The Quick And Dirty Way to Buy (Well, Check) a 145.022

There are four kinds of 145.022 that this site covers, up to 1978. (Why buy one?)

The first thing you need to check, is that you actually like the watch! Don’t waste time on an ugly watch.

Find a watch that attracts you, has a charm, a patina, or lack of it if that is what you prefer. People often get lost in technicalities, buy a watch that while having all the correct parts, has no charm, soul or attraction.

You need to read the pages on this reference to be confident but here is the short overview:

  • Check the serial, and case back reference are correct and matching.
  • Check the case for (over) polish and condition. There is no need to accept an over-polished case in this plentiful reference.
  • Check the dial for correctness and condition, and attraction. Have confidence in yourself. If you do not like the dial, it is unlikely to be a valuable watch.
  • Check the hands, bezel for correctness and condition.
  • Assume the movement needs a $650 service unless you see documents.

145.022-68. The Transitional. Highly sought after, with the long indices, Applied Metal Logo (AML) dial. Sometimes seen with drop end spear Chrono hand. State of the dial is crucial to value. I expect a DO90 bezel.

145.022-69. The most common. Again the state of the case and dial is central to the value. The dial has shorter plots, a painted logo and the chrono is square ended spear. Bezel can be DN90 or DO90 but adjust price for the DO90 bezel by 500-2000, but can be as much as $3000. (as at October 2016)

145.022-69 Straight Writing. There are several versions, make sure the one you are looking at is vintage, and know if you are looking at the very rare Apollo IX one. Bezels are DN90.

145.022-71 Stamped case back. The dial is still stepped, DN90, square end Chrono. These can still exhibit attractive patination.

145.022-74. The dial loses its step. These dials tend not to show thier age in the same way as the previous.

145.022-76 and 78. These are the last of the date stamped cases. These should offer the greatest value.

Things to be aware of:

  • A DO90 bezel can be worth up to $3000 (October 2016) in mint condition. This is correct equipment up to and including approximately 29m.
  • The hippocampus on the rear on the premoon is acid etched, and was designed to be easily removed for re engraving by the customer.
  • These watches are often serviced by replacing the hands, bezel, and even dial with modern ones. See this page. This destroys the vintage attraction, and therefore value.
  • All dials have T SWISS MADE T.
  • Brown dials can be very much more valuable than the Price Chart. See the Brown Dial page. This is a whole different area of collecting.
  • As a rule, anything under $2000 will need an immediate service.
  • As a rule, anything over $2000 will need a service. See what I am saying there? Everything will need a service, unless you have papers to say it has one already from a recognized workshop.
  • The straight writing case back has three executions – make sure you know which one you are looking at. One is very much rarer.

Price Chart for November is out.

We are in interesting times.

Prices for straight lug speedmasters have become wildly variable as good examples fetch strong money, and others that are not good float around with price tags out of touch with reality.

Private sources for all Speedmasters are but a fraction of what they were two years ago. Dealers now play a larger influence in the market and this makes for higher prices and lower quality watches. A dealer will rarely present a watch in as good a condition as a collector will want to keep it in. (So one avenue  is to buy from fellow collectors).

I am not criticising dealers for this, they trade watches for profit, and so must take the most profitable avenue. It’s not a crime. So any barn find watch a dealer gets hold might be cleaned up and have its charm (for me) removed without actually spending the time and money to improve it properly, the way a motivated collector might.

Not always – if you are lucky a dealer may flip the watch acquired without touching it – and while not my favourite aquisition method it works. Then you can service it properly, and have a wonderful piece that shows its  history in a beautiful manner.

I am being very careful, some call this a bubble.

I am old enough to have seen this before.

As ever, I wish you all luck with your hunts!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The -74 came in, and it’s a Result!

I bought this after no one picked up on my recommendation.

On arrival I was expecting a worse watch than I got. The photo shows the lower subdial not centred and so I was expecting Chrono Creep and and immediate service required.

