Sussex Saleroom: 7th December 2020
An Omega Speedmaster 'Apollo-Soyuz' ref 145.022 stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, circa 1976, caliber 861 seventeen jewel movement numbered 39181340, the screw down caseback with Apollo-Soyuz emblem with a stainless steel Omega bracelet, the ends numbered 633 and folding clasp numbered 1168, case diameter 40mm, the pushers measure 5.5mm diameter, with an associated red Omega box.
Amidst the Cold War era, on the 15th of July 1975, the American and Soviet space teams joined forces and embarked on the historical Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP).
On July 17th, the ambitious mission resulted in a successful docking of the American Apollo and Soviet Soyuz spacecrafts.
This international achievement was then commemorated the following year by Omega who issued a limited series of 500 special Speedmaster timepieces targeted at the Italian market.
The dial of the present piece bears the mission emblem painted on the dial without the Speedmaster Professional inscriptions and long hour markers crossing the outer minute track.
The exclusive Apollo-Soyuz watches were distributed by Fratelli De Marchi in Turin, the sole Italian distributor at the time. The offered timepiece bears the number 161 on its caseback, flanked by the circled "I" (standing for the Italian market) and Omega logo. Furthermore, the special engraving of the Saturn IB American launching vehicle can be seen over a world map background. This treasured Speedmaster accommodates a set of larger 5.5 mm pushers and a modified caseband which differentiate it from the regular ref. 145.022 models. As for all the examples of this limited series, the present Speedmaster utilises a cal. 861 numbered between 39.180.XX and 39.181.XXX.
Instantly recognisable among collectors, the Apollo-Soyuz Speedmaster is the second limited edition ever released by Omega.