Omega's Famous Moonwatch Helped The Russians Out, Too
We all know the story (it's a good one). In 1969, when political platitudes about aiming for the stars actually came true, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on the moon. And it was the latter astronaut that took Omega's Speedmaster with him, earning the Swiss marque a solid podium finish in the grand space race.
But just as the crew of five succeeding lunar missions wore Speedys, so too did the Russian team when the space race ended. For upon the shaking of hands between General Thomas Patten Stafford and Alexei Arkhipovich Leonov in 1957, the frosty relationship warmed up, marking a new era of cooperation between the U.S. and Russia as they looked to conquer the big terrifying black vacuum above.
Some years later, the Shuttle-Mir program saw a Russian spacecraft dock with its new American best friends—the first time this had happened since the 1975 Apollo-Soyuz Test Project. Crewmember Nikolai Budarin wore his own Speedmaster for the event, and took the piece on three spacewalks during the tenure of his 444-day shift.
The best part? It's up for sale. At RR Auction, Budarin's Speedmaster is estimated to enjoy offers north of $50,000 as bidders battle it out to own a piece of pivotal space race history when two global superpowers began to work in tandem. There's plenty more value to be had too. Still mounted upon the original leather strap, and maintained in a relatively good condition, the Omega 'Moonwatch' underwent rigorous testing by the manufacture to withstand unforgiving conditions in space, and you can even find a dedicated engraving to the caseback noting this particular model's significance—and of a story rarely retold in the starry canon of the skies.
Sale begins online on April 9, at rrauction.com.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.