Bonhams 14th December 2016

Selling at Bonhams, in London. See here for the sale.

Bonhams managed to sell several 105.003’s last year for prices just around 10,000 Sterling. This was when sterling was around 1.40 and then it dropped to 1,22.

The photos in the catalog are harsh, and I would recomend viewing, before bidding. All estimates are in USD although the sale is in GBP Sterling.

Lot 9 105.003-65  Estimate $6200 – $8700

See it here.

Lot 9 105.003-65

This is a fair example, presented without a bracelet, papers or box. (Important to remember – the previous STG10k Bonhams watches had bracelets, service history and boxes). Nor does it have the correct DO90 bezel, a trend I am seeing more and more at auctions – vintage Speedmasters being offered with modern bezels – presumably the original bezels are often sold separately ot used to enhance another, earlier watch.

This watch has a soft looking case, definitely polished, used and possibly polished again. The overall look is a used, serviced watch in not very original condition, with the wrong bezel and possibly service hands. With all this talk of service, don’t think this watch does not need immediate service, it does – by the look of the hour recorder which is not centred. This is a watch to buy and wear enjoy and slowly try to find another bezel. It should not go higher than the estimate to feel good on the wrist.

That said – there is a chance this is an attractive dial – if so then we could see it go higher. The photos are too harshly edited to be sure. This watch really needs closer inspection.

Lot 10 105.003-64  Estimate $8700 – $1,100

See it here

Lot 10 105.003-65
Lot 10 105.003-65

This has problems.

The first is the dial plots, and the over all look of the dial which I do not like.  There is some damage to the minute track as well. We can all see the incorrect pusher and the dirt around it. The chrono hand I would expect to see a drop end. The endlinks do not fit, and the bracelet looks completely devoid of spring.

The DO90 is ghosting, and people are going for this – I don’t really like it enough to pay a premium.

This is a watch ripe for a sympathetic restoration and relume. I suspect an Italian dealer may buy it. A service, relume, aged correct hands, and a Michael Young bracelet restoration and he will sell it for $18,000. Have to sort out those endlinks too.

This is a dealer watch, one that may turn out quite well after a lot of work requiring a range of talents – although it will always be a restored watch. It’s originality left a long time ago.

Lot 89 105.003-65 Estimate $7400 – $9900

See it here

Lot 89 105.003-65

Another tired example, but possibly with more originality. The bracelet endlinks give immediate concern, as in why and how did they get there? The 7912 bracelet is a plus as it looks in good condition – though this watch does not have the photos that the other lots do so I cannot tell.

The subdial is not centred, so immediate service required. Dial is correct and looks good.  Pushers look original and in good condition, DO90 bezel has to be original to the watch in that condition, and in general I like the whole look of this.

The catalog says it is from a private owner, which is always better – if true.

Lot 90 105.003-64  Estimate $2500 – $3700

see it here

Lot 90 105.012-66
Lot 90 105.012-66

Another incorrect bezel on an auction lot….

We don’t know if this is a CB or HF case, there are no facet lines to indicate a CB case but they could have been polished off. My guess is that this is an HF.

The dial is pretty damaged and blotchy, not attractive. This time it is the seconds subdial that is not centred, and probably means this needs a service.

The 1450 bracelet is incorrect for this reference.

The pushers look original and in good condition, so indicates to me this might respond well to service.

However in order to bring this watch up to par we need a Chrono hand (and all the work needed to make all the hands look right) , a bezel, a service and a miracle for the dial.

It is cheap, but that is because it is what it is worth.



Christies Speedmasters NY December 2016

On 6th December 2016 Christies are selling four Speedmasters in their watch sale. These are quite important watches and well above the usual for a B&M auction. Each is an interesting example of a rare reference. The sale is here.

Christies have really not done well in the photo department – none of them give me confidence to bid hard based on these photos. Inexcusable in today’s world.

Lot 27     2998-1

This is the most desirable 2998 to have, and with a tropical dial as well, this ought to sell well. The dial is correct, and this decay pattern is one I have seen only on early dials. I do not find this particularly attractive – its a sort of dirty brown, and more degraded than chocolate. Still I am sure it well sell well, not to me though. All the equipment seems present and correct.

