Bonhams Auction Speedmasters, June 2016

Thesre were four speedmasters in Bonhams this June, and be a stroke of luck I was able to view them in person. I didn’t count how many Rolex were on sale but it was a significantly greater number than the Speedmasters. One of the staff confided that they had more Speedmasters to sell, but they did not want to put too many in one sale. I would say they could have put quite a few more in and not affected demand or price. Also I am not sure they know the difference between references. (They will, as everyone appears to be more and more interested in them).

Prices are including the Auction commissions, USD figures at todays rate, rounded up to nearest $100.

Lot 15

105.002-62 with early serial and Alpha hands.imageCA8N1860

Lot 17, 105.002-62 sold for $17,400. Photo from Bonhams

It was in good condition, with a good bezel and original alpha hands. It did not have as much attraction as some I have seen, but it didn’t stop it selling for £11,750 (USD$ 17,400). That’s a massive price, and it will be reflected in the price chart. There were several bidders for this and so it is a clear indication that this reference is in demand. Here are a couple of my Iphone shots:IMG_0883It has obviously had some work done, note the square end chrono (should be drop end) and the oversize pushers. See here for 105.002 details

And here with catalog:

IMG_0887

Lot 18

imageCAT2S8UG
Lot 18. 105.003-63. Sold for $13,000. Photo from Bonhams

105.003-63

This had Omega service history and a terrible service dial and bezel. The selling price of £8750 (USD$13,000) might at first glance seem over paid. However it is a very rare reference, the -63 is hard to come by. Secondly in the bag of parts that Omega sent back with the watch are a pair of No6 endlinks, (last seen selling on Ebay for over $1000) and a near mint DO90 bezel, (last seen selling on Ebay for $2500). And a 7912 bracelet! So with spare parts worth over $4500 the watch costs approximately $9500. BUT it is without a dial. Strangely the 105.003 dial has been easier to source in my experience than any other pre-pro dial. Not a bad buy in my opinion. If you have a dial…

Lot 39

imageCA5URQCH
Lot 39 105.003-65. Sold for $13,000. Photo from Bonhams

105.003-65

The more common -65 Ed White. This was a charming watch, a genuine watch from an owner. The crystal was badly marked but otherwise the watch seems very honest and correct. The dial is very attractive, and the bezel better than the photo. I was told it came in from a private source through regional office  – which accounts for the somewhat lower estimate. In the end it sold for £10,000 (USD$13,000). I think this was the buy of the sale.

IMG_0882

The dial was very nice, the bezel better than the photo, and the whole watch was attractive and original.

Lot 90

18kt Gold Soyuz

imageCA9AG7GV
Lot 90 18kt Gold Soyuz. Sold for £12,000. Photo from Bonhams

A very cool limited edition, sold on the right money for £12,000, (USD$17,800) but estimated at half. Showing a little aging on the gold but no damage, I think this is one of my favorite limited editions. Its very rare, only 50 made, and wears better than the 1969 18kt versions – although I would always choose the 1969 for its history – and solid gold dial. This had a short bracelet but came with three extra links. Important, as gold speedmaster links are around $1000 to remake and fit.

IMG_0890

IMG_0892

 

Updated Price Chart for June

The Speedmaster market has leveled off slightly, perhaps in tune with a general slowing of other watches and discretionary mid level spending in general. My friends in the medium to high jewelry markets are all complaining, and vintage cars too seem to have leveled off and some are proving, just like the watches, slow sellers at the new prices.

The chart has only minor changes. I am grateful to all those of you who are kind enough to share with me what they have paid for watches. It is this peer to peer information that I find most valuable.

In general, it seems the watches are thinner on the ground, but if they are over pitched with some problems, they dont sell. Several 105.012’s have sold for $7,000 to $10,000 while others, with only minor but obvious defects have failed to sell at the owners expectations.

As prices have risen dramatically, so have the criticisms leveled at the chart. I reiterate, this is a private tool I make available freely, that needs to be used with a bit of common sense. As time goes by my bullet points improve:

  • Prices are Head only in USD for a complete, correctly appointed watch
  • A Collectors Grade 2915 is not the same as a collectors 145.022, which will be NOS, while the 2915 will be in very good condition, but not NOS. (As NOS 2915’s are not seen. If they exist, then the price will be much higher than the chart).
  • Prices are based on transactions, and are intended to reflect a transaction between two willing and knowledgeable private owners, NOT Dealers, nor bricks and mortar Auction houses. You will almost certainly pay more from an auction, and that is not a failure on your part.
  • Remember to factor the DO90 bezel factor.
  • The prices are meant to help you come to the ballpark. It is OK to pay more for a watch that you find desirable, for whatever reason. This is discretionary spending – it should please you.
  • If you do pay above the chart, make sure you know why – even if it doesn’t make sense to others, YOU must know.
  • Some people pay much less than the chart. Often there is a good reason, (chipped case, little spot on the dial, dented DO90 bezel), but sometimes they pay a Running price for a Good watch. It happens.

There is also a little anomaly with the 2915-3.

