Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69 – 52Mondayz, week #37 speedmaster professionell

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69 – 52Mondayz, week #37

That wasn’t easy. It’s alway difficult for me to take my Rolex GMT-Master II, which I wore for 52Mondayz week #36, off my wrist. Something serious has to be brought into position to manage that. What else could that be except an Omega Speedmaster Professional?

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

The Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69 Straight Writing on my wrist

Omega Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.022-69

And I decided to go vintage this week. Reference 145.022 was the Speedmaster which came onto the market around the period the moon landing took place (here is our story on how the Speedmaster became the Moonwatch). In 1968 the 145.022-68 took over from the 145.012-68. The 145.022-68 was a bit of a transitional model (more about that model here). While it still had a dial with an applied Omega logo (as seen on all models with caliber 321 before) it was the first model sporting the then new 861 Omega caliber. The model following this transition was the 145.022-69 which I’m wearing this week.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Painted Omega logo, flat-end second hand and caliber 861

The 145.022-69 has the 861 caliber, a dial with a painted Omega logo, and a second-hand with a flat end. With these details being established, others were still prone to change for the 145.022 model.

The case back

In fact the first Omega Speedmaster Professionals with reference 145.022-69 were Pre-Moon models. Watches produced roughly in the first half of 1969 didn’t benefit from Neil Armstrong wearing his Omega Speedmaster Professional on the moon. As such there wasn’t an allusion on the then produced Omega Speedmasters to this remarkable achievement. These first models of the 145.022-69 had a case back equal to the, pre moon as well, 145.012 and 145.022-68. Just an engraving of the Seahorse logo in the center of the case back, with SPEEDMASTER writen above and the Ω sign below it.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Straight Writing case back inscription

NASA inscription

After the moon landing understandingly Omega hurried to make notice of the use and qualification by NASA of their Omega Speedmaster. This was done by an inscription in the case back. In the center of the case back it reads in straight writing “Ω The First Watch Worn On The Moon”. And around this there’s a circular inscription “Flight-Qualified by NASA For All Manned Space Missions”. Everything fully in capitals by the way, however I didn’t want to give the impression that I’m shouting here.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Straight Writing case back inscription

Fumbly for a short period

I really like these case backs. They look kind of old-fashioned or even fumbly, and were only around for a very short period of time. Probably only one-and-a-half year, from the second half of 1969 till Q3 1971. Certainly compared to the case backs with an embossed medaillon surrounded with the same text as mentioned above, which came to the scene in spring 1971. This is the type of case back we still know today and thus has been used for over 45 years now.

To be more complete I like to mention that during the period of the three case back types which I described above, there even were some oddities in between as well. Like the straight-text inscription with 1969 Apollo XI engraving below, or the Non-NASA case back (described here). Browse through our Speedy Tuesday archives to find more information on the different 145.022 executions.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Stepped dial with old fashioned style S and r in Speedmaster

A nice stepped dial

What I like as well about the 145.022-69 is its stepped dial. I.e. the minute track is lowered compared to the rest of the dial. Used since 1960, this stepped dial was abolished with the 145.022-74. Since then we’ve never seen stepped dials in regular Omega Speedmaster Professionals again. Which I think is a pity by the way. What I like about the dial as well is the typography of specifically the S and r in Speedmaster. Determining it from later models.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Ref 1175 bracelet with 640 end links

Bezel and bracelet

Nothing much to mention about the bezel, except that on my watch it’s a correct so called dot-close-to-70 version. The Omega Speedmaster 145.022-68 can be found supplied with different kind of bracelets. Mine has the known correct reference 1175 with 640 end-links. A rather flimsy bracelet with solid outer links and folded inner links, perfectly reflecting the era.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-69

Inspiration

If you’re inspired by this article to obtain a Speedmaster Professional 145.022, or even a 145.022-69 Straight Writing, don’t fail to consult the two Buyers Guides which we did on them, here and here. Expect a genuine Straight Writing 145.022-69 with all correct details and components to set you back at least € 7.000,=. For modern current models of the Omega Speedmaster Professional please head over to www.omegawatches.com.

 

  • David Swayze

    Great analysis. What I love about the Speedy from this time frame is the degree of variation in what amounts to a two year span. My 145.022-69 has the old style pre-moon seahorse case back, stepped dial with painted Omega logo, and the dot over 90 bezel. However, based on the Extract from the Archives I obtained from Omega, it was actually made in June 1970. So, the last two digits of the model number give only a general indication of the year the watch was actually assembled. It also appears that even though there may be late 1969 and early 1970 watches with the early “The First Watch Worn on the Moon” case back, there are others that have the pre-moon case back. I have seen some refer to this as the “parts bin approach” where the assemblers were just reaching into the parts bin and pulling out whatever they grabbed on to. Having only acquired my watch about 5 years ago, well used off of E-bay, I can’t say with certainty that the case back wasn’t changed at some point. However, the markings on the back align with the Extract from the Archives and the seahorse is very faded, showing it has been subject to years of use.

