Bonhams | The annual Space History auction Catalogue – New York, July 20th 2016

Schermata 2016-07-12 alle 13.25.06

More info on Bonhams 


The TOP LOT for the sale was an exceptional and historically important Apollo 17 privately flown OMEGA SPEEDMASTER stainless steel chronograph, from the personal collection of Astronaut Ron Evans. Manufactured in 1970 and including a flown Velcro strap and Fisher Space Pen, which realized $245,000.

Christie’s is proud to announce that the OMEGA Museum was the winning bidder and it will soon be on public display.

The iconic Omega Racing family

IMG_2881La configurazione Omega Speedmaster con quadrante speciale è stata lanciata in pochi esemplari nel 1963 ed ora è molto ambita dai collezionisti.

Nel dettaglio abbiamo tutta la famiglia di Racing o esotici come dir si voglia, tutti contraddistinti da diversi calibri e casse.

Il primo uscì sul mercato nel 1963 con la classica grafica 2915 con la “O” slight e senza la scritta “professional” referenza 105-003 calibro 321 con anse dritte.FullSizeRender-15

Il secondo uscì nel 1967 con la scritta “professional” e porta referenza 145-012, calibro 321 con la nuova tipologia di cassa ad anse elicoidali.FullSizeRender-13

L’ultimo Racing uscì sul mercato nel 1969 con il calibro 861, referenza 145-022. Questo raffigurato è forse l’unico esemplare esistente con quadrante personalizzato MEISTER (un concessionario con sede in Svizzera).FullSizeRender-14

Omega ha riprodotto una versione moderna dell referenza 145-022, con tiratura limitata di soli 2004 pezzi per il mercato giapponese per l’anno 2004.

FullSizeRender-11Dei moderni vediamo invece il cosiddetto tin tin e l’Apollo 15 prodotto in tiratura limitata per il quarantesimo della missione Nasa in 1971 esemplari.FullSizeRender-9 FullSizeRender-10

The configuration Omega Speedmaster with special dial was launched in small numbers in 1963 and is now highly coveted by collectors.

In detail we have the whole family of Racing or exotic as you prefer, all characterized by different sizes and speakers.

The first came on the market in 1963 with the classic graphics 2915 with the “O” slight and without the word “professional”, reference 105-003, caliber 321 with straight lugs.

The second came in 1967 with the words “professional” with reference 145-012, caliber 321.
The last Racing came out on the market in 1969 with the caliber 861, 145-022 reference. This one is perhaps the only example with custom dial MEISTER (a dealer based in Switzerland).
Omega has played a modern version of the reference 145-022, with a limited edition of only 2,004 pieces for the Japanese market for the year 2004.
About the Modern we can see instead the so-called tin tin and the Apollo 15 produced in a limited edition for the fortieth anniversary of NASA mission in only 1971 examples.


A unique Omega Speedmaster for sale at Omega Speedmaster 50 auction – Christie’s New York 15 December 2015

Flown to the moon: A unique Omega Speedmaster

A watch that accompanied Captain Ron Evans, one of only 24 people to have flown to the Moon, aboard Apollo 17 — a unique opportunity for collectors to own a flown Speedmaster from the Apollo missions

Omega. An exceptional, highly attractive and historically important Apollo 17 privately flown stainless steel chronograph wristwatch and flown metal attachment from the personal collection of astronaut Ron Evans. Certified and signed. Manufactured in 1970. Estimate on request. This lot is offered in the Omega Speedmaster 50 sale on 15 December at Christie’s New York

Captain Ron Evans was one of 19 astronauts specially selected by NASA in April 1966 as part of ‘Astronaut Group 5’. Evans was serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific at the time, flying fighter aircraft in Vietnam combat operations from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ticonderoga.

Born in Kansas in 1933, Ronald E. Evans received a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Kansas before joining the U.S. Navy. Between 1961 and 1962 he served as a combat flight instructor, and went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1964.Ronald_Evans-2

After being selected as member of the astronaut support crews for the Apollo 7 and Apollo 11 missions, and as backup command module pilot for Apollo 14, Evans made his first journey into space during Apollo 17, which launched on 7 December 1972. He was chosen as command module pilot, alongside crewmates Commander Eugene Cernan, who was making his third and final spaceflight, and Lunar Module Pilot Harrison H Schmitt, who became the first scientist to fly in space.