This watch came in two executions and they cannot be valued the same, if correctly appointed. The price in the chart really reflects the Alpha Hand, Black BASE1000 bezel version, where as the Broad Arrow, Steel BASE1000 bezel version will be closer to the price of a 2915-2 – but not quite. Again it is a case of using a bit of common sense.

from Left to right:

2915 -3, -3, -2, -1

P3020013-002

Superluminova Vs Tritium

Quite often we see vintage speedmasters offered with superluminova hands, replaced at service.

Superluminova hands were fitted as standard on watches much later than the watches we look at, (from 1994 approximately) and coincided when the dials lost the T marks around the same time. This new luminous material is much brighter after exposure to light, and lasts longer after exited, and also stays active over many years.

However it looks quite out of place on our vintage watches. Here is one recently sold on www.omegaforums.net. It clearly shows hands with a greenish hue on the lume and very bright.

105012 with SL hands

Note the hands have a strong colour, very white and very clean, compared to the dial, and dial plots.

Here is a watch with tritium hands that are correct for the age:

P3020033

As can be noted, the tritium of these hands has decayed and the colour has yellowed to a pleasant hue, and seems to compliment the dial plots.

Omega still supply baton hands but these are Superluminova. I recently was lucky enough to acquire these tritium hands. Never fitted to a watch, I consider them NOS. The tritium has faded slightly, though not as much as the watch pictured above.

P6230003

The top two hands are Superluminova and the two lower pairs are the unused old tritium hands. It is easier to see when removed from the cards:

P6230001  P6230004-001

In low light, after a few minutes exposure, the characteristics of the two types of hands are obvious, the green Superluminova hands glowing green, while the tritium does not glow at all.

I value these hands quite high, as they will add considerably to a watch that needs them.

 

105.012 for sale looked at using the price chart

There is a 105.012-65 for sale on omega forums here. This is not intended to be a critique of the listing, just an illustration of the process I use to value a watch with the price chart.

This is the watch:

image
105.012.65 for sale on Omegaforums.net photo from listing. This is the best overall shot provided.

I like shopping through this forum as the people are usually sensible and the watches are sometimes very nice, collector owned and cared for. If I cannot buy from a private owner, then a careful collector is the next best thing.

I am often queried about the price chart so let me take you through my thinking on this watch.

First we have to remember this reference has stretched out its value range in the last 12 months, with some fine examples exceeding $15,000.  There have also been some strong auction  results but these don’t influence the price chart much as often these auction prices are closer to those charged at retail. (Ralph Lauren for one example).

The first thing to think of is the price range: “running” is 5200 and “good” is 9100. These figures are USD for the head only, and represent prices paid between two knowledgable collectors. There are two ways I go,  but first with this watch I will take the higher price and reduce to account for the issues.

The owner has been quite transparent and listed the watches issues plainly:

  • damage to the lug from previous bracelet removal.
  • incorrect hands
  • incorrect bezel
  • the dial has issues with lack of concentric rings and there is debate about the T SWISS T marking.

In addition I feel the watch has been polished more than I would like, when I look at the rear case back, which has lost definition on the double step. So now we must decide what to take off if we are to start with the “good” value of $9100.

  • -1500 case damage and polish (this is a highly subjective figure – some might say only $500). And for any doubt in the dial.
  • -300 incorrect hands
  • -2000 for a good bezel. (Possibly more- good bezels are impossible )
  • -750 for a full service. (” good ” watches are valued with a recent service)

This is gives us a figure of 9100 – 4550 = 4550. Of course this is an arbitrary figure, but does compare with a couple of 105.012’s sold on eBay in the last 6 months, both with missing bezels.

We can check by going the other way, taking the value of $5200 for a “running” watch:

  • no adjustment for case
  • -100 hands ( as these will be dealt with at service)
  • -1200 for incorrect bezel (a fair condition one)
  • no service is accounted for in value.
  • +1000 dial is in better than running condition

This gives us a figure of 5200 – 1300 + 1000 =$ 4900

Now I have my base value, between $4500 and $4900 we can look at the other factors that will add to the value:

  • Overall attraction (do you like it? Does it look better than others you have seen? Does it appeal to you?)
  • location. (Is it especially convenient to you? )
  • rarity. Is it one of only a few you have seen available, do you feel the need to snap it up?
  • is there some other aspect or part of the watch that is special? (For example is the dial or bezel especially or unusually fine?)

Let us also ask, what stops this watch being a collector grade?

  • dial: dirty plots, lack of concentric rings on subdials.
  • superlmimova hands
  • incorrect bezel
  • damged, and polished case.

While we might replace the bezel and the hands, the case and dial will always be what they are – even if repaired the case won’t make collector grade.

Now for the caveats:

I have no connection to the seller nor the watch. I make no critisms of the watch nor do I recommend you buy it or not buy it. You must decide through your own research and do due diligence on the watch and the seller.

My price chart is sometimes criticised for being too low. I accept that. I am not saying the seller is asking too much I am comparing previous sales to this watch. If you pay more than my base value then you will have a good reason, and that should give you pleasure. Many things I buy I end up paying a little more than I should, but I am happier if I do it with my eyes open and know why I do.