Watches Of Knightsbridge Sale 12 September 2015

Results added:

I quote the hammer price, then including all charges, then USD equivalent at 1.54.

The London (UK) Auction house has a sale of watches on 12 September, and in it are several Speedmasters.

Catalog is here

The premiums and charges by this establishment are extraordinary (Buyers commission and VAT 21.6%), and the charges pile on as one uses the internet, (+3.6%) and a credit card (+2%). So a 1000 bid could cost you 1277.  Edit: See below for methodology. (Bear that in mind – auctions can be intoxicating. I have reproduced the charging regime below at the end of the post.

All images are from the WoK site and the full catalog can be seen here. All estimates are in pounds sterling, without commission.

The first watches are relatively modern but still with Tritium, normally outside the scope of this site but worth mentioning, as I feel these should be the cheapest 861 Speedmasters out there. A baseline, if you will.

Lot 225 – 145.022

Sold For £1300 bid, £1660 incl ($2565)

original
Lot 225 Est 1300 – 1600

This is a 1991 watch, still with T marks on the dial. All looks pretty good and might be a great buy at the low estimate.

Lot 226 145.022

Sold for £1200 bid, £1532 incl ($2366)

226
Lot 226 Est 1200 – 1500

Made in 1990. I like this one better, a little vintage aging makes it more attractive than Lot 225. Remember that at the high estimate, it will be nearly STG2000. At the low estimate I think it is good value.

Lot 228 145.022

Not Sold

Lot 228 Est 1500-1800
Lot 228 Est 1500-1800

1984. This watch looks as though the hands and dial plots are very white – they may be newer service replacements although the dial still carries the T marks. It all looks correct, but I find this over white furniture too much. The bracelet is a bonus, and is a rare 1479. I don’t like it, but someone will quite understandably enjoy it.

Lot 229 145.022

Not Sold

229
Lot 229 Est 1300 – 1600

Made in 1990, the lack of bracelet means a lower estimate. Again this one appeals more than the previous lot in terms of patina and charm, based on the photos. Some people call this dirt and degradation, I call it attractive(!).

Lot 230 145.022-69 (Engraved back)

Sold for £1900 bid, £2426 incl ($3747)

230 front

230 back
Lot 230. Est 2000 – 2500

This is a rare watch, made in 1970 with the early commemorative case back – this one is the slightly more common version, for more details on this reference look here.

It all looks correct, if a little polished on that rare back. The bezel is grey, and I am always a little suspicious of these – there have been several examples lately on the market and I think some are heated. I am not saying this one is, but in any event I do not find them worthy of a premium. A replacement correct DN90 bezel will not be trouble if needed.
The watch is showing chrono creep so it will need a service (STG 400) and this watch might end up costing the buyer over 4000 with a replacement bezel, after bidding the high estimate. Not a bargain in my book, because of that polished back.
At the low estimate, 2000, plus commission and a service and a bezel, it will be about 3100 which while high, is not mad.  It depends how badly you want one. They do come up from time to time.

Lot 231  145.012-67

Sold for £2800 bid, £3575 incl ($5521)

Lot 231 Est 2500 - 3500
Lot 231 Est 2500 – 3500

Correct dial, bezel and case, but possible service hands, they look very white. Something to check. It doesn’t appeal to me so far – perhaps, like many, it will look better in the metal. Also as we get into the 321’s I really would want to see the movement and check the serial before bidding hard. Unless there is something I am missing, this is expensive.

 

Lot 232 145.012-67

Sold for £2750 bid, £3511 incl ($5422)

Lot 232 Est 2500 to 3500
Lot 232 Est 2500 to 3500

At first glance this looks interesting. (But it is not).

