In 1959, the short-lived (2 years in production) original Speedmaster reference, the CK 2915, got something of a makeover. The result was the reference CK 2998, currently the second most desirable vintage Speedmaster.
Powered by the calibre 321, it was – just as the 2915 – intended as a watch for drivers (racing drivers included), and marketed as such.
With its dashboard instruments inspired dial, clean and uncluttered, it was a very appealing design. Appealing enough to a US Navy pilot, captain Walter Schirra, who in 1959 became a part of NASA’s very first manned space flight program, the Project Mercury.
In 1962, Schirra’s own CK 2998 accompanied him on an almost 10 hours of the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission, when aboard the Sigma 7 Schirra orbited the Earth 6 times.
In 1967, the reference 105.012 has been replaced with the 145.012.
Nearly identical to its predecessor, it was in production for two years, from 1967 to 1968.
It was the last Speedmaster to be equipped with the column wheel cal. 321 (Lemania CH27 C12), prior to the introduction of the cal. 861, a cam-switching movement built on the same baseplate.
In 1968, the long-standing workhorse chronograph movement of the SSIH, the Lemania CH27 C12 (Omega 321), was discontinued.
It was replaced with the Lemania 1873, which became the famous Omega 861 “Moon” movement. Sic transit gloria, if I may say so.
Obviously, its later Moonwatch movement fame was somewhat undeserved, as that title goes to the 105.012 and its cal. 321.
It was constructed on pretty much the same baseplate, only the column wheel was replaced with a cam-switching mechanism. Less costly to produce and easier to service. Omega still uses it until this day (as the cal. 1861, with an additional jewel and rhodium finishing).
The introduction of a new chronograph movement meant something of a revolution for the Speedmaster.
The current Speedmaster Professional, the descendant of the ref. 145.022, produced with minor changes from 1968 until this day, is often called the “Moonwatch.”
That is rather interesting because the 145.022 wasn’t the watch first worn on the Moon. This title goes to the ref. 105.012.
What is it?
The ref. 105.012 was the first of the “Professional” models.
It features the asymmetric case with a crown and pusher guard, flowing seamlessly into the lugs- sort of a thicker right flank of the case.
It was powered by the same movement as all other “pre-Moons”- the cal. 321. Its introduction coincided with that of the ref. 105.003.
Both were in production since 1963. Therefore, it’s hard to speak of the 105.012 as a successor to the 105.003. It was just a slightly more modern, more avant-garde take on the very same thing.
After the ref. 105.002, the “oddball”, had been discontinued, Omega introduced its successor in 1963 – the Speedmaster ST 105.003.
Nicknamed “Ed White” after its famous wearer, the NASA astronaut Edward Higgins White (who during the Gemini 4 mission became the first NASA astronaut to take a spacewalk).
It was the last of the “straight lug” Speedmasters, and the last without the “Professional” inscription on the dial.