Here I review the four Geneva Auctions from Phillips, Antiquorum, Christies and Sothebys. They are on separate pages and if you keep scrolling you will see them, or click on the names to go direct to my page on them.
9th Phillips : Hotel La Reserve 6pm (following double signed auction)
11th Christies : Four Seasons Hotel des Bergues 10.30 and 2.30pm
12th Sothebys : Mandarin Oriental 10.30 and 2.30pm
I have looked at all the Speedmasters for sale in Geneva this November and gone through the catalogs. You must inspect the watches before buying as I have only seen photos. What I am concerned about is that some of the dials are showing marks that may just be the crystal. As there is only one of each photo, we cannot judge the depth of a mark.
A lot of the watches offered are poor, and perhaps they are attractive and worth having at a cheap price. Some of the watches are very expensive, and we have to wonder are they badly presented? So its best to view if you are a serious buyer.
The two Soyuz watches can be bought without viewing. After all, what are you going to do, look for another? These are very rare to market so you have to take what you can get.
Antiquorum wins the most speedmasters for sale award. Really wide selection and an opportunity to learn a lot if you get the chance to view. I really like that they put up so many, but you have to go and view as some have issues you have to see. They are the only House to offer a 2915 this season.
Christies have only two. One is an ex Omegamania Ed White with added booklet. Its nice, but be aware.
Sothebys also just two, but they have the nice Soyuz with correct bracelet, under estimated from a private family.
Phillips have two, and Ultraman and a very rare, but dull ACP.
Again only two Speedmasters. You can see the whole sale here.
Lot 25 145.012-67 Ultraman $30,000 – $50,000
Dial shows some spots in the centre, especially on the subdials. This “dryness” is contiued at the step, especially seen 9 marker to 1 marker. Plots are thin, white and not attractive. The lume is missing in places. The dial does not exhibit the glossy finish that some expect on an Ultraman. It is not a great dial. The H/M hands are correct, with decayed lume. The Chrono hand is correct colour and length and in good condition. (As an aside, the condition is almost perfect. Begging the question is it original? Surely someone is making the long central chrono hand by now).
Lot 132 105.003-65 $20,000 – $30,000
Dial is very good. Body is clean and attractive colour, and print is intact. Plots are a little wobbly but we see this in original Ed Whites. The plots have slight black marks. While it is possible they are adjusted, I believe based on comparison with other Ed Whites this dial is original. The hands have a lume colour not normally associated with this era, and I would inspect them closely – but I would be willing to accept them as original on inspection and UV comparison. Pushers look very new, but have domed tops as per original spec.
There are a couple of red flags. First, it was in Omegamania, and many of these watches have proved over time to have issues. This one may have none, but it makes me check. Secondly, a blank guarantee booklet has been added, and this was not part of the Omegamania lot. It is a nice thing to have, but it is not part of the original purchase and so adds nothing to the genuineness of the package. The DO90 bezel appears to have been added after the Omegamania sale. You can see that lot here.
Now the dial and case do look very good indeed. I would say this watch is worth having, just beetle on and get an extract if you win it, before paying.
Only two Speedmasters here. The Soyuz is very interesting, while the 145.022-69 really is not. The sale is seen here
Lot 418 145.022 Apollo Soyuz $12,000 – 16,000
The dial is correct, and the body is good. There are some marks visible that a buyer must ensure are on the crystal not the dial. The plots are a little grubby but there. The bezel is correct and in good condition. The psuhers are the correct oversize 5.5mm ones unique to this reference. The bracelet also looks correct.
We can see also the hour counter has crept around the dial, and this indicates an adjustment at best, a service at worst – this will not deter any but the most novice collector.
I think this watch will sail past the estimate, probably selling for $40,000. If not, then I will be surprised. These are so rare, that any chance to buy one will be contested by multiple collectors.
Lot 419 145.022-69 $4,000 – $6,000
Dial is not showing an obvious step, but the description says there is one. I suspect this is down to Sothebys rather zealous post processing, first seen in the Speedmaster sale in july this year. The dial is quite hard to judge, with a few marks that are probably the crystal. The plots are varied and not attractive, the h/m hands are dark lume, as is the chrono hand. These hands are also quite dirty. The bezel is DN90 with slightly thick printing (normal manufacturing result, but less attractive). I think this watch will look less attractive in hand, to the extent I cant think what Sothebys were thinking putting it in – its not even cheap. Look at the lower endlink. Something is not right with that.
Phillips are selling only two speedmasters, both unusual. See the full auction here. Quite a departure from last year when they were the King of 2915’s.
Lot 188 105.012-63 $30,000 – $50,000
Dial is the very early, and rare SWISS MADE Professional only seen in 105.012-63. It is even rarer with the ACP marking, backed up by an extract.