As the last scheduled manned mission to the Moon, Apollo 17 broke several records set by previous fights, including longest manned lunar landing flight, largest lunar sample return, and longest time in lunar orbit. In addition, important tests were undertaken for the continued development of space processing, which exploits the unique environment of a space laboratory to research, develop, and manufacture products.

Among these tests was one named ‘Apollo 17 Heat Flow and Convection Experiments’, which was carried out by Evans while on his way to the Moon, using the watch offered here, along with the metal part it was attached to. Given that all other known Speedmaster watches flown in space during the Apollo missions are property of NASA, this watch offers collectors the only opportunity to own a flown Speedmaster from the Apollo missions.

The historically important Apollo 17 privately flown stainless steel Omega Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch from the personal collection of astronaut Ron Evans, alongside other elements included in this lot, such as the strap, the flown metal attachment used during the experiments, Apollo 17-flown Fisher AG 7 space pen, photographs and letters of verification. This lot is offered in the Omega Speedmaster 50 sale on 15 December at Christie’s New York

Cernan and Schmitt landed on the Moon in the Taurus-Littrow Valley shortly before 3pm EST on 11 December, before spending just over three days on the lunar surface. Above them in the Command/Service module, Evans would set a record for the time he spent alone in lunar orbit.

One of the most exciting discoveries of Cernan and Schmitt’s time on the Moon’s surface took place on day two of exploration. Nearly 9 km away from the Lunar Module, they came towards a crater that they named Shorty, in which they found an unusual and surprising orange soil literally underneath their feet.

Noticeable against the grey debris from the surface that surrounded it, it was later discovered that the orange soil was titanium-rich pyroclastic glass believed to have been deposited billions of years ago. This ultimately proved that the valley had previously witnessed a large eruptive fire.

On December 14, the spacecraft began its descent back home to Earth. Before the astronauts began their return, however, Cernan and Schmitt left behind a plaque engraved with the signatures of the three astronauts and President Richard Nixon. It read: ‘Here man completed his first explorations of the Moon December 1972, AD. May the spirit of peace in which we came be reflected in the lives of all mankind.’

A detail of the photograph of Ronald Evans during his spacewalk on the way home from the Moon — and wearing the watch and strap shown above — which is offered as part of this lot in the Omega Speedmaster 50sale on 15 December at Christie’s New York
During the trip home, Evans had to retrieve film canisters from cameras mounted in the equipment bay at the rear of the spacecraft. To do this he was required to perform a spacewalk that lasted for one hour and six minutes, the last ever conducted in deep space. An original black and white photo released by NASA on 27 December 1972 shows Ron Evans wearing the watch strap offered with this lot on his left arm while working outside the spacecraft. This is also a unique opportunity to own one of the NASA-issued velcro straps used during the Apollo missions, as others were returned to NASA.

After 301 hours and 51 minutes in space, Evans and his crewmates returned to Earth on 19 December 1972. The Command Module landed in the Pacific Ocean, some four miles from the designated the recovery ship — the U.S.S. Ticonderoga, the aircraft carrier on which Evans had served four tours of duty. Fifty-two minutes after landing, Evans, Cernan and Schmitt were safely on board, having been retrieved by a recovery helicopter.

Once back on terra firma, Ron Evans took a portable hand engraving tool and inscribed the Speedmaster watch shown here, and the black metal attachment used in the experiment. On the reverse of the watch, he etched ‘FLOWN IN C.S.M. TO THE MOON’ and ‘APOLLO 17’ and his signature. On the edge of the watch he engraved ‘HEAT FLOW EXPR’ and ‘6-19 DEC 1972’. In addition, he etched directly on the metal piece that it was ‘glued to OMEGA watch’ for the experiment.

Left: Detail of the case back. Right: Detail of the side case engraving
Left: Detail of the case back. Right: Detail of the side case engraving

Evans went on to serve as backup command module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, which joined the United States and Soviet Union in an orbital mission, before retiring from the United States Navy on in 1976 after 21 years of service. He remained active for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program and as a NASA astronaut, and was a member of the operations and training group within the astronaut office that was responsible for launch and ascent phases.