Dial, bezel and case are correct, as are the hands. However the lume in the spear chrono is very smudgy, and on close inspection the plots also show the same. All the lume matches so well, I want to satisfy myself this is not a re lumed watch. This colour responds very well to darker photography and the sellers have not missed this opportunity, showing a dark broody photograph with the lume showing an attractive orangey brown:

Lot 232 in the dark
Lot 232 in the dark

Schoolboy error however on the serial. A 2208xxxx number is too early for a 145.012. The bracelet is the later 1171 fitted to 145.022 and frankly the whole watch smells. I think it is an assembled, relumed piece – a total con.

I would not be happy to buy this watch at any price.

Lot 233 105.003-65

Not Sold

Lot 233 Est 2500 - 3500
Lot 233 Est 2500 – 3500

This is a more honest watch. The crystal is heavily scratched and it is possible that it is from a private source – the estimate would suggest it. However the problems that I can see is wrong size pushers, and another of those terrible faded bezels.

The entire watch is tired and needs a sympathetic service, and this reference is rising in popularity, so that this watch may sell for over estimate.

There are no photos of the movement and that would need to be inspected.

Lot 234 105.003-64

Sold for £3200 bid, £4064 incl ($6276)

Lot 234 Est 3000 -3500
Lot 234 Est 3000 -3500

Correct parts – note the pushers compared to Lot 233. Bezel is tired, but I think the watch is honest. The movement number fits, and the movement looks nice and clean from the photos on the site. Hands have lost paint at the pinion holes, presumably from service when they were pushed back on.

The dial, while correct, has some possible damage or corrosion near the lower edge near the T SWISS T marks. It could be rust or some other problem. Together with the hand damage I wonderi f the watchmaker was just a careless worker – Surprising because the movement is so clean.

It is a little higher than Lot 233 but a better buy in my opinion – but still not a great watch given the dial and hand issues, and the tired bezel.

Lot 235 105.003-65

Not Sold

Lot 235 Est 5500 - 6500
Lot 235 Est 5500 – 6500

So called Tropical dial hence the enthusiastic estimate. To me the dial simply looks tired. The plots are badly discoloured and blurred. It is not attractive to my eye. The bezel is too late for the reference and the central Chrono second hand looks like a newer, whiter replacement. The hour subdial is not quite central, could indicate need of service.

No photos are shown of movement and no confirmation of the date stamp but from the serial on the extract it is a -65.

You never know, but to achieve this price I would want to see the dial being a really attractive brownish body colour, and this in my mind would offset the other problems. The only way to tell is to see it in the metal, but I don’t think it does.

Lot 236 2998-62

Sold for £6000 bid, £7662 incl ($11,833)

Lot 236
Lot 236 Est 6000 – 8000

2998’s have become hot. There are several assemblies around and great care must be taken when assessing them as the increase in value has brought out all sorts of rubbish. This one is better than most. The -62 is at the bottom of the value table for 2998’s but it is still a 2998.

This one has the more attractive triangular lume hour hand and the correct layout hands for a 2998-62. It also has a movement which while not the cleanest I have seen, looks correct in terms of serial and clutch bridge.

The dial is quite marked. This often shows up worse in photos than in real life, but the damage still reduces the value. The plots are almost perfect and made me look twice, but I think they are OK. The dial is not as I would want, but not bad enough to exclude it from consideration.

The bezel is too late for the reference and as these now cost more than 500 – 1000 pounds that should be remembered when valuing.

Methodology for price calculation

Amount Rate
Bid £1,000.00
Comission £180.00 18%
Vat on Comission £36.00 20%
Online Surchage £36.00 3.60%
Total £1,252.00
Credit Card Charge £25.04 2%
Total Payable £1,277.04

 

Charges copied from WoK site:

Every sale will be subject to a buyer’s premium of 18% + VAT (21.6 % inclusive) on the hammer price.Bidding online will hold an additional 3.6% premium. 

VAT can be excluded or refunded on items shipped to outside of the EC.

All estimates are excluding premium.

All descriptions and condition reports are solely our own opinion and made by our experts.

Condition Report Grading (Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor).