Lot 27 Omega. Estimate $20,000 – $30,000.A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with “Tropical” Dial Signed Omega, Ref. 2998-1, Movement No. 17’302’754, Manufactured in 1959 Movement: Manual, Cal. 321, 17 jewels Dial: Black dial, luminous baton numerals, luminous hands, white chronograph hand, three subsidiary dials Case: Stainless steel, bezel with tachymeter scale, dust cover, screw back, two round chronograph buttons in the band, 40mm diam. Strap/Buckle: Omega crocodile strap, Omega stainless steel buckle Accompanied by: A copy of a sales receipt confirming the present watch was purchased at Slavick’s Jewelry in Los Angeles

Lot 28    2998-3

A fairly average example. Something might be going on inside judging by the chrono hand position. The lume seems to have come off the dial, leaving the white paint, The hands are vintage to my eye. However the hand layout is for a later 2998, in that I would expect to see a straight chrono and leaf hands in this, a -3. Estimate is lower, and so this might sell at a lower level given the incorrect hands and general lack of attractiveness. Or it might get over bid as people over look its faults.

Lot 28 estimated $13,000 to $20,000 Omega. A Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Ref. 2998-3, Movement No. 17’762’413, Manufactured in 1961 Movement: Manual, Cal. 321 Dial: Black, luminous baton numerals, luminous hands, three subsidiary dials Case: Stainless steel, bezel with tachymeter scale, dust cover, screw back engraved FAP, 39mm diam. Strap/Buckle: Associated leather strap, associated stainless steel buckle Accompanied by: An OMEGA Extract from the Archives

Lot 29  105.003

One of the last made, with the very high serial of 26.4m. This dial has tropicalised in a way I have not seen before in a 105.003 – but I have not seen everything. The bezel too is an unusual fade – and the photo obscures the 90 so we cannot confirm it is the correct DO90 – though from the rest of the font I think it is. Pushers look original. I like this one. But frankly not for the money – I would rather put it toward the next lot, the grey dial. Unless of course in hand it looks a lot more attractive than the photo.

Lot 29 Estimated $15,000-$25,000 Omega. A Fine Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with “Tropical” Dial and Bracelet Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Ref. ST 105 003, No. 26’441’774, Manufactured in 1967 Movement: Manual, Cal. 321, 17 jewels Dial: Black, luminous numerals, luminous hands Case: Stainless steel, screw back, two round buttons in the band, 39mm diam. Bracelet/Clasp: OMEGA stainless steel with deployant clasp, stamped 3 68 and 518 to the endlinks, overall approximate length 7 inches

Lot 30     105.003

Described as a steel grey dial, this is not really apparent in the pictures. The estimate is higher on this one than the other recently sold grey dial in Antiquorum, but this dial shows less damage. It is very hard to see which dial this is. If it is the Blue “Soliel”dial then I value these higher than the grey dial. However the Soleil dials that I have seen have short indices, and the grey metalic dials have long indice.

So lets assume this is grey. After all thats what they say it is, it just does not look like it. This is a rare dial. It should sell well if the collectors are about.

Lot 20. Estimate $25,000 to $35,000. Omega. A Rare Stainless Steel Chronograph Wristwatch with Exceptional Grey Metallic Dial Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Ref. ST 105.003, No. 24’952’689, Manufactured in 1957 Movement: Manual, Cal. 321 Dial: Grey metallic, luminous baton numerals, luminous hands, three subsidiary dials Case: Stainless steel, black bezel with tachymeter scale, screw back, two round buttons in the band, 39.5mm diam. Strap/Buckle: Associated crocodile strap, associated stainless steel buckle

An Example of Re Lume on a 2998 Dial

This popped up on ebay.

It is being sold as a relumed 2998 dial. The seller is explicitly selling it as relumed. This is very useful because it can be hard to gather evidence of confirmed relumed dials, after all those who can do it well may not disclose.


