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?
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 pusher Cap
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 :
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:
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
August has never been a great month to sell, but we still see some interesting things and as a result of holidays, some things get sold cheaper than if the owners had just hung on until September. So here is a very quick skim through ebay on sunday.
Here is a 105.003 from an excellent trustworthy seller, Micheal English. The watch is in good overall condition, but the dial has been re lumed and the bezel is poor. That said the current price is around $6500 (offering is in Sterling) and that is cheap. It may end up going for more, and it deserves to in spite of the re lume. The case is strong and the dial body colour is loveley. I cannot help but thinking that there are many watches on offer with lume work that is undisclosed, and here we have a full disclosure seller. The original listing is here
The next watch that caught my eye wins the prize for worst photographer, and worst sales technique. If you really want to sell a watch, you have to show it in good light, and really if you want to sell it, a .99 auction.
I wonder what the bracelet is – could it be from the Soyuz? I am away from my watches so I cannot compare.
The straight writing case back is very desirable but the rest of the watch is almost impossible to validate. In the old days we might have bid on this gambling on it, but the current asking price of $6,600 is a bit unrealistic, given we cannot see what the dial looks like. Listing is here.
Here is a nicer watch:
Looks correct, nice bezel and dial and overall gives a good impression. The seller has provided a lot of good photos, but also a lot of extraneous wording, unrelated stock photos and generally seems to sell with a machine gun spray of information. It is unclear if any of the original documents that he has reproduced are included, but certainly I do not think it has the “New” Calibre 321 that he has shown pictures of.
None of that matters as the seller is real, the watch is well presented, and worth considering. Its extremely hard to find a 145.012 in this condition as many are broken for parts. I think this is changing, but a good 145.012 ought to be worth $9,000 to 12,000 all day but that is not what they are achieving and so I think these are the ones to buy – but only in good quality.
Currently at $4800 and listed here it is cheap at double.
Now here is what might be a gem, currently under $300 with two days to run:
Yes this was the best photo out of the listing – it was like he doesnt want to sell it. The bezel is a DN90 but the rest of the watch is a fairly decent 145.012 and it comes with the correct bracelet. This will go to a chop shop if someone does not buy it. Listing is here. I think that dial, while not perfect, might have an attractive colour.
Lastly, just to show no skim through ebay is complete without a potential scam, from Peru:
A good friend emailed me and asked why there was such a large differential between lot 3 and lot 9 in the last Sothebys sale.
Now there are of course obvious differences, but the first and most obvious is the reference. The -1 of any Omega reference is more pursued in the wild, and here we have a 2998-1 that is correct, with the BASE1000 and the added bonus of the lollipop hand. This hand on its own has been seen to trade for over $5,000.
The -1 and the -61 have three differences in equipment that themselves make a huge difference in value. The BASE 1000 bezel, the short indices dial, and the lollipop. So even if the two watches were in identical condition, the -1 is worth considerable more simply by virtue of its more valuable parts.
Of course these watches are in quite different condition. The -1 is in attractive but not fine condition. I think a fine -1 like this might sell privately for as much as $85,000 in today’s market, between two collectors who know what they are doing.
The -61 is awful – the dial is seriously damaged and it is a restoration case. Arguably it could be bought at $12,500 and then a new dial sourced. But good dials are rare, and most I have seen sold in the last two years have serious issues as well. The advantage of buying this watch at this level, is that Sotheby’s persuaded and extract out of Omega, so it may well be appearing again on the market with a new dial – keep note of the serial.
The sale went ok, given the prevailing winds. Here are the top results for sales of Speedmasters over $20,000
Two pm on a hot Friday in NYC was not the ideal time to get people to spill thier play money in pursuit of an unnecessary toy,which lets face it, we none of us need, so stars have to be aligned to make us all feel good to buy – East coasters all running away stuck in traffic for the weekend, and two am in Hong Kong. So bidders had to be determined.
Added to that was the unforgivable technical hitch that held the sale up over the net at Lot 3. You really would have thought they would have sorted that out, and I think it definitely had an impact. I know at least one buyer who lost interest. Remember, the timing of this sale – Europeans sitting down to a Friday night dinner, New Yorkers miserable in the heat, sitting in a traffic jam or on a train running away from the city, and buyers in Asian drunk in a karaoke bar…I suppose there is always going to be comprimises to be made for the time, but I think 2pm on the hottest day in New York was about the least appealing time for global buyers.
