The sale took place at Marriot Hotel in Hong Kong, 26 November 2019 and can be seen here. All prices I have converted to USD and include any premiums, so what you see is what was paid.
- 105003 $19,300 Lot 892
- 105003 $11,200 Lot 893
- 105003 $No Bids Lot 894 Brown
- 145.022-68 $12,065 Lot 895 Transitional
- 145.012 $8,050 Lot 896
- 145.012 $24,100 Lot 897 Ultraman
- 145.012 $35,400 Lot 898 Black Racing, poor dial
- 145.022 -69 $12,050 Lot 981 Modern Bezel
- 145.022-69 $6,100 Lot 982 SW
- 145,022-71 $6,435 Lot 983 No Nasa
- 145.022-71 $7,720 Lot 984
- BA145.022 $64,350 Lot 985
Lot 892 105003 $19,300
The first Ed White (892) sold strongly at $19,200 – I was surprised it reached this high. The bezel was poor, and the dial plot at 11 was damaged as though pushed with a tooth pick.
Also at 6 the plot is very dirty.
Lot 983 105003 $11,200
The next Ed White (893) was Estimated at a spectacularly optimistic USD$ 16,000 to $32,175 ! It had severe microscopic dial pitting, the movement was damaged, and the case back pitted.
It had a Rolex finish on the top of the lugs, and so I was deeply suspicious of the whole watch.
Then I noticed that it was being sold as ” without Reserve” and sometimes these can go cheap – so I worked through the parts value and came up with $8,000 so USD$6000 / HKD 46,000 to bid. It sold for well under low estimate, but over my value at $11,200.
Lot 894 105003 $No Bids – Zilch
The last of the three Ed Whites (894) was this enthusiastically valued but questionable tropical, or damaged dial. Indeed some of us at the viewing wondered if it had been cooked – the plots have a lot of black on them ,and the dial has a special sheen seen in other heated dials. I cannot believe that estimate – still, nor could anyone else. Lot 894 was Unsold – I do not think there was a single bid at the sale.
Lot 895 145.022-68 $12,065
Now the first of the 861’s, a very nice Transitional. This was an example were if you did not view the watch, you might not realise just how very nice it was. While the bezel was slightly damaged, the dial is spectacularly perfect. Sold for $12,000 and while its not cheap, it is a very good example. I have not seen one quite so nice all round for a while. Actually it is quite special, and only the damaged bezel might have held it back, both in value and bidders. If you look at the photo above you can get a feeling for how good the dial is, with a lovely colour and no damage
Lot 896 145.012 $8,050
This watch is a 145.012 (896) and sold for a very strong $8,050. At first thought, a 145.012 for $8,000 is cheap right? No it was not – because the dial had several issues, the 2 and 3 o’clock marker missing lume:
And the 7 o’clock marker is running away., and lume missing from 8
These are massive attraction issues and dramatically affect the value when in a cold sale situation. (face to face). The DO90 is grey, and I know some people love grey bezels, but for me they are not valuable. So the watch sold for less than the low estimate, which was $9,625 but I cannot see anyone I know buying a watch with that seven o’clock plot.
Lot 897 145.012 $24,100
The Ultraman (897) fetched $24,150. Not such a strong result, for these rare and often highly contested watches. But we must take into account the deceale bezel when comparing to previous sales, which had quite good DO90’s which today are around $3000 to $4000. While I have it on good authority this Decimale is vintage, I wonder if value wise it is comparable to a DO90. (I do not know, I just know that personally I pay more for a DO90) Otherwise It was correct, but the dial had issues with its plots – these showed leakage and probably all have been adjusted or repaired. There was what looked like binder leakage all around each plot, especially the 4. This is not obvious in the photos:
The case was slightly soft, but that wasn’t the issue, it was the dial. The more I looked at it the more I found it terrible. These photos do not show this plot condition. This sold at a level lower than many UM’s that have changed hands recently. I imagine a dealer might buy this for $24,000 then change the dial for a nice one, and next thing you know its a $40,000 watch. As anyone who reads my posts knows, I have zero understanding for the very high values attributed to the Ultraman.
Lot 898 145.012 $35,400
The Black Racing is in a similar boat to the previous lot, in that it is an extremely rare watch, with perhaps 10 examples seen, but it is in poor condition. The white dial plots are all cracked and missing in places – the red plots are perfect.
