Blue Dials, and The Phillips Auction in Particular

Blue dial speedmasters are almost mythical.

They have been seen over the years in several case references, but so far all in calibre 321 references. To be clear we are talking about the metalic lustre dials, sometimes referred to as Solei. The angle of light it crucial – in real life the two on the right are very similar. On the left is the Matt Grey dial that we are not going to cover here.

Left to Right: Matt grey 105.003, Blue Soleil 105003 with Non Pro dial, long indices and short T marks. Finally a 2998 Blue Soleil on bracelet with Non Pro dial, with short indices and T marks.

Here is the “TimeTitans metalic blue 145.012. I failed to buy this twice!

145.012 sold by Time Titans for $8000 (from memory), and then about five years later, Ebay for $12,000+. Note the professional dial with short indices and T marks

The dial is a hard metallic lustre, and a dark blue body colour and this can look grey. In fact one sold at Christies was described as grey, but when compared to others it is the same blue. This dial style was useed in other Omegas, the TV dial for one.

I believed (up until now), in the absence of a better theory that these blue, metallic dials are in fact service dials fitted by Omega. Now that Phillips has produced one with an extract this theory is threatened. But why did I think this?

  • 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).

So now lets look at the Phillips watch. I review the sale here

We can clearly see this is indeed a metallic blue soleil. It is however not in as good condition as the two presented to Auction in the last five years. A close up reveals a damaged and spotted dial. (Bezel is fabulous mind you!)

But the real question is this. How come that a dealer in Mexico managed to sell a watch in 18 May 1964 that was yet to be released by Omega until 11 September 1964. The official explanation is listed in the description as:

“Interestingly, the Extract from the Archives confirms the country of destination but it mentions a sale date 4 months later than the one mentioned on the original warranty. This riddle was solved thanks to the assistance of Omega: as it turns out, they marked in their books the watch as sold only once they received the payment. It then makes perfect sense that the “Archives Date” is later than the one on the Guarantee.”

Photo from Phillips. respected member Kov on OmegaForums has pointed out this booklet was not issued by Omega until after 1969, and so asks how can it be a legitimate issue in 1964? Fair question

We also know that Omega’s archives, which I must repeat is staffed by incredibly helpful kind and knowledgeable people, are not straightforward to read. Much of it is on punch cards, with holes designating model and specification by their location on the card.

I have asked for several extracts for blue dials and none have come back blue. I suspect that there is a certain amount of pressure that has been applied by Phillips to get this extract. And the explanation stinks – because if that is true, then it brings into question what the date on all our extracts is, as it is not then a “Production Date” it is a payment date, and so makes a nonsense of what we have all been thinking to date.

Phillips repeat the line that 5 to 10 exist. Lets see. We have four so far in this thread.

This one was seen on ebay, October 2015.  It is possible it is one of the ones already mentioned, but I cannot see a similarity.

Photo from ebay via OmegaForums

Sold by Menta Watches after asking $32,000 in 2017. Note Non Pro dial with  long indices, damaged at 6 and 10 O’clock.

Here is one posted on Omega Forums by member DLT222. Obviously we are looking at the left hand watch. Note the Non Pro dial, short indices.

Photo linked from OmegaForums by member DLT222

This one, published on Omegaforums again, is possible not Soleil – the photo is hard to see:

Photo linked from Omegaforums

In february 2018 OmegaForums member Cad290 Showed this. I am sure the lustre is metalic, and it is blue – The plots are a very unusual colour. Note the Non Pro Dial, long indices, and short T marks.

Linked from OmegaForums by member Cad290

Here is the same watch in natural light. This highlights the difference lighting makes when photographing these wonderful watches:

The same watch, from Cad290.

This one, definitely a blue soleil, was shown in Geneva 2016 by Davidoff Brothers. Note the Non Pro dial with short indices.

