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A Drawer Find Speedmaster

I was contacted a while ago now, by a gentleman who restores Model T Fords, and other vintage cars, and asked if I would like to buy the watch he bought new for $200 in 1973.

I did, and here it is:

As we can see the watch is well used, though not damaged. The hessalite shows a healthy amount of scratches and I suspect it is some time since the back was off – I have not yet removed it myself.

Hands have clearly been removed more than once and the paint is removed near the centre – this only happens if the hands have been on and off like a rodeo rider.

But it is an interesting back….

So it is the late 145.022-69 with the transitional back, know as “Straight Writing”. (I call it SW). Interesting the mix of dates – the invoice dated 1973, the bracelet marked 71 and the caseback marked 69.

This watch appears to be used, but not polished. In the first photo we can see the endlink has rotated. This is surprisingly common in the watches I am offered, which have often been discarded for many years, perhaps after breaking. Here we can see it is marked 516. Note the crisp case edge.

And the other side with the loose fitting endlink:

Original looking pushers, not so sure about that crown!

Here it is in a nest of its own paperwork. Showing it cost $200.81 in 1973, with the original guarantee booklet, service documents and brochures.

This is definitely another watch going into the permanent collection. More on SW’s here

 

Watches Of Knightsbridge November 2017 Sale

WOK is having another sale, and has plenty of speedmasters, several of which are post 1978 so outside my scope. I shall look at the pre 1978 ones here.

I am going to suggest you Google them for the catalog as they were very twitchy about me referring to them at all.

This auction house is becoming more active but remember that this auction house is not (yet) on a par with the “big boys” BUT this is why I like them – they offer a larger number of watches, and greater choice and a variety of qualities. Their sales tend to feel closer to the owners of the watches, or at least I feel I am seeing more from the market and from “owned” watches rather than curated or collected watches. I fell there are more estate watches here – I could be wrong. As ever do your due diligence, and make your own decisions taking your own responsibility for them.

Also be aware that unless policy has changed, not every watch is opened, though in the case where the movement was not as expected they were quick to offer to sort everything out.

I am not allowed to use WOK photos as they have not given permission. Well they have expressly forbidden me to. I assume they have got permission for the Omega red chronograph  image on their loading page :).

Lot 203 Estimate 3800 4400

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CIRCA 1971, REF. 145022-69 ST WITH “STRAIGHT WRITING” NASA MOON LANDING TRIBUTE CASE BACK

This is a rare watch, and looks good. The dial is correct and in very good condition. The hands show little damage and the bezel is also correct and good. The back is the more common version of the two, but still desirable. We can see it is original as it has the shorter slots. I like this watch, and I would expect this to sell strongly. In fact I would say this is the pick of the sale.

Lot 204 Estimate 4000-4500

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER PROFESSIONAL CIRCA 1970, REF. 145022-69 ST WITH “220 MISPRINT” BEZEL
An interesting valuation pricing this lot above the previous. The 220 Bezel miss-print has a mixed following and while I accept this is rare, as yet, I do not see a big value – this lot may prove me wrong. This mistake bezel is very rare, and only correct in a very narrow serial range, but so far to me it is a quirk, not a valued attribute. A bit of fun, yes, but not one to pay much for.
I find the overall condition not as pleasing as lot 203 but its still in good condition with correct parts. I find the overall lume colour a little dirty and not so pleasing. I will be very interested to see how the market treats this.

Lot 205 Estimate 3000-3500

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CIRCA 1969, REF. 145022-69 ST

This is the first of two entry level watches – it has just enough of the right attributes to make it accessible and attractive. The bezel is a DN90 and the dial is slightly degraded, the plots are off colour and missmatched. The dial is correct, stepped.

The hands look very clean and green. I would like to see more closely but it is possible they are replacements. I do not find the colour of the hands pleasing, but that should not put you off. If they are replacements, then it would be no issue to improve them by adjusting the colour.

As it is, this is one of the cheaper watches in the auction, but it used to be possible to find a watch like this outside the the auction houses for less – it is not so easy now. So I think this is going to sell.

Lot 206 Estimate 5500-6500

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER
DATED 1968, REF. 145.012-67 SP WITH OMEGA EXTRACT OF THE ARCHIVES SHOWING DELIVERY TO THE USA

From what I can see from these photos this watch is correct, but not especially attractive. The dial lume is not showing and may be missing, only better photos or an inspection will tell. The photos make the plots very white, and we need to know more before bidding hard.

The hand lume does not match between the hour and minute, or indeed the chrono tip – they are all different, and different from the dial lume. This suggests that the hands are not all original, and so we should carefully inspect the rest of the watch – especially the dial which I think needs to be seen in better light to value properly – I am concerned it looks “dry” or with very slight abrasions. In the first photo, the subdials show white around the edges – this shows in only the first photograph, but it might be they are there, albeit faintly, in real life. If I could I would enlarge the photos here and we could all see what I am talking about. Please check and ask for more photos (Do you think they would send more photos to me if I asked nicely?!)

The bezel is very good, but it has a dent at 85 and a damage at 69. These two marks stop this being a top bezel, that is one that is worth $5000. But I think some buyers will miss this. So this is a tough watch to value – the middle qualities always are a challenge to place a figure on, even the “upper middle” qualities. We just need two people who dont see, or care that the bezel is not top, and it will go for more than comparables on the market.