The dial body is good, with no obvious damage. The lume plots are poor, ugly colour and unattractive. If this was not an ACP I would not even bother to proceed with the assessment. The hands look original and commensurate to the dial. The pushers are fat neck original, and the crown is also original spec. The bezel is DO90 but has several areas of damage, especially to the left hand side. I personally have better places to spend this much money, but I make no judgement on those who want this very rare watch.
Lot 190 145.012-67 Ultraman $20,000 – $40,000
An Ultraman with the extract
Dial body looks nice, even a hint of brown. Slight dryness around the subdials, some damage to left hand side that is probably the crystal and also two marks over the running second subdial that need to be checked that they are crystal or dial. Hands all look original and correct, including the long central redish orange chrono hand that justifies the $10,000 – $30,000 premium these watches seem to fetch over the standard 145.012’s. Plots are fair, slight loss of lume on two plots, and black spots on two more.
Case seems ok, and pushers are correct. Crown is 32 tooth. Bezel is correct and in good condition. Slightly discoloured for my taste.
Overall the watch is well presented and attractive. Check out this page for more info on Ultraman.
Antiquorum is selling a 822 lots in Geneva on November 11-12 2019. The link to the auction is here
In general the Antiquorum catalog descriptions are the least trusted of the Geneva houses, in that there are a lot of watches with undisclosed issues, and miss described, and a lot that are fair to poor quality. It is as though they take a lot of watches from watch dealers who cannot (or too ashamed to) sell these watches directly. The reason I like Antiquorum is that they gather a huge number of varied watches, that give a buyer, (or even looker) a very wide selection to see and learn from. You just have to buy only after careful inspection, as you cannot rely on AQ’s due diligence. I am not trying to be rude at all – AQ is a stack’em high, sell ’em cheap(ish) operation with a large number of lots. Because there are so many lots, we always think there might be a hidden gem. The Auction scene would be a blander place without Antiquorum, I do hope they do not take exception to my comments as they are not intended maliciously.
Speedmaster 105.003-65 Serial 24006945 Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
Super spotty Dial, and the lume plots are in comparatively good condition(?). Dial is correct close spaced t’s and print intact. H/M hands are greenish black and Chrono hand has orange lume. Bezel as several damages <1mm and is fair but correct DO90. There is no extract and I have not examined movement but I would expect it to need work. As extracts are so easy these days, if it does not have one I think there is a fair chance it wont get one.As an academic exercise, what would we pay for it? $4,000 would probably have a lot of interest, so $5,000 ? Perhaps. But this is reserved at nearly $9,000 with commission. Its a dog.
Speedmaster 145.022-69 Tropical Dial Serial 29115295 Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
Sold in USA on March 12th, 1970
At first glance this has an attractive body colour on the dial. Looking closer I see quite severe damage in the hour subdial. The plots show unusual lume that leads me to suspect it is re lumed (the Lume colour is applied so that the white under paint is visible all around the lume material). The H/M hands have exactly the same lume laid by a bricklayer so I would say the watch is re lumed. The bezel is fair with many damages <1mm. Watch has an extract and a bracelet which is good, but I think the dial damage is going to slow me down on this one. The endlinks do not fit.
Speedmaster 105.012-66 Serial 24951146 Estimate $8,000 – 14,000
Sold on June 8th, 1967 in the USA
As I can see slight evidence of facet lines on the lugs I am calling this a -66CB.
The dial needs further examination to establish the presences of the T SWISS T status. Also from this photo we cannot ascertain a step. The running seconds subdial is dirty, and the hour subdial is badly scored from an incorrect hand. The plots are present but patchy, missing lume in parts. The printing is intact. The crystal may be incorrect as the Rehaut may be missing or incorrect, contributing to the inability to see the T marks. The H/M hands are in fair condition, poor colour and marked. The pushers are short, and may be original with fat necks, assuming they are indeed omega pushers. The lighting gives them a slightly unusual shape but I think it is the light. The dial must be investigated further to check for a step, but the scoring on the subdial really kills the watch for me.
Speedmaster 145.022-69 Serial 31624573 Estimate $4,500 – $6,500
Sold on March 12th, 1970 in the USA
This watch is probably a service dial with no step. It has the T SWISS T mark but I think it is a 90’s dial. The H/M hands are wrong, this whole watch is an expensive Elephant. Buy it at your peril. Even at the low estimate.
Speedmaster 105.012-65 Serial 22828462 Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
Sold to Mexico on April 15th, 1966
The dial is correct, short spaced T’s. Body shows some small marks that may or may not be from the crystal – further inspection required. The lume plots are unusually orange, and would have me looking for evidence the lume is re applied, we need to do a UV test and inspect under a loupe. There is not the usual evidence for re lume, in that the plots are undamaged, and no scrape marks. It is just an unusual colour, one prized by Rolex buyers and imitated by dial restorers – so I am on red alert. Bezel looks real, a DO90 and in good condition. I would expect the H/M hands to have had adjustment judging from the dial. The pushers are original fat necks. Its an attractive watch if bought well, and you know its faults.
