With Omega Speedmaster collectability heading into hyper drive and with CK2915 and CK2998 watches blistering past the one hundred thousand dollar milepost, the question I’m often asked is, which is the next Speedy model that will rise stratospherically in collectability? And my answer is invariably the ST105.012 introduced by Omega in 1964, for one major reason: It is THE moon watch, the precise model of Speedmaster that accompanied Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong wore to the moon. Indeed, both their personal watches were ST 105.012s.
In addition, the ST105.012 is the very first Omega to feature the now famous Lyre or twisted lugs, which incorporate guards for both the winding crown and chronograph pushers. It was in also the last of two watches (the other being the 145.012) to feature the world’s most famous chronograph caliber, the legendary Caliber 321, based on the Lemania 2310 movement that would still be found more than 40 years later in watches like the Patek Philippe 5070. The column wheel activated chronograph movement is one of the most reliable and beautiful movement to ever be conceived.
What you might not know is that the ST 105.012 was introduced by Omega in the first quarter of 1964, making it the predecessor to the straight lugged model ST 105.003 – dubbed the “Ed White” for the astronaut that wore it – by a full two to three months. Its iconography and its status as the first Omega Speedmaster “Professional” forged the genetic underpinnings of every Speedmaster that would come after it. That’s right, this model, Omega’s Alpha if you will, was the very first to bear the hallowed inscription “Professional” on its dial.
And if you’re wondering why, well contrary to popular belief it wasn’t added in 1965 following NASA’s certification of the Speedmaster as official equipment. The word Professional actually appears from the very beginning of the model’s production run that precedes NASA certification, which you tell from the fact that pre-April 1964 dials (the models marked 105.012-63, but were actually released in 1964) have no “T” markings to denote the use of tritium as this was not a requirement until this date. As such, the most collectable of these watches are the 105.012-63 model and it is estimated that 2,000 or so of these watches were made.
Nonetheless, the word “Professional” certainly fit the status of this mythical chronograph. It was the first Speedmaster to make the leap from 39mm in diameter to a full 42mm in diameter thanks to the addition of these purpose-built lugs. We should pause to consider the total originality of their design, something heretofore never seen in horological history and to me an act of inspiration and design originality merged with functionalism that is at the same level as Gerald Genta’s blueprint for the original Royal Oak. The fact that the Speedmaster was created as a tool watch sometimes causes us to gloss over the extraordinary aesthetic innovation of the lyre lugs.
The subsequent 105012-64 and 105.012-65 watches were the first Omega Speedmasters with the T-Swiss Made-T markings and actually come in two variations, with the T close to the Swiss marking, and spaced further apart in later 1965 watches. All watches marked 105.012-63 to 105.012-65 have double bevel case backs. Adding to the mythology of this model is that in 1966 Omega sourced cases from two different suppliers, La Centrale Boites and Huguenin Freres and the result was watches with two subtly different shaped lugs. Cases made by former have a uniquely shaped flat top which transitions into a step which are often accidentally polished out. My buddy William Robert AKA Speedmaster 101, goes into detail about this here.
For the 1966 production, two-thirds of the cases were produced by Centrale Boites and just one third by Huguenin Freres. If you’re not sure, check the inner caseback for the marking ‘HF’ or ‘CB’ that denotes the manufacturer.
And while the ST 105.003 was selected for the Gemini missions, the more robust ST105.012 replete with its legendary crown guards and twisted lugs was selected as standard equipment on the even more famous Apollo missions.
WHAT’S SO COOL ABOUT OUR ST 105.012-65?
It’s from 1965. What’s so cool about the watches from 1965? Well first of all, they were as of July 1965 originally recognized as the official watch of NASA. Further, Neil Armstrong’s actual watch that he wore to the moon was serial number 24002981, making it a 105.012-65.
Our watch has the correct Dot Diagonal 70 / Dot over 90 bezel for a pre-1970 Speedmaster. Further it is a ghost DON bezel meaning that over the years it has faded from black to an amazing silver grey, and yet in strong light or through a loupe you’ll see the tachymeter markings are all totally intact.
It has one of the best dials we’ve ever seen on a ST105.012. It is a correct B3 spaced T dial correct for a 1965 watch. Every single marker is perfectly intact and the markers have aged to a ravishing salted caramel color.
The case on this watch is immaculate. We’re not going to say it’s unpolished as we feel that word is used a little too liberally nowadays, but it’s pretty damn close.
Hands are not original but still desirable as they are C2 Baton Flat hands in tritium that have turned an appealing shade of yellowish orange.
It comes with a JB Champion bracelet. NASA discarded the Speedmaster’s OEM bracelets and instead fitted their watches with J.B. Champion steel mesh bracelets. According to the amazing site moonwatchonly.com, NASA was concerned that if an astronaut got snagged by his watch, the original bracelet would not easily break and this could cause serious injury. So NASA put the watches on JB champion bracelets which had the added bonus of not requiring tools for adjustment.
Our watch also comes with a Velcro NATO strap. And just cause we love you, we are throwing in a leather NATO strap.