative pieces were produced between 1971 and 1974 within the 31.009.xxx – 32.857.xxx serial range. The most collectible feature of these pieces is therefore the rare horizontal “The first watch worn on the Moon” ink-filled engraving located at the center of the caseback. Collectors naturally refer to these pieces as “Straight Writing” Speedmasters.
The present Speedmaster “Straight Writing” reference 145.022-69 was manufactured in 1971, with almost no changes compared to the pre-moon examples. The main features of the stepped dial are short hour markers which stop at the minute track, a spaced T SWISS MADE T inscription at 6 o’clock and a set of luminous baton hands with a drop-style seconds hand.
Movement-wise, the offered watch is powered by the first execution caliber 861 with the steel chronograph brake. However, the pièce-de-resistance of the present watch is undoubtedly its Straight Writing caseback, a highly sought-after piece of both watchmaking and space exploration history.