    Another thing to watch for with these watches, is the differences in patina as the dial aged. My dial is untouched, with beautifully aged lume that matches the lume in the hands, but with the sub dials slowly turning to that lovely chocolate brown. Although these watches are quite common on the used market, each develops its own character. I love mine and, being a birth year watch, I shall never part with it.

    Thanks for the article Gerard.


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Speedy Tuesday – Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 Buyer’s Guide

It was about time to update this article, that was written and untouched since 2015. In the meanwhile, some new facts came to life and need to be addressed. We also saw a steep increase in the price of a good example of a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 or its spare parts.

The Speedmaster Professional 145.012

This reference was produced in 1967 and 1968. Some have been delivered a tad bit later, but it was replaced by the 145.022-68 in 1968.It is the last Speedmaster with caliber 321 movement (based on Lémania 2310). Also, it was the Speedmaster with this sought-after column-wheel movement that had the highest production, somewhere between 27000 and 28000 pieces in total. This basically means that you still will find a lot of them, it is the easiest caliber 321 Speedmaster to find on the pre-owned market. The 145.012, together with the 105.012, was also the Speedmaster that Omega sent to NASA for use during Extravehicular Activities (EVA) by astronauts during the Apollo missions. We know now that the 105.012 reference was actually used by Neil Armtrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin during Apollo 11. Aldrin’s watch was worn on the Moon in July 1969, as the legend has it that Armstrong’s watch was left behind in the command module. However, Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins was wearing the Speedmaster Professional 145.012. Also astronauts of later Apollo missions had the 145.012 instead of the 105.012 (and the occasional 105.003 that was still in use).

The good thing about the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is that it was quite consequent in its configurations. No transitional models, no iterations during the production of this reference. Nevertheless, we receive quite a bit of messages from readers who want to buy a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 and have some questions, or people who actually have or found one, and have some doubts about its originality. This article is meant to give some insights in the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 and what to look for. I will also give some examples of do’s and don’ts and right and wrongs.

Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67

Popularity of the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012

The Speedmaster Professional 145.012 is one of those references with caliber 321 movement that is still relatively affordable. Where its predecessor is way over 10.000 Euro, the 145.012 has (most of the time) a friendlier price tag. But perhaps not for long, who knows with the current craze for Speedmaster watches. Although it is the caliber 321 Speedmaster with the highest production, this doesn’t mean the market is flooded with them like it was the case 10-15 years ago. The well has dried up quite a bit, and you have to bring some good money to purchase one. This reference was actually the first Omega Speedmaster that I bought myself, in 1999. It was still in the pre-Euro era (although in 1999 the conversion rate was already communicated, the coin itself wasn’t there until 2002), and I paid 2000 Dutch Guilders for my Speedmaster Professional 145.012, which is now about 900 Euro in those days. Later on, I bought a couple more of those 145.012 references and I think the last one was in 2003 or 2004, for a whopping 1300 Euro. I can’t remember whether it had the correct bezel, but in those days, nobody really cared about these things.

A couple of years ago, the price of the 145.012 was between 2500 and 3500 Euro, depending whether everything was original (hands and bezel are the main concerns these days) and whether it came on the original reference 1039 bracelet. That was until 2014. No more I am afraid. Keep reading.

As the 105.003 and 105.012 (and all other pre-decessors) went up in price, so did the Speedmaster Professional 145.012. People who bought one before 2015 can be happy, others – who are looking for one right now – can be a bit disappointed. As I’ve written above, the well dried up on the 145.012 and it will be hard to find a decent 145.012

Its successor, the 145.022, seem to step into the price bracket that was formerly the one of the 145.012.

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67

Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 for sale via omegaforums.net (by SpaceFruit)

Common Misunderstandings

We receive a couple of emails on a monthly basis from people asking us for advice on the purchase of a reference 145.012 Speedmaster. Some times, they already even found one, but have doubts about the dial or hands.

A couple of them were about a dial in their reference 145.012 that did not had the ‘Professional’ printing. Although I can pretty much go along with the discussion that at the time of the production in the 1960s, Omega wasn’t always very strict when it came to selecting the right parts. This has mainly to do with the hands though, not the dial. The dial of a reference 145.012 should always have ‘Professional’ printed on there. Same as the logo, it should always be an applied logo. Trust us, we’ve seen three cases of 145.012 watches with non-Professional and printed Omega logos. Below, a late 145.012(-68) with the flat-end chronograph second hand.

For the Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012, it is mainly in the use of hands that might confuse people a bit. At some point in 1968, Omega started using the flats (or straight end) chronograph seconds hand instead of the drop shaped chronograph seconds hand. So you might find 145.012 models with the newer type of hand, that was later used in the 145.022 as well. I can’t imagine though, that it would be ‘OK’ for Omega to finish-up a pile of non-Professional dials in a watch that is basically the 2nd generation of ‘Speedmaster Professional’ watches. A watch maker might have been sloppy, but it is easier to assume that the dial has been swapped during a later period when the original dial was damaged for example, and a watch maker just added a non-Professional dial he had in stock.