The dial itself is missing paint on the minute markers, and shows case wear on the SWISS MADE. It is a later 2998 dial, because it has the longer indices on the right sub dial.

As for the re-lume job itself – we can see it does not look the same as other 2998 plots. Even in 105.003’s where the lume can be “Wobbly”it does not look like this. The plots show variety in thickness and coverage – each one is slightly different. Of course it is easy to ind faults now that we know it is a re-lume, but that is the point of this post – to familiarise ourselves with this practice.

Here it is in a watch, (sellers photo again)


Here the lume is more plausible, as my eye does get distracted. However now we know what to look for, I think I can see it is re lumed. Especially the curved end of the 7 o’clock plot – I do not see this in original.

Was this Ebay 2998 a Bargain?

Recently closed on ebay at just under $17,500.  Original listing here.

It appears to be a non watch dealer sale, and the photos are typical non – trade home made, best we could do on a phone types. On digging into the ebay history, I think the seller might be a car-boot sale picker. (Often an indication of a bargain). So was it?


Dial looks correct, I think I see a little step. The dial itself is correct layout for reference and the body seems clean, which the lume is intact – as far as I can see – if a little wobbly and not very attractive. At least it is not Algae lume.


With the focus on the table, the case back is out of focus. But we can see the No 6 double notch endlinks and a clear sea horse. So the chances are it is not polished.

The hand lume is quite green, especially compared to the dial plots.

One thing I note, is that the hands, dial, lume and bezel combination are not immediately pleasing.

The Comparison

Now the most recent sale was a watch on Omega Forums for $28,000, and probably achieved that.  See it here:


This watch is extremely well presented, and everything is correct. It has triangle lume handset, and the correct straight chrono, being a -4. The dial is clean, and the lume is darker, but defined and straight. It could be called slightly dirty in some areas, but generally good. The bezel is loveley and the bracelet is in good condition.

It has recently been serviced


Why is one worth $10,000 more than the other? Well I for one think it is.

Both have similar characteristics:

  • DO90 bezel
  • Correct dial
  • Triangle lume hands
  • 7912 Bracelet
  • No 6 endlinks

For me the quality of the OF watch is miles away from the ebay watch. Both have a place in the market, and will find buyers who enjoy them. There is no right or wrong watch here, only one that is better in almost every area than the other.

The ebay watch has a poor bezel, and dubious history so will need a $800 service. The dial of the OF watch is much more attractive and this is where most of the price difference lies, along with the bezel.

The No 6 endlinks on the OF watch are single notch, and so far not reproduced (counterfeited).

That said, I am sure the buyers of each watch will be happy with what they have bought. Everyone has a level.

I also think the Ebay seller made a mistake starting the bidding at 15,000. High start auctions almost always translate into lower end prices.


2915-2 at Auctiondata December 2016

This has shown up:


It is a 2915-2 with a serial 15997501.

In my limited experience, this serial fits with other 2915-2’s I have seen, in fact I know of three that differ only in the last three digits.

The dial has the shallow subdial layout, and the short indices on the 5 minute marker on the minute subdial. The dial does not have a pronounced step, as I would expect – sometimes these early domed dials do have a pronounced change in plane, but not an actual step. This is hard to tell in a two dimensional photo. It would be important to see this dial – to make sure it is attractive.

Not sure about the hands. The green lume is so unattractive, that if original I can understand why over the years it might have been changed in other watches. The subdial hands may be newer too.

If it were my watch I would definitely relume those hands, and repaint the very white subdial hands.

The case is the earlier version with SPEEDMASTER engraved at the edge of the case. The inside of the case back lacks the pearlage usually seen – I do not know if this is significant.

The bezel is the steel BASE1000. These are very tricky things. I have seen so many different characteristics on various bezels I do not know what is original. To recreate one today is straightforward, although to make one requires several skills not usually found in one person or even one workshop. I now of at least two collectors who are trying to replicate a bezel, and one who already has.

This is estimated at $50,000. It might just get that.

The auction is here

Open Your Speedmaster !

After using Paul’s excellent opener for a while, I have put up a page here

Where you can see the costs, options and a link to order one.

