8,5 / 10
Grey Racing dial
The present watch is a 145.022-69 pre-Moon version, fitted with an ultra-rare Racing dial.
There are 2 generations of Racing Speedmasters: the models of 1st generation, with black dials, are fitted with the 321 caliber, and the 2nd generation watches, with grey dials, are equipped with the 861 and are 145.022-69s. All of them are characterized by a dial with a special minutes scale, bi-color indexes on two levels and a specific hands color configuration for the chronograph functions. These features enhance the legibility of the chronograph, which is helpful in racing competition situations, hence its nickname Racing.
The second generation is characterized by a dark grey dial and orange indices, with an Ω logo painted in orange. The color combination of the hands is opposite to that of the first generation: white hands for hours, minutes and seconds, and orange hands for the chronograph indications. The orange chronograph second hand is different from the one fitted on standard Speedmasters: it has a triangular shape, like the “Ultraman” one. Interestingly, the orange hour indices are coated with a luminous pigment.
We have identified more than 15 examples of Orange Racing Speedies. A first series have been observed, within a serial range of 150 units (29’609’xxx), all delivered in Switzerland. We have seen two other small batches, one with serial in 30.58x.xxx and the other in 31.61x.xxx, delivered in various countries.
#30.584.xxx is an amazing example of this second series, and has been delivered in July 1970 in the USA. Its extract of archives confirms also its specific dial and hands configuration.
Its serial number and production date would indicate that its bezel should be a DON bezel, rather than a DNN. Indeed, DON bezels have been regularly observed up to serial 30.596.xxx with a production in September 1970. However, we also observed DNN (including the special 220 version) from 30.585.xxx in August 1970. This shows that we are in a grey zone and that such configuration is acceptable for this special execution, which probably did not follow the standard production line. We have nevertheless taken this uncertainty into account in our rating calculation.
The small orange hand in the counter at 6 o’clock is a bit darker than the others and thus might have been either replaced or repainted.
Please note that the dial is in incredible condition, probably one of the nicest grey racing dial we have ever seen. Interestingly, its main markers show no signs of luminescent paint and close observation shows that these markers are so clean that they were most probably never coated with tritium paint at the end of its manufacturing process. We have no explanation for this singularity.
About the model
The Omega Speedmaster, born in 1957, is one of the most iconic wristwatches ever produced. Since 1965, it has been the choice of space programs for over half a century and has been associated with some of mankind’s greatest space adventures, earning it the name The Moonwatch.
Naturally, beyond its professional use for more than sixty years, the Speedmaster, with its incredible history and its timeless design, has appealed to a much wider public throughout the world.
The reference ST 145.022 is the first Speedmaster fitted with the caliber 861. During the first years of production of the ST 145.022, the year of manufacture was engraved inside the caseback: 68, 69, 71, 74, 76 and 78. The sub-reference ST 145.022-69 was produced and delivered during several years, up until 1974. A lot of variations were introduced.