A Golden Opportunity: The Auction of an Apollo 12 Astronaut’s Rare Omega Speedmaster

The RR Auction’s Space Exploration and Aviation sale, live online until April 25, offers a unique opportunity for watch enthusiasts and space aficionados. Among the nearly 400 items of significant machinery, documents, and memorabilia, the standout piece is the ultra-rare gold Omega Speedmaster of astronaut Richard Gordon.

This Omega Speedmaster Professional, declared “flight-qualified for all manned space missions” by NASA in 1965, became an indispensable part of every astronaut’s gear. It gained fame in July 1969 when it became the first watch worn on the Moon. To commemorate this historic event and the entire space program, NASA held an Astronaut Appreciation Dinner in Houston in November 1969, where all attending astronauts were presented with commemorative gold Speedmasters.

Gordon’s gold Omega Speedmaster, made from 18-karat yellow gold, is the 20th of the original 28 pieces. The caseback bears the engraving of Gordon’s name and his missions: “Richard R. Gordon, Gemini 11—Apollo 12.” Gordon, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 88, is renowned for his role as a command module pilot on the Apollo 12 mission, which orbited the Moon 45 times. The caseback also carries the inscription: “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.” Accompanying the watch is a letter of provenance signed by Gordon, acknowledging an engraving error (his middle initial should be an “F” not an “R”).

The “Tribute to Astronauts” watch was the first gold Speedmaster created by the Swiss watchmaker. While it retains the design and dimensions of the standard-issue Speedmaster, it is crafted from 18-karat gold instead of steel. The solid gold dial features onyx hour markers and black hands, and the gold bezel has a red aluminum inlay with the signature “dot over ninety.” The bracelet, clasp, and the caliber 861 with a steel brake and 17 jewels inside are also gold.

Omega initially produced 28 commemorative pieces, reserved for President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, and the 26 astronauts of the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. These Speedmasters are extremely rare and hard to come by due to their limited number. Gordon’s Speedmaster is currently priced at $51,793, with nine days remaining in the sale.

This auction presents a unique opportunity to own a piece of history, a symbol of human achievement in space exploration. If it sells within the current price range, it would indeed be a remarkable acquisition.