Speedmaster 145.022-68 Serial 26556417 Estimate $3,000 – $5,000
Delivered to Meister in 1969
Well I suppose the best thing I can say about this is that it is cheaper than I would expect a Geneva Auction house to price a Meister. The dial plots are damaged and missing lume in places, that may have been re applied in places. Dial print may be damaged at the 31 minute mark, or it could be the crystal, check before buying, Hands are greenish lume and probably replacements. The bezel is poor, but correct DO90. This is an inexpensive Transitional – fun to have at the right price.Probably looks better in hand than here.
Speedmaster 145.022-76 Serial 39922606 Estimate $2,000 – $4,000
Dial is domed and correct for reference, with intact lume and print. The H/M hands are probably original, the M hand has cracking lume. The bezel is correct but shows multiple damages. At the low estimate its fair. Its so cheap they did not even bother to get an extract.
Speedmaster 105.012-66 Serial 24953867 Estimate $4,000 – $6,000
Dial is correct, wide spaced T. Lume is quite strong orange, missing in places. Hands do not match, which is often a sign the watch has not been re lumed. The h/m hands are in fair condition, and the chrono hand has a yellow lume. Its all a bit miss matched and as a result probably original – I dont know why AQ is so sure these are service hands. They may be, I only have one photo to go on. Thing is, its so cheap it doesn’t make a different. This is a strong buy up to high estimate. Pushers are service, I think the crown will be too.
Speedmaster 145.012 Serial 20552955 (out of Range) Estimate $7,000 – $9,000
Dial is correct, stepped and in good condition. Plots are slightly patchy, yellow lume. Print is intact. The h/m hands are unusually matching and may have been re lumed. Subdial hands are showing some corrosion. Bezel is a modern service replacement and kills the watch at this estimate – even if the movement turns out to be in the correct range as I suspect the second digit may have been a miss read “6”.
This watch is really a poor example. Look at the lines on the top of the lugs, and you will see it has been polished to within an inch of its life.
speedmaster 2915-1 Serial 15996671 Estimate $80,000 – $140,000 Sold on December 24th, 1958 in Mexico
Flat oval dial. Short indices on subdial. dial body has damage at hour subdial lower lip. There is also either debris inside or dial has numerous small marks. The plots are missing lume in places, and turning quite orange in places. The print at the 34 minute is either damaged or the crystal is distorting. The H/M hands are strong coloured. I would expect them to have been re lumed at some time. The Subdial hands are dirty and old. The pushers look original, as does the crown. The bezel needs further study but my assumption is that it is a German Repro until I can match it up with an original. So far I cannot. All these 2915’s, especially sub $100,000 mark, are going to have lots of issues. If you are going to play here, you have to have a gamblers attitude. As a gambler, the odds are against you in this auction house. All that said, its not a bad buy at this level. I just dont see it sailing past the low estimate too far. (Watch me be wrong).
speedmaster 2998-6 Serial 18645478 Estimate $16,000 – $22,000
Dial is correct for reference. The dial is damaged, marked at the running seconds subdial. There is some gentle bubbling at the 2 marker. The rest of the dial seems fair, possibly a little “dry”. The plots have thin coating of lume, missing in places. The hands are probably original as they show age and decay – but not in a bad way. The triangle lume hour hand is the best one to have on this reference. The centre chrono hand is needle, and not usually seen on a 2998 this late, so to contradict myself perhaps it is replaced. The bracelet needs verifying, along with the endlinks. If they are 7912 and original No 6 endlinks then this watch is a buy. The overall look of it is commensurate and it looks right. It is not fine, but it is not expensive either. It could be a great wearable watch – even though in the back of my mind I think this is a bit cobbled together.
Speedmaster 145.022-69 Serial 29636912 Estimate $3,000 – $5,000
Dial is very good and correct. Hands are correct and original. Bezel is good. Its a single family ownership. It looks really good. It does not have an extract.
Speedmaster 105.002-62 Serial 19584984 estimate $8,000 – $14,000
Dial is correct, no T marks. The body may be clean, but there is debris, and scratches that are probably dust and the crystal, but you need to make sure before buying. The dial plots are very thin and not attractive, with dirt. The printing is intact. The H/M hands are thin lume, with I think curved ends and also transverse curve so I think are age correct. The chrono hand is the correct drop end, with a yellow lume. The bezel is a correct DO90. Crown looks original and the pushers also look original. It is not expensive at low estimate, but it is what it is, a correct but fair condition example of a very rare reference.