Dials are only believed to be original (not refinished) if stated.

Please contact us if you would like additional images of lots.

We aim to give buyers the most accurate information before purchase and pride ourselves on this.

We only consign watches of a quality and standard that we are happy with.

The ALR (The Art Loss Register) provide Watches of Knightsbridge with a due diligence service for every catalogue searching their database to discover whether an item has been registered as missing, fake or stolen. All lots with a higher estimate of £1000 and above are checked.

We must be informed if anyone with disabilities wishes to attend the auction or viewing days so that the required arrangements can be made.

PAYMENT METHODS

We do not automatically charge the card registered online, therefore successful bidders must settle invoices via the following methods:

Streamline Debit and Credit card processing (chip & pin):
This can be done at the sale after the auction. There is no additional charge for purchases made with Debit cards unless drawn on an overseas bank or deferred debit cards which will be subject to a 2% surcharge.

Please note there is also a 2% surcharge when payments are made using credit cards and a 1.9% surcharge for American Express. It may be advisable to notify your card provider of your intended purchase in advance to reduce delays caused by us having to seek authority when you come to pay.

2998 Alpha Hand Length

This was culled from the 2998 page, as it took up too much space.

A 2998-1 with the rare BASE1000 bezel, pretty much correct except for the incorrect, short hands. The hour hand falls noticeably short of the minute track.
A 2998-1 with the rare BASE1000 bezel, pretty much correct except for the incorrect, short hands. The minute hand falls noticeably short of the minute track. In this case I believe they are modern service replacements for a seamaster.

The point is that many 2998’s have found themselves with short alphas – either as service replacements, or from old Seamasters of the period. Spotting this is simple once you know how.

There seems to be some variation in where the tip of the minute hand hands, and this small apparent variation in correct hands may be down to dial marker length – however the seamaster hands when fitted are noticeably short, as seen above, falling well short of the minute track.

These alpha hands came in two executions, shown below. The correct 2998 hands are the first and last pair. I do not know in what time the two types were fitted, I observe both types on all sub references, at all production times. While either the triangle lume or the straight lume are correct, I value the triangle lume more.

Alpha hands. Only two pairs here are correct for a 2998
Alpha hands. Only two pairs here are correct for a 2998 – the pair at each end. The second pair, with square ended thin lume, are service replacements for a seamaster. The third pair are from a 2915-3. The type I most like to see on a watch is the far right set with the triangle lume on the hour.

The Alpha hands can be a problem. Originals are often replaced by service replacements, and these have narrow, square ended lume inserts, or Seamaster hands where the minute hand is too short and fails to meet or cross the minute track of the dial. If the hour hand is triangular, the matching minute hand has square ended lume, is in the far right set above.

On the watch, it is easy to spot when the hands are too short:

2998-1 17301094
Too short

2998-62 19584869
Too short

And correct:

2998-61 18949418 (3) OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

More on 2998 hands here

Back to the 2998 page here

2998 Serial Quick Reference

  • 2998 – 1     1730 1xxx – 1776 1xxx
  • 2998 – 2     1730 2xxx – 1776 1xxx
  • 2998 – 3     1776 1xxx – 1776 5xxx
  • 2998 – 4     1776 2xxx – 1841 9xxx
  • 2998 – 5     1841 9xxx – 1894 5xxx *
  • 2998 – 6     1894 6xxx **
  • 2998 – 61   1894 6xxx – 1958 4xxx **
  • 2998 – 62   1958 3xxx – 1983 4xxx **

*MWO quotes an earlier  finish serial

**MWO quotes all the last three sub references together.

A quick reference for serials for the 2998 reference.

Usual disclaimers about accuracy. In practice it means  I cant guarantee the accuracy but any watch falling outside these parameters would be looked over extra carefully by me before I buy it.

Sources:

Originally my information was from observation of watches for sale, and I had to make a judgement as to if a watch was original or not. Then I found an excellent Danish site where a gentleman had documented the myriad of 2998 details – not entirely as we see them now, but leap years ahead of me. This site has now gone down.

