OMEGA | SPEEDMASTER REF 145.022 'PROTOTYPE ALASKA III', A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH, MADE IN 1978
Estimate: 70,000 - 90,000 USD
SPEEDMASTER REF 145.022 'PROTOTYPE ALASKA III'
A STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH, MADE IN 1978
Dial: black, 'Alaska III'
Caliber: cal. 861 manual winding movement, 17 jewels
Movement number: 44'818'060
Case: stainless steel
Dimensions: 42 mm diameter
Signed: case, dial and movement
Accessories: Accompanied by an Extract of the Archives confirming the date of production on October 24, 1978 and subsequent delivery to the United States.
The case is in very good overall condition, with minor scuffing and some nicks throughout most notably on the underside near the caseback closure at the 9 o'clock position and the top left lug. The beveled edges retain excellent proportions. The case, in our view, has likely seen a polishing. The inside caseback is stamped Star Case Company. The back of the lugs with scratches.
The dial is in good overall condition. The hours markers have developed an attractive patina. There is some loss to the luminous material from the chronograph hand.
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.
Omega, eventually solidified as the official watch for space flight by NASA, continually worked on improving the durability and aesthetics of the Speedmaster for use in the field.
The Alaska series were watches developed by the company for testing for active use by the military, exploration and, of course, space travel. The Alaska Project was initiated in 1969 with the Alaska I Prototype.
This prototype had a white dial and came with a separate outer red aluminum case for thermal protection. 1972 introduced the Alaska II, also bearing a white dial with radial indexes on the sundials. In the middle of 1978 Omega sent prototypes to NASA for testing in their developing Shuttle program.
The present lot is an example of an iteration of the Alaska III, which was delivered to NASA in three different variations; the version with the manual caliber 861 was the successful winner for re-qualification of space flight use. The watches all had American made cases and featured a black dial with radial indexes on the subdials.
The example being offered survives in very good, unpolished condition with the original lugs, the design slightly different than production model versions, with crisp definition and a clean and untouched dial.