Two Gold Speedmasters

Here we stray a little, and show a shot of the BA145.022-69 and the Gold Plated MkII.

BA145.022-69 and a 145.014 MkII

Interesting to note the common appearance. The MkII was intended to replace the “Moonwatch” and it might have indeed been more suited to rugged treatment with its thickened case and more protected pushers and crown. However NASA wasnt interested as the 145.022 was already proven and flight tested and they did not need to update it.

Of course these are gold watches, never intended for anything other than showing off. The gold plated MkII is really the cheapest path to Speedmaster 861 ownership and when I bought this, it was practically free. (About $450, the price of a 861 movement at the time).The both carry the burgundy bezel. In the case of the MkII it is painted, or printed onto the underside of the mineral glass and is integral to it. On the BA145.022-69 you can see it is a later service bezel, still available from Omega. At around $1500 last time I checked.

The Gold plated MkII here has been serviced with Omega supplied puhers and crown – these look a slightly different colour. This photo is a little fuzzy at the case, but it is sharp. The focus is on the dial furniture.

The MKII in this execution has a quite elaborate dial, quite different from the flat printed dial of the steel version. Note the raised hour markers.

And for comparison here is the steel version (with the rarer seen though freely available Decimale bezel) and flat dial – interestingly the dial on MkII’s are completely flat, whereas the moonwatch dials are either stepped or domed. The MkII dial can and has been fitted to a moonwatch case by private owners.

Soyuz sold at Sothebys Spetember 2018

On 27th  September 2018 Sothebys auctioned a very rare Apollo Soyuz:

Photo from Sothebys

The original listing is here

An Original Apollo Soyuz is a highly desirable reference. Most owners are regularly petitioned to sell theirs if they show it. There were 500 thought to be made, and many have been serviced or altered from original specification. This one has several issues and in spite of that achieved GBP 27,000. Whilethis is more than I expected, there are literally none on the market and frankly with its rarity there are some who say the Soyuz is the next $100,000 speedmaster.

First of the problems is the pusher size. Here on the Sothebys watch we can see the pusher has a gap around it.

And here is an original Soyuz, where we can clearly see the 5.5mm pushers filling the modified case.

So the Sothebys watch has the wrong pushers, but at least it has an original case, (number 342). The problem is that 5.5mm pushers are not available from Omega, and so any replacement is going to be a non original pusher. I know several people who are working to find a suitable substitute but so far without success. One watch maker is certain he can find a generic substitute but so far it has eluded him.

Next is the chrono hand, an obvious substitution.

Non Omega Chrono hand

Here is an original:

Also the Sothebys watch has a non original bracelet and no endlinks at all. So the new owner has some way to go to piece together an original specification watch.

Will we, I wonder, look back in a year’s time and think this a bargain? At GBP 27,000 there is a lot to criticise, except availability. I am lucky enough to own a correct original, but if I did not, would I have been tempted? Well yes, I would. I have seen more than one bracelet offered for sale, and I am sure with my obsession and perseverance I would find pushers.

I wish the new owner well!

The Need for Comparables

When looking at some of the finer distinctions that speedmasters are now being valued for, it is much easier when you can see a comparison.

Here we can easily spot the blue bezel on the left and the brown dial on the right, both made easier to see because of the direct comparison. Often it is hard to know the true colours if there is no other comparison, but here we can definitely see that the dial is brown and the bezel blue.