I like to see the extract, this definitely adds value. This watch is not flattered by the photos, and I think there is a chance it is better than the photos and so might sell to someone who has seen it.

Lot 207 Estimate 2800-3400

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CIRCA 1973, REF. 145022-71 ST

This is the cheapest Speedmaster in the sale. The bezel is grey and with blurred printing. However the hands are good and the dial is correct and stepped. The auction only shows one photo so it is hard to fully review.

I would say if you want a lower end Speedmaster, this one with the step dial and the, lets say, characterful bezel, might be a good choice.

Its not a fine watch, but it is a fun watch with the right parts, there is even a chance it is original! It is bound to need a service at this level – but then I think everything here does. Everything everywhere does unless it has documents.

Lot 208 Estimate 4000-4500

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CIRCA 1969, REF. 145022-68 ST “TRANSITIONAL” REFERENCE WITH APPLIED LOGO DIAL

Very nice to see this rare reference, but this one should be approached with caution. The bezel, while correct is damaged quite badly, but it does match the dial – unless it is the crystal that is damaged, the photo looks like it is one the dial.

The dial is correct, with the AML and long indices, but it is tired. The step shows abrasion. This watch is not in poor condition, but it is one I could only enjoy at a price. The question is, what is that price? For me this watch offered at a higher price than I think a similar one can be bought elsewhere.

Lot 209 Estimate 8000-12000

OMEGA SPEEDMASTER CIRCA 1962, REF. 2998-5 WITH “ALPHA” HANDS

There has been a flurry of 2998’s selling for big prices recently, but the high rices were for earlier models with short indices dials, and the high prices were for very attractive browns. I still think the black dial BASE 1000 2998’s price is around $25,000 – $45,000. and this watch can give us some clues why there is such a range. This watch is priced lower than all the others but with good reason.

The dial is poor, the plots are dirty and discolored. The bezel is incorrect, and the watch does not work. Its funny, because if this was presented as a barn find, people might go mad for it. But it is not a barn find, I think this watch has had a lot of internal work and not all of it good. (This is a GUESS. I suggest you have a look inside and be surprised and delighted if you find pristine screws in a clean movement).  Actually we do not know the movement number to check against other known examples.

There are going to be questions about the originality that will only answered by holding it and opening it.

At the low estimate, it should be worth buying, but bidding over the top estimate might need caution as remember this watch will always have a poor dial and still needs a bezel – and a service.

For comparables Chrono24 is your friend.

Good luck in the sale, keep all eyes open in this crazy time. Speedmasters are selling hard, they are flavor of the month, even the year. But when the music stops, make sure you are holding one that makes your heart sing with pleasure, as you may be looking at it for a while if that time comes. (And I could easily be a sour voice in the wind and speedmasters will continue their meteoric rise in value).

Two 2915 s for sale at Bukowskis in Stockholm

There are several Speedmasters coming for sale by Bukowski’s  in Sweden on 25th October 2017, and here are the details of the two 2915’s. I have not worked with this auction house but I have seen several successful sales to friends who work happily with them.

Try as I might, I cannot see if they charge a sellers premium, nor any sales tax. I have asked them to clarify.

Currently the Swedish Krona is 8.155283 SEK to $1 – I have quoted USD estimates, which the auctioneers give as one figure as opposed to a range.

This reference is terribly difficult to authenticate, so buying is often influenced by a history, and from the seller. This seller has a god reputation in buisiness, but very few of us have the confidence to jusdge a 2915 to 100% correctness in the same way that many can judge any other speedmaster reference. There is so much money riding on these, you must do your own due dilligence on the watch and not take anything I say as gospel. Dont take anything anyone says as gospel when it comes to a 2915. Know you are going in with the big boys and you might get bruised.

The reason I do not know as much about 2915’s in general is simply because I have not handled very many, in the same way as I have handles hundreds of 321 calibres of other references.

But we can proceed with a cool head, and using all our skills gathered over the years to make an informed opinion.

We need to make sure on a 2915 that dial, bezel and hands are original. Of course the rest too, but these items are a huge part of the value and are the parts most likely to have been changed. Of course notably the last 2915 Christies sold had a laser welded case, but that was obvious in hand.

There are plenty of very good reproduction bezels around. It is very, very hard to call them, as the originals had considerable variation – possibly hand engraved? I just dont know. The current service bezel is easy to spot as it has a larger font, and different profile. (See the second watch).

Lot 45   Omega Speedmaster 2915-1

Estimate USD $94,000

The auctioneers state this was manufactured June 6th, 1958, delivered to Sweden.  The auctioneer also states the watch was found by the owners son in the attic. (Wonderful! The history is getting to me…..).

Serial 15996369

Lets go through the important points:

Above we see the flattened “O” in Omega. The dial has no obvious step, and therefore I would accept this as original. The dial itself is in good condition and shows little damage, under the scratches on the glass. I think all the white scratches and lines are on the glass. There appear to be no watchmaker damages to the dial.