Image linked from Omegaforums, by member Dr Steel

Here is another 145.012, exhibited by sliceoftime.id. It does not appear to be the Time Titans watch and so we can say it is the second 145.012 seen. Note the dial is a Professional, long indices.

Photo by Sliceoftime.id

After I published this, further examples have come to my attention. Here we see one from The Master of Speed. (He always presents good examples of watches):

Linked from OmegaForums, photo by MasterofSpeed

 

Conclusion

I have photos here for twelve. (And I know of three more not shown here). I have seen many combinations of blue soleil dial, we see both long and short indices on both Professional and non Professional dials.

It is possible there is a Grey Soleil – one with the metallic lustre but black/grey not blue. They are difficult to photograph and so the colour is not always true.

There is also a Matt Grey dial, and this is usually in poorer condition, as the materials appear to be unable to withstand the passage of time.

I do not think that Omega has a record of when a blue dial was fitted. I think more will be revealed with the Phillips watch as it is opening a an of worms regarding Date of Production, which is stated on the extract, now being announced by Omega via Phillips that it is actually date of payment.

Watches Of Knightsbridge November 2018

Watches of Knightsbridge are having a watch sale on 3 November 2018 in London. There is as usual a huge variety of manufacturers and qualities and I would urge anyone who can to view this in person, as it is a rare opportunity to see so much in one place. The firm has raised their game in presentation but have been caught out by the Ultraman, as they originally presented the wrong number on the extract. I have some sympathy for them as it appears to be a typo. In general I would say that as a group this is the highest standard of Speedmasters I have seen at WOK to date.

All images here are links to WOK and have not been harvested or held on my servers. All images have a lot of dust, and some are over exposed, leaving hard to fully appreciate condition. As I said before, viewing this auction is important to get a true impression.

Here is the WOK statement of buyers premium (noticeably cheaper than other B&M acutions) :

Every sale will be subject to a buyer’s premium of 20%+VAT (24% inc. VAT) on the hammer price.

There will be no additional charge for online bidding through our website or through www.thesaleroom.com

Note: All Estimates are in GBP Sterling, currently 1 GBP = USD$ 1.31

Lot 179     145.022-76      3,000 – 3500

Photo linked from WOK site

A simple and correct example, with a good bezel and dial, all in above average condition. It is probably estimated on the high side, but it does appear all correct. The trouble is at this level the difference between fair price and high is perhaps GBP 500. So it makes a difference if the watch needs to be serviced, and if it has the correct bracelet. This one has the service, which is good, but the bracelet is a later service item, being 1171/1. Still this watch is worth having compared to some I have seen, and the higher price might easily be forgotten if it is as nice as I think it might be.

Listing Here

Lot 183      145.022-71 NoNasa       4,500 – 5,500

Photo Linked from WOK

A very rare, NoNasa case back with extract.  Lets hope all that dust is on the crystal and not the dial – it is probably dust. The watch itself looks very nice. The case is good, the dial has a hint of colour if I am not mistaken and the hands bezel and crown all look in good condition and correct. It has an extract, and I expect this rare reference to attract strong bidding in this condition. If I did not have one I would go for this.

Listing here

Lot 184      145,022-69     4,000 – 4,500

Photo linked from WOK

Portuguese import marks, which may make it more interesting to someone. Interesting that the extract shows 1970 release date, and indeed the extract is a welcome piece of mind. Watch has severe chrono creep and so will need a service immediately. The dial Looks attractive – it has a hint of tropical to me. I think the watch needs a good watchmaker, and I am a little concerned because the pushers look recent, indicating work, and therefore I wonder did they just change the pushers, or has it been serviced badly? It really does not matter, this is an interesting watch that a decent service will bring up to standard. My feeling is that the price is a little high but it will sell as I think it might be very attractive in hand. For me as ever it is better to over pay for an attractive watch than buy a bargain which does not please visually.

