My father [Roger Bartosh] is in the habit of subscribing to all kinds of interesting things, and one of them was Superior Galleries' Space Memorabilia Auction catalogs.
Of particular interest is the Spring 1999 catalog which lists as one of the auctions Ed White's Speedmaster.
The description identifies the NASA numbers engraved on the watch side and reverse.
Evidently the watch realized a value of $34,500 at auction.
I am saddened by the tragic event that took Ed White's life, and at the same time I am intrigued that the Hesalite crystal survived the intense heat and flames inside the Apollo 1 capsule.
See the attached scans of the catalog cover, the page depicting the watch with description, and the final price realized for the watch (auction item 398). Sorry about the quality of the auction page scan, the catalog is about an inch thick and hard to lay down on the scanner bed.
Were you aware of this auction occurring?
Indeed I was not aware of this auction and am a bit surprised that this watch was put up for auction. I'm not going to guess the White's rationale for selling the watch, but rather I'd suspect that either the GAO, NASA or the Smithsonian would likely have something of a claim on this watch as US property, unless it was a watch purchased by the late Mr. White.
Of course if anyone has further information, I'd love to hear it.
Thanks to both Roger and Blake for their efforts in sharing this information with us in the greater Omega Community. It is greatly appreciated!
P.S. I'll post any follow-up email's I get relating to this story as comments in my blog.