If the auctioneer is correct and this is a one owner little used watch, then the bezel might be assumed original, and indeed the font is the same as others I have seen declared original. Note the flat top on the “A”and the thin font generally.  Contrast that with the second watch.

We have a glimpse of the hands and they show a cross curvature that is in the original. The lume of the hands and the plots is well matched, will can be a red light, but they do look in original condition to me.

The insides look very clean, and there is no evidence of work on the movement.

Note that the screw heads are clean, and the parts are crisp.

The serial fits with range of the known examples. Again this photo shows very clean and untouched parts.

There is however a small issue, there is a screw, missing. Or more accurately I think the head of the screw as I think I can see the rest of it in the plate. This would not stop me one bit, and I am happy no clown tried to fix it before the sale.

Of course we have to wonder why it snapped off, and where is the head, and did it rattle around inside for a while? Even so, I dont see any damage and it indicated the watch has not been messed with, as if we need more.

Now we look at the case, and here is the back:

Here we see the “Speedmaster” engraving at the edge of the case back. Note also the clear bezel definition. I have not seen a case back in such good condition. It looks hardly worn. Here we can see also the early No6 endlinks with the single slot.

Also note the pushers:

These are either new, or the watch has hardly has any use at all. I think these pushers if new, are of the old design.

To summarise, I like this watch very much – it looks very little used, and in very fine condition. It is much better than any 2915 I have seen in auction during the last two years.

The watch comes on an original 7077 with correct single slot No6 endlinks.

What is it worth? Well I would not be surprised if it sold for double the estimate.

The link to the auction is here

Lot 46 Omega Speedmaster 2915-1

Estimate $37,000

There is a second 2915 in this auction. (Reminds me of the old days of Antiquorum, which was the last auction I saw more than one 2915-1 in the sale).

Serial 15500563

The Auctioneer states this was manufactured March 24th, 1958, delivered to Sweden.

Lets look closer, at the dial and bezel. I am confident the bezel is a new service replacement. Here is proof of a new bezel, the flat side which is not on the older versions:

Also the pushers are taller than those in the watch above.

The bezel is clearly a service replacement and carries the wrong profile and the font is deep, clear and what I call too tall.

The serial is unusual but I have seen three others before. (in the 15500xxx range).

The dial looks correct, with the flat O in Omega:

Also I always look at the short indices on the subdial:

Here we can also see the dial has numerous evidence of age and there are scratches here and elsewhere on the dial. The big scratch might be on the glass, but we can see other damages on the dial. So the dial is correct, and in fairly good condition for the age, but it is following a very fine watch in the previous lot!

The back of the watch is harder to see, but you can just make out the Speedmaster engraving. You can also see the the bevel is polished and lacks the same definition as the watch above.

Also you can see the pushers are taller than I might expect.

The insides show a more typical picture of an old watch – still good condition, but some wear and age – again this contrasts with the watch above. Note the darkened areas:

Now to be clear, I am not criticising this watch, rather I am using it to show how good the first watch is. Collectors often do not discern the differences in the movement, but I do. The first watch is a vastly superior quality in this area.

This watch is on leather. So no premium for a bracelet, and we have to take off value for the bezel.

This is a valuable watch, just overshadowed by the fine watch in the lot before. I would think that if Christies had these watches, they would have separated them in the selling order, but who knows. Maybe it makes no difference at all.

If I was to have to guess, I would say this would reach the estimate, and maybe more if the buyer does not mind the bezel.

You can see the lot here

(Header Image of Bukowski’s image from http://antiquesdiva.com – I hope they dont mind)

2998 At Bob’s Watches

I have been asked by more than one person about the 2998 offered for sale by Bob’s watches here.  The photo here is from the site, pending permission.

First we have to mention the seller, Bob’s Watches: This online business  is not known for vintage omegas, but has a very strong web presence – based out of California, and certainly gives a good impression of being a higher volume knowledgeable Rolex trader. I use the word trader deliberately, because it conveys the idea of a larger volume operation – and one that I have not heard anything bad about. (Nor have I dealt with them). This is a round about way of saying that I would not be put off buying from this company – but obviously do your own due diligence.

2998 offered by Bob’s Watches. Photo property of Bobs watches and is reproduced here pending permission.

So here we have a surprisingly respectable looking 2998. Surprising because as I said the seller is not known for omegas, and is a dealer, and so these two characteristics rarely produce an attractive watch.

In this case I have to say the watch is initially attractive. On close inspection there are some issues that you should be aware of. To be clear, I find the watch attractive and interesting, but we must consider further the value.

The hands need verification, in that we need to make sure they are vintage – so are the lume slots curved at the end, and are the hands curved across the width? The photograph and the possible relume make this hard to ascertain the shape at the end of the lume slots. These hands have become very hard to source, the last set sold for over $2,000.

We must remember – while attractive, it is not fine, and therefore we must take care not to pay a “fine” price. (I have deliberately avoided using the price chart terms as the price you pay is your price, not the price chart’s.)

The dial on closer examination of the photo shows damage in the form of what look like splashes on the dial. This is not immediately apparent but you need to zoom in. This is not uncommon but it is a degradation to take into account when deciding what to pay – in my eyes this is the real obstacle to paying a high (Or “fine” price for it.)

