Auction season has begun, and over the coming months we will bring you exciting news about the vintage timepieces that will headline these high-profile events. The one we really like right now is the upcoming Bonhams Seventh Annual Space History Auction — taking place in New York next Tuesday, April 21. You can even bid online if you are anxious for some great items that orbited the Earth and landed on the Moon.
Lot 141 of the Bonhams Space History Auction consists of astronaut Alan Bean's Omega watch. Photo courtesy of Bonhams.
The Bonhams auction includes a number of items from the personal collection of astronaut Alan Bean (currently 83 years old) and his Apollo 12 Space Mission (the second mission wherein men walked on the moon). Bean was the fourth man to walk on the moon and, in fact, spent more than seven hours exploring the Ocean of Storms on the surface.
Alan Bean's Omega watch reverse. Photo courtesy of Bonhams.
While Bean's portable life-support system waist strap (worn on that exploration), and his lunar module water dispenser from the mission are both up for sale (and expected to capture more than $50,000 each), Bean's 18-karat rose gold Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph is heading to the auction block (Lot 141). The watch (Ref. BA 145.022) houses the caliber 861 with 17 jewels. It features an 18-karat gold bracelet and is number 26 of 30 pieces that Omega gave to the astronauts and to President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew. The watch was created in 1969 to commemorate Apollo XI's moon landing, and only 104 pieces were ever made.
The caseback of the watch is engraved with the words "Astronaut Alan Bean — to mark man's conquest of space with time, through time, on time. Skylab Mission II Apollo 12." The watch is being sold with a handwritten letter of provenance from Bean himself, wherein he certifies that the watch was given to him by Omega in a ceremony in Houston shortly after the completion of the Apollo program. "I have worn the watch over the years, particularly on special occasions," he wrote.
The watch is expected to sell in the range of $40,000 to $60,000.