Let me tell you about the coolest watch I’ve tried on this year. It was one of those commemorative gold “Apollo XI” perfect fake Omega Speedmasters, the ones Omega gifted to astronauts to celebrate the successful lunar landing of Apollo XI. This particular example had been given to Michael Collins, the astronaut who stayed back and flew the command module while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took that “one small step” onto the Moon.
Collins’ luxury fake Omega Speedmaster ended up selling for $765,000 in June, which, I believe, makes it the second most expensive Speedmaster ever, after that chocolatey Speedy that Phillips sold for $3.4 million about a year ago. But as luck and interplanetary travel would have it, another gold Apollo XI UK top super clone Omega Speedmaster (ref. BA 145.022) is up for auction right now, this one gifted to astronaut Wally Schirra. If I had to bet, I’d guess Schirra’s Speedmaster is about to hit a similarly astronomical number.
You might know the story, but in case not: 1:1 replica Omega UK gifted these gold Speedies at a fancy gala shortly after the successful Apollo XI mission. The first couple went to then-President and Vice President Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew (who couldn’t accept them), while the next 28 numbered watches went to mission astronauts. In total, 1,014 of these aaa quality fake Omega Speedmasters were made, with most of the rest offered for commercial sale; it makes these first examples gifted to astronauts the most special.
By the time he was gifted the watch, Schirra was already an established badass, the first (and only) astronaut to go to space three times (being the only astronaut to fly in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs). Schirra was gifted commemorative Swiss made fake Omega Speedmaster No. 8 in recognition of his first spaceflight on the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. On the caseback, it’s personally engraved “Astronaut Walter M. Schirra, Mercury 8—Gemini 6—Apollo 7,” along with the kind of corny phrase you’ll find on all of these commemorative Speedies: “To mark man’s conquest of space with time, through time, on time.”
Early this week – October 3 – actually marked the 60th anniversary of Schirra’s Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. If you’re into Speedmasters, you already know what that flight is famous for: Schirra had an Omega Speedmaster ref. CK2998 replica for sale on his wrist, making it the “First Omega in Space.”
At the time, the high qualiyt fake Omega Speedmaster wasn’t yet qualified for spaceflight by NASA – it was just Schirra’s personal watch, as he’d also explain in an interview with collector Chuck Maddox years later. With that Omega connection already in place, the commemorative gold Omega Speedmaster copy online was a nice bookend for Schirra’s career as an astronaut: He’d made his third and final visit to space a year earlier aboard Apollo 7, and he’d go on to serve as a TV anchor for subsequent Apollo missions.