The lume plots on the dial are in reasonable condition, probably original. There is also some variation with the quality of the plots as we inspect around the dial.  I would guess the hands have been touched up because of the indistinct shapes on the hands, including the drop on the chronograph hand.

The bezel is slightly grey and shows wear, but this wear is commensurate with the rest of the watch, and so adds to the idea this might be a more honest watch than is often the case from a dealer. It is also worth mentioning that this bezel is better to have on a regular wearing watch – Les chance of financial loss in the case of damage or loss.

Is it worth the money? That depends on your point of reference. Recently a 2998 sold for $65,000 but had a far superior dial. You can read about it here.

There is a 2998 in chrono24 here and at $24,000 (give or take) this seems good value – however the dial is also damaged – it has what might be oil marks on the subdial. You will have to go to the listing to see the pictures. I am not sure about the new/vintage of the Alpha hands on this one either.

In conclusion, I think this watch is worth considering. If it is worth $28,000 then I sold a watch recently too cheap! However I suspect this price is just a little above market for what it is, and that is why it is still for sale. The poor dial and bezel hold it back, while the overall attractiveness, and apparent originality, help it up.

Watches Of Knightsbridge Results : WITH COMMENTS

I was about to write a list of prices achieved and my friend @Ewand over on www.OmegaForums.net beat me to it. I have produced his list and comments here. (thanks Ewan – see his post here)

Prices listed are £hammer, £final (incl 24% BP & tax), $final at current exchange rate of $1.36/£

Lot 178 – “Special Projects” thing – £39,000 £48,360 $65,770
Lot 179 – 105.012.66 – £5,600 £6,944 $9,444
Lot 180 – tired looking Ed White – £5,800 £7,192 $9,781
Lot 181 – pre-moon caseback -69 – £3,000 £3,720 $5,059
Lot 182 – Straight writing -71 – £4,400 £5,456 $7,420
Lot 183 – Another pre-moon -69 – £2,800 £3,472 $4,722
Lot 184 – chrono creeping -74 – didn’t sell, but I think the bidding went up to £2,800 £3,472 $4,722
Lot 185 – fairly honest looking -78 – £2,600 £3,224 $4,385

Lot 188 – Ed White with service dial – didn’t sell, but I think the bidding went up to £3,600 £4,464 $6,071

Lot 178 – “Special Projects” thing – £39,000 £48,360 $65,770

(I cannot present a picture as WOK have forbidden use of their images and I respect that. They have asked me not to comment on their auctions. Mmm. So here goes).

The Grey Dial sold strongly. It is nearly what the last Blue Solei dial sold for, though it is 5 times the last auction price of a previous example. of a grey. It is a rare reference, with Alphas, and the dial is rare. I cannot reconcile in my mind the description of special project as this is NOT an official Special Project in the sense accepted by any of my collector friends, and no documentation was presented by the sellers to back up this claim. I remain convinced it is a service dial. However I think the buyer will not regret this purchase in the long run – unless some watchmaker pulls out a drawer full! This danger is always lurking in my mind whenever we discuss the value of any rare dial, that somewhere there is a box full lying un opened. After all, would they really only make 10? Maybe. I do think these rare speedmaster dials will continue to rise in value (See PN Daytonas) – though I admit to being surprised what this one achieved.  These grey dials are less attractive, and always show chips and degradation – though this one is better than many. It makes me wonder what the much more attractive blue/grey Solei dial watches might fetch at auction if offered today.

Lot 179 – 105.012.66 – £5,600 £6,944 $9,444

This was my favorite watch in the auction and one I would try to buy if I were shopping. I think I could argue that it was a bargain compared to what $9,500 will buy you today, and I also think the 66HF cases are grossly underappreciated.

Lot 180 – tired looking Ed White – £5,800 £7,192 $9,781

This was tired, but cheap. It will benefit from a little TLC but it is not ever going to be a fine watch. It may however turn out to be rewarding – after all Ed Whites tend to start at around $15,000 and easily go higher if they are attractive and correct. Although I am hard on this watch, I am glad that this is offered for auction – not every watch needs to be perfect and this is a great opportunity for a wearable straight lug at a price that is more affordable. If you compare what has sold recently under $10,000 this is probably the one to have. What I was concerned about in these SpeedyMania times was that it would sell over estimate. It seems the buyers kept their heads on this one. Having the Archive really helped it sell I think. It may have been tired, but it was real!

Lot 181 – pre-moon caseback -69 – £3,000 £3,720 $5,059

This was another good buy. I liked this dial and the price is again not crazy – it does need some care but it will come up well.

Lot 182 – Straight writing -71 – £4,400 £5,456 $7,420

I cannot say this was a bargain. It is rare, but there have been others sold for less recently. True, not a lot less, but they were better watches. This one had a marked dial and needs a service and gentle restoration – not a going over but just a sympathetic careful one. I cannot say I would have regretted underbidding this one, it was top money.

Lot 183 – Another pre-moon -69 – £2,800 £3,472 $4,722

This was not a steal, but it was an OK buy – I think it is an interesting look, but the new owner would perhaps enjoy this watch after a sympathetic restoration, one that wont be a simple £150 service. At the end of the day it is going to come in at around $5500 and I just dont think its comparable to what one can find outside the auctions – but then it wasnt crazy, so this was I suppose an example of “Auction Tax”where we pay a little more so we can be sure there are others who would have paid nearly as much.

