Acquiring, valuing and assessing brown dials is a skill that requires skill, experience and a little luck. The value difference in them is enormous.
Here is my favorite brown dial, along side another, later 145.022-78 that cost under $2000. The price of $10,000 on the brown is my estimate. I bought it for less, and would not sell it – even for much more.
That’s the problem with browns, not many people want to let go of the good ones.
All prices include a DO90 bezel, up to and including the 145.022-69 line. If the watch you are valuing does not have a DO90 bezel, commensurate with the “grade” you have allocated, then you need to adjust the price appropriately.
My rough estimated values included in each price are:
Rough on Poor +400 Range 200-600
Passable on Running +700 Range 600-800
Good on Good +1000 Range 800 – 1200
Top on Collector +1500 Range1200 – 2000
Of course if a preceding reference is missing a DO90 then that value needs to be adjusted.
Once again you have to use you head and remember these are all arbitrary valuations.
No post is complete without a photo, so here is a DO90 bezel only a mother could love:
Is this the way of the future? Honestly I do not know but it is causing a problem in the price chart. A 69 speedmaster can correctly come with this bezel or the DN90, the value difference is obviously now $1000-2000 if it has a DO90 bezel. Perhaps we need two values for the 145.022’s.
I do have an issue with the bezel above is it is not high quality. Note the damage, the scratch between 65 and 60, the mark at 66, the white marks at 115 and 130, 225, 275, dents at 160 and possibly 75. It does not compare for instance with this, sold for 1875 by Watchco / ch-time last year for $1875:
This bezel had no marks or blemishes compared to the first one.
This bezel madness means that people are now paying as much for a bezel as some later speedmasters are selling for the entire watch:
This is one I bought that admitted needed work but after a full service will come good. And although the bezel is a DN90 it is an attractive fade. The watch cost $1700 and the service and hand will be about $650. Read more here.
So bezels are now going to play a disproportionate influence on the value of a watch.
If a pre 1967 speedmaster does not have one, then it is going to cost the new owner $1000-2000 to get it right. That is a big difference.
Mind you, already I hear whispers by owners threatening to break watches they are selling as they think they might get more for the watch in pieces if it has a nice bezel.
And what a difference a bezel makes:
Before and after:
I suppose that by today’s values, the lower bezels are adding $2000 in value to the watches. Are they? Another question is if the watches were offered with the lesser bezels how much less would they sell for. In this crazy market maybe no much less.
And how much are those low quality bezels worth now, $600?
Here is my idea of bezel values:
Top, unblemished $2000
Attractive, marked but not too bad $1200-1500
damaged but passable $600-800
Meteor Bezel $400
Now already I see a flaw in my values, as the bezel that started this post was not Top, it was Attractive. If it was a blip, an outlier my prices are good.
Unfortunately I may be behind the market and we need to add $500-1000 to my prices. I find it insane, but understandable given the new influx of buyers we are seeing.