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A Value Discussion on 105.003’s

There have been more 105.003’s sold in the last year than any other straight lug speedmaster reference combined. The value range has been between £4500 (Roughly $6000) and $45,000. These are public auction values – any of us could have bought them.

Most 15.003’s fall in the $10,000 to $20,000 and this can be the most difficult to differentiate. It is not simply a question of a watch being correct vs incorrect, it is about knowing your own taste and what you like, and what incorrect characteristics you will accept for a reduction in value.

Two 105.003’s, both the rarer -63

On inspection in just one photo it is clear that one is “better” than the other. By better, I mean it is worth much more. However the better one is not perfect, and so it is interesting to go through.

First we have to acknowledge that the left hand watch carries a bezel worth $5000 and the right is barely $1000.

We can see the left hand watch has the 32 tooth crown, and the right the 24 tooth. I prefer to see the 24 tooth. Note also the case differences, the left hand watch has a (well) refinished case, with close to original lines and finishes. The right hand watch is well worn, and possibly polished also. When people offer “unpolished” watches they mostly do not know what they are talking about and are just parroting words. It is possible to have a truly unpolished watch, but very unusual. Most of these have been serviced and the watchmakers would tidy a case as a matter of course.

As we look at the photos the dial differences become more and more pronounced. Also we can see the pushers on both watches are original, and this is becoming more and more valued. Service pushers are the same size but look different. (Better made!).

Certainly the left hand watch is “Cleaner” but some will prefer the look of the case on the right hand watch

Both watches are serviced, and 100% correct. Therefore the only difference is in the aesthetics. This is where it can get really interesting, and we have to look hard at the dials, handsets and bezels.

As you can see this dial is not perfect, although to be fair the blemishes are accentuated in my lighting and are not easily visible to the naked eye. The plots re good, an attractive colour and the hands are nicely aged.

The dial above has problems – it is good from far and far from good – and it is here we can see the values of these two watches diverge.

This dial has paint loss at the bottom, and has lost the first T mark. There are blotches all over the dial. The plots are wobbly and cause some to ask is it retouched? (Not by me is all I can say – 105003’s are notorious for wobbling). I think it is natural. The hands also beg questions, but as I have a confirmed one owner untouched watch that has hands that look like this I can accept it as natural.

So which is worth what?

Well to be honest thats up to you.

For me, one is double the value of the other, and the better one  would never sell.

 

A Black Racing Dial – One Owner

Here is another one owner watch I have been lucky enough to acquire. It arrived a little time ago, and it came with the original paperwork from sale.

It is a 145.012-68 with a black Racing Dial. These dials are extremely rare and there are about 10 examples known, and I guess there may be 20 to 30 examples in existence.

It is currently at the workshop being serviced and cleaned. Here it is as arrived, complete with all the dirt.

…and the chrono creep:

Here it is, assembled, cleaned and serviced.

As is usual with watches I “restore” I try to change as little as possible.

Not the missing lume on the red hand – I decided to leave it. I simply serviced to movement and made sure there was nothing loose.

An interesting 145.012

The most common calibre 321 reference. It came in two almost identical executions the -67 and -68.

As far as I can tell, this is the only difference, the date in the back. The -68 is quite elusive and I have seen very few for sale. My own example is very unusual in that not only is it unoriginal, it is interesting enough to be in my “Full Set”.

Here we see it, and the sharp eyes will see that the dial indices, the plots, are short. It has a painted logo, and short spaced T marks. A service dial.

The dial has no step.  It is not flat, it is domed like late 1970’s dials fitted to the 145.022-74+. This is not a dial style I have ever seen fitted from the factory on a new calibre 321 watch.

So what happened? Well my own involvement with this watch was when I spoke to an Australian airline pilot who wanted to sell his watch, that he had since new. I had been regularly serviced, (Note the inner case back in the heading with all the service marks) and at least one of these times it was sent to Bienne.

I am guessing this might have been serviced in the late 1970’s. Where they fitted the dial, handset and bezel – which is a mid 1970’s bezel.

Although the dial is a service dial, it is very rare, and very attractive. And that is why I keep it in my full set, because it looks wonderful, and it is rare.

 

NoNASA 145.022-71

My latest arrival is a very rare 145.022-71.