Lot 184 – chrono creeping -74 – didn’t sell, but I think the bidding went up to £2,800 £3,472 $4,722

There is doubt this sold – I am not surprised, it was too much for what it was.

Lot 185 – fairly honest looking -78 – £2,600 £3,224 $4,385

This was another good buy – as long as the dial turns out undamaged. An attractive honest watch that will be rewarding to own. It wasn’t cheap, but it was honest.

Lot 188 – Ed White with service dial – didn’t sell, but I think the bidding went up to £3,600 £4,464 $6,071

This was bid to what it was worth – A dial might cost $2000 to $6,000.

In summary this was an interesting selection to offer for sale. We could see a wide variety of qualities and rarities, and this is one of the best thing about WOK is this variety. I always feel they are closer to the more active lower end of the market. The big four auctions tend to be focusing on more Collector owned watches whereas I get the feeling from viewing WOK that they get a lot more estate type finds.

 

Watches of Knightsbridge Sale September 2017

Sorry to tell you that WOK have told me I cannot use the images of their watches. So I have removed them. They have also asked me not to comment on any further auctions. (right). I have added further comments in italics to make up for the lack of pictures.

Please do not let the behavior of WOK staff stop you from acquiring a watch – there are some worth having.

There is an auction at Watches of Knightsbridge in the UK on September 16th 2017. The catalog is here. This auction house is always interesting as it has a wide variety of sources, including a strong dealer contingent. As a result we do have to be extra vigilant as the watches are not checked as thoroughly as the Big Four Houses do. (I saw a watch bought from WOK that was held together inside with rodico – when asked, the Expert said they could not be expected to open every watch they sell. I am not saying they should, but its good to know what they consider standard practice). There will be bargains, but also there might be bluffers and shams so be careful and don’t take what the staff say as truth – they just don’t know as much as you ought to know, if you are going to bid here.

Commissions are 20%. I think this is reasonable compared to the other houses. There is another 20% VAT on top of the commission. There is no extra charge to bid online. (Yay! at last).

In general this is an interesting selection of speedmasters, and most are definitely worth considering. This is unusual to have a high proportion of desirable watches.

Lot 178 105.002-62 with grey dial

Estimate £25,000-£35,000

Image Removed Link Here

A straight lug case, with a fair to good DO90 bezel. The dial is matte grey showing signs of decay, especially on the step, easily seen at 12 to two o’clock. The alpha hands triangle lume. The bracelet is a 7912/6.

This is a very special watch, because of the dial. We have to be very careful assessing this watch – what exactly is it? In my opinion this is the matte grey variety, not the blue solei with the metallic lustre. These metallic dials sell for over $80,000 but this is not one of those.

Image Removed

The watch is described as “Special Projects” by the auctioneers. This is a made up term and not one used by Omega in any documentation offered with the watch. I do not believe it is a “Special Project”,  a term that might be used for example to describe the Alaska III projects, some other internal research prototype. This spurious label is to be ignored when valuing, unless the seller produces some documentation, when of course it will make a difference.

If you check the dial you will see chips and degradation at the step. This is typical of these matte grey dials and sometimes this degradation goes to extremes. Although they often look as though the dial has spent time out of a watch, I believe based on seeing many, that they remain in the watch but something in the manufacturing has caused it to degrade quicker than the standard dial. I do not know where they come from – are they fitted from new? Well no extract has confirmed this on the ones I have handled. So I am working on the idea they are service dials.

It comes on a 7912/6 bracelet and that is worth a lot of money now. The DO90 bezel is not a very valuable one. The hands are the more desirable triangle lume. – but remember to confirm they they are vintage by looking for a curve across the hand. There is some engraving, but not so much as to affect the value too much. If you want a rare dial, you have to be flexible! The engraving would not stop me buying this watch.

It will be interesting to see what it sells for. These dials are rare, but there are nice ones and not so nice ones. This is one of the better “greys” if have seen, but rememberit is not the blue metallic, it is the matte grey degraded one. While recent Blue Solei dials have sold for as much as $80,000, WOK themselves sold one a few years ago for the equivalent of circa $22,000.  So a wide value. There was one recent sale of a matte grey in Antiquorum (not Christies as I initially wrote) for $16,000. Here is the link. So this estimate is strong, but I cannot critise it. I will wait to see what the market has to say about it. It only takes two collectors to want it for the rocket to take off.

This dial is highly collectable, by a few collectors who cruise this area. They are intelligent experienced and knowledgeable – some are ready to pay strong prices for special watches. There is no doubt this is a rare dial. The matte grey dial is very unusual and while it is attractive, when placed next to the also rare blue soliel dial, there is a difference in attractiveness. This is a fine distinction, but if you are going to be buying this level of Speedmaster you better be ready to know it. So I believe it is special, and this one is in better condition than many which can be found illustrated in OmegaForums.net. I would urge potential buyers to compare, especially the degradation. On that subject, we do not know how stable these dials are. If the paint loss really does occur in situ, (which I think it does) then how stable will it be long term? There are other attributes that make this watch rare – the reference 105.002 is already rare, and the alpha hands are very desirable.  As I said above. This will be an interesting one to see where it ends up, and perhaps the result could have influences on the values of all other blues and greys. I was accused of trying to manipulate the price with this blog by WOK. Well all I can say is that it would only benefit me if prices rose. I am not trying to manipulate anything.

