THE ITALIAN JOB

In the mid 1980s, the Italian market (and maybe the international market too) was not so easy for the Speedmaster.

It was covered by SMH Italia (the Italian subsidiary of the SMH Group, who became the Swatch Group in 1998). That is the reason why many local marketing initiatives were suggested by the Sales Department of SMH Italia. Those ideas were proposed to the Headquarters in Switzerland, and once accepted, the whole execution was then operated and organized directly in Italy by SMH Italia.

During this period, and because he wanted to improve his results, the local Sales Director was continuously searching for new ideas in order to enhance the sales.

He proposed a few series of steel and gold watches based on the standard steel models but fitted with:

  • specific black and gold dials,
  • specific black small hands (improving the legibility on the gold sub-dials),
  • solid 14K gold bezels and gold plated crowns and pushers.

This same idea was applied to three editions:

  • 2 identical series of Moonwatches (the first one numbered 001 to 500, and the second one A001 to A500), assembled from July 1987 to July 1988,
  • 1 series of Holy Grails (numbered 001 to 200), assembled in March and July 1988.

A local production.

We have been lucky enough to meet the Italian watchmaker who was responsible for the assembling of these particular Steel & Gold Speedmasters in the 1980s. We are now able to tell the true story about this almost forgotten edition, and it is also extremely interesting for a better understanding about how these things used to work at that time.

All the watches were delivered by OMEGA to SMH Italia as standard steel versions (for the Holy Grail), and/or steel and gold versions (for the Moonwatch), from the end of 1986.

They were then personalized locally by an Italian watchmaker, who was responsible for:

  • replacing the standard dials, hands, bezels, crowns, and pushers by the specific ones (those parts being sent separately by OMEGA),
  • managing the numbering of the watches (actually they were not engraved by the watchmaker but by another local supplier).

Advertisement from the “OROLOGI e non solo” magazine.
July 1988.

1987 & 1988

BLACK & GOLD (EDITIONS 1 AND 2)

BLACK & GOLD

Edition 1

Date of production: 1987.
Reference: DA 145.0022.
Caliber: 861 Copper – Delrin Brake.
Only on leather strap.

Numbered series of 500 watches.

Numbering: xxx / 500 on the caseback bevel.

Original model (before local transformation):

– DD 145.0022 with serial 45.25x.xxx

– ST 145.0022 with serial 48.2xx.xxx.

Edition 2

Date of production: 1988.
Reference: DA 145.0022.
Caliber: 861 Yellow – 17 Jewels.
Only on leather strap.

Numbered series of 500 watches.

Numbering: Axxx / 500 on the caseback bevel.

Original model (before local transformation):

– ST 145.0022 with serial 48.2xx.xxx.

1988

ULTRA HOLY GRAIL

ULTRA HOLY GRAIL

Date of production: 1988.
Reference: DA 176.0822.
Caliber: 1045.
Probably only on leather strap.

Numbered series of 200 watches.

xxx / 200 on the caseback bevel.

Note:

Those Ultra Holy Grail models were referenced by OMEGA as DA 176.0822, although ST (for steel) is indicated on the invoices, as well as engraved inside the casebacks – which is logical because they left the factory as steel ST 376.0822.

Full article published on the “OROLOGI e non solo” magazine, August 1988.

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