Omega Speedmaster Professional Cal.861 1971
100% Genuine & All Original
Fully Inspected, Serviced and Guaranteed
A Very Well Cared For and Completely Original Example
Omega Speedmaster also Referred to as The Moon Watch from 1971
Very High Grade Calibre 861, 17 Jewel Movement, in Sparkling Condition
Oversized Stainless Steel, 42mm Case with Correct Omega Signed Crown
Original, Unrestored and Untouched Black Dial with Wonderful ‘Index’ Hands
Original Omega Stainless Steel Bracelet with Omega Signed Clasp
A Truly Important Watch in Absolutely Wonderful Condition
High Quality Hardwood Presentation Box Included
VGWL 12 Months’ Written Warranty Included*
VGWL Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee
Free Worldwide FedEx Delivery
Free UK Special Delivery
Since the company was founded in 1848, Omega has pioneered a huge range of innovations. Britain’s Royal Flying Corps chose Omega watches in 1917 as official timekeepers for its pilots and again in 1940, RAF Pilots watches were supplied by Omega. The 1940s also saw the first tourbillon wristwatch and the first of the famous Seamaster watches, whilst the 1950s and ’60s introduced the legendary Constellation, Speedmaster, Seamaster 300 and Railmaster. Over these years, everyone from John F. Kennedy to Elvis wore Omega watches on official duties. What’s more, in 1962, astronaut Wally Schirra took his Omega Speedmaster into space on NASA’s Mercury Sigma 7 mission and in 1969 two Speedmasters landed on the moon, worn by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Omega was a pioneer of the wristwatch chronograph, releasing its first model, the 18′ CHRO, in 1913 making this one of the very first wrist-worn chronographs ever produced. These were sold as military watches with some of the first going to Britain’s Royal Flying Corps and used by some of the most famous wartime pilots and military personnel. Omega recently re-issued a heritage edition of this chronograph which has generated considerable interest in all of its original early chronograph models.
In 1930, Omega and Tissot merged, with the aim of marketing high-quality Swiss watches. Omega would maintain its position in the medium-high luxury segment and Tissot would target the medium market. Subsequently, in 1932 the company bought Lemania, a Swiss company specialising in the manufacture of high-quality chronograph movements, founded in 1884.
The Calibre 33.3 movement followed, designated 13CH by its manufacturer Lemania. It is a column-wheel movement, which was very advanced for the period and highly accurate and reliable. Later evolutions of this movement included the 33.3 CHRO T1, T2 – T6, becoming the Omega 170 in 1949, and the Omega 171. Such was the complexity and expense of this movement that only 13,700 were produced between 1933 to 1952.
A development of the Cal. 33.3, the Cal.15TL two-pusher chronograph movement is notable as the most long-lived Lemania movement and its first movement with a flyback function. This was adopted by military forces around the world from Czechoslovakia, Rhodesia, the British Royal Air Force, the French Air Force (Auricoste Type 20), the Swedish Air Force, the South African Air Force, the South African Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force etc.
In 1942 the Calibre 15TL movement was further improved to offer anti-shock and anti-magnetic properties. A new version for water-resistant chronographs spun off in 1949 before the end of production of the movement in 1952. In parallel, in 1949 and after a number of modifications to these predecessor movements, the Lemania Cal.27 was born. This calibre is known under a far more famous name: The Omega Cal.321. This was, of course, the movement used in the 1960s Speedmaster, chosen by early Gemini and Apollo astronauts and later adopted by NASA for use on the Apollo moon missions.
In 1957, Omega were on a mission to create a robust chronograph that would be waterproof, easy to read, easy to use, and exceedingly precise. As a result, the OMEGA Speedmaster was launched and became particularly notable for being the first watch in the world to feature a tachymeter scale on its bezel.
Icon is a somewhat overused term these days but the Omega Speedmaster is certainly one of the most famous, if not the most famous chronographs ever produced. Everyone knows through Omega’s marketing, this is the watch which went to the moon, however the Speedmaster was not originally designed for space exploration. Instead, it was introduced in 1957 as a sport and racing chronograph following on from the early chronographs of the 1920s and 1930s.
Astronaut Walter Schirra was the first person to wear one in space in 1962 during his Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. The manual winding Speedmaster Professional or “Moonwatch” is the best-known and longest-produced; it was worn during the first American spacewalk as part of NASA’s Gemini 4 mission and was the first watch worn by an astronaut walking on the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission which 600 million people watched from Earth. The Speedmaster Professional remains one of several watches qualified by NASA for spaceflight and is still the only one so qualified for EVA spacewalks. NASA’s tests included; Temperature cycling in near-vacuum: Fifteen cycles of heating to 160 °F (71 °C) for 45 minutes, followed by cooling to 0 °F (−18 °C) for 45 minutes at 10−6 atm. Also six 11 ms 40 g shocks from different directions.
The example here is from 1971 the year or the last Apollo mission (17) and so carries the ‘Flight Qualified By NASA for All Manned Space Missions’ script on the case back.