Lot 179 105.012-66-HF

Estimate £3,500-£4,500

Image Removed Link Here

This is an asymmetric cased, short pusher speedmaster with long indices dial. On the photos it is clear the chrono second hand is poorly adjusted and rests at 1 second past the zero. The Chrono hand is a later square ended. The Bezel is slightly grey and faded. The dial body colour is black and the indices are losing some luminous material. The dial looks very good. The pushers are original, short, fat necked ones typical of the reference and the whole watch looks attractive.

From what I can see this is an HF case – I cannot see any facet lines and the lugs look like the other HF cases. (this is confirmed as HF in the detailed images on the site,) This watch has a great look to it – as though it is unmolested and seems honest. (Always could be wrong, i am going on the photos). Its not a fine watch, but its an attractive one. Even given the wonky hand – which I take as a good sign it has not been prepared by a seller for sale. (That is a good thing)

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It has the fat neck pushers, so important to this reference as they are unobtainable, the service pushers have thin necks. The chrono hand is square ended, and while I do see so many on this reference, I do feel this is a replacement hand. The bezel is correct but not great – I do not like these tired grey “dry” looking bezels. The crown looks original and in general I think this watch looks good – while needing a service.

I prefer to buy a watch like this that obviously needs a service so I can do what I want to it – rather than have a dealer do what he thinks is best – which for him will be to spend as little as possible and make it shiny.

I would try to buy this if I were looking, and send it straight to www.simonfreesewatchmakers.com

I think the price of this watch is very fair and may well exceed the estimate. In Net USD values the watch is estimated $5725 to $7360. Even taking into account the need for a service I think this is a good buy at these estimates, as the prices are comparable to OF trades in the last six months. (You can tell I like this one).

Lot 180 105.003-65

Estimate £5,000-£6,000

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This is a straight lug speedmaster on a strap, with an extract of the archives from Omega.

I think this is a sorry looking watch that might well go for more than it deserves. When I talk about a watch having all correct parts, but not enough attraction, I could be talking about this watch.

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The dial is dry looking with patches of discoloration. There is at least one mark on the dial, on the 6 minute block on the minute subdial. This is also is scratched from an incorrectly fitted hand from 0 to 5.

The plots are like algae. The bezel is marked and worn. On the positive side the parts are correct, with the possible exception of the crown. The pushers look original. The hands look correct. I appears to have an extract which is a big plus in today’s world of Seamaster powered Speedmasters.

In the photos in the description we can see a modern dust cover is fitted.

Unless the photos are being really unfair, this is a poor looking watch but it might sell for more than its estimate if it looks good in hand. It is so important to view these watches in the metal. Recent sales of this reference are well over $15,000 so this is cheaper on the estimate. At the low end of the estimate its not a bad buy but remember this is exactly the kind of watch that if a turn in the market comes, this will be a big loser – so buy it cheap.

Now I am a big fan of correct, poor condition watches – IF THEY ARE CHEAP.  Is this cheap enough? That is your decision. At the high estimate this is USD $9800. That might make sense to someone today, and may be in the future we will look back and think wow that was cheap. However, as a poor example this will be the first to become unsalable if we have a downturn.

Lot 181 145.022-69

Estimate £3,000-£3,500

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An attractive looking asymmetric case with black dial and grey DN90 bezel. Square end chrono. I am sorry I cannot show the image of this one because I really like the dial, and they got a really good shot of it.

What a difference lighting makes! Here it looks much better:

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An attractive looking watch, with grey bezel, stepped dial and correct hands. I like the look of this watch. Pushers appear dirty so it might need a service, though I would try to keep these pushers. I like this watch. The grey bezel is not to everyone’s taste but it works on this watch.

It is not a bargain, but I like it.

Lot 182 145.022-71 – Straight Writing

Estimate £3,200-£3,800

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Another honest looking watch, with original looking fittings. Glass has scratches and again it looks like it is not prepared for sale. Bezel is very clean, and this is important. I think this watch will clean up beautifully in the right hands. We would need to check the dial for damage, and the description does point out an oil mark on the dial – if so then it will be hard to clean.

The movement shows some discoloration but I think it can be cleaned.

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The straight writing case back is the more common one.

Price is strong, especially with the marked dial, and the poor movement but I think buyers will think it is worth overpaying for. (Don’t go mad).

Lot 183 145.022-69

Estimate £2,500-£3,000

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This is a tired looking watch on the face of the photos. Lots of spots and marks on the dial or glass. I think it has the correct stepped dial, but it looks degraded and marked. The marks to the one o’clock area need to be investigated – they might be on the glass. The description declares the dial to be in “very good condition”.

Its the second cheapest watch here, and if the dial is good, it should sell well. But that is the irony. At the bottom of the estimate, 2500 it comes out at $4088 all inclusive. At the top end, 3500, it comes out at $5725.

