A Non Pro 105012 on Chrono24 – Is it Legit?

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.

A very rare Straight Writing for sale on Ebay

(I have no connection to seller)

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 ebay auction is here

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

August Ebay Speedmasters

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:

Listing is here.

I would be extremely surprised if this exists

A discussion between two 2998’s at Sotheby’s

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.

Sothebys Results 19 July 2019

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:

Lot 40 2915-1 $250,000

Lot 40 2915-1 15’996’993 $250,000 – The most expensive lot in the sale. Sothebys and the seller should be thrilled with this result, and indeed it underlines there is a demand for the 2915-1 even today. I admit to being surprised and how well this did.

Lot 17 Alaska III $187,500

Lot 17 145.022 Alaska III 44’818’060 $187,500 – A good result, the same as the last one sold by Phillips. This one lacks the NASA part number, but as long as the Omega Museum verifys it then its all good.

Lot 13 1969 Gold $68,500

Lot 13 BA145.022-69 28’420’772 $68,500 Another good result. Showing tarnish, this might have minimal use, though the bezel is a little damaged. Definitely the better of the two in the sale.

Lot 30 2915-3 Black Bezel and Alphas $50,000

Lot 30 2915-3 16’648’998 $50,000 – This was, in my opinion, the buy of the sale. I should have bought this. Chapeau to the buyer, it was a steal.

Lot 49 1969 Gold $47,500

Lot 49 BA145.022-69 28’420’767 $47,500 – Not quite as good as the previous gold one, but another strong result for this reference, indicating to me the price for these is 30% up on 12 months ago. Both of these watches had the Oval O dial and DO90 bezel which is essential for a strong price.

Lot 27 105.002 in Fine Condition $47,500

Lot 27 105.002-62 19’832’118 $47,500 – An especially good price for the reference, which can be all over the place. This one is in very good condition, arguably the best condition watch in the sale and hence the price – the highest I have seen paid for the reference.

Lot 3 2998-1 Grey BASE1000 $40,000

Lot 3 2998-1 17’301’094 $40,000 – A very attractive watch. The only 2998-1 here, and so not surprising it attracted bidders.

Lot 4 2915-3 Alpha hands $35,000

Lot 4 2915-3 16’648’570 $35,000 – This sold under low estimate, and it is a little sad looking, and so I am not surprised. The bezel may well look poor in real life, and the hands are so obviously re done, with no effort at blending them to the watch. I had a query about the pushers, and it has engraving on the back. So this is the least attractive watch that actually sold. (apart from the service dial Ed White)

Lot 47 105.012 with Buzz’s signature $31,500

Lot 47 105.012-65 24’952’506 $31,500 – A strong price for the reference, but I suspect that on the anniversary of the moon landing, the signature may have swayed buyers. Its a good looking watch, but I wont be taking too much notice of the price for data purposes.

Lot 33 Ultraman $30,000

Lot 33 145.012-67 Ultraman 26’076’555 $30,000. I am sure the buyer will be very pleased.

Lot 21 Tiffany 105.012 $30,000

Lot 21 105.012-65 Tiffany 24’006’784 $30,000 – well over estimate, and I think a good watch that is likely a genuine Tiffany. Of all the double signed references, this is my favorite. A good watch all round, and a fair result.

Lot 39 2998-2 $27,5000

Lot 39 2998-2 17’302’542 $27,500 – This was cheap, and with hindsight another I should have bought. The bezel is fantastic, and the watch is in good condition. The alpha hands are a problem, but nothing $5,000 cannot solve.

Lot 22 105.002 FAP $23,750

Lot 22 105.002-62 19’584’305 $23750 – Seems cheap for a watch with FAP connections, but also it does show lots of use so perhaps price is fair. It seems an honest watch in a market where there is plenty of shenanigans. (The military connections market).

Lot 24 105.003 Soft Grey $23,750

Lot 24 105.003-65 24’537’868 $23,750 – The Alaska III aside, this was the rarest watch in the sale, with very few of these rare grey dials known, and most have terrible damage. So in my opinion this was a good deal for someone.

Lot 38 105.002 $20,000

Lot 38 105.002-62 19’832’987 $20,000 – Was this the sleeper? Is that a brown dial? I think this might be one of the best buys in the sale if that dial looks as nice in real like as those photos suggest it might be.

Sothebys Apollo Aniversary Sale 2019

This Image from the Sothebys Site.
Click on it for my review of the Speedmaster Lots

Sothebys are holding a Speedmaster sale in July. The catalog is here.

Please click through HERE (or photo above to go to the main site where I written several pages about the watches on offer.

Keep checking back as my may ideas change as I receive more information or photos from friends or Sotheby’s staff.

A 2998 Just sold at Sothebys

2998-6 Sold in Sothebys London

This is an attractive example. It has the correct bezel, and pushers and I think crown but I am not sure. The dial has nice looking plots and the hands are the more valuable triangle lume.

The Sotheby’s photos make it hard to read the dial.

This watch sold for £21,250 including premium, which is about $26,700.

It came with an extract and in general we could hope for a better bezel but the price seemed fair to me, subject to the dial being as clean as it looks here.