He eventually retired from NASA in March 1977 and became a coal industry executive. As a distinguished astronaut and aviator, he was presented with a number of awards including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal in 1973, the Johnson Space Center Superior Achievement Award in 1970, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal in 1973, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal with combat distinguishing service in 1966. In 1983, Evans was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame. He passed away in April 1990 at 56 years of age. Seven years later, Ronald Evans was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

The watch offered in the sale is accompanied with signed letters from Jan Evans (Ron’s wife) certifying that the stainless steel OMEGA Speedmaster, the watch strap and the small black metal piece were flown to the Moon and used by her husband on Apollo 17 in December 1972; a colour photograph of the OMEGA Speedmaster fixed on the heat experimental equipment; an original black and white photo signed on the back by Ron Evans of his EVA on December 17 1972; and a colour version of the same image.

Additionally, the watch is accompanied by the Apollo 17-flown Fisher AG 7 space pen from the personal collection of astronaut Ron Evans. It is marked with the NASA numbers SEB 12100051-204 and SN 1131. This pen was specially designed by Paul C. Fisher (Fisher Pen Company) for NASA and could be used in any position, on any surface, underwater or in conditions of weightlessness thanks to its pressurised ink. It, too, is accompanied with a letter from Jan Evans.

The Ron Evans Gold Conquest

Omega. An exceptionally important and unique 18k gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, certification letter and box, made for astronaut Ronald E. Evans. Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Professional, no. 1007, Movement no. 27’769’532, case ref. 145022 69, manufactured in 1970. Estimate: $40,000-80,000. This lot is offered in the Omega Speedmaster 50 sale on 15 December at Christie’s New York
Omega. An exceptionally important and unique 18k gold chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, certification letter and box, made for astronaut Ronald E. Evans. Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Professional, no. 1007, Movement no. 27’769’532, case ref. 145022 69, manufactured in 1970. Estimate: $40,000-80,000. This lot is offered in the Omega Speedmaster 50 sale on 15 December at Christie’s New York
As a commemorative gesture to a number of NASA astronauts following the successful Apollo 11 mission, OMEGA produced a special limited edition wristwatch with a solid 18k gold dial, case, and bracelet. The watches are only produced in 1,014 examples, where 26, numbered 3 to 28, were offered at an astronaut banquet in Houston on November 25, 1969.

The appreciation dinner was attended by astronauts that were on duty at the time, and three watches were awarded posthumously to the crew of Apollo 1. Solely for the astronauts’ special timepieces, the case backs were engraved: ‘to mark man’s conquest of space and time, through time, on time’, with the name of the astronaut and his mission.

The watch above is engraved number 1007 and features this important case back, made especially for Ron Evans to commemorate his efforts on the Apollo 13 mission. Watches such as this and numbered 1001 to 1008 were presented in 1972 and 1973 to those astronauts who had not yet accomplished a space conquest in 1969, namely missions 14 to 17.

Omega Speedmaster preemoon 2998-6, 1963. The hard life of the first lunar watch


Omega Speedmaster preemoon 2998-6 del 1963 Calibro 321: Cronografo carica manuale 17 rubini, diametro 27mm, spessore 6,74 mm, riserva di carica di circa 44 ore. Una descrizione che da sola non basta a comprendere che quest’orologio non è stato pensato per essere indossato in un posto tranquillo, è nato per resistere allo spazio al polso del primo uomo sulla Luna.

Donald K. Slayton, capo del Flight Crew Operations Directorate, preparò una lista di cronografi comprendente le seguenti marche: Elgin, Benrus, Hamilton. Mido, Luchin Piccard, Omega, Bulova, Rolex, Longines e Gruen. Tra queste, solo tre marche furono scelte per i test comparativi: Longines, Omega e Rolex.

Donald K. Slayton

A quei tempi, un solo orologio, dei tanti sottoposti a test, superò le prove: lo Speedmaster con Calibro 321. L’aspetto più sorprendente della storia è che Omega fu informata solo nell’aprile 1966 della missione nello spazio che lo Speedmaster era chiamato a compiere.