However you MUST INSPECT this watch. I have been studying the photos and especially the white mark at the six minute point on the dial. This does not “move”with the different angled views, so I think it is on the dial. Also check the colour of the dial plots which are Algae coloured. (not desirable).

The pushers have dirty necks so look original. The movement appears in very good condition. The bezel is marked, a DN90 with paint missing at the 400 and 300 mark.

The hands are aged, and missing some paint at the centre, and the lume material is dark.

Lot 184 145.022-69

Estimate £3,000-£3,500

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An asymmetric 861 with bracelet.Hour subdial hand is creeping.

As a -74 this carries a non stepped dial, and so this is a strong price to offer a watch with so little going for it. It needs a service, (Chrono Creep) and has a less interesting bracelet. Bezel is a little damaged but not bad. Hands indicate lots of removal and replacement, lacking paint at the centres. Crown shows dirt and so I think this again may be a private watch. Check the dial for blotches, especially at the hour subdial.

Bracelet is 1170/633. I would value a 1171 more.

However in hand it may present very well. At high estimate this is $5725 – but remember this watch has chrono creep and so will need a service. The non stepped -74 is not as desirable as a stepped dial.

Lot 185 145.022-78

Estimate £2,200-£2,600

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An asymmetric cased 861 speedmaster on leather strap, with good black dial, mostly good bezel and attractive presentation. Correct looking parts.

The last of the dated Speedmasters, with a non stepped dial and the correct DN90 bezel. Dial looks clean, bezel is not perfect but might clean up. This is the cheapest Speedmaster in the auction, and the least valuable when all things are equal, but it seems an honest and attractive watch. I would take this over the -74 above. The dial plots are a nice colour and the hands look correctly aged.

The only concern is the dirt or corrosion on the bezel at 140-150, not just the corrosion itself, but what caused it and how far it goes. However it would not stop me.

At 2200 it would get home for $3600 which even if it needed a service would be quite good.

Lot 188 105.003-65

Estimate £3,500-£4,000

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A straight lug Speedmaster with a service dial and worn but correct bezel. Pushers would need checking as from the photos they appear too large – but this is hard to be sure by the photos. The hands are aged. but the chrono hand is square ended and should be drop end.

The service dial kills this one dead. It also has incorrect pushers I think. The bezel is very poor, and I wonder about the movement. (No pictures). It is a watch that if you had a dial lying around you might buy it, but to buy it and look for a dial today will be an expensive and possibly fruitless task.

At the estimates the get home prices in USD are: $5725 to $6550.

A correct ed white with the right dial can sell for USD$12000 to 30,000 so this does look cheap – it even can help explain the very high prices of  Ed White dials. With this watch to improve it we would have to be sure the pushers, if incorrect, have not damaged the case, and that the case itesefl is in good condition. (There are not case back shots, nor movement shots). It is also imprtant before embarking on a massive project like this to be sure that the watch has indeed a 105.003 movement.

 

There are some other more modern speedmasters but outside my area.

 

Time4APint Podcast

My friend The Lizard and I met with some watches. You can hear the pod cast here. We had some watches on the table

Now here are the photos that go with the podcast:

BA145.022-69

These watches were produced in 1969 and the first 40 were presented to the astronauts.

We discussed the subtle variations seen in these watches.

Here we see “OM SWISS MADE OM” marked at the bottom of the dial signifying a solid gold dial – this is on all variations.

Here we see the flattened “O” of Omega. We discussed the different dials, and that they are seen. We call these flattened oval dials “early dials” but this is not actually based on evidence, just the similarities to an early 2998 dial. The actual dials themselves have been observed all through the number range.

And for comparison the round “O” in Omega:

We discussed the bezels. The black bezel was fitted before I came to the watch and I believe it was fitted by the previous owner.

There are at least three different case backs. I would photo them but to do it properly I would have to open the bracelets, and that is for another day.

The Pair of 145.022’s

These two watches have both been discussed here and here on the blog. One is from one owner and the other from the owners son. They are the same reference, and have some subtle differences.

Being one owner watches, they both retain the special look of a watch that has never been “improved” by someone who thinks they know what they are doing.

First is the “Ski Patrol” watch, with the added bonus of an original Omega brochure:

And here is the “Chefs Watch” – shown here as arrived with Omega service record and spare parts, including thankfully the old hands.

Two Straight lugs, a quality comparison:

A restoration of a 145.012 movement:

I admit it, I bought this complete car crash for the flawless DO90 bezel it arrived with. I sent it to Simon, thinking I would be lucky if we salvaged the dial.

Simon rang me to say he could not only remove the dial but he could transform the watch. And here is the restored movement. This is a big job, not many could or would take it on, but Simon Freese did. In fact I saw his eyes light up at the challenge. A job well done (No parts were replaced!):

I mean really – look at this:

Compared to :

Two Incorrect but beautiful straight lugs:

The sharp lugged 105.002 with the 105003 dial has been discussed here.

105.002-62

It is a near perfect cased 105.002 with a T marked dial usually seen in a 105.003.

