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Lot #4162
Richard Gordon's 18K Gold Omega Speedmaster Professional 1969 Apollo 11 Commemorative Watch

Unique solid gold Omega Speedmaster specially engraved and presented to Apollo 12 CMP Richard Gordon

Estimate: $100000+

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Server Time: 4/21/2024 05:18:59 PM EDT
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Unique solid gold Omega Speedmaster specially engraved and presented to Apollo 12 CMP Richard Gordon

Richard Gordon’s personally-owned and -worn 18K solid yellow gold Omega Speedmaster Professional BA 145.022 presented to him at a special gala dinner on November 25, 1969, at the Hotel Warwick in Houston, Texas. Omega initially created 26 of these gold commemorative watches—known as the ‘Tribute to Astronauts’ watch—to present to NASA astronauts alive and deceased, with the case back of each watch specially engraved with a quote, the name and missions of the astronaut, and a unique number relative to when the astronaut flew into space. This watch’s case back, issued as “No. 20,” is encircled, “Astronaut Richard R. Gordon, Gemini 11 - Apollo 12.” The special central quote reads: “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”

The first gold Speedmaster that Omega created, the watch features an 18K gold case with the same design cues and dimensions as the regular steel Speedmaster Professional. The gold bezel has a burgundy red aluminum inlay, with the famous ‘dot over ninety,’ and a special solid gold dial, indicated by the “OM” next to “Swiss Made,” which means ‘Or Massif’ or ‘solid gold.’ The hour markers are made of onyx, have two facets each, and are set in gold frames. The hands are black with gold centers and give wonderful contrast to the solid gold dial. The gold bracelet (1116/575) features hollow links and a 14mm gold clasp with striping decoration. Inside the 18k gold 42mm case ticks the Lemania-based copper-colored chronograph caliber 861 with a steel brake; this caliber 861 has a ticking speed of 21,600vph and uses 17 jewels. Cosmetically, the fine timepiece exhibits some wear from use, primarily noticeable in wear to the bezel, as well as a few scratches to the clasp and crystal. Includes its original hinged Omega case, which exhibits some staining or tarnishing on the top of the lid.

Accompanied by a typed letter of provenance signed by Richard Gordon, in part: "This Apollo era, special edition, Omega wristwatch was presented to me by Omega during an Apollo XI celebration dinner." He goes on to recognize the error in the engraving, which has an "R" substituted for his middle initial, "F."

After the moon-flown Omega Speedmaster Pros—property of the United States government—these Apollo XI commemorative 18K gold chronographs stand at the forefront of space watch lore. Issued in an extremely limited number to commemorate the Apollo 11 landing, the first twenty-eight watches produced were reserved for President Richard Nixon (#1) and Vice President Spiro T. Agnew (#2), followed by the 26 astronauts who paved the way for the moon landings in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. Only 19 of the 26 astronauts honored were able to attend the gala dinner at which they were presented—the Apollo 12 crew was still in quarantine after their return to Earth on November 24, 1969, and the Apollo 1 crew were being recognized posthumously. These early watches all feature the special central engraving, "To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time." The publicly available version of the watch (numbers 33-1000) was issued with a caseback commemorating Apollo 11 and the Speedmaster's status as 'the first watch worn on the moon.' Omega returned to the special engraving for the astronaut watches later issued to the crews of Apollo 14-17.

The elusive gold astronaut chronograph also takes a place as the most expensive Speedmaster Pro ever sold: in October 2022, RR Auction sold Wally Schirra's example of the Apollo 11 commemorative 18K gold Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph watch (Ref. BA 145.022) for nearly $2 million.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Space Exploration and Aviation
  • Dates: March 25, 2024 - April 25, 2024

This item is Pre-Certified by STEVE ZARELLI
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