Omega. A Very Fine and Extremely Rare 18k Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Two-Tone Dial, Bracelet and Box
The Speedmaster Mark SeriesCreated in 1969, the Mark II was the first full-scale redesign of the classic Speedmaster Moonwatch case. The name itself was chosen to signify the model’s status as the second generation of the manual-wound Speedmaster.The new model was offered in various distinct styles, including stainless steel with black dial, stainless steel with grey and orange “racing” and “yachting” dials, gold-plated with a gilt dial, and a rare version in 18k yellow gold.Powered by the caliber 861, the Speedmaster Mark II’s barrel-shaped case, also referred to as the “Pilots’ Line” case (as it shared the basic design with the “Flightmaster”), had its roots in a now famous “secret project” that OMEGA was working on at the time.This ambitious research project spanned more than ten years and was code-named “ALASKA”. Its overall design goal was to develop an enhanced and strengthened version of the Speedmaster that astronauts could use during their prolonged EVAs on the lunar surface, starting with Apollo 15. One of the design adaptions that came out of the project was the strengthened and well-rounded watch case with hooded lugs and protected crown and pushers. In fact, several design ideas and technical improvements found their way into OMEGA’s following commercial projects, especially when the research project shifted directions.The Mark II’s increased water resistance was just one of the details based on the original NASA-related research project. Several other ideas, mostly centered around the design of the case, then formed the basis of the “Pilots’ Line” cases that were introduced commercially in the form of the Mark series and the Flightmaster.While OMEGA was refining its Speedmaster for future space use, another group of engineers and watchmakers was working on the brand’s first automatic chronograph movement. Announced in late 1971, the caliber 1040 was a fully integrated chronograph, based largely on the proven caliber 861. This new automatic chronograph movement was introduced commercially within the Speedmaster family and, for its premiere, a new model name was coined: Mark III.The Speedmaster Mark III signaled a departure from the classic layout of the dial. The caliber 1040 featured a central chronograph minute-hand that completed one revolution per hour and enabled the reading of the stopped chronograph-minutes on the minute-track of the dial, thus eliminating the third chronograph sub-dial.The model was a great success and paved the way for many future variants. One of them was the Speedmaster “125”. While not part of the Mark-series, it was at the time the world’s first chronometer-rated automatic chronograph, and was powered by the chronometer-rated version of OMEGA’s automatic chronograph caliber, the Cal. 1041.The Speedmaster Mark IV followed in 1973 and was once again powered by the automatic caliber 1040. This time, the case design saw a return to the slightly more docile lines of the original Mark II case, although the movement was cased inside a specially shaped calotte that was fixed onto the outer case using a special O-ring gasket, in a system similar to the one implemented with the Speedmaster “125”.The introduction of yet another automatic chronograph caliber, the 1045, gave birth to several new Speedmaster models in the 1970s. While not all of them were officially part of the Mark-series, these models share many of the series’ characteristics and are identified by a similar case design.Finally, almost a decade later, it was the caliber 1045 that powered the very last version of the Mark-series to this date. Produced mostly for the German market and introduced in 1984, the Speedmaster Mark V once again featured many of the series’ key-details, such as the seamless integration of the bracelet as well as the greatly protected crown and pushers by the rounded Mark-series case design.
Omega. A Very Fine and Extremely Rare 18k Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Two-Tone Dial, Bracelet and Box

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, PROFESSIONAL, MARK II, MOVEMENT NO. 32’842’852, CASE REF. 145.034, MANUFACTURED IN 1971

Details
Omega. A Very Fine and Extremely Rare 18k Gold Chronograph Wristwatch with Two-Tone Dial, Bracelet and Box
Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Professional, Mark II, Movement No. 32’842’852, Case Ref. 145.034, Manufactured in 1971
Cal. 861 mechanical movement, 17 jewels, two-tone gilt dial, applied OMEGA symbol, applied gold baton numerals with black inlay, outer fifths of a second divisions, black and luminous baton hands, black chronograph hand, three sunken engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers, burgundy tachymeter scale calibrated for 500 units, tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case, screw back with engraved seahorse logo, SPEEDMASTER and O inscription, OMEGA crown, two round chronograph buttons in the band, 18k gold OMEGA link bracelet, deployant clasp, overall approximate length 7 inches, case, dial and movement signed
41.5mm width
Provenance
From the Private Collection of Riccardo Bernard

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Lot Essay

Accompanied by an OMEGA Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch on 27 August 1971 and its subsequent delivery to the USA. Further accompanied by an OMEGA fitted presentation box and outer packaging.

The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional Mark II was produced between 1969 and 1972 with variations. The present watch sits amongst other variations which include a ‘Yachting’ model that has a zoned dial and yellow chronograph hands, and a standard steel version with matte black oxidized dial. The gold version stands out amongst the other Mark II variations as of its gilt dial, faceted baton hour markers, and metalized burgundy tachymeter scale under the crystal. The present watch is further enhanced by its very good overall condition and striking overall aesthetic.

An example of the variations of the Mark II are illustrated and described in OMEGA, A Journey Through Time by Marco Richon, 2007, p. 607.
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