Listing Here

Lot 185     145.022-68 Transitional     4,500 – 5,500

Photo linked to WOK Site

I like a transitional, but this one makes me hesitate. I would want to satisfy myself those lume plots are original. I am really in two minds  about them – or at least I cannot make up my mind. First, there is signs of the lume blurring off the plot onto the dial, (blow up the photo inspect the 6 and 7 o’clock plots – I would do it for you but WOK have asked me not to reproduce their photos – the ones on this page are links, not reproductions). Secondly, the plot colour is strong, unusually yellow, and uniform throughout. However the colour impression may be caused by the inferior photography.

That said I find the body colour of the dial itself very attractive.

The bezel is chipped to an unattractive state. The case looks nice and in general the watch might be a good buy at a certain level. However I would not buy without seeing those plots under a loupe. I have a feeling I would like this watch in hand, and it is not crazy money for an auction.

Listing Here

Lot 186     145.022-69 Straight Writing    4,500 – 5,500

Photo linked from WOK Site

Immediately apparent to me is the vary attractive dial. The hands are in excellent condition. The pushers are old and dirty, and I suspect they and the crown are original. In fact I suspect this watch is quite original as it looks dirty, and the bezel might improve with a simple clean. This watch will be transformed by a proper and sympathetic service, (keeping all the parts of course) and I like it.

Bracelet is not the usual one associated with this reference, maybe it is an export market bracelet. It is marked Omega, and it does not worry me unduly.

I like this watch.

Listing Here

Lot 187 145.022-69 220 bezel 6,000 – 7,000

Photo linked from WOK

This is a “dry”looking brown, and the serial is not known for brown dials. (brown dials are seen in all serials for -69 but more common in 2911 and 2960.)

While this is indeed brown, it is not the lovely warm colour I associate with high prices, but I would say this one will sell. Personally I do not like this colour enough to pay a high premium – for me the dial is decaying, not fading or changing to brown. Do not misunderstand me, I like it as an object, but over paying for it might be regretted later. The trick with this watch is to view it at least three seperate times. If each time you see it, you think, “Oh, it looks better than I remember it” then it is a buy. If each time you see it you think, “oh, I thought it was better than that” then do not. That is my method. Since I have not viewed it yet I will hold judgement. I might add finally I know of no other 220 bezel watches with a dial that looks like this, so it is at the very least an Outlier.

The bezel on this one is the rare 220 miss-print and the serial falls in range as specified in the updated MWO information.

Lot 188     145.012-67 Pulsations     10,000 – 14,000

Photo linked to WOK

This is another interesting watch, if at first glance expensive. Price aside I like it very much. The dial is an attractive browninsh colour (much more attractive than the previous lot) and the pulsation bezel is an original vintage one, as evidenced by the line just under the numbers.

The whole watch has an air of use about it, (patina if you will) and I like that – it makes me feel it is original. The bezel is lightly damaged, and this adds to the overall impression this is an original piece. It is a lot of money, for a 145.012 without a DO90 bezel, and I personally do not value the pulsations on a par with the DO90, but I think others are starting to – it is after all rarer. So I shall watch this watch with interest. I think it is one of those watches to be bought high, but with no regrets.

Listing here

Lot 189     145.012-67 Ultraman     20,000 – 25,000

Photo linked from WOK

I think there is something coming I am going to call “The curse of the Ultraman!” It seems anyone who has anything to do with them publicly gets attacked. This is due to the massive rise in interest, and therefore values, in what is essentially an Orange hand – and the ease in which one might be fitted – though as yet I do not think that has happened due to the longer length than is available. (And perhaps a blacker dial, but I think the dial is not unique(?). Watch that statement invoke the Ultraman curse!

It fits with all the perceived requirements, the long reddish orange hand, and extract, and also the black dial.

However as mentioned, there is some confusion as to the veracity of the extract – I am sure this will be sorted out before sale and either WOK will have the correct extract or it will not, and it will no longer be an Ultraman. The Curse Strikes Again !

I would guess the paperwork will all get sorted out, and we will see a good result, enabling us to peg the real values of these watches.

