Bonhams Sale December 2015

There are three Speedmasters in Bonhams Auctioneers, scheduled to sell on 16th December, and you can see the full catalog here. All photos and descriptions are lifted from the catalog. The premium is 25% on the bid. Note that two of these are subject to 20% vat on the entire amount. So that is BID+COMMISSION+VAT. Work it out. Not that cheap after all. (Obviously exporters do not have to pay this).

The online catalog is not easy to see the true condition, the photos are not that great, and possibly over processed. These watches really need to be inspected at the premises in New Bond Street in London.


First is a 105.003-64. The watch looks to have correct parts and serial. The hands look super white and may be more recent replacements of the correct shape. The bezel is correct but some damage – its not a top condition, (and therefore value). The 7912 bracelet is also correct, and if it has the correct No. 6 end links that’s would be $2000 to replace.

The dial looks nice and the case looks thick – these two things, added to the correct bezel and bracelet, mean the watch should sell well. I expect it to be bid over estimate.

Lot 24 Omega. A stainless steel manual wind chronograph bracelet watch Speedmaster ‘Ed White’, Ref:S105.003-64, Movement No.22824599, Circa 1964 £3,000 – 5,000 US$ 4,500 – 7,600


Lot 66
Next we have another straight lug, a 2998-3 with the super rare lollipop, but a telemetre bezel.  I am suspicious of this watch. I don’t like the lume on the lollipop nor the greenish lume on the triangle hour hand. If it is all original, it doesn’t look attractive. The telemetre bezel is a tough one, because it is not possible for me to distinguish the difference between an old, original one and a new ($200) one that has been aged. Therefore I do not allow the bezel to contribute to my valuation. Remember a correct DO90 bezel will be over $1000. (Recently another sold for $1800 but it was NOS).
The serial is 17762911. I think this is OK – but not 100% on this, and because of the hands and bezel I am super sensitive to anything that is not totally correct.
This obviously has no bracelet, but this will have to be born in mind when valuing. (A correct bracelet will cost as much as $1500-2000)
Note also that this watch is subject to 20% vat on the entire price.
Even so, with all the caveats, I expect this watch to be bid for well over estimate because people will be blinded by the lollipop and ignore the telemetre, and lack of bracelet. That said the 20% vat might slow the local bidders.
 Lot 66Ω Y Omega. A stainless steel manual wind chronograph wristwatch Speedmaster, Ref:2998-3, Movement No.17762911, Circa 1960 £4,600 - 5,400 US$ 7,000 - 8,200

Lot 66Ω Y
Omega. A stainless steel manual wind chronograph wristwatch
Speedmaster, Ref:2998-3, Movement No.17762911, Circa 1960
£4,600 – 5,400
US$ 7,000 – 8,200

Lot 67

Next is a project watch. I think is a frankenwatch, put together from parts that never met at the Omega factory. Listed as a 105.003, but the movement number is probably misread: 29525748 which is not a 321 number. We really need to see inside the back before bidding – it could even be an 861 in there. EDIT: It has been suggested, sensibly, that this is a miss-read of the number and that the actual number could be 20525748 that puts it right at the start of production of this reference – it makes sense. Therefore I would withdraw the “Frankenwatch” description.

The bezel is another indeterminate age one, as Telemetre bezels cannot be accurately determined as to age. That means we have to discount the value as the original DO90 is so valuable. This bezel looks bleached.

The hands look ok.

The dial, a non pro stepped dial, looks as though it might be missing any T marks. I cannot tell for sure, and if they are not there we need to double check it is not a redial (I don’t think it is). If so this is a valuable 2998 dial, and will ensure the watch is sold. EDIT: I think there may be high T marks, just not easily spotted. Thanks again for the contribution!

The crystal is wrong for a 105.003, it has the silver rehaut instead of black, This is a very common mistake.

The watch has chrono issues, the hour subdial does has not reset.

The 1171 bracelet is incorrect for this reference.

It is also subject to 20% VAT on the entire price if it stays in the UK.

With all these issues it is a lot of money.

 Lot 67Ω Omega. A stainless steel manual wind chronograph bracelet watch Speedmaster, Case No.S105.003-63, Movement No.29525748, Circa 1963 £3,000 - 3,500 US$ 4,500 - 5,300
Lot 67Ω
Omega. A stainless steel manual wind chronograph bracelet watch
Speedmaster, Case No.S105.003-63, Movement No.29525748, Circa 1963
£3,000 – 3,500
US$ 4,500 – 5,300

Speedmasters in HQ Miltons

HQ Milton * is a firm I respect.

I have had dealings with them and found them to be completely honest straightforward and often very good value – IF you know what you are looking at. I have never got the feeling that they are trying to make the months rent on a watch they are selling. They have recently moved more into Speedmasters, and so I now look at their site regularly.

They are like a river of watches – scores of watches, mostly Rolex,  pass through, and I feel like a fisherman on the bank watching the river flow, leaning in and grabbing a passing fish, in the knowledge that if I don’t grab it when I see it, it will be gone. HQMiltons have a habit of turnover, and I always feel the watches they sell are sold on a margin, and quickly. I notice that they sell everything, and so there is always new stock to see, and the older stock that I like is gone.

The down side to them is that they rely on their customers to assess the watches on offer; they do not promote, assess or over describe – they really do leave it up the buyer to decide. Indeed I feel the expect their buyers to be knowledgeable. This means that the watches they sell might have issues – though mostly this is reflected in the price. In fact I expect they sell to a lot of dealers.

Last week they offered a lovely 105.012 with what was described as a tropical dial. It was offered at $9800 which is very strong, but understandable if the dial looked good in real life. Unfortunately Miltons lighting does not show browns in a way I find easy to judge.

Tropical 105.012 sold by HQMilton last week
Tropical 105.012 sold by HQMilton last week. This watch has issues: The bezel is terrible, the pushers look awful. The dial is what makes it attractive, and indeed it sold within a few days

This week they have on offer a 145.022-68. Now this should be Transitional teritory, but the dial clearly is later. The watch deserves further investigation. As usual we look to the case reference, and the serial, and check the two are commensurate. Lets see the watch:

145.022-68 offered by HQ Miltons for $3700. It carries a later dial, and a modern pulsations bezel.

The case reference is 145.022-68 and the serial is 26.5m. This is one of the earliest calibre 861 Speedmasters I have seen, and almost certainly left the factory with a long indices, AML dial, and a DO90 bezel like this:


So the Miltons 145.022-68 is a Transitional, but without the dial and bezel that makes it so attractive and desirable. At $3700 it falls between running and good on the chart, BUT it is missing the two most valuable parts of the essential transitional elements, the dial and the bezel. Now in fairness, and this underlines everything I have said about them, they do not sell this as a Transitional. I think this is partly because they do not understand Speedmasters like some of us, but mostly because they expect their customers to do their own due diligence.

*I feel I should stress I am not endorsing, recommending, nor warning against this firm. I simply report my experiences with them and also assess some of the watches. They have not asked me to write this.