145.022-71, 74, 76, 78

Produced from 1971 until 1978

The main difference in this group is that from -74 there is no dial step. All have a DN90 bezel, and these are becoming harder to find in good condition. Identify bezels here. All are fitted with the square end chrono and have T SWISS T marks on the dial.

P4290005
From left to right: -71, -74, -76, -78 Note the 1039 bracelet on the -71, while the others are 1171

When this site was first written, these seventies Speedmasters were trading around $1000 and up – and the top condition 1970’s Speedmasters were not appreciated to the extent they are now.  I grouped all of them in the same price category, which now does not serve us well, so I have separated them in the price chart.

145.022-71

I think the stepped dial -71’s are worth a little more now. They are possibly quite rare on the market as there are less of them for sale than -69’s at the moment. However as we have learned, rarity does not proportionately affect value.

The stepped dial early reference, the -71,  is more highly desired than the later references, because of its stepped dial. So now we need to re-examine the specifications to make sure the watch we consider is correct.

P4290003-010
145.022-71 Clearly showing the correct stepped dial. The step runs through the hour markers, all around the dial about two thirds up the marker. This watch shows the correct hands, bezel and the 1039 bracelet. It is missing paint from the hour subdial hand.

This is the first time we see the stamped medallion case back. The -71 came in the engraved medallion case back:

1-P3010023

And also in a rare smooth backed execution. This is very rare and I do not have one (Edit: Now I do, the owner of this one sold it to me! Thanks Marc):

Rare Case back from a 145-12-71, photo courtesy Gemini4
Rare Case back from a 145.022-71, photo courtesy Gemini4

For all the -7x Speedmasters the cases are otherwise identical, apart of course from the date stamp in the back. Remember this date is NOT the date of manufacture, it is a model reference. The only way to be sure of a date of manufacture is to get the extract from Omega.

A diversion into stepped / No Step Dials

For me the more attractive is the watches with the stepped dial, which is seen in the -71 and sometimes in the -74. I am not sure if it is original or added at service, but certainly by the -76 the step has gone and definitely all gone by -78. These later dials are slightly domed, not flat like the MKII dials.

P4290002-010
On the left is a flat MKII dial. The centre dial is from a -76 with a slight dome. The right dial is from a -71 showing a step.

The step disappears by 1976. I have seen them in -74’s but I am not sure if original. The general feeling is that -74’s should not have stepped dials if original.

The step can be difficult to identify, as the later dials can show a pronounced change in plane, without a step, or ridge. Here are some dials, only one of which has the step (top right)

2016-04-29-15.30.57 ZS PMax
All are 861 dials. Top left is a flat MKII dial. Top right is a stepped dial for a -71. Bottom right is a new service dial.

At the moment, (April 2016) stepped 861 dials are worth about $200-400, and smooth dials are about $120. I expect the stepped dials to increase dramatically in the near future. In the same way I expect the bezels for this reference to rise.

The next consideration is the appearance, patina or lack of it on the dial. Some of these tritium dials can fade very attractively, and these sell for more. If they are damaged, then they are not worth much.

145.022-74

P4290008
145.022-74. This watch is also correct and shows a pleasing patina on the dial plots and hands. The bezel has slight damage, but even so it is more desirable, and hence more valuable, that the other two non-step examples shown on the page.

The watch above has the correct parts and is in good condition. The bezel is slightly chipped but otherwise it is very attractive, and as it has a fresh service, I would grade it at Good+.

This reference has been seen with stepped dials, but much more frequently with domed. As ever when we see a deviation we have to ask if it is original. In this case however, original or not, I value a stepped dial more.

145.022-76

This example the dial has many small oil(?) marks on it and so it is worth less than other comparable watches:

P4290009
145.022-76. This watch has several issues that a buyer might miss. The bezel has small TACHYMETRE letters and is too late for the watch. The dial has numerous small marks, perhaps from oil, and several other blemishes not easily noticed, until of course you buy it and then you cannot stop seeing them. Hands are Superluminova replacements.

Looking closer at the dial:

P4290005-004
Closeup of the 145.022-76, with damaged dial. While the dial in this reference is not that hard to find, there is no point in buying this watch unless it is quite cheap. There are plenty about without its issues, both the dial and the bezel, and , er , the superluminova hands.

This watch has no service history, but is running on time. Indeed some dealers would describe this as “Running Strong” or some other nonsense words that they use to sell un-serviced watches. So I grade this as Running – (minus). The dial issue will almost certainly be solved by replacing the dial with one of the ones pictured above, and the bezel will be replaced too.

145.022-78

P4290001-015
145.022-78. An almost flawless watch, not without signs of wear, but correct, attractive and without damage to hands, dial or bezel. This watch is near, but not quite, collector quality on the chart.

Calibre 861

Serial Range:

  • 145.022-71     31xx xxxx – 32xx xxxx
  • 145.022-74     31xx xxxx – 39xx xxxx (dial loses its step)
  • 145.022-76     37xx xxxx – 39xx xxxx
  • 145.022-78     44xx xxxx – 45xx xxxx

Dial

  • Stepped, or domed in later, post mid 70’s
  • Painted logo
  • Professional text
  • Short hour indices
  • Wide spaced  SWISS MADE T’s

Case

  • Asymmetric case, 20 mm lugs
  • Caseback- Stamped and engraved.

Hands

  • Hour/minute – baton
  • Subdial – Stick, painted
  • Chrono – square end spear

Pushers

  • 5mm x 3.5 mm

Crown

  • 7mm

Bezel

  • Black BASE 500 bezel with dot next to 90 (DN90)