The dial on this 105.003 is so spectacular and so perfect, (As well as being in the wrong watch…) but I have yet to work out what to do with it if anything. I seem to spend a lot of time thinking and not doing with my watches, which probably keeps them safe from harm. I am very much a leave alone kind of collector.

105.003 with perfect brown 2998 dial

 We also looked at….

A certified Ultraman (with the wrong hand unfortunately, 1mm too short)

A creation of mine, inspired by a tiny photo in the Goldberger Omega Sports watch book. Look it up in the back….

A grey racing

145.022-69

Black Racing with original papers

 

A New Private Purchase

I was recently contacted by a gentleman from Tulsa called Mike, who asked if I would be interested in his late brothers watch who sadly passed away at the beginning of this year. We corresponded for a while and it became clear to me this was a watch that while not super valuable, was one that I was drawn to.  A one owner watch, worn and enjoyed. As you will see, it has had the bezel replaced and is not running, it is dirty and slightly banged up.

Mikes brother was known as T, and Mike told me his brother returned from Vietnam and showed him the watch.

Here are Mikes words to me:

I enjoyed your details of a Navy service Omega that you purchased from the estate. I too have an Omega Speedmaster professional that I inherited from my younger brother when he passed away on January 1st, 2017. My brother was in the Navy aboard the USS Hancock, an aircraft carrier that has since been decomsioned, when he bought the watch around 1967.

I don’t know where he bought it but he told me it was new when he got it. He served as a radioman while the Hancock was in the Gulf of Tonkin during the Vietnam conflict. Not knowing anything about the watch I took it to a Jeweler to see what it would take to check it out and see what was needed to service it. He sent it to a vintage watch shop here in Tulsa and they got back to him saying it needed a main spring and one was ordered. To date nothing has been done to the watch,still waiting on the main spring. The jeweler said the Omega was a valuable watch even though it was missing the wrist band.

So first thing I said to Mike was…Get it back from the Jeweler and dont do ANYTHING to it! Luckily, as you can see, he did.

And I cant help doing a bit of research – here is the USS Hancock underway. (The top image is the flight deck) Here I choose to think that T is down there with his speedmaster…(!)

Photo Credit: Bill Larkins [wtl@earthlink.net]

Back to the watch. As we can see it has some damage to the tip of the chrono and also the minute recorder hand is corroded. The bezel has faded to an attractive grey and is from later than the watch and was almost certainly replaced at service.

So here we can see the evidence of ownership, dirt under the bezel, damage to the case and general wear. (I love all that – shows it has not been messed around, or prepared for sale).

This watch is so clearly a one owner watch, with each part clearly existing on the watch for some time. Even the bezel has melded into the watch, (If that makes sense) in such a way that it looks right, even though it is slightly later than the watch.

Any small thoughts I might have had of selling this watch were dashed when Mike sent me this brief, but moving email:

William,
Your payment arrived at my bank Tuesday and I thank you for giving my brothers Omega a resting place where it will be remembered and appreciated. I’m glad I saw your website and decided to contact you. Your appreciation for a watch with a military history is what drew me and I’m so glad we were able to transfer ownership of a watch with a connection. I too regret not having a picture of T wearing the watch. I at least have a memory of T wearing the watch the first time I saw him on returning from Vietnam. He proudly showed it to me as one of the good things that came from his adventure into the military.

I really don’t sell many watches, but this one has been entrusted to me so it will be staying. I will sell all my 145.012’s before this one goes. (And that is quite a few, so its safe).

For those who are interested the USS Hancock has very interesting history here.

My next step is to send this watch to the Magical Simon Freese who is quite the most sympathetic and efficient repairer and restorer of speedmasters. I will also order an extract – you never know where T might have bought his watch from.

I shall be leaving this watch as is. I think I will not even repair the hands, rather I want to keep this watch just as it looked the last time the owner took it off.

Leather Case From Bosphorous Straps

I love a leather case, me. I have long wanted a nice travel/display case.

I do not make a habit of reviews and until now, I have only endorsed my friends Paul’s opener. I have no financial interest in this or any other product I write about, just that if something is good enough for me, then many readers would want one too.

I have wanted a watch case for years, something I can go to a watch meet with and discuss watches without throwing bubble wrap and Ziplocs about. Something that also gives me pleasure to own and use.

I saw this on Instagram, with this company in Turkey and fired off about $600 across the ether without even doing any due diligence. I was so exited. Then after a few weeks of silence, I realised I had only an initial email and no case. And I didn’t even know anything about the seller except he was in Istanbul. (My wife reckons that Istanbul is a great leather source). Worried I sent off an email, and the charming proprietor wrote back to say he had sent  the case….but to another customer by mistake. He immediately shipped another, but with eight instead to of 10 slots.

He promised to send another tray imminently when he had made one. (Its on its way.)

When this arrived I was thrilled. The case is very solid. The tray fits well, and can be removed for storage in a safe. The lip of the case is not stepped, and this is the only thing I would change – but as it is I am happy because the case shell is very rigid and solid.

The case is made with distressed vintage style leather, and it appears to all be of fine work and top materials:

Here is the website, and the gentleman I wrote to is called Adem.

As I said before, I have no affiliation to this company, I just love his cases.

https://www.bosphorusleather.com/watch-travel-case