An extremely rare and unusual stainless steel prototype chronograph wristwatch with white dial and tachometer bezel, accompanied by red thermo-protective case, made for NASA

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1970
    Reference No: 145.022-69
    Movement No: 29'116'435
    Model Name: Speedmaster Professional, "Alaska II" Project Watch
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 861, 18 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Perforated Rubber
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel
    Dimensions: 40mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial and movement signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Omega Certificate and Extract from the Archives confirming that this prototype was made during "The Alaska Projects" in 1970, a large red anodized aluminium protective heat shield case and a black NATO strap.
    Provenance: Omega Museum, sold at Antiquorum, Omegamania, Geneva, April 14 & 15, 2007 - Lot 211
    Literature: Another example of this watch is prominently illustrated in Moonwatch Only - The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Guide, Grégoire Rossier & Anthony Marquié, pg. 462-463. This watch is also featured in The Ultimate Speedmaster Exhibition in Collaboration with Moonwatch Only, Roy & Sacha Davidoff, pg. 100-101.

  • Provenance

    Omega Museum, sold at Antiquorum, Omegamania, Geneva, April 14 & 15, 2007 - Lot 211

  • Catalogue Essay

    We are thrilled to offer in the present lot, a watch that is widely considered throughout the collector community as a “holy grail” Omega Speedmaster. The Speedmaster is today one of the most iconic watches of the 20th century. Originally targeted for an “active clientele”, it achieved worldwide fame when chosen by NASA to be the official timekeeper for their space flight missions.
    The following information was graciously provided by the Omega Museum:
    Even before NASA’s most famous Apollo 11 moon landing mission, and under the cover of the codename “ALASKA Project”, OMEGA was working on a secret project to create the perfect space watch. The code-name “Alaska” had nothing to do with the cold temperatures of the American State, but was chosen to ensure that this secret project would remain as elusive as possible in case of any industrial espionage. OMEGA would go on to produce a series of test-watches, all of which were proposed to NASA in a project that would span many years.
    Following the cancellation of the Apollo missions after Apollo 17 (missions 18 through 22), there was no immediate use for the ALASKA Project’s test-watches, so the project was temporarily terminated, though remarkable progress had been made. This first phase of the development can be called “ALASKA I”.
    Beginning in 1971, Omega began work on a continuation of its secret project, now internally titled “ALASKA II”, which involved several studies and prototypes. The present lot is one of the “ALASKA II” prototypes, and is closely related to the production Speedmaster Professional, with less changes than those of the earlier project of 1969. At the time, it paired most of the tested technologies of “ALASKA I” (the white dial and a new, red anodized aluminum outer protective case just to name a few) with the trusted and legendary Speedmaster “Moonwatch” case of the (then) current reference ST 145.022.
    The “ALASKA II” test-watches were delivered to Houston in the beginning of 1972. While once again considerable progress had been made, since the Apollo Program had come to an end by the end of 1972, the “ALASKA II” test-watches were not retained by the program office and the series of OMEGA’s Alaska Projects came to a halt once more.
    Formerly part of the Omega Museum, where it resided from 1970 until 2007 when it was sold during the Omegamania Auction. This prototype Speedmaster is housed in a reference 145.022-69 case, featuring “lyra” style twisted lugs with an asymmetric case incorporating crown guards and a tachymeter scale on the bezel. Housed inside is Omega’s caliber 861, a robust, highly regarded manually-wound chronograph movement protected by an anti-magnetic protective inner case.
    Moreover, the watch comes accompanied with an additional very large, red anodized aluminium case which serves as a protective heat shield further enhancing its importance and distinguished Provenance, the original Omega Museum inventory number can still be found on its outer caseback side. What makes this lot exceptional is its highly coveted, matte white dial with black racing hands and “Apollo” style register hands. The dial was made white, to reflect light rather than using the Speedmaster’s traditional black dial which absorbs light, and would therefore retain heat. Additionally, the dial was coated with zinc oxide, a material known for being highly resistant to solar radiation. These “ALASKA” project prototype watches were, notably, the first Speedmasters ever to be fitted with white dials.
    As if these rare elements weren’t enough, it’s fitted with one of the rarest tachymeter bezels produced for only a few short months in 1970 due to an erroneous inclusion of ‘220’ in the scale. The case remains in exceptional original condition, as is the dial, illustrating the fact that this watch was most probably never worn. Scholarship suggests this is one of only three examples of the “ALASKA II” project watch with the original red protective case – one residing permanently in the Omega Museum and the other in a prominent private collection. These prototype watches are therefore amongst the rarest of all Speedmasters. The present lot’s rarity, well-preserved condition, and vibrant aesthetic make it one of the most exciting examples of a Speedmaster to appear on the market. The ultimate in rarity and exclusivity, it is a trophy watch deserving of a prominent place in any collection of important and rare sports watches.
    We sincerely thank the Omega Museum for their updated scholarship and historical perspective in providing their own invaluable research and information on the present lot.

  • Maker Bio

    Omega

    Swiss • 1848

    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.

    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.

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Omega

Ref. 145.022-69
An extremely rare and unusual stainless steel prototype chronograph wristwatch with white dial and tachometer bezel, accompanied by red thermo-protective case, made for NASA

1970
40mm. Diameter
Case, dial and movement signed

Estimate
CHF100,000 - 200,000 
€91,800-184,000
$103,000-206,000

sold for CHF156,250

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
+41 22 317 81 89

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR

Geneva Auctions 12 – 13 November 2016