For more than 50 years, the Omega Speedmaster Chronograph has adorned the wrists of NASA astronauts as a standard piece of gear for space exploration. Now, prototypes of the high-precision timepiece referred to by the horological community as the “Moonwatch” are available courtesy of Christie’s as part of their Evening of Exceptional Watches auction.
Given the codename “Alaska” for NASA-related special projects, Omega persisted with improving upon the Speedmaster well into and beyond the Apollo era. They each boast the same Lemania 5100-based automatic calibre 1045 movement that made its way into the famed Alaska III prototype and feature tonneau-shaped stainless steel cases, black faces with luminous numerals and hands, three subsidiary dials, and date/day windows. The more expensive of the two prototypes (Ref. 11001) includes an Omega velcro strap adorned with the words “our time in space.” Both extremely rare watches include documentation confirming their 1974 manufacture date and delivery to the Switzerland prototype and testing department.