Omega. A Very Fine and Rare Automatic Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch With Radial Dial, Day and Date, Prototype Project Alaska III
Omega. A Very Fine and Rare Automatic Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch With Radial Dial, Day and Date, Prototype Project Alaska III

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, MOVEMENT NO. 39’205’191, CASE REF. 11 003 STAR WATCH CASE CO., MANUFACTURED IN 1978

Details
Omega. A Very Fine and Rare Automatic Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch With Radial Dial, Day and Date, Prototype Project Alaska III
Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Movement No. 39’205’191, Case Ref. 11 003 Star Watch Case Co., Manufactured in 1978
Cal. 1045 automatic movement, 17 jewels, black dial, luminous baton numerals, luminous baton hands, outer fifths of a second divisions, inner Arabic 60 minutes register, central chronograph minute hand, two sunken subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 12 hours registers, day aperture, date aperture, crystal etched with OMEGA symbol, cushion-shaped water-resistant-type case, black chapter ring with tachymeter scale calibrated for 500 units, screw back with star engraving, OMEGA crown, two round chronograph buttons in the band, Corfam OMEGA strap, case, dial and movement signed
38mm width
Provenance
The Property of a Swiss Collector

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Lot Essay

Accompanied by an OMEGA Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch with "Radial" counters on 3 April 1978 and its subsequent delivery to NASA as one of the three models that were part of the " ALASKA III Project." These watches were tested by NASA for use in the space shuttle program.

A new spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, called for retesting of all equipment to be used on board in 1978 and therefore Omega submitted three different watches for qualification. All developments centered on the Space Shuttle qualification were code-named "ALASKA III" at OMEGA. Proposals included the Speedmaster Professional reference ST 145.022, the Speedsonic Reference ST188.0002, and the present prototype Speedmaster automatic, also part of the ALASKA III project, reference 11 003.

All three models were successful and qualified, although the ultimate choice was once again the Speedmaster Professional that in 1978 became qualified for all manned space flights.

The present watch is an extremely rare and impressive example of an ALASKA III prototype created by Omega for NASA. According to archival material, it was delivered as a single piece in April 1978.

Following several tests, much like the original 1964-1965 qualification procedure, a Speedmaster Professional was once again chosen, but this time it was slightly different. The specially produced dial remained traditionally black, but now the numerals on the counters were arranged radially, thought to allow for increased legibility. Following NASA’s qualification, 56 Speedmaster Professionals with radial dials were delivered to NASA in October 1978 through OMEGA's American importer Norman Morris for Space Shuttle use. In fact, these Speedmasters were officially used onboard the Space Shuttle in the 1980s.

This ALASKA III prototype is encased in a specially commissioned American-made watch case. OMEGA commissioned Star Watch Case Company of Michigan to produce cases for the watches destined for the qualification process. This was done to comply with an official part of the procurement rules called "Buy American Act" that called for 50% of the product's value program to be American-made.





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