View full screen - View 1 of Lot 104. Reference 145.022-69 Speedmaster Apollo XIII | An important limited edition yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and engraved caseback, Presented to Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot John "Jack" Swigert Jr., Made in 1970.

Property from the family of Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot John "Jack" Swigert Jr.


Reference 145.022-69 Speedmaster Apollo XIII | An important limited edition yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and engraved caseback, Presented to Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot John "Jack" Swigert Jr., Made in 1970


120,000 - 180,000 USD

Lot Details


Reference 145.022-69 Speedmaster Apollo XIII 

An important limited edition yellow gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and engraved caseback, Presented to Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot John "Jack" Swigert Jr., Made in 1970

Dial: 18k yellow gold 

Caliber: cal. 861 mechanical, 17 jewels

Movement number: 29'117'154

Case: 18k yellow gold, screw down case back engraved 'Astronaut John L. Swigert Jr. to mark man's conquest of space with time, through time, on time Apollo XIII' 

Closure: 18k yellow gold Omega bracelet with folding clasp

Size: 42 mm diameter, bracelet circumference is approximately 200 mm

Signed: case, dial, movement

Box: no

Papers: no

Accessories: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration invitation to the launching of Apollo 13 on Saturday, April 11, 1970, four NASA US printed color images depicting the Apollo 13 liftoff, views from space, and John L. Swigert Jr., commemorative Apollo XII mail envelopes, patch, coin, matchbox, and pin, Dedication of the Jack Swigert Space Operations Facility pamphlet, and Dedication of Sculpture pamphlet 1997, all from the private collection of Jack Swigert

Testimonial from the nephew of Jack Swigert

Uncle Jack passed away when I was still a boy. I remember the matriarchs of my family rushing through the halls as they tenderly sorted through the contents of his Colorado home. I rummaged through his closet, fascinated by his personalized flight helmet; “Swigert,” mom’s maiden name, printed in black across the back. I remember a trench coat, and thought, “yeah, I’d look cool in that.” A watch, nonetheless, a solid gold Omega Speedmaster, was never on my radar. 

Grandma had called out “Take a look at these kids!,” and we sped down the hallway to find two wristwatches, a Rolex GMT-Master, and this Omega Speedmaster. Uncle Jack was photographed wearing his Rolex on many occasions. I remember it was worn down and scuffed up hard. And it was clear that the Omega was something much more special to him; something that was too precious for daily wear. I was mesmerized by its magnitude, both in physical weight and meaning, as its certainly no small thing to have been a NASA astronaut!

I had always told mom to take the Omega if she had the choice. She did, and it has been in our family’s safekeeping ever since.


The Omega Ref. 145.022 yellow gold chronograph wristwatch was released in 1969 to commemorate the momentous occasion of the first humans ever to land on the moon. Produced as a limited-edition of 1014 pieces, the first 28 pieces were presented during a gala dinner held on November 25th 1969 to commemorate the first lunar landing. These were presented to President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spirow Agnew (who were unable to accept due to Federal limitations on gifts to public officials), as well as to each Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo astronaut to have flown in space prior to the gala (the last being Alan Bean, whose first flight occurred during the Apollo 12 mission on November 14th, 1969, just 11 days before the gala).

Each watch was engraved “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time,” with the recipient’s name and their respective NASA missions, and were each numbered on the case back. Omega then presented an additional 10 watches to those astronauts whose first flights occurred after the gala, ending with Ron Evans of Apollo 17. The 10 watches presented after the gala had the casebacks engraved in exactly the same way as those presented during the gala, with the names and missions of the astronaut that they were presented to, and the phrase “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time,” however these last 10 were not engraved with a number on the caseback. To the best of our knowledge, three examples were given to Swiss personalities, and the remainder were released for civilians and engraved “Omega Speedmaster-Apollo XI 1969 - The First Watch Worn on the Moon.” 

The present lot represents a truly superlative example. While the Ref. 145.022 is alluring on its own, it is the provenance that elevates this watch to immeasurable levels. Omega’s Extract from the Archives confirms the present Ref. BA 145.022, with movement number 29.117.154 was completed on 9 April, 1970, mere days before the Apollo 13 launch.This watch was presented to Apollo 13 Command Module Pilot John “Jack” Swigert Jr., the underdog if you will, as he was originally part of the backup crew for the Apollo 13 mission. Swigert replaced Mattingly as Command Module Pilot as Mattingly was exposed to the German Measles (Rubella) just prior to the mission. Mattingly did not end up contracting the German Measles, and would go on to fly as Command Module Pilot on the Apollo 16 mission. 

When the oxygen tanks exploded, and the mission to land became a mission to survive, Swigert was integral in combating CO2 emissions by building filtering devices for Aquarius. Without all their systems, armed only with his Speedmaster and a pencil, Swigert’s role amongst the three astronauts was the most exacting. Because it was a manual burn, Swigert oversaw timing, telling the other two astronauts when to light off the engine and when to stop it. Without this critical timing, the astronauts could have been off course from Earth by thousands of miles.

The Speedmaster’s accuracy and role in measuring those critical timed burns was celebrated by Swigert, Lovell, and Haise immediately following their landing. On 5 October 1970, NASA honored OMEGA with the Silver Snoopy Award. The award was founded in 1968 as a way for astronauts to honor those individuals who showed “…professionalism, dedication, and outstanding support that greatly enhanced space flight safety and mission success.” Accompanying the certificate, a sterling silver Snoopy Astronaut Lapel pin that was worn by the crew on Apollo 13. It is one of the awards that OMEGA is most proud of and continues to be presented in their museum in Switzerland. Swigert retired from NASA to pursue politics, and in November 1982 he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 51 on 28 December 1982, before he could be sworn in for service.  

Sotheby’s is incredibly honored to offer the Omega Speedmaster presented to Jack Swigert on behalf of his surviving nephew.


No event in the history of NASA has gripped the hearts and attention of the world as fiercely as the moments Mission Commander Jim Lovell called mission control on 13 April, 1970 to report:

“Houston, we’ve had a problem here.”

Apollo 13 was NASA’s third moon-landing mission, but it was “plagued by bad omens and bad luck from the very beginning,” remarked Captain Lovell decades later. A mission to land on the moon quickly became a mission of survival, a fight against all odds, and a triumphant display of teamwork and innovation from the Apollo 13 crew and mission control. 

First, Jack Swigert replaced Ken Mattingly only 2.5 days before launch due to a German measles threat. Printed materials including the official NASA invitation to the launching of Apollo 13 had already been printed with Mattingly’s name.

After nearly 56 hours of smooth sailing, a routine activation of a fan in one of the Service Module's oxygen tanks caused an explosion. Both oxygen tanks exploded, crippling the Command Module, and sending debris into the atmosphere. The crew moved quickly, powering down the Command Module and moving to the Lunar Module for most of the return flight. Lunar Module Aquarius was used as a 'lifeboat.'

Shutting down all but the Lunar module caused the temperature of the vessel to drop to as low as 38 degrees, a chilling cold making it impossible for the astronauts to sleep. The walls of the vessel perspired. Oxygen and rising CO2 emissions became a problem. They were battling against their own breath.

During the four days required to fly around the moon and travel back to Earth, the crew had to conserve electrical power and oxygen all the while performing critical LM engine burns to ensure their flight path would indeed return them to Earth.

A perilous journey around the moon, an underdog from the backup crew, and a jubilant story of human resilience was summed up by President Nixon, “You did not reach the moon, but you did reach the hearts of millions of people on earth by what you did.”