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AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS/Omega

Omega Ref. 145.022-69 "Alaska II"

10.21.16

The Geneva Watch Auction: FOUR, Lot 34

The "ALASKA II" test-watches were delivered to Houston in the beginning of 1972. While once again considerable progress had been made, since the Apollo Program had come to an end by the end of 1972, the "ALASKA II" test-watches were not retained by the program office and the series of OMEGA’s Alaska Projects came to a halt once more. Formerly part of the Omega Museum, where it resided from 1970 until 2007 when it was sold during the Omegamania Auction. This prototype Speedmaster is housed in a reference 145.022-69 case, featuring "lyra" style twisted lugs with an asymmetric case incorporating crown guards and a tachymeter scale on the bezel. Housed inside is Omega’s caliber 861, a robust, highly regarded manually-wound chronograph movement protected by an anti-magnetic protective inner case.

Moreover, the watch comes accompanied with an additional very large, red anodized aluminium case which serves as a protective heat shield further enhancing its importance and distinguished Provenance, the original Omega Museum inventory number can still be found on its outer caseback side. What makes this lot exceptional is its highly coveted, matte white dial with black racing hands and "Apollo" style register hands. The dial was made white, to reflect light rather than using the Speedmaster’s traditional black dial which absorbs light, and would therefore retain heat. Additionally, the dial was coated with zinc oxide, a material known for being highly resistant to solar radiation. These "ALASKA" project prototype watches were, notably, the first Speedmasters ever to be fitted with white dials.

As if these rare elements weren’t enough, it’s fitted with one of the rarest tachymeter bezels produced for only a few short months in 1970 due to an erroneous inclusion of ‘220’ in the scale. The case remains in exceptional original condition, as is the dial, illustrating the fact that this watch was most probably never worn. Scholarship suggests this is one of only three examples of the "ALASKA II" project watch with the original red protective case – one residing permanently in the Omega Museum and the other in a prominent private collection. These prototype watches are therefore amongst the rarest of all Speedmasters. The present lot’s rarity, well-preserved condition, and vibrant aesthetic make it one of the most exciting examples of a Speedmaster to appear on the market. The ultimate in rarity and exclusivity, it is a trophy watch deserving of a prominent place in any collection of important and rare sports watches.

We sincerely thank the Omega Museum for their updated scholarship and historical perspective in providing their own invaluable research and information on the present lot.

For more information, or to bid on this lot, click here for more details.

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