0Posted by Robert-Jan Broer on Nov 19, 2013
It’s Speedy Tuesday! For today we have – again – something special for you Speedmaster fans out there. As you probably know, Omega produced a number of mission patch models as part of 50 white suitecases with the ‘Speedmaster Mission’ collection in 1997 (40 sets) and in 1998 (2x 5 sets). Each suitcase contained 22 Speedmaster Professional mission patch models, 1 ’57 re-edition (reference 3594.50) as well as a spare Lemania-based caliber 1861 movement. The model we have on Speedy Tuesday today is the Gemini V mission model, also featured in this suitcase.
Omega Speedmaster Professional Gemini V
This particular mission patch model commemorates the Gemini 5 flight that was performed by NASA astronauts L. Gordon Cooper and Charles ‘Pete’ Conrad and lasted for 7 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes and 14 seconds. It was the 3rd manned Gemini flight and the duration was of importance as it would take future flights approx. 8 days to fly to the Moon, land and return. This Gemini space craft had new fuel cells that made this flight duration possible. The back-up crew consisted of Neil Armstrong and Elliot M. See. The support crew consisted of some big names as well, like Gus Grissom, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and James A. McDivitt. This mission took place in August 1965, which also means that the crew was supplied with Omega Speedmaster Professional watches.
This Omega Speedmaster Pro Gemini V commemorates that particular flight in 1965 by having a mission patch on the 9 o’clock sub dial. All other features of the watch are similar to the standard ‘Moonwatch’ model reference 3570.50. It has a hand-wound Lemania based caliber 1861 movement and the reference 1498 bracelet.
The caseback of this Speedmaster Professional reference 3597.03 is equal to the standard 3570.50 ‘Moonwatch’ as well, with the famous ‘Flight-Qualified By NASA For All Manned Space Missons’ and ‘First watch worn on the Moon’ engravings. No signs that it concerns a limited edition or numbered edition.
How rare is this Omega Speedmaster?
Well, besides the 50 white suitcases with (a.o.) this Speedy Pro Gemini V watch, there are a separate 150 pieces of this watch produced and delivered in a special white ‘Missions’ box. However, the number is not engraved in the case. The Speedmaster Professional Gemini V watches that have been delivered as part of the 50 Speedmaster Mission collections have reference number 3597.03. The normal models still bare the 345.0022 reference number afaik.
In any case, it is a rare Speedmaster Professional. Collectors and enthusiasts of Speedmasters try to get their hands on mission models all the time. The Apollo XIII and Gemini IV models are quite sought-after as well as the Apollo XI mission patch edition of course. Not to be confused with the Apollo XI limited editions that Omega tends to produce every 5 years.
This particular model in the photos will be auctioned Saturday the 23rd of November at www.watchesofknightsbridge.com. We also noted two other Gemini V watches for sale at Chrono24, one from Italy and one from France. If you are bidding or buying, make sure everything is there with regards to the box (white ‘Missions’ box similar to the one that belongs to the X-33), booklets (there should be a Missions booklet) and papers.
We love these mission patch models but also realize that it can become a very costly subject of a Speedy collection, as there are 22 of these models. We suggest you stick with the mission models that mean something to you in particular, or go for the Apollo XI or XIII mission patch models as it seems that these are the most valuable. In the end, please realize that they do not differ that much from the regular Speedmaster Professional except for the little mission patch at 9 o’clock and some of the watches have a separate engraving in the case back. All we want to say is, don’t get carried away too much when bidding.
A big thank you to our friend (and Speedmaster fan) Christopher Beccan from the wonderful www.bexsonn.com blog on watches & whisky. Not only did he notify us on this particular watch, also the credits for these awesome photos must go to him! Thank you Sir!