Ma in cosa consistevano questi test? Il 29 settembre 1964 il NASA-Manned Spacecraft Center, Gemini & Flight Support Procurement Office di Houston, ordinò all’importatore Omega Norman Morris di New York, 12 Speedmaster senza bracciale per sottoporli a “test e valutazione” pagandoli $ 82,50 cadauno avendo già definito con precisione la procedura di valutazione (Qualification Test Procedures, Wrist Watches, CF-55032, CF-55033, CF-55034):

  • Ogni orologio deve essere caricato subito prima di ogni prova
  • Nel corso dei test e negli intervalli fra un test e l’altro, il cronografo deve funzionare senza interruzioni; prima e dopo ogni test, oppure ogni 2-6 ore, deve essere rimesso a zero
  • La precisione di marcia deve essere controllata prima e dopo ogni test, se possibile ogni ora durante i test e ogni 2-6 ore negli intervalli tra un test e l`altro

Prima di ogni fase di valutazione occorre:

  • mettere in funzione il cronografo.
  • identificare l’orologio,
  • annotare l’ora ufficiale,
  • prendere nota delle indicazioni fornite dall’orologio in esame (ore, minuti e secondi).

Al termine di ogni prova bisogna interrompere la funzione cronografica e:

  • identificare l’orologio
  • annotare l’ora ufficiale
  • prendere nota dell’ora indicata dall’orologio in esame
  • registrare la scarto del cronografo

Durante ogni prova della precisione di marcia occorre inoltre accertarsi che cassa, vetro, lancette e pulsanti, non abbiano subito nessun danno e verificare se si è formata della condensa sotto il vetro. Ogni anomalia nelle condizioni dell’orologio deve essere registrata.

Se l’orologio si arresta e non riesce a rimettersi in moto o il vetro si deforma o si spacca o si rompono l’albero di carica o il pulsante partenza arresto, non può proseguire le prove successive e il test ha esito negativo.

Superate questa fase, gli orologi vengono poi sottoposti a ulteriori undici prove in totale:

1. CALDO > 48 ore a una temperatura di 71 gradi C, poi 30 minuti a 93 gradi C. Durante questo test gli orologi sono sottoposti a una umidita` atmosferica non superiore al 15% e a un vuoto parziale di 5,5 Psi ( Pound per square inch, pari a 0,35 atm ).

2. FREDDO > 4 ore a una temperatura di -18 gradi C.

3. VUOTO > Gli orologi, sottoposti a una pressione di 1,47×10-5 Psi (10-6 ATM), sono portati a una temperatura di 71 gradi C per la durata di 45 minuti, poi vengono esposti per altri 45 minuti alla temperatura di -18 gradi C, quindi nuovamente riportati a 71 gradi C per ulteriori 45 minuti. Questa procedura viene ripetuta complessivamente 15 volte.

4. UMIDITA` > 240 ore complessive a temperature che oscillano da 20 a 71 gradi C, con umidita` del 95% almeno. Il vapore acqueo deve avere un pH compreso tra 6,5 e 7,5.

5. ATMOSFERA CARICA DI OSSIGENO > 48 ore a una temperatura di 71 gradi C. ed una pressione di 0,35 ATM in O2 puro. La formazione di gas tossici, lo sprigionamento di odori acri o il danneggiamento dei giunti indicano che il test e` fallito.

6. PROVA D`URTO > 6 urti di 40 g (ossia 40 volte la gravitazione), della durata di 11 millisecondi ciascuno, da 6 angolazioni diverse.

7. ACCELERAZIONE > Accelerazione lineare da 1 a 7,25 g in 333 secondi. Poi accelerazione costante di 16 g per la durata di 30 sec in linea laterale.

8. DECOMPRESSIONE > Pressione di 1,47 x10-5 Psi ( 10-6 atm ) per 90 minuti a una temperatura di 71 gradi C, e per 30 minuti a 93 gradi C.

9. SOVRAPRESSIONE > Pressione di 23,5 Psi (1,6 atm ) per la durata di un’ora.

10. VIBRAZIONI > Tre prove di 30 minuti ciascuna (laterale, orizzontale, verticale). La frequenza di oscillazione varia da 5 a 2000 Hz, l`accelerazione media per impulso non deve essere inferiore a 8,8 g.

11. RUMORE > 130 decibel in un ambito di frequenza posto tra 40 e 10 000 Hz, per la durata di 30 minuti.

Il primo marzo 1965 la NASA rese disponibili i risultati dei test. Lo Speedmaster fu l’unico orologio ad aver superato tutti gli esami e fu omologato dalla NASA al volo spaziale. I dirigenti della Omega furono informati soltanto un anno dopo delle entusiasmanti performance della loro creatura; lo speedmaster era pronto ad entrare nello spazio ma era già diventato una leggenda.

Si ringrazia per la collaborazione Alessandro Smania.

