An out-of-this-world Omega watch that was made for and given to one of the astronauts aboard the first manned mission to the moon will touch down in a new collection when it is sold June 1 in Heritage Auctions
Fine Watches & Timepieces Signature® Auction.
The Omega, Very Rare And Important Gold Speedmaster Professional Wristwatch, No. 19, Presented To Astronaut Michael Collins, circa 1969 (current bid: $41,000) is an extraordinary timepiece given to Collins, who flew the Apollo 11 command module around the moon in 1969 while fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first crewed landing on the lunar surface.
This is an incredibly rare watch, Heritage Auctions Watches & Fine Timepieces Director Jim Wolf said. There were only 28 of them made. The first two were offered to President (Richard) Nixon and Vice President (Spiro) Agnew. After that, Omega presented them to the astronauts aboard the most important mission in the history of the space program. This watch is a piece of space history and a piece of timepieces history.
The watch is accompanied by a handwritten note that reads, This Omega watch was given to me shortly after the flight of Apollo XI, and has been in my personal possession ever since. I wore it seldom if ever, but I have wound it every decade or so, and I believe it is in perfect operating condition. Michael Collins, Apollo XI CMP.
Nixon and Agnew declined the first two Apollo XI Commemorative gold Speedmaster watches; the next 26 were presented to the astronauts who had been with NASA the longest. A listing of recipients and numbers include #3 (Shepard), #17 (Armstrong), #21 (Aldrin), #27 (Slayton), #28 (Chaffee) and the present watch #19 (Collins).
The auction includes an incredible collection of seven exceptionally complicated, high-grade tourbillion watches from a single consignor. Among the extraordinary horological offerings in the collection are:
· A Greubel Forsey, Rare And Important Tourbillon 24 Secondes Edition Historique, Platinum Wristwatch (current bid: $77,500), a magnificent timepiece that is one of just 11 produced in a platinum case. It is accompanied by unsigned original papers, an outer box, wooden presentation box, two additional bands and a platinum double deployment clasp.
· A Louis Moinet, 18k White Gold Limited Edition Black Gold Derrick Tourbillon, Ref. LM-43.70.03N, No. 01/28 (current bid: $62,500). Housed in a 45 mm 18K white gold case, it features a skeletonized dial with open white gold pomme hands, and is signed by Louis Moinet.
· A Manufacture Royale 1770 Micromegas Double Tourbillon, Bespoke Black (current bid: $20,000) is a stunning piece in a 45 mm black hardened Nanodeco titanium case, with a gloss lacquered dial, signed MR Enlightened Horology.
Among the most popular watchmakers among collectors is Rolex, and this auction offers options from the brand for collectors of all levels. The sale boasts 68 Rolex lots, including:
· A Rare And Very Fine Oyster Cosmograph, Paul Newman Panda Dial Chronograph, Ref. 6263, circa 1971 (current bid: $60,000)
· A Fine and Rare Stainless Padellone Automatic Triple Calendar Wristwatch with Moon Phases. Ref: 8171. Circa 1950 (current bid: $37,500)
· An Important And Very Rare Yellow Gold GMT-Master, Bakelite Bezel, Ref. 6542, circa 1959 (current bid: $33,000)
· A Very Fine Steel Pre-Daytona Anti-Magnetic Oyster Chronograph, Ref. 6234, circa 1959 (current bid: $20,000)
One of the more eye-grabbing lots in the auction is an H. Moser & Cie., Rare Endeavor Tourbillon Concept, Fumé Red Dial, 18k White Gold, Ref. 1804-0209, Limited Edition Of 20 Pieces (opening bid: $50,000). This watch features a stunning fumé red dial with distinctive sunray motion and shading, visible flying tourbillon in an open aperture and blued leaf form hands. This beauty, in an 18K white gold case with a transparent case back, is signed H. Moser & Cie on the case, movement and clasp.