I was too exited to take pictures as I went, and anyway my camera is in a different country. (So Iphone pictures).

This is what I did:

  • De-cased the movement
  • Replaced the crown on the existing stem
  • Stripped out the pushers, discovered a missing spring in one.
  • Removed the crystal and polished it
  • Polished case and back with Cape Cod cloth
  • Found a non omega lollipop chrono hand, for now.

should have taken photos but way to exited. Here is before and after:

An Interesting 145.0?? On Ebay

After several requests for an opinion on this, I am writing this post.

Offered again for sale on ebay, this is a rather strange concoction. It carries a service dial, which I have a soft spot for – these service dials are actually quite rare, and can carry their own charm.

(All photos are from the listing)

s-l1600

On first sight it is a very clean watch. On closer inspection the cons mount up quickly.

This watch has been sold once already, at quite a high price of 2900 sterling which equates to a fraction under US$4500. The buyer backed out, apparently.

Now what is it? Lets go through, using the Speedmaster101 technique! We need to find calibre, caseback number and serial, then check if it all comes together:

Calibre and serial:

s-l1600mov

 Calibre 321, asymmetric bridge with a serial of 27320298.

Now the case back…. a CB case (back)!

s-l1600 cb

So now we must turn our attention to the case band (As MWO has coined it). A real CB case will have facet junctions, but this does not. Indeed the case band does not seem to have the same wear as the back. So it would appear the sellers assertion that the caseback is non original is correct.

Now lets check the serial.

27320298 is in a very rare range, and seen in 145.012-68. It is not possible this was in a 105.012 going on previous observations.

So now what? We have what appears to be a watch of many origins. There is a possibility this was a factory serviced watch – after all that service dial came from somewhere. The bezel is from the late 1969+ era, and in good condition. The dial is a service dial but we have to be careful here. We need to be sure that it is not an 861 dial, as these can be dropped onto a 321 movement – they wont stay without some help (dial pads), but I have seen it. This has a painted logo, so less desirable.

There are all sorts of reasons this watch might have ended up like this, but they do not affect its value – it is a frankenwatch.

I could only value this a parts. That means 1000-1500 for the movement, 600 for the back, 100-200 for the dial and 200 for the bezel. The caseband with new pushers will have some value too. But that’s just me. With 321 speedmaster prices rising ever higher perhaps someone is willing to make the compromise.

As ever with an Ebay auction, buy the seller.

Christie’s Speedmasters – Just the list

Pre 1978 Speedmasters

Lot 3                     2915-1                 $100,000 – $150,000                       NOS Case

Lot 4                     2915-2                 $50,000 – $80,000

Lot 5                     2998-1                 $20,000 – $30,000                           Tropical

Lot 6                     2998-4                 $8,000 – $12,000

Lot 7                     2998-62               $12,000 – $18,000                           Massive Chono Creep

Lot 8                     105.002-62         $5,000 – $8,000

Lot 9                     105.003-64         $8,000 – $12,000                             Tropical

Lot 10                   105.003-65         $8,000 -$12,000               Non Valuable history

Lot 11                   105.012-66         $4,000 – $8,000                                CB case

Lot 12                   105.012-66         $3,500 – $5,500                                CB Case

Lot 13                   145.012-67         $3,000 – $5,000                                With Box and Papers

Lot 14                   BA145.022-69    $15,000 – $30,000                           No 85, with Crater Box

Lot 15                   145.022-69         $ on request                                     Flown Watch

Lot 16                   BA145.022-69    $40,000 – $80,000                           No 1007 For Ron Evans, with Crater Box

Lot 17                   145.022-69         $2,000 – $4,000                                220 bezel , with printed crater box

Lot 18                   145.022-69         $3,000- $5,000                                 tropical Dial, with printed crater box

Lot 19                   145.022-69         $6,000 -$10,000               Meister dial with box

Lot 20                   145.022-69         $20,000 – $30,000                           Racing dial

Lot 21                   BA145.022          $12,000 – $22,000                           No 971

Lot 22                   145.022-69         $3,000 – $6,000                                Straight writing back. Printed box

Lot 23                   145.022-69         $3,000 – $5,000                                Telemetre bezel Km

Lot 24                   145.022                   $20,000 – $30,000                           Soyuz

Now often I go through lot by lot and give an opinion.

