Friday Find – Omega Speedmaster Plaisted Expedition 1968 for an insane price

Remember the Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Double Red that was on Ebay for a mere $ 225,000? Well, that same seller now offers a Speedmaster Professional from 1968, that was worn during the Plaisted Polar Expedition. You can get it for ‘just’ $ 99,000 USD.

Yes indeed, it’s a 1968 Omega Speedmaster Professional, on a strange rice bead bracelet and it’s for sale at quite an extreme price. The reason for that price is that this particular Speedmaster was worn by one of the four member of the Plaisted Polar Expedition. Prices of regular vintage Speedmasters are between $ 2,000 – $ 5,000 USD, so this one costs more than 20 times the normal price.

Do you remember the Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Double Red that the same seller offered for sale on Ebay, earlier this year, for the bizar amount of $ 225,000 USD? In the purchase history we can see the offers were nowhere near the asking price. Bids went from $ 1  up to $ 5,000 and there was one bid of $ 80,000. A bid that is high, but realistic for a ref. 1665 Mark 1 in this condition.

This vintage Speedy Pro has a caliber 321, which is correct and it even comes in the original (or at leats AN original) box. According to the seller the bracelet is an original Omega bracelet, but not the original bracelet of this Speedmaster. Well that figures if you see how it’s attached to the case. If you’re offereing a Speedmaster for $ 99,000 USD, adding an original vintage bracelet would be the least this seller/golddigger could do.

According to the sales ad and other sources, the expedition reach the geographical North Pole on April 19th 1968.

History: P L A I S T E D   E X P E D I T I O N 1968

After the space adventure of American astronauts in the Gemini program, the Speedmaster set a new record : 44 days on the polar cap at temperatures as low as -52°.

On the 19th of April 1968, after travelling 44 days and 1320 kilometres across the polar cap, four men calculate their location with a sextant and a Speedmaster: they reached the 90 degrees latitude North, which is the Geographic North Pole.

This was verified by the U.S. Air Force, the weather reconnaissance aircraft “Lark 47″, confirmed their position by radio. Two Air Force navigators, using gyro-compasses, confirmed also the fact that these four men were indeed at 90° North.

This advance team of the Plaisted expedition of 1968 was formed by: Ralph S. Plaisted, 40 years (the leader), Gerald Pitzl,34 years (the navigator), Walter Pederson, 40 years (the mechanical engineer) and respectively, Jean-Luc Bombardier (29 years) who was the scout and technician of the group.

More information can be found on the Omega website here (an interesting read by the way!!). The debate whether this was truly the first expedition to reach the geographical North Pole or not, is still going on. Not that this matters in this case, because the price of this vintage beauty is still … ahum… kind of steep.

The seller states they “have the proof and the appropriate documentation from Omega’s museum stating that this is indeed one of four watches that was given by Omega for this expedition.”

Here you can see this Omega Speedmaster Professional on Ebay.

Frank Geelen

Frank Geelen is an expert on Haute Horlogerie and his horological heart beats faster from beautiful hand-finished mechanical movements. He loves to explain all technical details of complications like tourbillons, minute repeaters, constant force escapements and column-wheel chronographs and he has been doing that for more than seven years. Besides publishing daily here at Monochrome Watches, Frank also writes for several other publications, both online and offline.

View all articles by Frank Geelen

3 Responses to “Friday Find – Omega Speedmaster Plaisted Expedition 1968 for an insane price”

  1. GEO says:

    Cool bracelet!

  2. mono says:

    Fully agree with you GEO! Although Speedmaster where never released with this bracelet and the end links actually don’t fit, it does look good.
    The bracelet looks a lot like those on vintage Heuer Autavia and Carrera models and I’m actually still looking for such a bracelet for my vintage Autavia.

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