The dial body colour lacks a depth of lustre we take for granted in speedmasters. The print on the track is missing slightly between 11 and 2. The red hands have been repaired with the wrong colour paint, and the Rehaut shows damage – which made me open it and check the movement – this shows signs of service and there were 4 service marks in the pearlage back. The case back has lost a little definition. Selling at $35,400 this is much less than some examples have fetched. I was lucky enough to be able to compare a fine one sid by side with this one, and it highlighted the severe problems in the dial on this watch. Last point, this is a non pro dial, with an applied logo. The other, Professional, version with the painted logo, is in my opinion more special. In the painted logo version the dial plate is unique in speedmasters, as the sub dials are smaller, requiring smaller subdial hands. So for me there is a case to say the the Professional dial is as a result more valuable than the AML dial as that dial appears to share the plate with all other stepped 321 dials. In any event all the Black Racings are rare birds. I was a bidder on this, but pulled out once the price exceeded that which I paid for a good one.(!)
Lot 981 145.022 -69 $12,050
This very early 145.022-69 has a 28m serial but a bezel from much later. The dial body is very attractive, but the plots have exploded slightly, leaving micro debris on the dial. It sold in the end for $12,050 (Lot 981). this is an inexplicable amount in current environment, only making sense with the idea that maybe the speedmaster market is getting solid in the 145.022 area. Remember this watch is missing a bezel that is going to cost at least $4,000 to replace. The final problem for me on this watch is the back has been lathe polished, leaving rings. The sale price is very hard to make sense of, as if the buyer makes it correct with a decent bezel, then the watch has cost him $16,000. Thats an awful lot of money for a -69. Even with original papers.
Lot 982 145.022-69SW $6,100
Lot 982 is a straight writing, in deceptively poor condition, good from far and far from good. It has a dial that is covered in debris, which may or may not be removable, The pushers are odd, and extend different heights from the case, indicating poor previous work. The dial has a series of minor issues in addition to the debris: A bogey at 12, a mark on running seconds subdial, and glossy patch below the RS subdial. Plots are slightly greenish yellow and thin – this is commonly seen in this reference, but just because it is original doesnt make it attractive enough to want to buy it. At $6,100 it was one of the cheaper watches, but with issues I did not want to deal with.
Lot 983 145.022-71 NN $6,345
I like these No Nasa case back references very much, for their rarity. They are often very affordable, and so if you are after a ’71 why not choose this version? Here is the back:
well the best thing about this example is the back. The dial has some small marks, with a spot near the centre, and a small mark near the 48 minute mark. There is a further minor mark to the right of the Omega logo. There is a small amount of debris across the dial. Hands are very bright, plots are greenish yellow and overall this example is not one that grabs me by the balls, however much I really want to like it. Selling at $6,345 (Lot 983) was not expensive, but with reason.
Lot 984 145.022-71 $7,720
This was the little sleeper of the sale. The dial is absolutely lovey, clean, with an attractive colour and perfect plots. At $7,700 it was not a steal, but it is a special quality – yes the case has a small damage on the 2 oclock lug, but I think that will polish out without metal removal. It will be interesting where it was delivered to, as the bracelet is possibly a foreign fitted one. 24 tooth crown and dirty neck pushers add to the idea this is an original and very attractive example. Ok, yes, I bought it.
Lot 985 BA145.022 $64,350
Gosh. $65k for a BA with a service bezel. Take off 10k for the box and that is still $55k. This is a very strong price, and I think the box had undue influence. And the papers, too. Sonwhere under these hands is the spot – I cant remember exactly where but its hidden as it is not showing….
And the Subdial. Look closely at the track:
The dial is the Oval “O” and I like them better if there is a choice. The service bezel is a shame as they are absolutely irreplaceable and I dont know how a speemaster collector (who must have a bit of OCD) can live with the service bezel – I could not and sold mine. The bracelet on this watch is a bit tight on my average western wrist. I have learnt the hard way not to budget for an extra link or two when buying from Asia. These links have to be made and fitted by a jeweler – they are not serviceable in the normal way.
Overall I liked this sale. As far as speedmasters go, Phillips have presented the most predestining, buyable and accessible collection of Speedmasters of any Auction house to date. They still offered a couple of howlers, but I would rather see more than less. We can only learn by seeing watches with problems, and learn to appreciate special watches. Dare I say it, but I do not think a lot have people have the skill to spot them. I am not haveing a go at the staff of Phillips, or any other House. They need to have a broad knowledge that dwarfs what I know.