You will have to wait until after the sale…..

I am going to buy some of them!

Christies Speedmaster Sale

Due to take place on December 15th 2015.

I would put photos but I do not have any of my own – this is a quick reaction to the published catalog.

Christies have made a fanfare and is presenting 50 Speedmasters for sale, (oops no, 48 watches and two non watch items) including some Alaska prototypes, a flown speedmaster, an astronaut’s commemorative gold speedmaster, (one of three BA145.022’s) and several other not so interesting later limited editions.

You can see the catalog here

Now before you get too exited, there are only 21 vintage, (Pre -78) Speedmasters. There are some interesting prototypes and space connected watches. There is even the infamous waste of time collection on sale, again – the case of near identical 1861 speedmasters, though to be fair, at least this time the estimate is half to a third of what I have seen asked recently.

The sale is a little upside down, normally I see auctions starting low, and introducing more and more interesting lots as it proceeds. Here we slap straight into the most valuable speedmaster in the world. The 2915-1. All manner of questions must be asked of this watch, especially in view of the recent bezel debacle, where several supposed vintage bezels have surfaced on the market only to be exposed as new made items. With a steel bezel like this, these is no reason that would prevent a skilled artist replicating it beyond my ability to tell.

I am not in a position to comment about the content as I have not examined all of them, but my thoughts on the 2915 are as follows:

At first sight it looks very good indeed. The case is almost unworn, and the lugs show a profile I have only seen on a NOS 2998-1. So I believe the case is correct. The rear case back has the speedmaster around the edge, as it should. The dial looks to be correct, with the shorter 5 minute markers on the right subdial. (the 2998 dial is a little longer).

The hands worry me. The hour hand looks like the arrow head is similar to repro I have seen, but the minute does not worry me so much. (I do not know enough).

The bezel scares the pants off me.

The short answer on this 2915 is that it scares me. It is a lot of money to put down for a fantastic case and a bezel and hands that to me, because of my inexperience, I cannot say for sure are original.

Lets sum up the rest of the sale:

Lot 3                     2915-1                 $100,000 – $150,000                       NOS Case

Lot 4                     2915-2                 $50,000 – $80,000

Lot 5                     2998-1                 $20,000 – $30,000                           Tropical

Lot 6                     2998-4                 $8,000 – $12,000

Lot 7                     2998-62               $12,000 – $18,000                           Massive Chono Creep

Lot 8                     105.002-62         $5,000 – $8,000

Lot 9                     105.003-64         $8,000 – $12,000                             Tropical

Lot 10                   105.003-65         $8,000 -$12,000               Non Valuable history

Lot 11                   105.012-66         $4,000 – $8,000                                CB case

Lot 12                   105.012-66         $3,500 – $5,500                                CB Case

Lot 13                   145.012-67         $3,000 – $5,000                                With Box and Papers

Lot 14                   BA145.022-69    $15,000 – $30,000                           No 85, with Crater Box

Lot 15                   145.022-69         $ on request                                     Flown Watch

Lot 16                   BA145.022-69    $40,000 – $80,000                           No 1007 For Ron Evans, with Crater Box

Lot 17                   145.022-69         $2,000 – $4,000                                220 bezel , with printed crater box

Lot 18                   145.022-69         $3,000- $5,000                                 tropical Dial, with printed crater box

Lot 19                   145.022-69         $6,000 -$10,000               Meister dial with box

Lot 20                   145.022-69         $20,000 – $30,000                           Racing dial

Lot 21                   BA145.022          $12,000 – $22,000                           No 971

Lot 22                   145.022-69         $3,000 – $6,000                                Straight writing back. Printed box

Lot 23                   145.022-69         $3,000 – $5,000                                Telemetre bezel Km

Lot 24                   145.022 $20,000 – $30,000                           Soyuz

Now often I go through lot by lot and give an opinion.

