Back to the Roots: An Omega Journey with Bernhard
A few months ago I was sitting in our office, pondering the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, its connection to Omega and the iconic Speedmaster. This brought me to reflect on myself as a collector of watches. Being a collector was and still is the very foundation of Bulang and Sons, from watches to furniture to all the other bits and pieces that I have gathered around me in my lifetime. And a tropical 145.022 Speedmaster was my very first vintage watch.
So while looking for inspiration on how to celebrate the moon landing anniversary the right way, I went through my picture library and enjoyed the shots I still have from my chocolate Speedy which is now long gone. And it kept pulling me in more and more, I went through hundreds of pictures over to my old blog and books and forum posts … how was I even able to find the time for anything else back then? All those hours spent on forums and gathering as much information as possible … great times!
But I digress. Obviously my team and I wanted to do something around the moon landing anniversary, and after a long discussion, we made three decisions:
First decision: It must be different to what we’ve seen from others and we’re going to come up with it as soon as the storm and buzz around it might be over. It’s September now and the anniversary was in July – that allows us to celebrate in our own special way.
Second decision: Time to get back to acting like the collector I was from the start – as passionate as I can possibly get, ruthless even. Sure, Bulang and Sons is not a one man army as it was in 2012, but we’re far from being a big corporate company. I’m happy to be as independent as I can be with a handful of great like-minded people around supporting the Bulang and Sons way.
So, with the my crew as backup, I was able to follow the rabbit hole as much as possible and finally made the third decision: Don’t focus on the Speedmaster and the moon landing with Buzz aldrins ST105.012. only, but rather rise to the occasion to look at Omega as a whole.
And the most important thing: Let everybody follow what went through my head! A bit of a behind the secenes straight outta my grey matter, leading up to what you’re about to read.
As I was just starting to cast my net out into sourcing ideas, fate had it that I crossed paths with an elderly collector who had gathered hundreds of real NOS vintage watches in his life. While I was honoured to take a closer look on his watches – including several Omega classics – an über crisp NOS Speed Master 105.003 Ed White in factory left condition on a leather watch strap caught 150% of my attention. (Spoiler alert: The bracelet of this watch will play a major role in a later chapter of this journey!)
I was lucky enough to own several Omegas and Speedmaster in my lifetime and even luckier that more went through my hands at Bulang and Sons. I have to admit that the Ed White was always my absolute favourite. No crown guards, a bit of later ones, a bit of the 2998 … this mix is my vibe. It was a no brainer: Let’s focus on the watch that first ventured out in space …
Chapter 1: Ed White or the $1.75 Model Kit
So where do we start … listing all Speedmasters and their dial variations and arriving at some point talking aboy Ed White?! Naah …
As mentioned in the prologue, I wanted to go another way. If you have been following our work, you will know we always look beyond the watches. And going through my old pics, I have to admit that I noticed I was also hunting heavy on anything related to certain watches or watch brands – and actually still am. You should have seen my face when I finally dug up the Mickey comic that featured Comex in it … Legendary! (Yes, I am a grown up man.)
In the tradition of adding nice unique pieces to our curated watch packages, I started looking for what to combine with an Ed White. Finding a nice Ed White was a task in itself, but adding a signed pic of Ed himself didn’t feel special enough. On a side note, it would have broken the bank as these things carry hefty price tags nowadays.
After several other approaches and hours of research I chanced upon a late 60s Revell model kit of a Gemini astronaut in space on a Gemini.
Unfortunately, the set in this condition was also not priced at $1.75 anymore but it ticked my boxes and I got it … if only out of curiosity to see whether it might help on my work on this Omega thing.
Why again the Ed White?
As mentioned before I’m attracted to the Ed White because it combines the best of two worlds – the old 2901-2998 case shapes and the iconic dial and hand shapes of later models. For me, the case of the 105.003 just symbolises the perfect chronograph shaped size: sporty and elegant at the same time – and because of the missing crown guards, the pushers really pop out. The lugs are slimmer, more tapered and bring a timeless elegance to the watch. It’s really all you need in 39 mm.
It’s basically the less cliché Moon Watch and represents a big part of that adventurous path towards the first moon landing. Paired with a nice leather strap or vintage JB Champion, it really is the best combo in my opinion.
The Ed White we are offering is a very nice example for this. Often, these earlier Speedies have become very dull and flat looking, finding a really nice example has become very hard. And this one still has a very strong dial with lovely brown hues, with clean markers and a deep surface. The bezel has just that bit of true aging and the case is still as strong as it was in the heyday of NASA.
Finally I’m sitting here with this typical vintage smelling model kit on my desk, forcing myself not to open it, and next to it the Ed White. And together, these two items put me in the right mood to step up my journey. Walking through our office at home or even at my parents’ place, I regularly come upon things that remind me of certain watches I had or may still have. Whether it is the Donald Duck comic mentioned above, the old Marine Nationale diving gear up in my parents’ attic or a vintage Pan Am airplane model. I have always enjoyed having things that share the spirit of the wrist watches I collect.
Naturally, this is also the way to share my vibe for Omega with you – source some nice watches, share a few thoughts on it and add a nice rare item that links to this special watch in a personal way. So I hope your wife is fine with you buying another watch, if only just to find out if she’s also cool with setting up a Revell kit next to her flowerpots in the living room! Or maybe the set will be something for your office rack and desk. I’m sure that no matter if you wear the watch, put it in your safe or even just keep it to pass it on to the next collector, walking by and seeing this set will always put a smile on your face.