Speedmaster 145.022 Soyuz Serial 39180966 Estimate $40,000 – $60,000 Sold in April 1976 to Italy
It has the extract, which it needs to be any use at all. Lets see where this goes, there is another single owner one in Sothebys for half the estimate. This one has issues with the bracelet being too narrow at the endlink. With A-S’s beggars cannot be choosers, but in this case you can choose to look at the Sothebys one.
On second look, I think we should also look very closely at the dial and hands, as they look similar to some Re lumes. I am not saying from this one photo that is the case, I am saying that from this photo I would need to check more carefully.
I have been asked so many times about this watch I thought it was interesting enough to write a post.
The watch is offered on OmegaForums.net by a member in good standing.
We can see straight away it is a clean dial, with slight green plots. The hands have blackened lume and the bezel is a 220. The Asking Price is $5,500
At first glance then, this is a good looking watch at around the correct price. However, there is a hitch. It has a declared service back. Not only is it a service back it is a 145.0012 which is not correct for this watch. (Though as far as I know the only difference between the two service backs is the number).
To be correct it should have a 145.022-69 back like this:
Back to the OF sale watch. The case back is fully declared by the seller, but it then makes me wonder, was the whole case replaced? To check that we need to compare the original watch with a known correct 69. This is not easy across the web as the differences are subtle, yet apparent were you to have the two in hands – even better a service case too.
So I grabbed a -69 and made a comparison shot….unfortunately I need to shoot with my right hand…..
The above watch has had some polishing, so I grabbed the one owner, never polished example:
So there you have two examples of confirmed correct cases, one of which is confirmed never polished. So you can decide if you like the look of the case.
For me, the case is not as I would expect. However it doesn’t mean its a replaced mid case, it could be polished. Without handling the watch I would not want to say for sure.
What I would say is that when I do a comparison, and take $5,500 imaginary dollars to shop for a speedmaster, this one would not even get on the short list.
Here are two that would.
This is a 145.022-69 for sale on Ebay, with a BIN price of $4050. It needs cleaning up and serviceing, but it will still come home under $5500. I happen to like this kind of watch, if cheap enough.
Lastly, if the 220 missprint bezel is something you must have, then look at this. though to be fair the bezel is poor. However do look at the listing and observe the sides and compare with the first watch in the listing.
This post started with some queries about a watch, that evolved into a discussion of replacement mid cases, and then to a quick look at whats around for $5000.
My main focus is on one owner watches and exotic dials. If I get the chance I will buy them at any opportunity.
The colour quite hard to photograph, but the lustre is always obvious. Note the sunburst finish and subtle blue metalic body colour.
This one is a non pro short indices version and there are others with long indices and with Professional on the dial.
This one is very rare as it is a 105.002:
Most often these dials are seen in105.003. However when I say most often, I mean I have seen three. One in a 2998 and now this in a 105.002. There is one coming up for sale in Watches of Knightsbridge in Mid November and that is a 105.012 and you can see it here.
This is listed as a 105.012-65 and the seller calls it a “two Liner” – this is the language of a Rolex dealer. You can see the listing on C24 here
The first thing to note is that the dial is a Non Pro, stepped, AML long indices (MWO A7). I have seen several 105.012’s with a non pro dial and I have to say that never have I been convinced that it could be original from the factory. So the first thing to think is that this is a replaced dial.
Looking further at the dial, the lume is even coloured, orangish yellow, and thick with an icing like consistency. I think it could be re lumed. When we take the hand lume colour into account as well, it becomes more likely.
So in my opinion this is a dial from a 105.003 that has been re lumed.
The back of the watch has the correct double step case back. The line runs in the middle of the slots indicating that the case – back has not been polished
Inside the case back we see the reference and -64.
The movement is clean, and looks good. The pushers are the original fat neck.
The sides of the case also look good. I think there has been some slight polishing, and the lines are a little blurred
The crown is 24 teeth and is correct.
In summary, I think this is a prepared watch, with the wrong dial, a grey unappealing bezel, and a blurred mid case. It is currently offered for sale at $21,000.
Cruising though ebay as we do, I came across this:
It is the extremely rare “Apollo” version of the straight writing. These are much rarer than the other version without Apollo. It seems the seller is aware of this and is asking $15,750. This seems very much higher than any example I have seen sold, however I do not critisise the asking price as these are so rare. After all, find another.
From the front, it looks fair to good, note the dial has a few marks on it, perhaps oil from servicing. If you blow the image up it can be quite noticeable.
watch is clean from the sides, and in general its in good condition.
Movement is clean
All I can say is that I think the seller is being optimistic, but he does have a good example of a very rare reference. If you are the kind of crazy collector who needs one of each reference, there is not a lot of opportunity to get one of these.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
2998-2 at $33,000 from a German Dealer. Its a barn find basket case that might be worth $7,000 at auction.
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:
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.