An Apollo 12 Astronaut’s Ultra-Rare Gold Omega Speedmaster Is Up for Grabs

One not-so-small auction, one giant opportunity for horophiles.

RR Auction’s Space Exploration and Aviation sale, which is running online until April 25, surprisingly includes astronaut Richard Gordon’s ultra-rare gold Omega Speedmaster among nearly 400 pieces of less glamorous but undeniably important machinery, paperwork, and memorabilia.

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NASA declared the Speedmaster Professional “flight-qualified for all manned space missions” in 1965, after which the chronograph became an essential part of each astronaut’s space kit. In July of 1969, the Speedmaster famously became the first watch worn on the Moon as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set foot on the lunar surface. To celebrate the historical landing and the entire space program, NASA held an Astronaut Appreciation Dinner in Houston in November of 1969. The space agency gifted all astronauts in attendance commemorative gold Speedmasters.

Richard Gordon Gold Omega Speedmaster
The case, dial, bezel, and bracelet are made from 18-karat yellow gold.

Gordon’s watch is number 20 of the 28 pieces originally made. The caseback is engraved with the late astronaut’s name and missions: “Richard R. Gordon, Gemini 11—Apollo 12.” Gordon famously served as a command module pilot on the Apollo 12 mission, which orbited the Moon 45 times. He died at age 88 in 2017. The caseback is also inscribed with the quote: “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.” The watch is accompanied by a typed letter of provenance signed by Gordon, in which he acknowledges the error in the engraving. (His middle initial should be an “F” not an “R.”)

Richard Gordon Gold Omega Speedmaster
The caseback is engraved with Gordon’s details and a quote.

The “Tribute to Astronauts” watch was actually the first gold Speedmaster the Swiss watchmaker created. The commemorative timepiece retains the design and dimensions of the standard-issue Speedmaster but is made from 18-karat gold instead of steel. The solid gold dial is equipped with onyx hour markers and black hands, while the gold bezel features a red aluminum inlay with the signature “dot over ninety.” The bracelet and clasp are also gold. Inside lies the caliber 861 with a steel brake and 17 jewels.

The first 28 commemorative pieces Omega produced were reserved for President Richard Nixon, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, and the 26 astronauts on the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs. With very few in existence, the Speedmasters are extremely rare and difficult to acquire. The chronographs are expensive, too. Will Schirra’s example achieved nearly $2 million at auction in 2022, while Scott Carpenter’s piece was listed for $1.5 million in 2023. Gordon’s Speedmaster is currently sitting at $51,793, with nine days left on the sale. If it hammers down in that range, it’ll be quite the bargain.

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