Sotheby’s Sale NY 2019

Often results can be misleading if you have not actually held the goods. A prime example is this 2915-2 for $52,500. This seems very cheap. Original lot is here

It has original looking pushers, but a 32 tooth crown. It has a oval “O”but the plots might have had help. Th dial body is excellent, with only a tiny spot that if you are obsessive with a loupe you will find. I looked hard at the bezel and frankly I do not know. And to be honest I didnt worry about it, because of the next thing issue, The movement. I think this is a dodgy movement, as the engraving on the bridge was unlike any engraving I have seen before – easily legible, and the digits clear and thin, well defined. Not your normal Speedmaster number. So I dismissed this. At the price, it might be worth it for the case and dial, and hands which are good. Who knows. However if you are after an honest 2915 this was not it. Nowadays, if a major auction house presents a 2915 without an extract, we have to ask why. Extracts can be obtained in days, now, and so if they do not present one, I can only think it cannot get one.

My message to all you buyers of 2915’s in the last two years (Prices ranging from $120,000 to $400,000) do not think your watches have plummeted in value based on this result.

Updated Price Chart released

Recently Acquired One Owner watch – They are still out there!

The price chart is updated. I am hoping to move server in the new year and use a different web editing program – this site gets about 600 – 1000 visits a day and it is a job to maintain, and to that end I have engaged a professional to keep it secure and up to date, behind the scenes.

At the same time I will be releasing a new updated style of chart with five grades not 3, and I shall be sharing my own grading system so that you can go through a watch and find out what you have.

Here is the summary of the market:

  • The market has seen a great many sales in the last few months, at Auctions and privately. There is a solid trend to high prices for fine watches, and zero interest in poor watches offered at prices that while less than for a top example, are simply not cheap enough to attract those who would enjoy them.
  • The FOMO crowd has left. People with money burning holes in their pockets, over paying for correct but poor watches. I am no longer fielding numerous enquirers that start with the value question, its more now about quality.
  • you will note several references have gone down in the Running quality and up in the Collector
  • I feel that dealers have a lot of dead stock that they cannot move. This stock is overpaid with quality issues. I have always questioned the ability of any dealer to make a good living from speedmasters, as there simply is not the volume compared to Rolex.
  • Good watches are fetching good prices.
  • This Chart is for MOTIVATED COLLECTORS. The prices here DO NOT reflect retail prices (as found in Vintage Watch Shops), or often not even dealer prices all of which are often 20%-100% higher. Almost every price in the chart is backed up by a known purchase or sale, often my own.  I genuinely believe I or you can find a watch at prices I quote – with patience and dealing with the Vintage Omega community.
  • DO90 bezels are now an important part of any valuation. A flawless one was $5000 but I think realistcly the value is now $4,000 but I know of no sale to back it up in the last 12 months. The value plummets quickly as the damage, marks or discoloration appear. If it is nearly fine then it might only fetch $2000-3000. There is a huge difference in value for that last 10 – 15% quality. (A small degradation is a huge loss of value).

New Price Chart Here

Learning More from a Bad watch….

Than a good one.

Here is a watch offered on Ebay by a seller with a good reputation – I imagine he is selling this on Ebay as when a watch is this err… “interesting” a seller must search far and wide for the Princess who sees it as a frog and gives it a kiss. (Spoiler alert – this will remain a frog, albeit an attractive frog).

Sellers Photo

Currently with six hours to go it is around $3,800, from 28 different bidders. 28! That is a lot of people with puckered lips thinking this is a watch with potential.

Sometimes the attraction is simply the price. With 105.012’s selling for over $10,000 for ones with criticisms, all the way up to $25,000 for a very good one, if you could buy this for $4000 it would be fun right? Lets have a look. For me, to be fun, it should have some attraction, and part of that attraction is the parts being correct. This one is pretty good in that department, except for the pushers and crown.

The bezel is a ghosted DO90. In a cheap watch, I like it. It is correct, and quirky and interesting.

What about the dial? Can you live with those algae plots? Again, if it is cheap, I can. (We will get to how cheap I think is cheap soon)

Those plots are terrible, but they are even, and consistent with the damage to the dial, which is also terrible. There are blisters all over it. It is however a correct, tritium professional dial and belongs in the reference. If sold loose I wonder what it would fetch on ebay?

The case is a 1966 HF case. It has a single bevel on the back, and retains a good proportion of its shape. I have seen worse cases on more expensive watches, but its still a well worn case. It also shows several damages – but nothing truly major. Of course this is relative. If this was a $10,000 watch we would be calling it an awful case. For example there is a bad dent underneath level with the 4 o’clock plot.

In the shot above you can see that dent, also we see clearly the thin necks of the service pushers. Also the 32 tooth crown. Some failed opening marks, which I would expect to see on a watch like this. The crown doesn’t seem to fit properly.

The hands to are commensurate with the terrible condition of the dial and case. If anything, they add to the attraction of the watch, in that they could be the original hands and been through the same experience as the dial.

Lets go inside. If the movement is good it is worth about $2500, more if it gets an extract.

Initially we could think it is not great. Its either dirty or discolored. But on closer inspection, the screws seem to be in good condition. It has not been attacked with a knife and fork or a 47th Street $150 per service mechanic. The column wheel is complete, and all the bridges are without corrosion. It seems it is just the horse-shoe bridge that is dirty. Someone has put a gasket in. The number is very close to two Extracted 105.012’s I have, but it is also as close to a Seamaster 105.006. So there is a chance it is original. I personally would gamble yes, but I am a gambler.

Is it worth $4,000? Definitely yes. Is it worth $8,000? Not to me. So it will be somewhere in between. We can break it down into components and see that it might be worth as much as $6,000 in parts – though to get that you would have to Ebay them and hope that all the buyers slightly over paid – and then ebay would slice off their part then you would have to deal with Ebay buyers which might go easy or might not….

In summary, I like this watch at a low price – a perfect interesting beater with mostly correct parts. Imagine it on a nice leather strap. Originality wise it is let down by the pushers, but I am not too worried about the crown.

Here is the thing. Every single part on this watch is poor. Even the grey bezel is dented, so if you took it off and put it on a better watch it would not look good. The reason this watch looks good to me is that the patina, (yes I am invoking that term) is really attractive as all the parts have a similar level of degradation – they fit together and have integrity as a unit. Split them apart, and you have a collection of bad parts.

Am I bidding ? No but if I had not just paid the school fees I would be a buyer at the low range.

Good luck to the buyer. It has been a long time since I found such a poor watch so attractive.

(All Photos are from the listing and used without permission and this post will be removed if the seller requests it)