Not much else to say, except buy one!

(Disclaimer – I have no financial stake in this, I just love this tool)

Christies 14 November 2016 – Updated with Results

I have always admired Christies – they are a little more aggressive, and polished than all the other Houses. They also seize opportunities, as in the Speedmaster 50 sale. They also take a few liberties, as in that New York sale contained only 17 vintage Speedmasters, the others being freely available, and some not truly Speedmaster watches. In this sale Chrisities have gathered no less than 10 Speedmasters – an unprecedented number for any Auction house to put in a single non specialist sale. Lots 11 to 18 are in fact consigned by the same owner as many of the Speedmasters in the Speedmaster 50 Sale.

All estimates are in USD but the sale is in CHF.

The Christies site has excellent zoom facilities, but unfortunately the photos do not convey, to me, the exact nature of the watch. I had to screenshot them from the site so quality is not that great. The sale is here.

Lot 11        2915-2                   Estimate $25,000 – $41,000

At first glance this is cheap, as Christies sold another 2915-2 for over $100,000 in December 2015 and so this watch is either undervalued or incorrect.

Lot 12 in Christies. Note the bracelet, clean pushers, correct looking dial, possible relume on plots, new looking BA hands and new looking sub dial hands.

This watch carries what appears to be a correct dial – it has the short indices on subdial. However the plots seem unusually well defined, a whitish unusual colour, and a bit shiny. I dont like them.

This has some interesting history. A 2915-2 with the same movement number (15997677) was sold in Antiquorum NY on June 10th 2010. At that time it looked like this:


Even from these photos you can see that the bezels are not the same. Check the font shapes, and most obviously the accent on the E, missing on the Christies watch and present on the AQ watch.

When offered in 2010 it had a service document from Omega dated December 2009. It sold for $22,800. You can see it here.

So at some time this watch has had the bracelet added, some work done to the pushers, and a different bezel added. I dont know what is going on with this watch, but there is a lot, and illustrates why we all want original, one ower watches. Hardly possible with this reference so we have to buy with open eyes. It will be very interesting to see where this one ends.

Sold for CHF 32,500. ($33,079) Surely this is low for a 2915-2. It must have had something visually, or obviously wrong to put off even the most naive buyers. In addition to the problems I highlight above, I suspect the watch does not look nice in hand.

Lot 12     2998-62   Estimate $6,159 to $10,265

Slightly tropical dial. The H/M hands are incorrect size and shape, probably service hands for a seamaster. The Chrono hand has a short tail.  The dial has some imperfections that wont stop it being sold.

Lot 12 2998-62
Lot 12 2998-62

Again, the photo techniques disguise the true character of the watch. These late 2998’s are often fitted with Seamaster movements of very similar number series (1958xxxx) , and I dont know enough to confirm it – and so far the museum wont either. As a result I always tend to value these later 2998’s (-6, -61, -62) lower than earlier ones (-3, -4, -5). But that is just personal preference.

Sold for CHF20,000 ($20,357). I think this is bang on what I thought it was worth. Again without holding it, I suspect it was not the most attractive example to be sold – but fair. Recent sales of attractive 2998’s are higher than this, and it would be an unusual day that Christies gave someone a bargain. But it does happen.

Lot 13     2998-6   Estimate $6,159 to $10,265

Another low estimate. No one has bought a 2998 in the last 12 months for less than $15,000 and I cannot believe this wont sell for around that amount. An attractive looking watch, albeit a little tired in the bezel. The hands are triangle lume, but a bit greenish – I have seen a lot of this and it is I believe natural. Pushers look original. Dial is correct. I have checked the serial against my own collection and I am satisfied it is in range. Its not a great watch, but it seems a nice attractive wearable watch without issues.

Lot 13 Christies. 2998-6
Lot 13 Christies. 2998-6

Sold for CHF 20,000 ($20,357) So this watch head was valued hogher than the previous lot, as this lot lacked the 7912/6 bracelet and endlinks, which can fetch several thousnds alone. In addition one can argue that the bezel is worth at least 1500 less than the previous. So this lot ended costing much more for the watch head than the previous lot. I wonder why? Certainly I would choose it just by looking at the photos.

