I believe, in the absence of a better theory that these blue, metallic dials are in fact service dials fitted by Omega. Why?
There is no known listing of these dials that suggests that this was an option to buy new in a speedmaster – there are no contemporary photos or catalogs showing a blue metallic dial.. (But nor was the Ultraman which the museum has recently announced is a “Real Model”)
There are very few seen, and to my knowledge these have been seen on 2998, 105.003 and 145.012.
I have seen three different executions. A short indices non pro, a long indices dial non pro, and a short indices 145.012 professional dial. (This last one out of my grasp – I call it the Time Titans watch, as I saw it with them several years ago and I failed to buy it).
I will be happy to be shown another theory but this is what I have so far.
Here is a very curious example. It has the blue metallic dial that I call Soliel. This dial body colour is also seen on Omega TV dials and some Seamasters, but never in a production 321/861 speedmaster.
This is a 2998. Even though it lacks the hands we would expect to see, that is what is inside the caseback and the serial matches my observations for this particular reference.
As you can see the hands have been replaced with baton hands, which might fit with the idea that this watch had a substantial service and parts replacement, perhaps with Omega.
I believe that this watch is a correct Omega watch, because I was told by an auction house that a blue dial that I bought was under bid by the museum.
The Antiquorum sale passed by without any major price surprises, apart from my own surprise that they found homes at all – for some of them were really poor, shoddy examples masquerading as interesting.
Antiquorum are having a sale in Geneva on 14th may.
AQ are having a web re branding and have now adopted the web address “.SWISS”. Confusing as the old .com is still active, yet out of date. The new site is www.antiquorum.swiss
On to the Speedmasters. Quite a few this time, and some have problems. AQ really is a notch down in terms of its curating. That doesn’t bother me, but we must remember to be even more vigilant when viewing at this House;
Lot 365 145.012-67 Estimate $4500-6500
Sold For $9375
Good bezel, nice colour plots, all correct as far as I can see. A good watch I think. The end link looks wrong but that is minor. I like the look of this watch, but we have to be careful. That red background is flattering, as is the whole photo. Because of that 1mm gap in the endlink, I am suspicious of everything, so I would like to inspect in hand before bidding. As I say this is a common theme with Antiquorum lots.
Lot 366 145012-67 Estimate $4000-6000
Sold For $6250
This is showing some dirt around the pushers and crown. Also the case lugs look a little “soft” indicating too much polishing. The plots are dirty but there is some luminous material present. Bezel is not so nice and shows signs of repairs with a felt pen or paint. This is not as attractive as the previous lot. It comes without a bracelet and is a much less attractive buy than the first. However a viewing of all these watches might change all our minds, but I do not think this watch will ever be fine.
Lot 370 105.012-66 Estimate $5000-7000
Sold For $7500
A real tart, this one. Good from far and far from good. I suppose this is an HF case judging by the lug shape, and lack of facet line. This is the first of some smelly lots, and I am deeply wary of it. The bezel is an unusual colour, and especially so given the presence of similar looking bezels on the following lots. Also the similar straps indicate that they were strapped by the same person. Either the auction house, or the consignor, who may possibly Italian from the look of these watches, which are very attractive on first presentation. This watch has orange plots and matching hands, and this odd brown bezel. The Chrono hand is the wrong square ended one, and yet the lume is perfectly matching. I think this watch has been prepared. At least the pushers are the thick tubed originals with short caps. My thinking on this lot and the following can be taken together.
Lot 371 105.012-65 Estimate $4000-6000
Sold For $7500
So now you see what I mean – Similar orange plots (though not quite so orange, but similar looking), matching lume on the hands and that brown bezel, along with the same style strap. These watches cannot be original. This one has service pushers, not a crime but in the 105.012 it is more obvious than other references.
At the low estimate these will be nice looking watches, but they are not in my opinion original and therefore not worth going “Medieval”on the bidding.
They are attractive, but both this and the previous lot lot appear to have been prepared for sale. The bezels make me deeply suspicious. They are never going to be valuable watches, but this is exactly what I am talking about when I discuss poor quality watches being dragged to higher values that they do not really deserve – to be discovered later when the market consolidated as buyers become educated.