You will have to wait until after the sale…..

I am going to buy some of them!

Square or Drop End Chrono Hand?

There has been some confusion as to when the square end chrono, replaces the drop end. Many say it came in on the 145.022 but there are so many 145.012’s with it I believe it is a correct fitment. We also see calibre 861 Transitionals carry both types.

Here is the square end, that was first seen on 145.012’s:

1-145012 26552403-001

1-26554539 145012-67 1-24539302 1450012-001
Square end Chrono Drop End Chrono
1-four 003
Some 105.003’s including (top centre) an Omega “restoration” that carries the square end chrono. I believe none of this reference ever had the square end as OEM.
1-image
So the 105.003 on the left is incorrect, even though the hands look old enough to be original. The watch on the right is a 145.012 that has service hands, of the correct shape. Although I would accept a square end on this reference.

Recently I was contacted by an owner who showed me his two near NOS 145.012’s watches, and who’s history he knows. Looking at them they are in exceptional condition. The serials are very close, but the later number carries the square end. He tells me both are unserviced, and unaltered.All further photos in this post are his.

Note the chrono hands. Here is the earlier watch:

Omega Speedmaszer 145.012
Omega Speedmaster 145.012

1-3647929i_xxl-001

Omega Speedmaster 145.012
Omega Speedmaster 145.012
Omega Speedmaster 145.012
Omega Speedmaster 145.012

And here is the slightly later one showing the square end:

Omega Speedmaszer 145.012-II
Omega Speedmaster 145.012-II
Omega Speedmaszer 145.012-II
Omega Speedmaster 145.012-II
Omega 145.012-II
Omega 145.012-67

Many thanks to Ralph Cal_11 for some of these pictures and information.

In conclusion I accept square end chronos on later 145.012’s.

I also accept as original drop end chronos on early 145.022’s.

Why Buy a 145.022 ?

The 861 Speedmaster has several advantages over its 321 predecessors:

Ease of maintenance – parts are readily available and the movements are more familiar to more watchmakers.

Choice – there are a huge number on the market at any given time, and there are four variants to choose from. Then there is also the chance of a very attractive brown dial.

Value – and 861 from the 1970’s can still be had for under $2000 (But will need immediate work). I just bought one – true it is going to have $600 spent on it but still that’s cheap for a tool watch. Not everyone wants to run around with a $5000 or $10,000 watch on their wrist. Now of course it is possible to spend much more on an 861 Speedmaster, but to justify that it has to be special. It could be exceptional condition, or an attractive brown dial. One thing that I urge caution on is box and papers – don’t buy a watch that you would not want otherwise. Because you are probably going to loose them.

There are four to choose from (click green dots to go to the page):

A Transitional…..

  • Pros: Rare, attractive and interesting
  • Cons: hard to find, harder to find correct. More expensive

A Smooth backed…..

  • Pros: Relatively easy to find a wide choice, often carries an attractive patina.
  • Cons: Can have had a tough life, or been neglected (same for all but these especially)

An engraved back…..

  • Pros: Unusual
  • Cons: Rare, though not as valuable as the Transitional, but no one seems to have told the dealers…

A stamped medallion back……

  • Pros: Best value out there. Some have nice patina. Plentiful.
  • Cons: For the moment, these will might have the least value increase in real terms, but so what? (They might end up with the largest percentage increase, but as they have a low cost.)

