Further 2998 Hand Observations

There seems to be considerable variations in the actual layout these hands, and it is important to determine which are original. One of the reasons, apart form value preservation, is that having original, old, correct Omega hands adds to the attraction and desirability of the watch, while a watch fitted with service hands, especially the flat ones, will be less and less attractive as the owner becomes more and more aware.

These are my conclusions.

First if I see flat hands, with sharp edges, and sharp lume openings all through (on all four ends) then I treat them as service replacements.

There are new service replacements, “old” service replacements with tritium, and new hands with replaced lume.

These hands I consider modern replacements, with aged lume. Therefore when buying, I reduce the valuation. It is almost impossible to find old replacements, so it does not stop me from buying.

P7290009-001
Flat hands, thin lume, minute hand slightly short. Sharp lume openings.

This is another example of what I believe are service hands:

P7290010-001
Thin lume with square ends. Flat metal. The minute hand is also a little short.

Here is an example of what I think might be early service hands – because of the shape of the hands and the lume openings. I have seen this on numerous watches, but the colour does not strike me as truly vintage – but it is just a feeling. Perhaps these are early service hands from 60’s/70’s? Who knows, all I know is that I do not appreciate the colour.

P7290012-001
Thin, blueish lume, with curved ends on each end of the opening. The metal of the hands is slightly curved.

So are all thin lume hands replacements? I do not think so.  Are there any original thin lume hands for 2998’s? I think so. Note on the following examples the lume openings have ends that while are not always curved, they are not the “laser cut” sharp of the modern hands. Note also the minute hands reach the minute track.

P7290005-001
Thin lume, curved metal. Not all the ends of the lume are curved, but they are not sharp either. I also know the history of the watch and it is unlikely the hands were ever changed – although as always, it is possible.

Another set of thin lume originals:

P7290004-001

So when I look at thin lume hands, I want to see:

  • curved metal (not mirror flat)
  • Minute hand to the minute track
  • Curved or uneven lume opening ends. NOT sharp.

On now to the triangle lume hour hand sets. These are more desired by me, and also have different characteristics, including a shorter minute hand, and lume openings in the minute hands that can be sharp, or at least straight. Often we look immediately at the minute hand length, but I have seen some of these original sets do not have a minute hand that extends all the way to the track – but very close.

There are some service hands with the triangle lume but these hands are flat and super luminova. It would be possible to relume these but the flat would be harder to deal with.

Here are what I think are good sets. Note that some of the minute hands are not as long as the thin lume sets, and that some of the lume openings are squarer. However they are not sharp.

P7290022-001

P7290006-001 P7290016-001 P7290017-001 P7290020-001

So the triangle lume set seems to date to be much easier to accept as original, as there does not seem to be any reproductions or service items that can come close to looking like them.

So that is why I will always value a watch with correct triangle lume alpha hands over the straight lume.

See more about Minute hands here

See more about Hour hands here

 

And Now the Alpha Minute Hands for the 2998

Following on from the page on the 2998 Hour hands. At the moment I am just showing all the variations. I hope to pull it all together later.

All minute hands are 15.4 mm long, and have a thin lume line. This line appears in different lengths, and slightly different shapes at the ends. (measurements are open to error, but made with a vernier. The error is from not wanting to push the vernier against the tip of the loose hands, nor dismantle hands from a watch.

Lets start with hands I believe correct.

P7290008
Note the end of the lume, which is curved.
P7290022
Another with a curved end. Note also the profile of the hand, which is curved – rather than flat like a mirror

Now lets see some service hands:

P7290017
Note the square end lume, and flat profile of the hand

The thing is, we cannot divine the service hand simply by looking at the shape of the lume. As I said these two pages are simply a gathering of data. I like to zoom in on minute details, then back out and include the rest. So this page really is a wide open look into my brain as I try to work out the hands for 2998s!

And now hands for consideration:

P7290021
This hand has curved end at both ends of the lume, and also a slight curve on the metal. So I think it is Omega supplied
P7290020
A tough one. the hand metal is curved, but the lume profile is squared off. In this case we need to look at the hour hand in conjunction to guide our decision. (Next post!)
P7290017
Square end lume. Hand looks curved – hard to be sure from photo
P7290016
Hand is curved, but the lume is square. We need to see the hour hand too.
P7290015
Curved ends, and curved hand
P7290012
This hand was sold from a dealer who said they are mid 1970’s Omega Tritium service hands.

These next two photos demonstrate the difference between a curved hand and a flat hand: P7290008 P7290009

So there we have data. In my next post I will put it all together.

Hour Hands in 2998’s

(Top of the pile above is a 2915 – the rest are 2998’s)

I have long wondered at the variation in hands on 2998’s. I do not know for sure, (as I was not there) which hands Omega supplied at original production – perhaps all.  So the possibilities are:

  • Original Omega hands, supplied with the watch from new.
  • Omega hands, fitted as replacements at service
  • Non Omega supplied hands, fitted by non Omega watchmakers.

All hour hands fitted to 2998’s should be 11mm. Seamaster Alpha hands are shorter, and 2915-3 hands are longer.

I have no idea how Omega sourced them, but it is very clear there are numerous small variations in the original Omega hands – so I postulate there was more than one supplier of original hands, or one supplier using slightly different production methods. I think all the hands shown below are Omega supplied, but at different times. What I want to know is, are all the hands we see on 2998’s made or supplied to Omega? Following on is the question which ones are most desirable or valuable?

Here is some observed hands that people have been kind enough to let me photograph or crop.