Lets assume the extract pans out. Then we are looking to check the Orange hand. That appears to be long enough to be a real Ultraman hand. I cannot tell if the dial is one of the black glossy ones that people more knowledgeable than me say should be on an Ultraman, but it may be. The bezel is very good but has a damage at the top.

Interestingly the front page of the WOK website has a better image showing clearly a glossy dial and slightly reddish Orange hand.

To be honest, a lot of the fun has evaporated from the Ultraman as many of the people voicing opinions have been quite unpleasant to each other and left a bad taste in my mouth.

Listing Here

Lot 190     105.012-66HF      “Cartier Number” 6,500 – 7,000

Photo linked from WOK

The Auctioneers have done some research and attributed the number on the lugs to Cartier, which is interesting – although the estimate does not seem influenced by this. It will be interesting to see how the market reacts. The watch itself is good, with original pushers. I personally like the HF case on the 66.

The dial is nice, the pushers have fat necks, the hands are in good condition. Overall I like this watch, and the estimate is not crazy. In fact I think it is the best value here.

Listing here

Lot 191 2915-1 missing bezel 60,000 80,000

Photo from WOK

I cannot understate how interested I am to see where this goes. The dial is flat oval Omega, and decayed, blotchy in the way I have seen in a few 2915’s – which I find attractive. The extract is from 2008 so I would want a new one, which might not be forthcoming.

However the serial looks ok, and the rest of the watch looks good.

One of the things to look for in 2915’s especially those we mght consider projects, is the condition of the case. Some of these old references seem to be susceptible to corrosion, especially at the case join. This one seems to have escaped that, adding to the attraction.

Listing here

Lot 192     105.12-66CB     6,500 – 7,500

Photo linked from WOK

Another 105.012 this one delivered to Japan, so we might think it could be in better condition as the Japanese do take care of things….sweeping racial judgement but they do. This watch has the fat neck pushers. and is in good condition, let down a little by the bezel. The dial and hands are in very nice condition. The case must have had a little polish as the facet lines are not as obvious as some.

I am sure it will sell well.

Listing here

Speedmasters at Phillips Auction Eight

Phillips are holding what they call Auction Eight (not a bad idea to number them) in Geneva on November 10th and 11th 2018. I cannot quite see why it is listed over two days, and the auction is scheduled to start at 5pm Geneva time on 10th November.

Here is the relevant paragraph from Phillips site regarding buyers premiums:

Phillips charges the successful bidder a commission, or buyer’s premium, on the hammer price of each lot sold. The buyer’s premium is payable by the buyer as part of the total purchase price at the following rates: 25% of the hammer price up to and including CHF250,000, 20% of the portion of the hammer price above CHF250,000 up to and including CHF4,000,000 and 12.5% of the portion of the hammer price above CHF4,000,000.

Lot  17     105.012-66CB     $7,200 – $12,300

Photo Linked from Phillips site

From the front this is a very nice example. The bezel is correct DO90 in good condition, and the dial is is also in good condition, with some plot decay, and the lume is very thin. The hands are in much better condition, and I would wonder if they have been replaced. The back of the watch carries engraving, and I am one of those who does not care for engravings, unless there is a NASA connection, and this is not. To be fair, the estimate does not appear to have been influenced. The watch has an extract which is always good. The facet lines on the lug are visible and the pushers have fat necks, the crown appears correct. I expect this will sell well and the owner very happy.

Listing here

Lot 33     145.022-69      $7,200 – 12,300

Photo Linked from Phillips site

An immediately attractive watch. The dial colour is a very attractive brown, without appearing decayed, and fits in the 2911xxx serial range where we expect to see these kind of dials. The case is slightly damaged, and there is a very annoying chip on the otherwise fantastic bezel. It is so close to being a “buy at any price watch” with that dial and hand set, but it is not. It is let down from that lofty high by the case and bezel, but it is still a very nice watch, just one I would not bid to the moon for. It is very desirable  and again will give pleasure of ownership.

