Apollo 11 astronaut’s Omega Speedmaster ready for liftoff at Heritage, June 1
DALLAS – 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 appear in Heritage Auctions’ Fine Watches & Timepieces Signature® Auction on Wednesday, June 1. It is estimated at $15,000-$1 million. Absentee and Internet live bidding will be available through LiveAuctioneers.
The Omega gold Speedmaster professional wristwatch, No. 19 dates to 1969 and was presented to astronaut Michael Collins, who flew the Apollo 11 command module around the moon in July 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 timepiece 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.”
As Wolf noted, 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 (Alan Shepard), #17 (Armstrong), #21 (Aldrin), #27 (Donald “Deke” Slayton), #28 (Roger Chaffee) and the present watch, #19 (Collins). The back of the case is engraved with the words, “Astronaut Michael Collins, Gemini 10 – Apollo 11, No. 19, to mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”
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