That said there were some sales. Here are the results in price order:
Here is an interesting 145.022-74 on Ebay UK, currently at 3250 Sterling (circa $4120) with 6 hours to go. Original Listing here
This first image from the listing is a perfect example of a private listing – terrible photo, bad lighting and out of focus. Of course this can, and is replicated by unscrupulous pseudo-dealers but I think this time its genuine. About the only thing I can tell from this photo is that I am interested and want to see more. In the old days we used to bid on watches just on a photo like this.
So I need more. Pretty sure in this next shot, that has more focus, that I can see a step on the dial. So now I am more interested. It is listed as a -74 and I have seen enough step dials in 74’s to feel they are original. However, the description is set by the seller based on a receipt from 1974. It is entirely possible that this in fact a -71
The bracelet is a 1171 and has the trapeze shape logo, indicating this is a contemporary and correct bracelet.
Looking at the watch, the dial and hands and bezel all appear to have wear and patina that fit with the concept this is an single owner watch that has not been messed around with.
Looking at the basics, we have a DN90 bezel, with drop serifs. A stepped professional dial with T marks, and tritium hands. Crown and pushers are hard to judge but look original from what I see. This is a very original watch.
Here we can see the back, clearly full of wrist cheese.
So this is an example of a watch in barn find, or straight from owner condition. This is clearly reflected in the current bid, that shows people interested in this over and above that shown in a dealer presented 145.022-74, or 71.
After a service this watch should present very nicely, even though we cannot really see clearly the character of the dial, there seem to be many bidders who think like I do that as this is an original watch the chances are this dial, and indeed the whole watch, will be very attractive when sympathetically serviced and recommissioned.
Christies have several online sales throughout the year, and they are worth keeping an eye on, as they are very poorly viewed. I myself bought two watches last year for the floor price, and I was the only bidder.
So for the moment, if you are a buyer, these online sales are worth looking at. These 105.002’s are so rare, and hard to price, when one comes up its always interesting to study. This is lot 8 and can bee seen here
This is the baton hand version, and is very similar to the 105.003.
This is a great photo, and we can learn a lot. The dial is what we must first look to. In this case, it is a No T marks, no pro stepped dial, and this is what we expect to see. As an aside, the O in Omega is round, and again this is to be expected – it is just good practice to be checking this in these early watches.
Here we can see the dial has lost a lot of lume from the plots. The white undercoat of the plots is showing – some will want to relume this dial, but it is almost impossible at the moment to sell a relumed watch. (That will change I am sure).
We must also look carefully at the printing, and we can see some minor blemishes in the minute track around the edge of the dial, but these could well be marks on the crystal.
In general this looks a nice original piece, with correct parts. It also has the 7912/6 bracelet and endlinks, and this is a significant value. It really does bear out the description of being a one owner watch, and this always adds to the attraction.
So is it worth buying? At $10,000 plus the commission it will come home at $12,500. It could be – if you can live with the dial lume plots, or lack of them. (I could). Now having said that, this watch is not in fine condition, and it is this quality of watch that is failing to sell for prices set within the last 12 months. So you have to go in with eyes wide open. Having said that, if you are looking for a 105002 the choices are always limited.
Fine examples of this reference are still selling privately for over $25,000 and exceptional ones for more. So $12500 seems cheap – certainly last year it would have sold easily. The question is are there still buyers for the lower quality like there were last year?
If you go to Chrono 24 (here) you will see this is the cheapest 105002 on the market today.
Just seen on ebay, selling in UK, is this replacement 2915 bezel.
It is never going to fool anyone as it is, as the engraving is fresh. The seller notes it is hand engraved like the original and it is possible that this may age quite well.
There are people who know these bezels far more than me, and will immedately pick up on font variations. The problem I have is that there is such variation, and so I cannot say definitively that I have a genuine example to compare. Almost all examples of 2915 with metal bezels I have seen have been through dealers or auction hands, and therefore lost that wonderful chain of private ownership.