Listing Here

Lot 34     BA145.022-69      $15,400 -$25,600

Photo linked from Phillips

There has been considerable interest in the market for these gold watches and especially this reference recently and so I think the estimate might be low. This is a later example, No 722, and has the round O in Omega on the dial. (Although evidence does not support a connection between production number and dial style). The bezel is original but tired, though I have seen worse. It is not possible to truly gauge the condition of this watch from the photos, sometimes these gold watches can show some wear, but this watch seems good enough from what I can see to blow through the high estimate. I am slightly concerned by the fit of the endlinks, and as ever with these we have to check the condition of the bracelet as repairs are very pricey – think $5,000+ for a bracelet restoration. Though that never puts buyers off, I do not think they believe it!

Listing Here

Lot 36     Alaska Prototype     $41,000 – $61,000

Photo Linked from Phillips site

Outside the scope of my site, but oh I want this. I sometimes wonder if someone has a whole pile of these things and is dripping these interesting prototypes onto the market, but I really like this. I cannot believe it wont go for over $100,000.(Despite the Chrono creep!). What a rare piece of history. (Assuming Omega does not have a drawer of these somewhere in the factory!)

Listing Here

Lot 37     105.003-65     $20,500 – $30,700

Photo linked from Phillips site

This is estimated quite high, and on close inspection it is true that the dial and bezel are in good condition – not fine, but good. I personally do not like or value the bezel colour. The case is hard to judge and I think in hand it will give a good impression – it could be the result of Omega refinishing as it looks similar to watches I have seen fresh from Bienne. The pushers and crown look original, but some how I feel this watch might be close, but no cigar. In fact I suspect it is a dealer watch. Why? Because the quality is slightly lower, (but hard to criticize,) and the price is slightly high. I could be wrong and this watch definitely needs to be held before being able to feel comfortable with a high bid. For me this is not a watch I would go hard for, given the grey bezel and the polished case.

Listing Here

Lot 39     105.003-63 Blue Dial     $61,500 – $123,000

Photo linked from Phillips

This is the first blue dial I have seen with an extract from the museum that specifies a blue dial. There is a debate on www.OmegaForums,net regarding the dating anomaly between the extract and the guarantee, here.

Well I don’t care about the papers, the value is in the dial itself, though I accept some will pay more as a result of the papers, were they to prove genuine. Right now the estimate reflects the value of similar watches sold without papers.

I could get quite critical of this very rare watch, as compared to other blue soleil dials as this dial does show some marks and damage.

However it remains a very interesting and valuable watch and I have no doubt it will sell well.

Listing Here

Lot 111     2915-1 Tropical     $154,000 – $307,000

Photo linked From Phillips

This is a terrific watch, with tropical dial and an extract. The bezel looks ok to me, and the rest of the watch checks out as far as my knowledge will allow. I do like the colour, and I cannot see this watch not selling well.

Bezels are always a worry on these and there is some discussion of them here. Though as ever when money is involved it gets a bit off piste with personal discussions of motives, but there is some interesting stuff there for the prospective 2915 buyer

Listing Here

Lot 114     2915-2     $154,000 – $256,000

Photo linked from Phillips

The dial on this watch is very good. One might even say it is in better condition than the tropical one in the same sale, if we just look at condition of the surface of the dial. It is really impressive. The bezel is so worn, we have to wonder why, and how, and I invite you to make your own mind.

A very special example.

Listing here

Feel free to add a comment here on OmegaForums

Ultraman Resource Page

The Ultraman is an original watch produced by Omega in very low numbers, (the number bandied about is 50 pieces) and the only confirmed difference as stated in the extract is the fitment of an Orange chronograph hand.

The Sources

MWO has determined that they are all in the serial range between 26.076.xxx and 26.079.xxx. They also determined the orange chrono hand length is 18.80mm and unique to this execution.