Omega speedmaster preemoon 2998-6 1963 Calibre 321: Chronograph manual winding 17 jewels, diameter 27mm, thickness 6.74 mm, power reserve of approximately 44 hours.

Donald K. Slayton, head of the Flight Crew Operations Directorate, prepared a list of chronographs including the following brands: Elgin, Benrus, Hamilton. Mido, Luchin Piccard, Omega, Bulova, Rolex, Longines and Gruen. Among these, only three brands were chosen for the comparative tests: Longines, Omega and Rolex.

At that time, only one watch, of the many tested, passed the tests: the Speedmaster Calibre 321.

The most surprising aspect of the story is that Omega was informed only in April 1966 of the mission in the space that the Speedmaster was called upon to perform.

But what about these tests?

On 29 September 1964, the NASA Manned Spacecraft-Center, Gemini Flight Support & Procurement Office in Houston, ordered to the Omega importer Norman Morris of New York, 12 Speedmaster without bracelet and subject them to “test and evaluation” by paying $ 82.50 each having already defined with precision the evaluation procedure (Qualification Test Procedures, Wrist Watches, CF-55032, 55033-CF, CF-55034):

Each watch is to be loaded immediately before each test

During the tests, and in the intervals between tests and the other, the chronograph must operate without interruptions; before and after each test, or every 2-6 hours, has to be reset to zero

The accuracy of travel must be checked before and after each test, if possible every hour during the test and every 2-6 hours in the intervals between tests `other

Before each assessment phase should be:

operating the chronograph.

identify the clock,

annotate the official time,

take note of the information provided by the clock in question (hours, minutes and seconds).

At the end of each test must stop the chronograph function and:

identify the clock

annotate the official time

take note of the time indicated by the clock in question

record gap Chronograph

During each test the accuracy of travel must also ensure that cash, glass, needles and buttons, have not suffered any damage and check if it contains moisture condensation under the glass. Any anomaly in the conditions of the clock has to be registered.

If the clock is stopped and can not embark upon or glass deforms or breaks or break the winding stem or button start stop, can not continue subsequent tests and the test fails.

Overcome this stage, the clocks are then subjected to further tests eleven o’clock in total:

1. HOT> 48 hours at a temperature of 71 degrees C, then 30 minutes at 93 degrees C. During this test, the watches are subjected to an atmospheric moisture of not more than 15% and a partial vacuum of 5.5 PSI (Pound per square inch, 0.35 atm).

2. COLD> 4 hours at a temperature of -18 degrees C.

3. EMPTY> The watches, subjected to a pressure of 1,47×10-5 Psi (10-6 ATM), are brought to a temperature of 71 degrees C for the duration of 45 minutes, then are exposed for another 45 minutes at a temperature of -18 degrees C, and then again brought back to 71 degrees C for a further 45 minutes. This procedure is repeated a total of 15 times.

4. UMIDITY> 240 total hours at temperatures ranging from 20 to 71 degrees C, with moisture of 95% at least. The water vapor must have a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

5. ATMOSPHERE CHARGE OF OXYGEN> 48 hours at a temperature of 71 degrees C. and a pressure of 0.35 ATM in pure O2. The formation of toxic gases, the escape of odors acres or damage joints indicate that the test is failed.

6. TEST D`URTO> 6 shocks of 40 g (ie 40 times the gravitation), the duration of 11 milliseconds each, from 6 different angles.

7. ACCELERATION> Linear acceleration 1 to 7.25 g in 333 seconds. Then constant acceleration of 16 g for the duration of 30 sec in the lateral line.

8. DECOMPRESSION> Pressure of 1.47 x10-5 Psi (10-6 atm) for 90 minutes at a temperature of 71 degrees C, and for 30 minutes at 93 degrees C.

9. PRESSURE> pressure of 23.5 psi (1.6 atm) for one hour.

10. VIBRATIONS> Three tests of 30 minutes each (lateral, horizontal, vertical). The frequency of oscillation varies from 5 to 2000 Hz, your acceleration average per pulse must not be less than 8.8 g.

11. NOISE> 130 decibels in a frequency range located between 40 and 10 000 Hz, for a duration of 30 minutes.

On March 1, 1965, NASA made available test results. The Speedmaster was the only watch to have passed all the exams and was approved by NASA spaceflight.

The managers of Omega were informed only a year after about the exciting performance of the watch; the speedmaster was ready to enter the space but had already become a legend.