The first Speedmaster was introduced in 1957, setting the tone for all of the Speedmasters to follow. It featured a three register chronograph, high-contrast lumed hour markers, and a tachymeter bezel, all of which can still be found on Speedmasters produced today. This watch also featured the famed calibre 321, produced as a joint venture between Omega and Lemania. In 1963, we saw the first iteration of the Speedmaster case that we know and love today with its famous twisted lugs and added padding for the pushers and crown.
All of this history dwarfs in comparison to the event that made and continues to make the Speedmaster famous. The Speedmaster was the watch of choice for NASA; it was the watch that went to the moon. The story goes that NASA purchased several chronograph watches and put them all to a number of high-stress tests to determine which watch could hold up to the harsh conditions of space. The Omega Speedmaster was the only watch that passed the test. The watch would go on to fly on Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions and was worn both during spacewalks and on the lunar surface.
Japan has a particular love affair with the Speedmaster and the Omega brand in general. So much so that Japan often is the second-largest market for Omega globally. As a result, Omega has produced a fair number of Japan-only limited editions. Interestingly many of these limited-run watches, including the watch seen here, were done in collaboration with much-loved Japanese department stores such as Marui, Seibu, and Mitsukoshi, which can date its roots all the way back to the 17th century. This particular reference, 3511.60, was produced by Omega in 1997 as a non-numbered limited edition sold exclusively through Seibu to mark the 40th anniversary of the Speedmaster and is one of two references, the other being 3513.60, created for the occasion featuring Salmon dials. In fact, these models are the only Salmon dialed Speedmasters ever produced and their limited numbers make them a truly rare find. In addition to the salmon color dial, this model boasts two-tone sunken sub-dials. Of these, a 30 minute counter features at the 12 o clock, a 12 hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a 60 second counter at 9 o’clock. The spectacular dial design is completed with a date window at 3 o’clock. The case back features the iconic Hippocampus center, featuring Omega’s handsome seahorse design. The top is engraved ‘40th anniversary’ while the bottom is engraved ‘Grand Prix’.
The Case and Bracelet
The condition of the 39mm stainless steel case is very sharp. The lines of the trademark twisted lugs are crisp and pronounced and the crown, pushers, and caseback are all correct for the reference. This watch features a unique signed octagonal crown. There are no major scratches or dents to report. The watch comes on the correct 11469 bracelet with 813 endlinks. All of the original links are included with the sale. Additionally, the case back features the iconic Hippocampus center, featuring Omega’s handsome seahorse design and the top is engraved “40th ANNIVERSARY”, while the bottom is engraved “GRAND PRIX” from the factory.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are in excellent condition with no major faults to note. This limited-edition example of Omega Speedmaster features a rare salmon color dial, with two-tone sunken sub-dials. Of these, a 30 minute counter features at 12 o’clock, a 12 hour counter at 6 o’clock, and a 60 second counter at 9 o’clock. Finally, the spectacular dial design is completed with a date window at the 3 o’clock position.
This watch features the automatic Omega caliber 1152 chronograph movement that is based on the ETA Valjoux 7750. The watch is running well and the service history is unknown.
|Movement||Automatic, Omega caliber 1152|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|