Anyone with even a passing interest in watches can’t fail to notice the super-cool Omega Speedmaster Ryan Gosling has strapped to his wrist on that famous trip to the Moon in First Man. It’s no mere prop — the real life Neil Armstrong wore an identical NASA-issued Speedmaster on the legendary journey, as did his co-pilot Buzz Aldrin, who was still wearing his when he stepped out of the capsule, thereby making horological history.
The watches in the movie look so authentic because they are. Omega supplied the producers with period-correct pieces from its own collection.
Featured in the film are two different Speedmaster Professional models — later known as the “Moonwatch” — as well as an earlier vintage Omega wristwatch worn by Gosling (as Armstrong) before he went lunar and a 1960s Omega stopwatch used in critical timing exercises. Especially fitting because Gosling is a watch collector in real life.,
The filmmakers could have fudged this detail, but the fact that they didn’t shows why the Speedmaster is second only to the Rolex Submariner when it comes to the world’s most iconic sports watches.
“The Speedmaster’s space connection is legendary, and what makes it even cooler is Omega never paid a dime in sponsorship – NASA chose them because the Speedy passed all their tests with flying colors,” Paul Altieri, founder of online luxury watch retailer Bob’s Watches and a major Rolex and Omega collector, tells MAXIM.
“There are a handful of ‘flown’ Speedmasters out there – i.e. watches that have been to space – which command extremely high prices at auction,” Altieri notes. “Those were privately owned by astronauts however, because all of the officially issued Omegas remain government property. And they’re literally worth millions.” And even Speedys that have never left the ground might get a boost from First Man.
“The appeal of the Speedmaster never dies,” adds Blake Buettner, Director of Watches at StockX, the live “bid/ask” marketplace backed by Eminem and Mark Wahlberg.
“The market for vintage examples is as healthy as ever, and I suspect First Man will only bring more interest when it introduces the story to a new generation. I'd look for a modest bump in prices for references delivered to NASA for use on manned space flights — but not for Speedmasters en masse.”
New Speedys could also see increased demand however. “For better or worse, you can walk into an Omega boutique right now and buy a new Speedmaster that looks largely the same as the ones that went into space,” Buettner notes. Not a bad idea at all….