Each of these has its own attraction, but all will give many years of service, when looked after, That means when you buy one, get it serviced. These watches are old, and unless you have a documented service history, it will need a service. There are endless discussions on internet fora, but the one common thingwatchmakers say is a watch needs a service – and to silence the cynics this comes from watchmakers who have no shortage of business. The point is, ALWAYS factor in the cost of a service if you don’t have the paper.

 How To Buy One

Here is how to buy one:

Decide what you want to pay, and perhaps set a maximum, at least have an idea.

Choose which variant you prefer

Then trawl. The internet, and specifically eBay is the best source period. It is from Ebay I have bought my best one owner watches. It is from dealers I bought my worst, (in my early days…). The thing is that most 861 speedmasters will need a service. Even a beaten up thing, if it has no corrosion and a clean movement will likely turn out to be a good watch.

Most dealers will work on a watch, spending as little money as possible to make the watch presentable. I make no complaint, but you have to be aware when buying. They will find it hard to buy a watch for $2000 and then spend $600 on an omega approved service. They might choose to do it themselves, and that is a crap-shoot. There is no harm to look at dealers pages, perhaps www.chrono24.com or www.hqmilton.com but if you spend some time you will see the price difference. At the level these watches are worth, its hard for a dealer to make a meaningful profit.

When you find a watch you like, check the basics:

  • See the case back
  • See the serial
  • Check the serial is in range here
  • Check for no corrosion
  • Check for a clean movement
  • Check the hands, bezel and dial are correct for the variant here
  • Finally have a look at the price chart. Its not gospel so hope to get within 20-30% of the figures. Dont be over harsh or generous!

Lastly if you are still unsure, ask. There is plenty of help for those who contribute, (even if its just photos) on www.omegaforums.net

And another good post here:

http://speedmaster101.com/blog/the-quick-and-dirty-way-to-buy-well-check-a-145-022/

An Assessment of a 145.022-74

Trawling ebay, as we all do, I saw this 145.022-74

FACE

Is it worth buying? A quick check on the price chart and it shows values of:

145.022-7x 1700 1850 2800 3300

As of today it has a bid on it of $1500 and three bidders, each with several hundred feedback. So what is it?

Back to basics, and we need to know the reference, as confirmed by the case back, and the movement number and calibre. The seller in spite of his terrible photography skills, manages a near perfect shot of the movement and caseback:

MOV

It is an 861, serial 31620909 and the caseback is marked 145.022-74. That all fits with accepted ranges.

1-MOV 1-MOV-001

It has some problems. The bezel, while correct is on crooked – this indicates much deeper issues. Why was it put on wrong? Or is it loose? It is a nice looking correct bezel with a gentle fade. But it needs attaching properly. The 60 should be above the 12 marker.

1-FACE

The dial looks acceptable, correct (domed, no step) and with slightly discolored plots – in an attractive way. The hands are tired, possibly dirty, and the chrono is of course a bastard that shouldn’t be on there.

The hour subdial is creeping, and this would be corrected at service.

1-FACE-003

The crystal is cracked.

1-FACE-002

The rear photo shows a clean case, with a new gasket, and very dirty pushers and incorrect crown:

1-MOV-002

The 1171 if not the 1171/1 will add value. It is a usable bracelet, and suits the watch.

It is in shocking condition – perfect for a service / restoration. Most of the problems will be sorted with a correct service by a technician with access to parts.

So what is it worth? Well certainly I think it is a sound basis for a nice watch after service and clean. That to me makes it “good” less the cost of service. So $2800 -$650 so $2150.

Now if the service is not carried out by a proper techician, and all the service parts are not replaced, then its not what I am talking about. The crystal, crown, pushers, chrono hand all need to be changed, and the hands hopefully just cleaned.

When I started this post I thought this watch was awful. Having gone through it step by step, it seems a good proposition for someone wanting an early 1970’s watch with the domed dial and a little character.

At the end of the day, this is what it could look like:

145.022-78. 39m serial
145.022-78. 39m serial