We’re not all lucky enough to have been able to buy the top Omega replica watches we wanted 20 years (or longer) ago. Everything has become much more expensive, not only watches, of course. But what if you want to own a vintage Omega Speedmaster today?
There’s good news and bad news. Let’s start with the bad news. Any Speedmaster with caliber 321 is, in collector’s condition, priced above €10,000. Even the last generation (reference 145.012-67) now commands a five-digit price. It’s a pity because a vintage caliber-321-powered luxury UK fake Omega Speedmaster (Professional) watches from the 1960s was, at least to purists, the watch that went to the Moon. For a long time, considering its historical significance, it was also an incredibly affordable chronograph.
Vintage Omega Speedmasters from the 1970s and 1980s
In the last decade or so, the demand for Speedmasters has drastically risen. Consequently, it has affected enthusiasts’ chances of buying a vintage Speedmaster with that famous column-wheel movement or even getting their hands on other special or limited editions. It’s also clear that the standard modern Omega Speedmaster Professional has seen greater demand and has rapidly increased in price in the past three years.
So, what do you do if you’d like a vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional that won’t break the bank? With the market for collectible cheap Swiss replica Omega watches softening slightly, prices for a nice caliber-861-powered Speedmaster Professional from the 1970s seem to have stabilized (for now). This might be the time to start your search for a Speedmaster Professional 145.022 in good condition. There are still plenty of these around with untouched and undamaged cases and bezels, for example.
For less than the retail price of the current Moonwatch
For less than (or, at least, the same as) the retail price of a modern Speedmaster Professional with caliber 3861, you should be able to find a Speedmaster Professional reference 145.022 in collector’s condition. I receive numerous emails from people looking for a birth-year Speedmaster, and many of those years land somewhere in the 1970s.
In that decade, the 1:1 online Omega Speedmaster Professional copy watches was simply one main reference — 145.022 — but it came in several iterations. The early 1970s models continued to have the famous step dial that we also saw in previous references. These early ’70s models included reference 145.022-69 (1971–1974) with the straight-writing engraving on the case back, as well as the 145.022-71 that was produced at the same time, already with the modern “Flight-Qualified by NASA for all manned space missions” engraving on the case back.
To clarify, the 145.022-69 had already come out in 1969 with case backs that only featured the hippocampus engraving. Some of these iterations were simultaneously in Omega’s catalog, which is unthinkable today, I would say.
Vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022 models
Some people think that the designator in the reference number (145.022-xx) has something to do with the production year, but that’s not entirely correct. Not every year has a unique designator, so searching for a 145.022-75 or 145.022-77 as a birth-year Speedmaster is pointless. Rather, Omega used these designators when Omega Speedmaster replica watches for sale received some sort of update. With the introduction of the Speedmaster Professional 145.022-74 (in 1975, mind you) Omega dropped the step dial for the iconic Moonwatch, only to see a return in 2018 with the Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday Ultraman and in the current Moonwatch references since 2021.
An example of a minor change resulting in a new iteration is the Speedmaster Pro with reference 145.022-76, which simply has a slight change in typography on the dial. The “S” in “Speedmaster” became longer than it was with the predecessors. This was subsequently replaced in 1979 by the reference 145.022-78 when Omega changed case manufacturers (Huguenin Frères ceased to exist). For those searching for a birth-year watch from the 1980s, that iteration was dropped in 1981/1982, and it was just reference 145.0022 until it became reference 3590.50 in 1988 when Omega changed its coding system for reference numbers. This often leads to confusion since “145.022” can still be found engraved on the inside of the case back. That’s because 145.022 became the reference number for the steel case itself, like a part number.
Exceptions with exceptional prices
Not all wholesale fake Omega Speedmaster Professional watches with reference 145.022 are priced the same. It depends on the production year, but mainly, it’s about the execution and the condition. A 145.022 with a straight-text engraving on the case back (-69 iteration) will fetch more than a later 145.022-71. But a 145.022-71 with no text at all on the case back — the so-called “Non-NASA” models, which are very rare — will fetch more than the 145.022-69 with straight text. The step-dial models are also somewhat more popular than the later (post-1975) models unless the condition of the latter is impeccable. When you add boxes and papers, it becomes a different game.
A Speedmaster 145.022-76 from 1978
A nice example of the least interesting best replica Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022 watches is this one from 1978 (reference 145.022-76). “Least interesting” refers to its characteristics — this one has no Dot-Over-Ninety bezel, no step dial, no applied logo, etc. However, it’s simply in wonderful condition with the original 1171/633 bracelet (the first iteration with screwed links, not the 1171/1 replacement bracelet that came later) and with a nice creamy-looking patina on the hour markers.
This watch was initially delivered to Colombia in 1978, and based on the extract information, it was in the same batch as my very own 145.022-76. This watch is currently for sale at Davidoff Brothers in Geneva for CHF 6,500.
Speedmaster 145.0022 from 1988
If you were born 10 years later, in 1988, and are looking for a birth-year watch, our friends from Bulang & Sons have a beautiful AAA China super clone Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.0022 watches for sale. This one has the 145.022 case number engraved on the inside of the case back (see below).
This particular watch comes on the bracelet reference 1447, similar to the 1450 used on several models (including the Speedmaster Moonphase) during that time. The tritium material on the hour markers has taken on a beautiful yellowish tone. The price of this example is €5,950, and you can find it here.
Speedmaster 145.022-71 from the early 1970s
For many collectors, a more pleasing reference would be one with a step dial. Here’s a 145.022-71, the last vintage iteration to have a step dial. It’s offered by Brussels Vintage Watches and comes with the original reference 1171 bracelet, just like the 1978 model above.
The tritium hour markers and hands are discolored, and the watch is in worn but good condition. Also, with an asking price of €6,250, this model is available for less than a brand-new Moonwatch. The same seller also has several 1990s Swiss movements replica Omega Speedmaster Professional reference 3590.50 watches on offer for around €5,000.
The well might be drying up sooner than later
When I started buying and collecting Omega Speedmaster fake watches site in the late 1990s, the supply of 1960s Speedmasters — 145.012, for example — with caliber 321 was nothing to worry about. You could find honest pieces, meaning that they hadn’t been tampered with, without putting too much effort into the hunt. But that well has dried up in the past decade, for sure. The same will happen to good pieces from the 1970s and 1980s, for which the production number was probably relatively low compared to the decade before. I am sure that the supply of good, honest pieces will continue to dwindle.
Now that the prices of the 1970s and 1980s models in good or collectible condition are below the current retail price, they are very nice and realistic alternatives to a new one (or perhaps even preferable if you love vintage watches). Finding one that comes with its box and papers might be tough, though. In those years, not all customers were interested in bringing those boxes home as they didn’t see much value in them. Best quality Omega Speedmaster Professional replica watches from the 1990s, such as references 3590.50 and 3592.50, are easier to find as a full set. Also, those come with the nice 1479 bracelet, which Omega used as inspiration for the current Speedmaster bracelet. The tritium dials of the 1990s models (until 1997) also tend to turn yellowish over time, which does look nice.