A look at the 2998 Market

The market for 2998’s is an interesting one, as differential between an excellent one and a poor one is large, and can be difficult to assess as not many people have the chance to see and compare many at the same time.

The recent Sothebys sale was a good opportunity to do just that, though of the examples offered, none of them excellent quality. See them here

The three Sothebys 2998’s were $12,500, $27,500 and $40,000.

Here is one on offer on Ebay, from a seller in Los Angeles:

It is asking $26,000. There are several things that flag up for me, but briefly we have a very tired bezel, tired dial plots, alpha hands with no damage and even lume inconsistent condition to the rest of the watch, polished lugs and a movement in poor condition. The parts are otherwise correct, and there is a 7912 bracelet, endlinks look genuine No6’s. Here is the movement, its a good thing to study and know what to look for. This movement is dirty, in poor condition, and the screws are all damaged, and one looks like it is not seated properly.

Note the screw in the number bridge, the colour difference in the bridges, the regulator off in the weeds, and the general poor condition of the parts.

Staying with Ebay here is a cheaper 2998-5 with more issues.

This one looks like a watch that has had a hard life. At $20,000 it is cheaper, but it has little to recommend it except the alphas may be the original and good. This watch also has serious issues, apart from the obvious. Look at the back:

Here we see the bevel is completely polished off. The enlinks are incorrect and in fact the bracelet is a much later 1035 marked 1966

Both of the above watches are offered on Ebay at fixed prices. They are high and unlikey to sell at these levels to an informed buyer. Apart from anything, these two watches just look like rubbish – poor bezels, polished cases and unattractive dials. The only thing that could go for these watches would be if they were cheap, and by cheap I mean half the current asking as a start.

By way of a comparison, lets look at one sold on ebay via an auction in the summer by a trusted seller:

Sold for just over $11,000, this watch is with issues as well, but the underlying watch is more honest. The seller is a hobby/dealer who always fully discloses what he knows about the watch, and what work he has done.

Its still an ugly dial, with service hands, aftermarket No6’s, faded bezel, replaced pushers crown and glass – but it is $11,000 not $20,000 or $30,000.

The movement is in much better condition than the two above as seen be seen below. The difference is huge.

The watch has some history, which the seller has researched and there is an engraving down the side of the watch. These engravings do not worry me as they used to, laser tecnology will now allow us to remove fill and remove it without a trace if you want to. The fact that I can do this, means that I often buy a watch with an engraving but do not remove it – just knowing I can is enough.

Chrono 24 is a good place on the internet to look at a lot of 2998s. Here is the search link for you.

Go and look there – you will see 25 watches, as of today, ranging from $16,000 to $35,000. Here is a quick run through of some of them:

2998-62 at $35,000 from a dealer in france. There is so much wrong with this watch for the money it is not worth wasting time on.

2998-2 at $33,000 from a German Dealer. Its a barn find basket case that might be worth $7,000 at auction.

Another German dealer who says this is a 2998, and wants $32,000 for it.
2998-62 from a Spanish Dealer at $29,000. This is the first watch from C24 that starts to look right. Its still got greenish plots, that might have had help (look at five o’clock) but the hands are good. It seems correct, but still the quality /price does not have me leaping to buy.

2998-6 at $26,000 from a Dealer in UK. This looks much more attractive, but I would want to investigate those plots – the rest of the watch has had a lot of service, in that the hands, crown and pushers have been replaced. The watch comes with unmatched papers and the description of them does not make me trust a word the seller says “Papers could have come with the watch”. No. They couldnt.

Ok well I think you have enough to go on, but here is the cheapest on offer:

Service Dial, service hands, overpolished case, there is almost nothing right about this, even the bezel looks bleached.

I was going to leave it at that, but I must leave you with hope. This was my watch, I just sold, for less than the median price of the watches discussed:

Fine 2998’s are still selling for $40,000 to $60,000, but it is not possible to find them listed publicly. The auctions are unlikely to have one unless it is from a private source. After all, collectors know what a good one is worth, and so the Auction wont give them a good enough price after their 30% cut and 90-120 day payment.

