Sells For Over $1.9 Million
An OMEGA Speedmaster chronograph, previously owned and worn by NASA astronaut Walter “Wally” Schirra, has sold at RR Auction for US $1,907,000. The BA 145.022 model in 18K yellow gold is of particular historic value, and represents OMEGA’s enduring connection to the achievements of space exploration.
The watch is part of the iconic Numbered Edition series that was produced in 1969 to celebrate the success of Apollo 11. Model numbers 3 – 28 were given to the astronauts in NASA’s space programme, including those who were present at an “Astronaut Appreciation Dinner” on the 25th of November that year in Houston.
Schirra was among the astronauts in attendance that night and, as such, he received watch number 8, with an encircled engraving on the caseback which states, “Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Mercury 8 – Gemini 6 – Apollo 7”.
The Speedmaster BA 145.022 is crafted from 18K yellow gold and famously includes a rare burgundy bezel, as well as a further inscription on the caseback that reads, “to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.” The watch also houses the Calibre 861 – a direct descendent of the legendary Calibre 321 that accompanied astronauts on the moon.
Schirra plays a symbolic role in OMEGA’s history of space exploration. On October 3rd in 1962, he wore his own personal Speedmaster CK 2998 during the “Sigma 7” mission of the Mercury program. This was the first time an OMEGA watch had been worn in space, and marked the start of the brand’s long and special involvement beyond Earth. Just a few years later, NASA would officially qualify the Speedmaster for all manned space missions, launching an OMEGA legacy that continues to this day.
The commemorative Numbered Edition series featured only 1,014 models - produced between 1969 to 1973. The very first of these was created for US President, Richard Nixon, with number 2 allocated to the US Vice President Spiro Agnew. These watches, however, were later returned due to the US government’s strict gifting protocol. Model numbers 3 – 28 were given to NASA astronauts, numbers 29 to 32 were offered to Swiss watch industry leaders and politicians, while 33 – 1000 were offered to the public. Each one remains a highly sought-after piece to this day.
Earlier this year, the Speedmaster BA 145.022 presented to Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, fetched US $765,000 at auction – yet again proving the popularity of this unique Speedmaster series.
All photographs are courtesy of RR Auction
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