1988 Omega Speedmaster “Holy Grail” Ref. 376.0822
Price on request
This rare Omega Speedmaster referred to by collectors as the “Holy Grail”, is in excellent original condition and is one of the best examples we have come across. The original dial in excellent condition with the tritium luminous showing a nice patina and matching with its original “long lume” hands. The watch is powered by a cal. 1045 movement with serial no. 48.2xx.xxx. The 42mm stainless steel case (made uniquely for this reference by Charles Rene Spielmann who also made the cases for the Rolex Daytona) appears to be unpolished with some small scratches. The original case back bears the reference 376.0822 and embossed with the Speedmaster emblem. It features the original B4 bezel which is correct for these late Holy Grail watches produced from February 1988 onwards. This is stated in the Moonwatch Only book from their extensive research. The watch is complimented by its original “Grail” 1450 bracelet and 809 end links in very good condition.
This watch is accompanied by the Omega Archive Extract dating the watch to February 25th 1988 and delivered to the UK (one of only 50 pieces delivered to the UK). The watch was serviced by STS in November 2021 and has a 2 year mechanical warranty.
Speedmaster "Holy Grail"
Chuck Maddox was one of the first Speedmaster collectors (and chronographs in general) who created an online archive with information and was responsible for giving this reference the nickname of the Holy Grail. This was most likely due to the fact he was based in the US and there was only ONE example that was ever delivered to the US making them incredibly rare. Besides his lengthy replies on TimeZone and WatchUseek in the late 1990s, Chuck Maddox also started his own website packed with Speedmaster information. It is still available, as his friends ensured that these archives are still accessible.
He was also the creator of nicknames that we still use, like “Teutonic Speedy” (ref. 1450040, 3450803 and 3760806), “Darth Vader” (ref. 145.023), “Skywalker” (ref. 376.0822) which Omega officially used in its last X-33 edition, “Jedi” (ref. 145.024) and of course, “The Holy Grail” (ref. 376.0822).
Produced for under two years, first known to be delivered in March 1987 with the last known being delivered November 1988. There were as little as 2000 examples thought to have been produced with the majority being delivered to Germany, Italy and Switzerland. Our example was delivered to the UK and there were only 50 ever delivered to the UK.
The reference 376.0822 know as the “Holy Grail” is also part of what collectors call the “Holy Trinity” of the 1980’s. The three models were designed and produced during the quartz crisis, each model has novel features and aesthetics appreciated by all. The two other models are:
The Speedmaster 20th Years Flight-Qualified for Space which was the first stainless steel model with sapphire display back (ref. ST 345.0808, 1985-1988), 1’000 numbered watches.
The Speedmaster Moonphase Speedymoon (ref. ST 345.0809, 1985-1988), approximately 1’300 watches produced.
The Speedmaster Professional’s History
Released in 1957 and based on Omega’s earlier chronographs from the 1920s and ’30s, the Omega Speedmaster is one of the most iconic chronographs of all time. The word “icon” tends to be thrown around a bit in the watchmaking industry, but the Speedmaster deserves its plaudits. Named after the purpose of the tachymeter along its bezel, the Speedmaster was designed for race car drivers and pilots who needed to time events, calculate average speeds and make other rapid calculations on the go, say while driving a race-car. While these adrenaline-fuelled activities might be not for the faint-hearted, they aren’t the reason the Speedmaster has become such an iconic timepiece. Instead, the reason is somewhat out of this world; it went to the Moon.
Following a gruelling series of tests against several other brands, the Speedmaster got to debut in space during the Gemini program of 1965. Worn by astronauts on the outside of their spacesuit while fitted to a very long nylon strap, akin to a modern NATO, that would wrap around their arm several times; the Speedmaster quickly rose to fame thanks to its prominence in photos. Omega shrewdly used these images of the Speedmaster being worn during spacewalks in their marketing material to establish the connection between their watch and space. Given this was, by far, the most exciting theatre in which a company’s product could be used at the time due to the intense public interest in the Space Race, it proved to be quite the marketing success.
Following its use on the Moon during the Apollo missions, the Speedmaster has gained legendary status. Saving one mission from inevitable failure and enabling astronauts to return home, the Speedmaster earned Omega a Silver Snoopy Award, acknowledging the timepiece’s contribution to the safety and success of that particular mission.
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