A Value Discussion on 105.003’s

There have been more 105.003’s sold in the last year than any other straight lug speedmaster reference combined. The value range has been between £4500 (Roughly $6000) and $45,000. These are public auction values – any of us could have bought them.

Most 15.003’s fall in the $10,000 to $20,000 and this can be the most difficult to differentiate. It is not simply a question of a watch being correct vs incorrect, it is about knowing your own taste and what you like, and what incorrect characteristics you will accept for a reduction in value.

Two 105.003’s, both the rarer -63

On inspection in just one photo it is clear that one is “better” than the other. By better, I mean it is worth much more. However the better one is not perfect, and so it is interesting to go through.

First we have to acknowledge that the left hand watch carries a bezel worth $5000 and the right is barely $1000.

We can see the left hand watch has the 32 tooth crown, and the right the 24 tooth. I prefer to see the 24 tooth. Note also the case differences, the left hand watch has a (well) refinished case, with close to original lines and finishes. The right hand watch is well worn, and possibly polished also. When people offer “unpolished” watches they mostly do not know what they are talking about and are just parroting words. It is possible to have a truly unpolished watch, but very unusual. Most of these have been serviced and the watchmakers would tidy a case as a matter of course.

As we look at the photos the dial differences become more and more pronounced. Also we can see the pushers on both watches are original, and this is becoming more and more valued. Service pushers are the same size but look different. (Better made!).

Certainly the left hand watch is “Cleaner” but some will prefer the look of the case on the right hand watch

Both watches are serviced, and 100% correct. Therefore the only difference is in the aesthetics. This is where it can get really interesting, and we have to look hard at the dials, handsets and bezels.

As you can see this dial is not perfect, although to be fair the blemishes are accentuated in my lighting and are not easily visible to the naked eye. The plots re good, an attractive colour and the hands are nicely aged.

The dial above has problems – it is good from far and far from good – and it is here we can see the values of these two watches diverge.

This dial has paint loss at the bottom, and has lost the first T mark. There are blotches all over the dial. The plots are wobbly and cause some to ask is it retouched? (Not by me is all I can say – 105003’s are notorious for wobbling). I think it is natural. The hands also beg questions, but as I have a confirmed one owner untouched watch that has hands that look like this I can accept it as natural.

So which is worth what?

Well to be honest thats up to you.

For me, one is double the value of the other, and the better one  would never sell.