Lot 375 145.022-74 Estimate $3000-5000
Sold for $3750
Another similar strap, and a bleached looking bezel. For this watch I would want to see if it has a stepped dial, which is more valuable. I do think this is more expensive by comparison. It still smells of a dealer to me.
Lot 376 105.003-65 Estimate $20,000 – 30,000
Sold For $25,000
This looks like it could be really nice. The dial appears to be in fine condition and a lovely colour. This MUST be viewed as the slightest deviation from fine in terms of colour and condition and the value will plummet. I have a feeling this will fly.
It looks in correct condition, case is a little polished but they all are.
I really like the look of this, and I feel it could go in excess of the high estimate because of that dial – it all depends on what it looks like in real life.
It is always a pleasure when people contact me through the site, and even more so when they want to sell a family watch. These watches handed down have more integrity and originality, and for some reason the history seems to stay with the watch.
This watch got the moniker “The Chef’s Watch” as the current owner, Dan, is a professional chef. It came to him from his father, who had given it to his grandfather. One of the first photos he sent was this:
Well if a speedmaster can survive Apollo it ought to survive a kitchen!
Here is what he sent me: The watch, with a fresh Omega service document, a bag of replaced parts, (including hands thank heavens) and a 1039 in fairly used condition – hence the service bracelet.
The watch was bought on board a US Navy ship. Now I think about it, I should have called it the “USS Joseph Strauss” (pictured above) watch and increased the military connection!
Here is the Dan’s grandfather, wearing the watch, starting his plane.
Here is the extract from the Dan’s email to me:
The watch was bought by my father Tom Ryan Jr in the ships store on the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) in approximately 1969 to 1970 somewhere in the oceans off the coast of Vietnam. It was a gift for my grandfather to wear while flying his plane.
Attached is the picture of my grandfather,[starting his ‘plane] as well as a picture of my father’s ship where the watch was bought.
Such a lot of history in such a short note. Here we can see the Owner’s last name scratched into the case back. In many cases this would devalue the watch, but here again I would argue the history and provenance of the watch becomes stronger as a result:
It really is a privileged to acquire an important family watch like this and a watch like this is not one I would ever plan to sell as I can feel the originality and the history.
Here it is, with the service 1171 bracelet removed. It looks in very nice condition.
When we turn it over we see a small area of corrosion, that I had not reckoned on. This is not uncommon, and the history of the watch far outweighs the damage.
I have sent it to the workshop, for a service and to return the vintage hands onto it. After examining it, Simon Freese declared the watch was in fine order, not needing a movement service. We did need to replace the crown, and changed the hands as planned. There was also a minor issue with the setting lever screw, which had come loose (The screw that releases the stem from the movement).
Here it is before the hand change. You can see how white the hands are, they blow the white balance on the camera, also note the greenish tinge to the luminous material in the hands which contrasts with the original yellowish lume on the dial plots:
Here we have the old hands ready to go back on:
The watch is still at the workshop, and I have put into Omega for an extract of the archives, and it will be very interesting to see where Omega shipped the watch originally.
More on this watch later, when it returns and I have the extract.
This watch was acquired by me some time ago. At the time I was hesitant to buy it – becasues it had a T SWISSMADE T Dial – which is generally accepted as not seen in this reference. I did not realise at the time quite how good the case is.
According to all literature the 105.002-62 should only come with a dial that is marked SWISS MADE. So that would imply this dial is not original to the watch. This watch has as an exceptional case, and very little evidence that it has been worked on. So I cannot think of a really plausible explanation as to why the dial has been changed. My next step is to order an extract.
Note the thickness and definition of the lugs:
To sum up. This is a watch with a question mark over the originality of the dial. The case is so good, it would suggest it has not seen much wear, and so not a lot of servicing.
As to the value. The dial is correct for a 105.003 – and this in itself has considerable value. All things being equal the 105002 dial is more valuable but it would be vary hard to quantify how the value in this watch is affected, because the overall quality is so high.
If the extract shows a late delivery, I wonder if it is possible that the dial was fitted at the factory. More will be revealed when we open it and inspect the movement for previous service.