The main model Omega Speedmaster dial has remained pretty much unchanged since the first watch went into space 60 years ago. Such is the dial you see here, born for functionality, legibility, and nothing else. It is completely original unrestored and untouched and is in tip-top condition. The original lume is now turning into a nicely faded pale pink brown, and the original hands are also totally original and perfect.
During the operation of the chronograph, the right-hand register measures elapsed minutes up to 30 minutes while the bottom register measures elapsed hours, up to 12. The left-hand register counts constant running seconds, independent of the chronograph function.
The outer seconds register is divided into fifths of a second, providing a more technical look. The dial carries the Omega brand and signature and is also signed ‘Speedmaster’ and ‘Professional’ with ‘T Swiss Made T’ at the very bottom.
This is the original dial which remains unrestored and untouched. Considering its age and also that it remains unrestored, it is in amazing condition, free from any of the fading, pitting or scratches we usually see on older dials.
Generally, we restore the dials of a watches we offer here, but this is the kind of watch many Omega collectors like to acquire in original condition, so we felt it was best to leave it completely alone to retain the originality of this dial.
The Cal.861 was introduced in 1968 as Omega began its transition from the Cal.321 movement. Although the Cal.321 is popularly referred to as the moonwatch movement the Cal.861 was also flight certified by NASA and was used on second-generation of moon watches. It remained flight-qualified for NASA space missions and EVAs, after re-evaluation by NASA in 1972 and for use in the Space Shuttle program in 1978
The Omega caliber 861 is based on a Lemania movement, just like the 321. What is unique about the movement is that it uses a cam / shuttle system for operating the chronograph, instead of the more common column-wheel structure. The movement used 17 jewels until 1992, and from the year of 1993, it used 18 jewels.
Here the original Omega copper-toned Cal.861 movement looks pristine. It is in tip-top condition having been overhauled and serviced by our vintage chronograph specialist watchmaker. This means it has been completely disassembled to all its component parts, carefully inspected under high magnification, replacement where necessary with only genuine Omega parts before careful reassembly and adjustment and calibration. The watch winds, sets and runs perfectly accurately and reliably and at the time of testing, immediately following its service, the test results were within +2 seconds per day. This is truly outstanding for any watch of this age and has been confirmed on our electronic watch timegrapher. The movement also has an exceptional power reserve of 48 hours.
The round waterproof pushers operate positively. In keeping with modern convention, the top chronograph button is used to start and stop the operation of the chronograph while the bottom button is used to reset it to zero. As with all chronographs, it is not recommended to leave the chronograph function running unnecessarily when this is not in use. This is because it causes unnecessary wear of the chronograph movement, which runs separately to the normal time-keeping section of the movement. This is of particular importance with vintage chronograph movements.
The movement is correctly signed ‘Omega Watch Co.’ ‘Seventeen 17 Jewels’, and carries the Calibre 861, along with the serial number 31,613,922 which dates its manufacture to 1971.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The heavy Omega Swiss made-case is of exceedingly high quality with a muscular profile and lugs. All the lines and edges are well defined, indicating the watch has been very well cared for and never overpolished.
After close inspection, some light cleaning was all that was required to remove some light tarnishing and bring it back to the wonderful condition you see here.
The watch is complete with its original Omega signed crown. The case measures 42mm in diameter, excluding the crown and pushers. This is an Omega snap-back case and of a very robust design which makes this watch ready for any task including sports use, should you so wish.
Inside the case-back is signed ‘Omega Watch Co.’, ‘Fab Suisse’ and ‘Swiss Made’, along with the Omega reference number 145022 74 ST.
As ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap & Buckle
The watch is fitted with its original Omega bracelet which is full length with all its original links.
The Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1971.
Detailed particulars will be included with the receipt, along with our 12 months’ warranty*. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will also be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than totally authentic, or not as described, Vintage Gold Watches of London will offer you a full refund at any time”.
An exceptionally fine example of the iconic Omega Speedmaster from 1971. Omega watches are highly collectable and respected, therefore its most famous vintage models like the Speedmaster, are sure to climb in value.
A word about our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very best quality watches we can find before restoring these to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach inevitably means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are a number of well known stores in West London which are very successful, charging between two to three times the price you see here. We therefore consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
We are happy to accept PayPal as this is the quickest method of payment. However, if you choose to pay by UK bank transfer, we will be pleased to pass on a 3% transaction saving to you. Please contact us to reserve the watch and request our bank details. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or International Bank Wire Transfer, we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges and if you have a watch or small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will be happy to Service, Repair, or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions, please call our landline 020 7727 7095. If calling from overseas, please call +44 207 727 70.
We will be happy to answer any questions and offer advice about this or any of our watches listed for sale. If you would like some general advice regarding any aspect of vintage watches including buying, selling, or collecting, we will also be very happy to hear from you. We await your call!
Finally, please enjoy some time spent viewing our other fine vintage gold watches.