Credit must also go to the Moonwatch Only book. I urge you to buy this book if you want to read information founded on unparalleled research in this field – unlike me; I am just an enthusiastic observer. I often find myself in a position of finding my own observations borne out, sharpened or even contradicted by this book. This puts me in the most awkward position, as clearly the authors of this work are far better informed than I am. I have to defer to them on serials, and do so with great respect and gratitude.

To be clear, all serials quoted in this site are based on my own research and observations. MWO quotes very slight variations, and they also state the numbers are “movement numbers seen” . I have cross referenced my own observations with theirs, and for the most part follow them unless my observations are different. This is particularly evident on the late sub references, as MWO puts the last three all in one group, where as I have separated them.

As ever, be wary of taking any serial listing as gospel. We are all after all human.

P8250003-003

Omega Extracts – Things to Watch Out For

Omega offer an Archive service where for the princely sum of 120 Swiss Francs they will issue a sheet of paper showing the date of release of a watch from the factory, a so called “Extract of the Archives”.

You can order it here.

Over the years this service has changed, and in fact there is evidence to suggest some early certificates were based not on archive information but on owners providing case references along with the movement number. The Archive, when faced with no internal information, would take the owners word on trust. There is anecdotal evidence this practice continued up to about 2010 – but I do not know for sure.

What I do know is that this extract was issued in 2011, and is, as you can see, pretty useless giving only the release date, country and the serial.

No case reference:

P8240003
A 2998 with an extract issued in 2011. The reference is not mentioned and so does not confirm this movement left in this case reference.

This is because the Archive does not have all the records, especially for the 2998’s and some of the other early 321’s. These watches, as stated on the paperwork above, were in fact assembled at Lemania under license, not by Omega, so they do not have all the build records or factory data at the moment. I am told that they are making progress in reacquiring those records, but at the moment if you ask for one and they cannot confirm the case reference from the movement number, you get your money back.

Here is a more useful one, issued in 2013:

P8240004
Issued in 2013, this extract confirms the case reference and the movement, as well as the country of destination, leading to suggest the dial might be plausible.

So can we trust an Extract?

  • If issued pre 2010, then I do not.
  • If issued shortly after, the information may be so sparse as to be no help.
  • Current extracts, and those issued after 2012 I do trust
  • Extracts do not always mention special dials, eg “racing” dials or Blue sunburst dials, nor special hands. Of course these may have been fitted after delivery.

The Salvation Speedmaster

Unwrapped and checked here it is:

P8130010

It is clearly cleaner, and the crystal is showing all the signs of use as when I sent it into the workshop. The instructions were to service the movement, and not to replace anything that did not need it. It is my belief this is an original watch, and I did not want to remove that originality. I did ask that it was thoroughly cleaned.

P8130018

Understandably this watch is not waterproof, the crack in the crystal sees to that even if the old seals in pushers and crown were any good – these would normally be replaced in the course of a service.

The caseback is damaged from failed opening attempts.

P8130005

However the sides are very well preserved, surprising given the state of the crystal.

P8130023 P8130020

The bracelet is so tight that it seems new.

Some more views.

P8130026 P8130008

Inside is the HF mark, and turns out it is a 105.012-65:

P8130019-002

Movement looks untouched:P8130020-001

Salvation is here !

First seen here, I bought for quite a high price, an original 105.012 from the Salvation Army via Ebay, the lot is here though the link might not last forever. As you can see, there was not much to go on, but instincts were that it was a highly original watch, untouched apart from some attempts to open the back, which by resisting, may have saved it from “Restoration” by a muppet.

So it has arrived.

P8130002 P8130006

I am very keen to see how my instructions were carried out. I asked the workshop to clean and service the watch and to replace nothing. In the event I notice they have replaced the rear case gasket, which had turned to mush.