This page is an examination of the hour hand only. Each hour hand has a complimentary minute hand that also has variations, but here we start by concentrating on the hour hand. Also the purpose of the page is to lay out observed variations, and I leave the conclusions only as to what I find desirable, and therefore more valuable.

First lets start with the triangle lume. I like to see these, and will pay more for a watch with them on than the thin lines:

P7190016These hands have a very slight curve across the hand. So they are easier to read, and do not reflect the light back like a mirror.P7190010

Now lets look at one of the straight line lumes, with square ends. I believe these are Omega Service replacements. The are flat and mirror-like. I do not value these as high as the triangle. These have lume that glows, and it is possible to see them with tritium or superluminova lume:

P7190006

Note the hard square ends, sharply cut out from the hands.P7190005

Also observe these hands are flat, like mirrors.P7190004

Now lets look at the straight lines with curved ends. I prefer these to the straight end cutouts as I think these are earlier service replacements:

P7190015

In summary I prefer the triangle lume hour hands, then the thin lines with round ends, and finally if a watch has square end lume I will try to source replacements.

What you do is up to you – I am not telling anyone what is 100% right or 100% wrong. We are flying in thin air here, with very little source material to rely on, only current observations. An owner who swear blind the watch is original since new, often turns out to be the third owner, and the watch bears service marks. So it cannot be used as source information.

Here is the study of minute hands

Watches of Knightsbridge 2 July 2016

In the middle of Brexit panic WoK held a sale, with 83 Omegas there were plenty of speedmasters. After the sale at Bonhams of the two 105.003’s for over 9000 each I was looking forward to seeing how this sale went. Of course the STG USD rate is advantageous to the US buyers, but not many big collectors swing their bats at WoK.

All prices are in UK pounds sterling. I have not converted to USD as the rate is fluctuating between roughly 1.40 and 1.29 at the time of writing.

Lot 268 – 105.003-64

First up was a 105.003, described as chocolate dial, and with an extract showing it was sold from the NAAFI.

This watch failed to sell, perhaps because it was a bit of a mess, and that was a dial only a mother can love – the plots were dirty, possibly re applied (although original 003’s can have terrible plots.) The dial body was called chocolate but to me it was dirty coloured. The pushers were enormous. Estimated at 3000-5000. It was a well avoided watch. No comparison to the Bonhams watches.

lot 268 unsold

268 2
105.003 Unsold . Terrible state of the dial, I wonder if this is a failed “cooking”attempt? Bezel is correct and OK but not good, hands are ok but chrono second hand looks to be a replacement, and the hour subdial is creeping.

Lot 269 105.003-65.

A different animal, this watch has a better dial, better bezel, incorrect chrono hand (no big deal) and a much better appearance. Bid was 5500 + 25% = 6875 (as it went to an online bidder, who has to pay an extra 3.6% on top of the 21%).

Very nice dial, ok bezel, needs a service, (chrono creep again) and pushers might be originals.

Bracelet looks like it could have been added later because it fits like a cheap suit. This watch, with a little work will be very nice.

299 1

269
105.003-65. Sold for 6875 incl premium

Lot 270 105.012-66 CB/HF

At 4000-5000 this was never going to fly. It did not sell. The caseband is a CB version with the facet lines clearly marked, but it is fitted with an HF back. So we are looking at some kind of assembly. At best, its just a swapped back….Hands are tired, dial plots are tired, but the DO90 bezel is lovely, and I would not have been surprised if someone had bought it just to get the bezel. However there would still have been a lot to sort out, what with the back, the hands and the plots. It would be an expensive bezel.

I could not get the serial, but that would be the next step to check it is a speedmaster movement. For a dealer with lots of spares, this would have been good to own – if a little expensive.

270 1

270
105.012-66 CB/HF. Unsold estimated 4000-5000

Lot 271 145.012-68

Estimated 3500 – 4000 but unsold

This is a rare version, as the -68 is unusual to see. This one looks nice, at first impression, despite the wrong bezel. The dial is attractive and in general it is a good looking watch. However the serial is too early for my liking, at 2495xxxx I see this range in earlier references. Bezel is from a later 1970’s watch and so I think this watch is assembled. Even the bracelet is also from a much later period.

To be clear, this is awful. Wrong movement, wrong bezel, wrong bracelet.

271

271 2
lot 271 145.012-68 Unsold, estimated 3500 to 4000

Lot 272 145.022-71

Sold well under the estimate at 1600, (est 2000 – 2500). This seems a fair deal. The -71 was the last of the stepped dials and can be very attractive, and at the same time good value. from the two photos it does indeed seem a nice watch for a fair price. I have not been able to check the serial or state of the movement.

Total price 2000 incl premium

272

272 1
Lot 272 145.022-71 sold for 2000 incl premium

Lot 274 145.022-76

Estimated 2000 to 2500 sold for 1600, (2000 incl premium)

A straight honest watch, from the photo. The -76 has the domed dial, and so ought to be valued a little less than the -71. This one has a good dial, bezel, clean hands and a good case. It also has the correct vintage 1171 bracelet.

274
Lot 274 145.022-76 Sold for 2000 incl premium

Why We Do Not Send Our Watches Home to Omega

Here are two 105.003’s. One was never touched by a watchmaker, and one was serviced by the Omega factory.

The one on the right was kept by its first owner until his death, when it was sold by the family. Comes with full papers and the original box.

The other was sent last year(!) To Omega and “serviced” by them.

I know which one I like best.

P7080002

Note the left hand watch has a bright Superluminova dial and hand set, and a modern service bezel. It also has service pushers, and crown, all of which differ from the watch on the right which carries originals. Note the colour differences, especially on the body of the dial.