Here is the MWO Ultraman article, in which they determine the orange chrono hand length, serial range and propose a date range of mostly June 1968, with a few later in July and August.

The museum will issue an extract for an Ultraman but it does not call it  “ultraman” , it simply notes the fitting of an orange hand.

According to my conversations with the staff, the records show that these watches were fitted with “Special Equipment” but the archive does not say what this equipment was.

I believe that the museum staff were pressured by owners to make a policy to state the orange hand specifically on extracts. (When in fact there is no such information in the archive that the special equipment is in fact an orange hand). This is why initially no extracts were granted without inspecting the hand first – so that they could establish the pattern of what was fitted.

Here is an article by Fratello

Photo linked From Fratello, watch believed owned by Davidoffs

Some examples harvested from the Internet

Please note I have tried to attribute and if anyone feels I have it wrong or you would like links removed then send me a message.

This photo shows clearly the aging on an Ultraman. The chrono hand looks long enough to reach over the track, and the lume is pumpkin coloured.

This photo was seen on Monochrome Watches, but I am not certain it is the original photographer

Here is an example shown by Analog Shift.

Here the hand appears more reddish and the lume is less coloured than many.

Again from Analog Shift is this one on its extract:

Here is an example sold by Lauritz. com in 2014: Here again we see the hand is reddish. It is clearly long enough to satisfy the hand length criteria. The full page is here.  This watch does look like a bargain today, even if it turns out not to be an Ultraman. There was no serial listed in the auction so I cannot check.

Here is one seen on OmegaForums.net, the page is here

The great thing about this post is the fine photos of the dial, linked here – again a slightly reddish hand.

And here the owner has decased for a closeup of the dial . The lume is completely gone and we see only the white paint on the dial.

In 2017 Ebay offered this example.

Interestingly the extract did not mention the orange hand, but it does appear to be long enough and the serial falls in range. Here we see the close up of the dial and hand. Again the hand strikes me as reddish. It clearly extends to minute track. It was on offer for euros 17,000.

Another from Ebay 2018, sold for $35,000. While it did not have an extract, the serial falls into range, and it was also a Meister Dial. You can see the original listing here, and it raises a few questions, but as I said, it sold and I reckon someone with the museum’s number got confirmation of it being Orange Hand if the extract was re issued. Strictly speaking I have to regard this as unconfirmed, but possibly correct.

Here is another from Omegaforums, this time in 2015. In the thread it discusses the hand lenth as being too small (i cannot tell) and that it sold for over $8500. As the serial is in range it is possible that it is genuine. In fact there is a serial on the MWO table that is the same as this to the last digit,

In the same thread is Kringkilly’s watch – interestingly he reports the history as the owner requested the AD to replace the hand on a new speedmaster with an orange one – and it was not known if that was the case or if the watch was delivered as is. Note the reddish hand again.

This one, from “one more soul”(?) appears to have a very orange hand, but the right length. I do not know how real this is as the page disappeared

.

Here is one offered by Watches of Knightsbridge in November 2018

Non Ultramans(!)

There are those that seek to profit by simply fitting an orange hand and selling it as an Ultraman. This is hard now, as we now know the serial range and the hand length. The latter might be replicable, given the values, but the serial is immutable.

Here is an examples offered by Watch Seller in Australia. Interestingly I believe this might not a genuine Ultraman as the orange hand is short, and the serial is 26m but the third digit does not look like a “0”.

In conclusion

There has been proposed that Ultramans need to have a special dial. I have heard the adjectives, silky and anthracite to describe it, and also that the plots should be caramel colour.

I cannot find evidence to support the idea that all Ultramans have black glossy dials and caramel lume, but I accept the dial colour discrepancy  could easily be because the photos do not show it. But I have to say from what I have gathered here, I do not see a noticeable difference between the ALL dials of the Ultraman and a standard 145.012.

I remain open to evidence, and it may well turn out to be the case.

We shall see