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So out of all my research on speedmasters and the early nasa space programs, I've always wondered how much the speedmaster cost back then. I know I have read that nasa paid around $80 for all of theirs. That's about $560 after calculating inflation today. But how much did one cost on the civilian market? How much did they cost before and after being chosen as nasa's watch and designated as the professional moon watch?
 

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The ST 145.0012 (with 321 movement) from 1966 retailed for CHF 465 (USD$516)
In 2011 dollars: $3,524.55
 

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wow-that surprising. i saw an old advert from playboy circa 1965 that touted the rolex sub as being $225 bucks. so the spm was always a pretty pricey watch then...
 

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$185 MSRP according to this ad:



Fr. John†
 

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now that's more in line with what I expected (or imagined anyway). And I actually think the rolex ad was posted by a member here and it was lower then $200. maybe the sub was also about $185 in the early to mid 60s as well.
 

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I went by Omega's price reference. The Swiss franc was valued differently against the dollar back in 1966 (to get an accurate number, you'd need a conversion chart for that year).
 

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Very interesting. The advertisement is a great find. It is odd that this was typical of the rolex as well. If you compare the cost of that watch vs the salary of those maintenance test pilots, it was roughly 1% of their salary. Today a brand new speedmaster would be roughly 4% of the average test pilot's salary.
 

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Wow. How things have changed.
 

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I went by Omega's price reference. The Swiss franc was valued differently against the dollar back in 1966 (to get an accurate number, you'd need a conversion chart for that year).
Yes.In the early 80s I remember the dollar buying about 3CH
 

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They were about $200. The dollar was worth almost 5 Swiss francs back then.
 

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In 1971 I bought a pre-moon Speedy, new, from a jeweler in Peoria Illinois, for $120.00. I sold it 15 years later for $200 to get a new Rolex GMT Master II.
Really wish I still had the Omega.
 

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now that's more in line with what I expected (or imagined anyway). And I actually think the rolex ad was posted by a member here and it was lower then $200. maybe the sub was also about $185 in the early to mid 60s as well.
Like I needed an excuse to put these pics up again. :-d

Here's the Rolex ad. From the mid to late '60s, I think. Price comes up as $175.oo.



And, in a (failed) attempt at trying to sway forum member Caraptor into buying a Speedmaster (since he was tossing up between a Sub and a Speedy), I came up with this:



Alas, it was not a powerful enough ad campaign. I think he went for the Sub in the end.
 

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So out of all my research on speedmasters and the early nasa space programs, I've always wondered how much the speedmaster cost back then. I know I have read that nasa paid around $80 for all of theirs. That's about $560 after calculating inflation today. But how much did one cost on the civilian market? How much did they cost before and after being chosen as nasa's watch and designated as the professional moon watch?
Some explanations for these differences between Swiss and US retail prices:

1. Since NASA originally bought several Speedmasters (along with several examples of watches from other brands) for testing, I'm sure they received quite a discount. My recollection of the story is that all of the watches tested came from one local Houston jeweler. It wouldn't surprise me if they all were purchased at cost.

2. U.S. prices in those days would have included all customs duties and also a 10% federal luxury tax on imported watches. None of this would be included in the Swiss price.

3. U.S. prices were set by Norman Morris, Inc., (the US agent for Omega) and may have included a mark-up that was not included in the original Omega catalog price on their vintage website.

I remember looking this up about a year ago, and calculating the current value of a Speedmaster at about $2,400, including inflation and the relative devaluation of the dollar vs. the Swiss Franc. This was about the same as the grey market price of the watch. With all the price increases from Omega recently, I don't know if that is still true.

Hope this helps,
gatorcpa
 
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