Although the easiest thing would be to say that these watches are faulty, I am always a bit reluctant to say so as I’ve seen odd things in the past as well and Omega is not as ‘strict’ as well in their claims whether something is correct or incorrect. But in the end, if they don’t know the answer, nobody knows (except for first owners with a good memory).

Do’s and Rights

Except for the later Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 versions with straight or flat-end chronograph seconds hands or the funky Racing dials (a story on the early racing dial Speedmasters can be found here), this reference is pretty straight forward.

Normally, the Speedmaster Professional 145.012 should come in a a-symmetrical case, have a Dot Over 90 bezel (DON), tritium ‘T Swiss Made T’ dial (with long indices) and tritium hands, single step caseback (with Seahorse engraved). What I’ve noticed, and my own Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67 is an example of that as well, is that the hour markers and minute markers seem to be very white on some models where other models have a bit of yellow-ish patina. It is a common difference in dials and hands of that era, when different suppliers were used for dials (and tritium).

Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67

Up for trade on the OmegaForums.net website by user ac106.

So don’t be afraid that someone tried to remove the tritium from the dial if an Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.012 looks very white, it is quite common. However, most collectors prefer the yellow-ish patina on the hour markers and in the hands.

Although I am not a purist when it comes to very small details myself, as I rather have a watch that is wearable and technically in perfect condition than a watch that is worn out but with all original parts, some aspects that I find important for a reference 145.012-67 are:

  • original dial & hands (no Super-LumiNova replacement ‘cal 321’ hands);
  • original case (no replacement case or caseback);
  • original movement (no replacement movement, that doesn’t correspond with the watch or production year);
  • technically perfectly functioning watch;
  • no signs of moisture or other damage on the movement;
  • correct (or time-correct) bracelet ref.1039 or 1116;
  • bezel with Dot Over Ninety;

Less important but still interesting would be the original set of pushers and crown. On the other hand, this might conflict with the technically perfect working condition as the seal in the crown wears out at some point and the pushers wear out as well over time. I also mentioned the Dot Over Ninety bezel that is important, but personally I think it is a bit overrated.

Omega Extract of the Archives

Extract of the Archives, showing you the exact production year.

Also, make sure to get an extract of your watch. You can do this on-line, except if you are based in the USA. For some legal reasons Omega has to deal with otherwise, you have request an Extract of the Archives via an Omega Boutique. They can assist you with this process. It will set you back 150 Swiss Francs, but it is worth it. A write-up on how the Extract of the Archives at Omega work, can be found here.

I see heavily damaged bezels (remember that the in-lay is made of aluminium and can easily be scratched) with the famous DON and I personally prefer a better looking bezel, even if it means that it is a non-DON bezel. However, if this is important to you and a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 does not have the original hands and DON bezel, keep in mind that these do not come for free these days. Where you could pick up a set of hands for 200 Euro and a bezel for 100-150 Euro a few years ago, expect to pay around 1500-1800 Euro for a nice and genuine DON bezel and around 500-700 Euro for a set of original tritium hands with drop shaped chronograph seconds hand. And you will find some offers that exceed these amounts.

Speedmaster Professional 145.012-67

145.012 for sale by SpaceFruit on the OmegaForums.net website – caliber 321

The moment you start looking for a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 you will pay the highest price of course, but I also understand that if you are not in the watch trade, they aren’t being offered to you often. Expect to pay 7000-8000 Euro/USD for a good example, with all original parts and bracelet. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them going up as even the most produced caliber 321 Speedmaster is becoming a rare find.

Go eBay, Chrono24 or have a look at the sales forum of OmegaForums.net for example.

One Last Tip!

If you are on the hunt for a Speedmaster Professional 145.012 or which ever other vintage or limited edition Speedmaster, make sure to get a copy of the Moonwatch Only book (we reviewed the 2nd edition here). The reference for the Speedmaster. Although 250 Euro might seem steep on a book, imagine the cost of a mistake you make when buying a vintage 145.012 or limited edition Speedmaster

A big thank you to Simone, Michael, Dave, ac106 and SpaceFruit for the use of their images in this article.

Looking for a Speedmaster Professional 145.022 (caliber 861) Buyer’s Guide? Click here. Looking for a generic buyer’s guide on Speedmaster watches? Click here.

*The first version of this article appeared here on December 8th, 2015.

  • Ken

    I have an opportunity to purchase a 145.012, serial number 249xxxxx, with the inside case-back engraved 145.012 SP. There is no date 67 nor 68. I know occasionally Omega made “mistakes”, so I’m wondering if you ever heard about/saw a similar case-back? Thanks

  • Ken

    I should have mentioned there is the required space between 145.012 and SP; it’s simply blank.

  • MWU

    Interesting fact to see symmetrical cases (Pre-Professional) with wide spaced T dial (B3 used between 1966-1968). Wanted to point out that the first photo showing the 145.012 has a close T dial (B2 used between 1964-1967)… that’s also a rare occurence.