Speedmasters at Christies

Christies are selling four speedmasters on 11 May 2015 in Geneva.

The auction house charges 25% (plus vat if a local sale) and I have listed them below. The sale is in Swiss francs but I have quoted US$ on the estimates for consistency. The photographs are from the listing, and not good quality. If you go to the site you will be able to see high resolution, if much processed photos of the front only. For a company that wants to have as many online bidders as possible, this is not showing me what I need to see to give my maximum price.

Estimates in general are strong, and don’t forget the 25% buyers premium to add to the hammer price.

Here is a link to the Omega filtered page at Christies.

Lot 60

Lot 60
Lot 60. Photo from Christies listing

Estimate  $ 7400-$10,500

Omega. A rare and attractive stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet, Tropical dial and box

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, REF. ST 105.003-65, MOVEMENT NO. 24’001’189, MANUFACTURED IN 1966

This has a very brown dial. I would want to see this watch in person before going ahead and bidding. The value is all in the dial appearance and it has certain queries for me. I have not seen a dial with this considerable degradation with such perfect plots. If they are relumed it is a very good job. I would accept it, but I want to know before buying.

This watch has a dial that will have people divided as to its attraction. The degradation has produced what looks like a nice brown colour, but the dial itself looks dry, and the minute markings are damaged. (While at the same time the plots look very good?) The whole dial looks as though it might have spent some time outside a watch.

The hands look perfectly matched to the dial, and the off colour  lume is in such good condition, that I would want to satisfy myself whether or not they are recently fitted prepared items – I think they are. This just needs to be taken into account when valuing. Its a hard thing, because I am sure if they are substitutes, the watch looks much better because of them.

The bezel is quite poor, and I would not let it influence the price.

I like that it comes with an archive extract.

The crystal has been replaced with one with a silver rehaut, and this is incorrect, It should have a black rehaut. As always, once I see one incorrect part like this, I have to be suspicious (but open minded) of the rest of the watch – what else has been changed? The more I look at it, the less I am inclined to say this is an original watch. I think it is likely to be restored one, and I cannot say for sure which parts it left the factory with.

This watch has a lot of question marks, many of which might have been answered had Christies put up more photographs, and processed them less. We could have seen so much more, especially the general case condition. As it is, I would not be flying to Geneva for this one.

Lot 61

Lot 61. Photo from Christies listing
Lot 61. Photo from Christies listing

Estimate is $7400-$10,500

OMEGA. A FINE STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET AND BOX

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, REF. ST 105.002, MOVEMENT NO. 19’833’075, MANUFACTURED IN 1963

Box and papers always are a red herring to me, you can’t wear a box.

This watch comes with original hand filled guarantee from the date of sale, but with a discrepancy in the last digit. I think I agree with Christies that this was a “misread” but I still don’t like it. I think this watch is outside Omega’s ability to issue an extract. In some ways these incorrect papers make me think they are genuine. After all if an unscrupulous seller is going to fill in a period blank form, would he make a mistake? He might.

The dial is not the best, it looks dry and very slightly blemished. It is not bad as such, just not attractive to me. It could be the photo, but I see little white spots all over the dial, and the subdial edges look rubbed from the dial being stored outside of a watch.

This is an early 105.002 and caries he alpha hands, indeed the more attractive triangular hour lume as well. It is a very rare watch.

This may well turn out to be the best of the bunch.

Lot 215

Lot 215. Photo from Christies listing
Lot 215. Photo from Christies listing

Estimate  $20,000-$30,000

OMEGA. A FINE, RARE AND ATTRACTIVE STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH TROPICAL DIAL AND BRACELET

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, REF. 2998-2, MOVEMENT NO. 17’302’961, CIRCA 1960

At first sight Everything looks good on this watch, a high quality dial, correct, a Base1000 bezel that is in fair condition, a movement number in acceptable parameters.

The big red flag is that it has short, new, seamaster alpha hands. I have to ask why? Immediately we must look at the whole watch as potentially a non original.

I would need to see inside, because if the repairer thought it is acceptable to use those hands, then what else did he replace? Once again, Christies have not provided enough photos to allow me to judge.

This is a huge amount of money for a 2998, let alone one with these questions. If this sells then the market has indeed moved.

Lot 216

Lot 216. Photo from Christies
Lot 216. Photo from Christies

Estimate is $6400 – $8500

OMEGA. A RARE STAINLESS STEEL CHRONOGRAPH WRISTWATCH WITH BRACELET

SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, REF. CK 2998-2, MOVEMENT NO. 19’834’724, MANUFACTURED IN 1963

This has a movement number outside accepted parameters, it is too high. I am very suspicious. I think it more likely the movement in this watch came from a seamaster.

I am thinking the hands are modern replacements as the lume ends are squared and the originals are rounded.

It ought to have a BASE1000 bezel.

I cant find a nice thing to say about this, Even Christies know it is wrong, estimating it for a third of the other 2998-2 they are selling.

Even at the low estimate, this is going to cost a buyer around $8,000 which is a lot for a franken.

I wish you all the best of luck if bidding, and the only thing I can say is that all of these need viewing, and the presentation on the web, and in the catalog, is inadequate for me to make a proper assessment.

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