The Speedmaster has been around since 1957. What first started as a chronograph for sports (racing, for example), later became the watch of choice for NASA astronauts and Russian cosmonauts. In 2007, Omega commemorated the 50th anniversary of its iconic chronograph with a number of beautiful limited editions. One of them is this Omega Speedmaster Professional reference 322.214.171.124.01.001, limited to 5957 watches.
Equipped with Omega’s caliber 1861 movement, this hand-wound Speedmaster has a few interesting and distinctive features. On the dial, you will find the gold Seahorse logo, that has been part of the Speedmaster line since 1957. Confusing for some, as it also is the logo for the Seamaster collection. Above the seahorse, there’s the wording “50th Anniversary” and below the seahorse, you will find (also in gold printing) the year of the first Speedmaster watch, 1957, and the “Speedmaster” wording. Just above the center pinion, there’s the Omega wordmark printed in red.
The case back has some more distinctive features for you. Not only does it show the usual “Flight-Qualified by NASA for all manned space missions”, but it also has is engraved with “The First and Only Watch Worn on the Moon”, which we all know (now) is wrong by today’s knowledge. It definitely was the first watch worn on the moon, but not the only one. As always, you will also find the unique limited edition number engraved in the case back.
The 50th Anniversary Speedmaster Professional with caliber 1861 comes on a reference 1998 bracelet with reference 849 end pieces. Also different from the standard Moonwatch is the packaging. Instead of the white cardboard outer box, this one comes with a red cardboard box. The watch sits in a black wooden box, that is model specific for this particular watch. On the top of the wooden box, you will see the exact logo and wording of ’50th Anniversary 1957 Speedmaster’ as you’ll see on the dial. The inside of the wooden box (and the pillow) are made of black leather. In those years, the red boxes did not age well and the leather deteriorated in most cases. The same happened to the black leather inside of this box. It shows on the pictures of the watch, as you will see that parts of the leather stuck on the clasp and on the case back of the watch. In the red cardboard box you will also find the Certificate of Authenticity, instruction manual and black leather card holder with the warranty card and pictogram card.
When buying pre-owned, the condition is key. That’s what we fully understand here at Fratello, as we are collectors ourselves for many years (decades). This watch is never worn, and better yet, the bracelet is partly still covered with plastic protective foil. You will find some fingerprints from handling the watch, but no scratches, ding or signs of wear. This is a very complete package, either for those who want to keep it as a safe queen or who wants to be the first to put it on his (or her) wrist. On the case back and clasp, you will find some remains of the sticky black leather lining of the presentation box. It has been in there for so long, that it just stuck to the watch. You can easily get it off, without any effort. You will also find some of it stuck to the sapphire crystal, which can also easily be cleaned with a (wet) piece of cloth.