There are lots of Instagram 2998’s that are better than any on C24 or Ebay, or even recently auctioned by the big houses.

The difference between a 2998 with issues and a fine one is very high.

Ultraman on Ebay September 2019

As anyone who knows me knows, I am not the biggest fan of this reference. To be more accurate, I am not impressed with the way values were hyped and promoted by a small minority of owners, who then sold them for huge sums after viciously defending their position in public fora.

That said, I do like the watch. I simply do not understand anyone paying the $70,000 being asked here.

The listing is very well presented and the photos are good. We can really see the rather poor plots, but we can also see that this Ultraman has a long hand, of the correct reddish orange colour.

We can see the hand is long enough. The case sides seem polished, as those are not the original profiles, and the watch is quite shiny. That does not fit with the state of the movement and dial. Lets see that movement:

Those darker bridges do not fit the condition of the case, (supporting the idea it has been re finished) but they do go with the rather tired looking dial plots. That is not what I think of as a nice clean movement. However when looking for an ultraman, beggars cannot be choosers and you have to take what you can get.

The museum liked it:

In my opinion the owner is flying a kite. I have seen several UM’s sell for much less, and some have been better and at least one had original papers.

Bear in mind this is a 145.012. These sell for between $8,000 to 15,000 and this one recently sold for just under $10,000.

So my question is, can the addition of an Orange hand really be worth $60,000?

See more about Ultramans here

Two 145.012s Recently finished on Ebay

This first watch just closed on ebay for $5,600 This looks at first site a sad looking watch:

This has just sold for just under $5,600 on Ebay UK

At first sight, this might seem a lot of money for a non running and incomplete watch. It has numerous other issues too. Here are the immediately obvious ones:

  • Missing Bezel
  • Missing pusher Cap
  • Over-painted hands
  • Lume plots patchy, and what remains is dirty
  • Badly marked Crystal

I think a dealer will rightly look at this watch and think, well I can put a new set of old hands on ($500) find a NVG bezel (Not Very Good), and service it ($500 – should be more but that is what dealers like to pay) and literally most of the issues will be resolved. It will come back shiny, complete and running. there is this bezel on ebay which is currently $86 with less than two days to run :

Currently on ebay

Back to our Dealers Ebay Special. We have not actually finished with the issues. Look at the case back:

Notice the junction between the middle and the bevel, it is very soft, and indicates some polishing, or at least heavy wear – but that is not reflected in the Hippocampus. I think the case is free from corrosion and that what we see is just dirt. But there is more to come, look at the movement

Look at the screws, every one is damaged. This is an easy fix, if you have access to all the parts, like Swiss Time Services does, and as this was a UK watch perhaps that is what is going to happen.

Assuming of course that the gorillas whose serviced this only damaged the screw heads….

The dust cover is correct. Which is becoming an important thing.

What the buyer will end up with, if all goes as best it can be, is a serviced watch that has a sad dial, with non original hands. So the other option is to use these hands, strip repaint and re lume them and also re lume the dial.

I have for some time felt the 145012 is undervalued. Does this sale reflect that? Because when this is all fixed up, the buyer will be into this for at least another $1200 and probably more. Here is the difficulty in trying to add old parts to an old watch. You have to get the commensurate amount of wear on the part (in this case the bezel) and the rest of the watch. Putting a $5,000 bezel on this watch, with its terrible lume and worn back is never going to look right.

Then again, if the watch is re lumed on the plots and hands, we are getting into the too-good-to-be-true territory. You need a very, very skilled re lumer to make a speedmaster pass muster. Which leads on to the next watch:

There was another basket case 145.012 sold on 3rd August for $6,300. It was more complete but as many issues:

We can see in this case the watch has a new crystal so we can see everything on the dial. Note the 5 and 6 markers which are so sloppy I would have to think they have been re applied (Along with the others). Pushers and crown are wrong, and it also has corrosion on the case as we can see here:

In fact if you had to choose between the two, the first watch is I think the better one

Both are poor, both need a huge amount of time money and effort.

I am curious to see if the coming sales of nice 145.012’s are strong