Lot 14       105.003-65   Estimate $5132 to $8212

looks fairly original, and as long as the T marks are the short space ones then the dial is also good. The bezel is a little damaged and detracts from the overall attraction. The pushers look original as does the crown. Again, no Auction House has sold a 105.003 in last 12 months for less than $9,000 and most have sold for $15,000. This comes with a 7912 bracelet and No 6 end-links. Just a 7912 bracelet has fetched several thousands recently.

Lot 14 105.003-65 Christies

Lot 14 105.003-65 Christies

Sold for CHF 12500 ($12,723). Although this sold well over estimate, this seems a good deal when compared to recent sales where 105.003’s have sold for $15,000 plus. I think this reference may well be correcting. This lot appears to be attractive, although the bezel is damaged, and the dial plots might not be the best. Christies does like Photoshop. The thing is, this watch might be a less expensive option to owning this reference, but frankly each time I inspect it, I like it a little less, even though there is not much wrong.  The bezel really puts me off.

Lot 15    145.012-67   Estimate $4,106 to $6159

An attractive looking watch, unlikely to go for less than the high estimate. Stepped dial that has lost its lume, leaving white paint of the plots exposed. The bezel is correct, and grey. Pushers look a little dirty and I suspect it needs a service. 1039 bracelet, Its a decent watch, again not fine. (Again terrible photos stop me really getting the feel of this watch).

Lot 15 145.022-69 Christies
Lot 15 145.012-67 Christies

Sold for CHF 8750 ($8906). I liked this watch, and the first Speedmaster in the sale to come under $10,000 it would be tempting to see it as a good deal. However how many 145.012’s do we see selling for $9,000 on the collectors market, or Ebay? I think the photo favours this type of watch, and in the hand it may not be as nice as I think. This is a typical example where an Auction house can get a price that is quite beyond the cool headed market outside of it.

Lot 16    145.022-69  Estimate $3,593 to $5,646

Ridiculous estimate. The DO90 bezel would sell for over $2,000 on its own. Another attractive watch, with some small issues. The dial plots look a little dirty, but the dial is correct and stepped. I cannot see any damage. Bezel does have a ding at the 70. I would be surprised if this fails to reach $6000. The bracelet, 1171/1 is possibly a later addition as I would expect to see the 1171.

Lot 16 145.022-69 Christies
Lot 16 145.022-69 Christies

Sold for CHF5250 ($5344). Well it had a fabulous DO90 bezel, but it is lower than I expected. This is another example where I can feel a softening of prices slightly, even though this sold well above the estimate. Its just the estimate was too low. If we take out the bezel that could sell for $2500 or more, this values the rest of the watch at under $4000 – not high for a speedmaster from an auction house.

Lot 17    BA145.022-69   Estimate $10,265 to $15,397

No bracelet. A low number 28m, so I expect it to be a low number in the series, (the LTD number on the back). I would want to check the number with the museum as I have not seen such a low number. Looks a little polished. The bezel is the correct DO90 and it is rare. One pusher looks damaged. This is one watch I think the estimate is correct.

Lot 17 BA145.022-69 Christies
Lot 17 BA145.022-69 Christies

Sold for CHF 11,250 ($11,451) Sold on the bottom end of the estimate, I suspect this was hard to get off. Lots of issues (movement number) lack of bracelet or history, this was a dodgy watch to me. Especially compared to the later one in this sale.

Lot 18     145.022-69   Estimate $4,206 to $8,212

This one is in fairly good overall condition and is attractive. the bracelet is not one that we normally see on this – but it could be a foreign standard fitment. It has the correct dial, with slightly tired plots. The bezel is very good, the correct dropped serif DN90. I think the estimate is a little optimistic, compared to what sells elsewhere, but I would think the environment will ensure it sells.

