Talk to me about the Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska project…

The Omega Speedmaster is one of the most popular models sold at Fellows and has been the subject of a previous blog. Throughout the long life of the Speedmaster there have been numerous references with a myriad of aesthetic differences and some mechanical ones too. Amongst them are a number of Limited-Edition pieces and for the first time including an Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project in our March 16th Luxury Watch Sale.

About the Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska project…

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project is perhaps one of the most interesting of all the Speedies. Released in 2008, the Alaska Project we have here is a re-issue of two quite obscure versions dating back to the 1970s, one of which is limited to only five prototype examples. Produced for NASA, these five titanium Speedies were to be extra chunky space watches, lined up for a potentially chilly trip to the ‘Dark side of the moon’, a mission that never materialised.

e Speedmaster Professional Alaska Project

Re-issued Omega Speedmaster Professional Alaskas…

Alaska Project Speedmaster large aluminium ring shaped outer case

These re-issued Omega Alaska Project Speedmasters would see a number of interesting features in a bid to make them a robust choice for the most challenging environments. The most significant is a large aluminum ring-shaped outer case, designed to protect against extreme temperature changes between -100C and +100C. Unfortunately, Lot 54 has at some point in its life been separated from the “red donut” and is offered in its current form – presumably a suitably exciting story lies behind this uncoupling! It does however retain its unique white Velcro strap offering a very different experience on the wrist.

In fact, the Alaska Speedmaster is different in appearance across a few areas; The dial is white, which is apparently more legible in both light and dark environments. A striking red centre seconds chronograph hand is used, giving a welcome splash of colour amongst the monochrome colour palette. Finally, two very unusually shaped hands to the subdials at three and six are utilised, again to aid the readability of the watch in the most challenging of conditions. Limited to just 1970 pieces, number 1010 is available with an estimate of £3000-4000 which seems to be a very fair entry point into the limited edition Speedmaster market.

About the Omega Railmaster…

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Alongside this very unusual Moonwatch is Lot 59, another interesting Omega; Railmaster reference 2803.52.37. An often-overlooked variant of the Omega lineup and as such may offer better value for money than some competitors. Housed in a 39mm stainless steel case with both brushed and polished finishes, this chronometer grade timekeeper uses Omega’s excellent calibre 2403 featuring co-axial escapement. With its highly legible black face and luminous markers, the Railmaster could be seen as an alternative to the Rolex explorer which too has a “3, 6, 9” dial. The stylish alligator strap on the Omega being dressier than the stainless-steel Oyster bracelet.

Originally produced in 1957, it was designed to be used by anyone working near electrical fields. This included engineers, scientists and… you guessed it…railway workers. Featuring a special antimagnetic iron case back, it provides competition to the Rolex Milgauss and the IWC Ingenieur. After just six years of its introduction, it was axed due to poor sales figures. Re-released in 2003 and with its AquaTerra style case the Railmaster would take another crack at the sports watch market. Water resistant to 150m thanks to its screw-down crown, this version no longer uses the protective inner case back. An omission which would allow the nicely finished movement to be seen ticking away inside.

It would prove to be an unloved member of the Omega catalogue with a break from production in 2012. However, in the watch world, the most unpopular models at launch often become the shrewdest buys in the long run. After all, the scarcity factor is assured and that can be a significant factor in the collector watch market.

Auction Details

Luxury Watch Sale | Thursday 16th March 2023

London Viewings

Tuesday 7th March 12:00-19:00

Wednesday 8th March 10:00-16:00

Birmingham

Wednesday 15th March 10:00-16:00

Thursday 16th March 8:30-10:00

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Kes Crockett | BA (Hons)

Kes

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