I think just about every Star Wars pun has already been done when you look at previous reviews of the Omega Seamaster chronometer reference 145.023, or as it is colloquially known the “Anakin Skywalker”. So forewarned is forearmed, despite the excessive overuse of said puns I probably can’t avoid a few.
Watches of Lancashire kindly loaned us this Omega prior to a planned visit to WatchGecko to record a video podcast about some of the extremely rare items they currently have in stock. We’ve not recorded the session yet but it will be an exciting hour displaying some of the finest vintage watches in the UK so keep an eye open for it via the WG YouTube channel.
Although the case of our Omega sample does not actually have circa 1970 stamped on it you would have no trouble dating this chronometer. The watch is a paragon of 70s design with a huge octagonal case made from chromed tungsten steel. As big as a TIE Fighter cockpit the Omega sits substantially at 44.5mm X 51mm and 14.6mm thick. It shares many connections with the Speedmaster as it is powered by Omega’s hand wound calibre 861. Based on the Lemania 1873 this movement provided NASA astronauts with mission critical timing since 1968.
Whilst the case may not be to everyone’s taste there is consent that the dial is special. The jet black-hole dial is offset against two red sub dials and a third in matching black – as if the watch is part way through transition to the Dark Side. A blue minute track draws the eye outward enhancing the presence on the wrist. Rounded off by a white Tachymetre the whole package resembles the multi coloured cockpit panel of a starship.
So where did the watch get such an unusual nickname? It came from Omega guru Chuck Maddox who was sadly lost to us at the early age of 46 in 2008. He was a prolific writer and collector and had a real passion for chronographs; particularly Speedmasters and their NASA connection. When looking at the 1970s black ceramic coated Seamaster chronometer refence 145.0023 he quipped that “it’s the watch Darth Vader would wear”. And the name stuck. The same watch in a polished steel finish, as we have from WoL, was in Chuck’s words the model before Darth Vader turned to the Dark Side – hence Anakin Skywalker.
He finished his Star Wars run by also naming the 145.0024 as “the Jedi”. (Note: not the 176.0005 which is commonly and incorrectly annotated as the Jedi).
Although these watches appeared seven years before the release of Star Wars they are now permanently and inextricably linked. All three models are hugely collectable. Mint condition examples are hard to come by and command high prices. The Anakin we have photographed here is on sale for £12,000.
The continued naming of these watches is probably more of a way to remember Chuck than a sales gimmick. Although many enthusiasts would prefer to honour Maddox via the Omega Speedmaster “Holy Grail” or as it is commonly called the Maddox Speedmaster following his quest to get one. Referenced ST376.0822 only 2000 of these models were made and they are as rare as Kyber Crystals.
It has been a real privilege to briefly get hold of the Omega Anakin. As the twin suns set over Tatooine, we must hand it back to Watches of Lancashire but it was exciting to step into the distant galaxy of high-end Omega collecting.