More in the next post!

Price Chart Update August 2015

The Price Chart has been updated to reflect the upward movement of early calibre 321 prices.

These early watches have moved upwards, and as a result a lot more undesirable watches, assembled from several watches and parts (not all of them speedmasters), have been offered. We need to be even more vigilant to spot these assemblies masquerading as original.

As Omega will not issue extracts for these early watches we have to follow received wisdom when making originality judgments, for example taking the first five or six digits of the serial and see if we can find others of the same reference. Not certain, but gives some reassurance to see matching numbers.

Here is an example of a 2998-62 recently sold for just under $6800 on Ebay in July 2015. The Price Chart shows a Running price of $6500 and Good of $8500.

2998-62 ebay
2998-62 sold on Ebay, photos from listing

2998-62 mvt ebay

As we can see, the hands are replacements. Both ends of the lume are squared off, and the minute hand is too short. The pushers are replacements of some sort, probably quite old, not the shape I am used to seeing, nor the size I would expect. (Although I have seen early service pushers looking like this). The bezel is new. The chrono hand is poorly repainted. The dial is ugly.

I am not certain I like the number bridge – It has a slightly different colour to the other bridges and could indicate an assembled watch – this is a real possibility given the rest of the indicators.

This sold for $6800. This is a long way from the $10,000 to $18,000 that some dealers are offering 2998’s for, but even so, I do not see it as a bargain.

  • The dial is correct, but in poor condition without character.
  • The bezel needs to be replaced with a $1000-1500 DO90
  • Needs a full service ($650)
  • Possible assembly – colour difference on the bridges

Concentric Circles on Subdials

The concentric circles in Speedmaster subdials has come up.

Are they on all Speedmasters?

At first I thought that they were not on all Speedmasters so I had a look. They are clearly present in late watches:

Circa 1995
Circa 1995. Smudge near 6  is on crystal.

So these are clearly visible.

So I looked at 2998’s. Here is a 2998-61:P8040005

I do not have access to enough raw data so I can only present observations here and hope the wider community can contribute knowledge, perhaps via www.omegaforums.net

Here is an early 2998. They are hard to see in hand, but on inspection of a photo they are there:

P8040008  17761171 2998-2 CR

17301102 2998-1 CR

And here on some 2915’s. Note also the shallower sub dial impression on the plate.

2915 CR

P8040005-001

Can we call this a 2998?

I recently purchased this:

P8010026
Recent acquisition by me, from Ebay Germany with no history at all.

The question is, what is it?

Asymmetric case, DO90 bezel, short indices painted logo dial….looks like a 1969 cal 861 right? Some side shots show a pretty well used case, that has had some less than expert polishing.

P8010034
Side views show extensive wear and polishing. Pushers are in excellent condition and look new.

P8010037

Hang on….

P8010033
Engraved back. Note new pushers

The engraved back and DO90 clash. It cannot be a 1969 speedmaster with that back.

So lets open it:

P8010046
145.022 no date case, calibre 321 movement, older style dust cover

Now we clearly have some issues – the case is a 145.022, later than 1978 as there is no date. The movement is a 321 which never went into a case this late. lets check the number:

P8010041

Movement number 17761681. This is possibly a 2998 movement, based only on matching this movement to known 2998s in my collection. The nearest I have is 17761171.

Note the asymmetric clutch bridge which is correct for an early movement like this.

I bought this watch as a parts donor, the DO90 bezel was the main attraction. I know nothing about it, it was a German Ebay special.

Conclusion:

I think this must be a watch heavily serviced. The movement shows signs of work and is probably from a 2998. If this had been serviced by omega in the mid 1980’s then it is possible they replaced everything except the movement. The movement appears in good shape, with the exception of a non centering hour recorder, which is usually corrected at service.

We could argue that is is an assembly, but as the parts are all service parts, I think it more likely to have once been a 2998, and serviced by replacing the case, dial and hands.