Omega started releasing speedmasters in 1957, and as far as I know did not stumble into the idea of limited editions until the Astronauts gold editions of 1969. Initially there was a small run of 100 watches and this was increased to 1014 watches. The first were presented by Omega to the President, Vice President of USA, and then all NASA flown astronauts at the time of November 25, 1969.
Please note that these are limited editions, there are also special dials, or releases which are not numbered, discussed elsewhere.
The dials are marked OM and are 18kt gold.
The best article on these Gold Speedmasters is here written by Bradley Jacobs.
When buying we need to check the condition, as ever. The wine coloured bezel is a rare item and these are replaced with a service bezel which is distinguished, as ever by the DOT next to 90, instead of the DOT over 90. As shown here:
These service bezels were over $1500 to have fitted by Omega lst time I asked, possibly more now. I have never seen an original bezel on the market. If I had I would have bought it! Some people replace the worn burgundy bezel with a black one.
Values are in the $20,000-$35,000 range, but much less if worn, and without bracelets. I have seen worn heads trade for as low as $6000 – which seems like a good deal for a solid gold watch.
There are two dial types (flat “O” vs Oval”O”) and several case back types. Along with making sure the bezel is correct, this watch has more challenges than it first appears
If you are offered one of the actual astronauts watches then the value is much higher, and that value has to factor in the space connection. This is outside the scope of my understanding.
The next limited edition is the Apollo-Soyuz released in 1975.
The dial has long indices, and the Apollo-soyuz logo at the 12 marker. The pushers are 5.5mm and the caseband is modified to fit.
The bracelet is an Oyster style that as far as I know is only used on this reference.
The caseback is a specially made commemorative one with the number marked, though this is often hard to read as it is not deep.
What are they worth? Hard to know, but somewhere between $20,000 – $40,000, as of 2020
At this level, it would be possible to fake one, so the Omega extract is essential when considering one.