Speedy Tuesday — The Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th Anniversary 3565.80

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Speedy Tuesday — The Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th Anniversary 3565.80 The first space walk of a NASA astronaut was performed by astronaut Ed White by Robert-Jan BroerMarch 10, 2020 MIN READSpeedy Tuesday — The Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th Anniversary 3565.80

The Speedmaster Professional Gemini IV is an example of a sleeper limited edition. Not anymore of course, but this watch wasn’t very much sought after in the first few years following its introduction in 2005. Since then, its popularity has trended upward. As such, it can be viewed in a similar fashion to the original Snoopy Award from 2003.

Nowadays, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Gemini IV is loved by many enthusiasts. This is mainly due to the beautiful dark blue color and silvery-white subdials. It is a blue Panda, you could say. And that is as rare as it sounds (in the wild or on the wrist). It commemorates the Gemini IV mission from 1965. That was the second crewed Gemini mission with astronauts James McDivitt and Edward White. The voyage comprised a 98-hour flight from June 3 to June 7, 1965. Those 98 hours included 62 orbits and the first American spacewalk. The spacewalk was performed by Ed White, wearing his Speedmaster (pre-Professional) with reference 105.003.

Ed White’s spacewalk during the 1965 Gemini IV mission

On the picture above, you see Ed White doing his spacewalk. If you look carefully at his left wrist, you will notice he is wearing two watches. It is almost certain that both watches were Speedmaster 105.003 models, as NASA only had this reference so shortly after the qualifying tests and procedures.

Omega Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th Anniversary 3565.80

Even though Ed White is perhaps more linked to the 105.003 (and now the Speedmaster caliber 321 re-edition) than this Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th anniversary edition, it is still a tribute to him and his fellow astronaut James McDivitt. McDivitt was a backup crew member for the fatal Apollo 1. He went on to fly as a commander on Apollo 9.

Unfortunately, Ed White died in a horrible accident with the Apollo 1, together with his fellow astronauts Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee.

After being the program manager for Apollo 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16, McDivitt retired from NASA and had a successful business career. Unfortunately, Ed White died in a horrible accident with the Apollo 1, together with his fellow astronauts Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee.

Speedmaster Gemini 4 3565.80

Our photographer and videographer Bert Buijsrogge had a Speedmaster Gemini IV for a while. That was back in the days before this watch was sought after. In fact, this watch was such an under-the-radar collectible, Bert isn’t the only Fratello team member to have owned one of these beauties.

Gerard, unlike Bert, kept hold of his. He purchased it back in 2011 for the whopping amount of €2,600. How things change, eh? Just as we saw in last week’s Speedy Tuesday article, Omega also introduced a new variant of this blue panda for the Tokyo 2020 Games back in 2018 (see below). That means there were 2,020 pieces inspired by the Gemini IV version from 2005 released just a couple of years back. The dial printing may have changed marginally, but if you’re a fan of the color palette in general, it offers another bite of the cherry.

Blue Panda

As far as I know, these are the only two blue pandas in existence. Well, at least as far as the Speedmaster Professional model family goes. Not everyone was happy with the Tokyo re-release of the Gemini model, but I didn’t hear too many of those who missed out on the Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th anniversary edition complaining. Being able to get (roughly) the same look and feel on the wrist for less than the €9-11,000 the originals were going for was a welcome bonus. Aside from the subtle dial-printing differences, the Gemini IV had a Hesalite crystal instead of sapphire.

Speedmaster Gemini IV 3565.80

Talking about those dial differences… The dial of the Gemini IV special edition clearly marks the 40th anniversary by highlighting the 1965 to 2005 timespan. The silvery-white sub-dials offer a warming contrast with the blue while you can still read the elapsed seconds, minutes, and hours from the rhodium-plated hands. Just like the 2004 Apollo XI 35th Anniversary panda model, the applied hour markers are shorter than the Tokyo 2020 and the chronograph second hand has no red tip.

Speedmaster Gemini IV 3565.80

First Spacewalk Caseback

There is no “The First Watch Worn on the Moon” engraving for this Speedmaster Gemini IV 40th anniversary limited edition. Instead, a patch that indicates that mission witnessed the first Spacewalk. As I wrote here last week, the design of mission patches by astronauts started with the Gemini V mission. Interestingly enough, the Gemini IV astronauts Ed White and James McDivitt didn’t wear embroidered patches. On their spacesuits was the USA flag.

The Gemini IV patch you often see, including the one on the case back of this Speedmaster Gemini IV, is not the official insignia of the mission. The mission patch you see here was created later on, and it looks quite nice in my opinion. Only later on, in 2008, did James McDivitt approve another mission patch for Gemini IV. It includes the image of an Eagle carrying the Gemini capsule. That said, the official NASA supplier (AB Emblems) produced the “unofficial” red patch regardless.

…this particular watch was at the authorized dealer for more than a year. Shows that Speedmaster’s limited editions didn’t really have the same effect as they do now.

Underneath the emblem is the chronograph movement caliber 1861. Omega has used this movement since 1997. It is a hand-wound movement based on Lémania’s caliber 1873 movement. It can be found in today’s Moonwatch as well, but, as you probably know, it is to be expected it will be replaced by the newer caliber 3861 movement that was introduced last year in the Apollo XI 50th anniversary editions.

Speedmaster Gemini IV 3565.80

Special Packaging

The box for this watch reminds me a bit of the limited edition boxes for the 2003 and 2004 models Snoopy Award and Apollo XI. Unfortunately, the leather isn’t the best quality and tends to deteriorate over time. It is a shame, as I have many myself as well. As you can see in the picture above, besides the box there’s the Certificate of Authenticity with the matching unique limited edition number and a signature of then CEO Urquhart. Also interesting is that this particular watch was at the authorized dealer for more than a year. It shows us that Speedmaster’s limited editions didn’t really enjoy the same reception as they do now.

The Speedmaster Gemini IV reference 3565.80 is becoming more difficult to find. There are only five currently available on the Chrono24 platform. The prices of those pieces run from around €9,000 to €11,000. It has become a collector’s piece, but we hope most of the owners will wear them anyway. It is a beautiful tone of blue and the contrast with the subdials and rhodium-plated hands looks stunning.

All Speedy Tuesday articles can be found here.

Watch specifications

Brand Omega ModelSpeedmaster Professional 'Gemini IV'Reference3565.80DialBlue with silvery-white subdialsCase MaterialStainless steelCase DimensionsDiameter: 42mm, Thickness: 13mmCrystalHesalite (plexi)Case BackSpecial caseback with Gemini IV patchMovementCaliber 861, Lémania base caliber 1873, Power Reserve: 48 hours, Ticking Speed: 21600vphWater Resistance30 metersStrapStainless steel bracelet (ref. 1998/849)FunctionsTime, Chronograph, TachymeterPricen/aSpecial Note(s)Limited edition of 2005 pieces (production year 2005), special packaging and Certificate of Authenticity. Watch of the Week

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About the author

Robert-Jan Broer

Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in… read more

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