Lot 18 145.022-69
Lot 18 145.022-69

Sold for CHF 5,000 ($5,089). Compared to the other 145.022 lot 18 this was not such a good deal, and fell well within Christies estimate. Perhaps this looked good in hand. The price was not excessive, and another example of softer prices. You can with care find this reference elsewhere, often much cheaper, but for how much longer?

Lot 157       2915-3   Estimate $41,059 to $61,588

Placed at the end of the sale, when tensions and excitement will be high. Why is this, the least desirable version of the 2915 (the -3), priced so much higher than the lot 4, a  2915-2 ?

It has the correct dial, (short indices on the subdial) the correct hands, (with the long hour hand) and has the black BASE1000 bezel – this is worth around $10,000 on its own. (As an aside, I think this bezel is worth more than the steel versions, because the steel ones  cannot be verified).

Lot 157 2915-3 Christies

When you see this watch, compared to the others in the sale, it does look more honest. The bracelet matches the period, the bezel is correct and so far not replicated, the hands are rare as hens teeth and the overall look is good. I would not be surprised if this sells and sells well. It is from a different owner as the previous lots, and I think it shows.

Sold for CHF81,250 ($82,699). This was the watch that I would have liked to buy. Compare this 2915 to lot 11 – a supposed 2915-2 which is generally acknowledged to be a much more valuable reference. This must have grabbed the attention of collectors who know what they are doing. I really liked it. Not a bargain, but I don’t think it will give any regrets.

Lot 158 BA145.022-69   Estimate $15,397 to $25,662

Another of the commemorative gold series, this time from the more familiar number series (2911xxxx) and with the bracelet and the DO90 burgundy bezel. This watch is so much more desirable than the lot 17 in this sale. The estimate is pretty much in line with what I have seen others sell for.

Lot 158 BA145.022-69 Christies
Lot 158 BA145.022-69 Christies

Sold for CHF 27,500 ($27,990). This sold for a little more than previous examples – I do not know if it had the crater box but that makes a difference. These gold Speedmasters are very attractive and desirable if in good condition. I am not surprised this sold well.

Lot 159     3450809   Estimate $5,646 to $10,265

The rare moon-phase from 1985 with the Cal 866 movement.

Out of my area of expertise but included for completeness.

Lot 159 Moonphase Christies
Lot 159 Moonphase Christies

Sold for CHF 9375 ($9542)

Price Chart Updated for October 2016

As we go into auction season there are some interesting things on the horizon. A Scottish auction house that holds regular watch sales of average $150 per lot, sold a rare Speedmaster last month dwarfing their entire year’s turnover in watches in just one sale. Now they have another Speedmaster but its a redialed 105.002 that is not going too far.

Lot 156 at McTears, a 105.002 with service dial and bezel, probably hands too. Also on late bracelet.

You can see it here, but it is selling on 3rd November 2016

The “Major” auction houses all have several Speedmasters  this autumn although we still have a long way to go before Speedmaster numbers meet that of Daytona or Submariners.

The more Rolex’s I see the more I realize just how rare Speedmasters are.

A change to the chart:

I have separated 145.022’s that carry a DO90 bezel from those that have a correct DN90 bezel. Remember if they have a service or later DN90 then that reduces the price.

So What’s it Worth?

Here is a little exercise to show how I think when I use the chart.


105.012-65 with matching serial.

Condition? Case is good , dial is good (See below), hands are degraded (but pleasant), plots are degraded, but natural, and bezel is poor but correct. Pushers are new, and indicate service which this watch has recently had at STS.

Now this dial has a speckling that some will like, some will not. It does make the watch attractive, but it does move away from a perfectly preserved example. So here we have an arbitrary decision that a buyer must take.


105.012 GOOD is $9200 head only.

LESS: bezel is less than should be on this, so subtract 800.

Dial? Should we subtract $1000? I think so. However the problem is that if we do, then in a competitive environment we will lose the watch. So, If I like it and want to win it, I had better not subtract for the dial.

Overall, this is an attractive watch, so $9200 less $800(bezel) and less $1000 (Dial) so my base price is $7400. If this was on Ebay I would expect the bidding to fall at that amount or more. If it was in Christies I expect it would go for 10% to 30% more.