145.022-71 in very fine condition

Normally -71’s  all come with a commemorative engraving that we are all very familiar with. This one is smooth backed around the Medalion, and is known as a “NoNASA”. I have been looking for one of these and one of my fellow collectors kindly let me buy this from him.

View of the case back showing the smooth back.

Inside the case back:

Inside the case back, showing one watchmakers mark.

The movement is in very good condition.

The movement, 32m serial. The pushers look new.

Some more views of that rare back;

This watch carries the correct bezel, a stepped dial and correct tritium hands. It is a lovely thing.

Sunlight Photo. Overall this is in very nice condition.

Overall that this is one of my most pleasing purchases.

Blue Soleil Dial

A very rare watch.

I believe, in the absence of a better theory that these blue, metallic dials are in fact service dials fitted by Omega. Why?

  • There is no known listing of these dials that suggests that this was an option to buy new in a speedmaster – there are no contemporary photos or catalogs showing a blue metallic dial.. (But nor was the Ultraman which the museum has recently announced is a “Real Model”)
  • There are very few seen, and to my knowledge these have been seen on 2998, 105.003 and 145.012.
  • I have seen three different executions. A short indices non pro, a long indices dial non pro, and a short indices 145.012 professional dial. (This last one out of my grasp – I call it the Time Titans watch, as I saw it with them several years ago and I failed to buy it).

I will be happy to be shown another theory but this is what I have so far.

Here is a very curious example. It has the blue metallic dial that I call Soliel. This dial body colour is also seen on Omega TV dials and some Seamasters, but never in a production 321/861 speedmaster.

This is a 2998. Even though it lacks the hands we would expect to see, that is what is inside the caseback and the serial matches my observations for this particular reference.

As you can see the hands have been replaced with baton hands, which might fit with the idea that this watch had a substantial service and parts replacement, perhaps with Omega.

I believe that this watch is a correct Omega watch, because I was told by an auction house that a blue dial that I bought was under bid by the museum.

 

Antiquorum Post updated to show prices

The Antiquorum sale passed by without any major price surprises, apart from my own surprise that they found homes at all – for some of them were really poor, shoddy examples masquerading as interesting.

Scroll down and you will see the updated post.

You can see Antiquorum’s full price list here.

Antiquroum Geneva 14th May

I have updated the page to show sold prices.

Antiquorum are having a sale in Geneva on 14th may.

AQ are having a web re branding and have now adopted the web address “.SWISS”. Confusing as the old .com is still active, yet out of date. The new site is www.antiquorum.swiss

On to the Speedmasters. Quite a few this time, and some have problems. AQ really is a notch down in terms of its curating. That doesn’t bother me, but we must remember to be even more vigilant when viewing at this House;

Lot 365 145.012-67 Estimate $4500-6500

Sold For $9375

Good bezel, nice colour plots, all correct as far as I can see. A good watch I think. The end link looks wrong but that is minor. I like the look of this watch, but we have to be careful. That red background is flattering, as is the whole photo. Because of that 1mm gap in the endlink, I am suspicious of everything, so I would like to inspect in hand before bidding. As I say this is a common theme with Antiquorum lots.

Lot 366 145012-67 Estimate $4000-6000

Sold For $6250

This is showing some dirt around the pushers and crown. Also the case lugs look a little “soft” indicating too much polishing. The plots are dirty but there is some luminous material present. Bezel is not so nice and shows signs of repairs with a felt pen or paint.  This is not as attractive as the previous lot. It comes without a bracelet and is a much less attractive buy than the first. However a viewing of all these watches might change all our minds, but I do not think this watch will ever be fine.

Lot 370 105.012-66 Estimate $5000-7000

Sold For $7500

A real tart, this one. Good from far and far from good. I suppose this is an HF case judging by the lug shape, and lack of facet line. This is the first of some smelly lots, and I  am deeply wary of it. The bezel is an unusual colour, and especially so given the presence of similar looking bezels on the following lots. Also the similar straps indicate that they were strapped by the same person. Either the auction house, or the consignor, who may possibly Italian from the look of these watches, which are very attractive on first presentation. This watch has orange plots and matching hands, and this odd brown bezel. The Chrono hand is the wrong square ended one, and yet the lume is perfectly matching. I think this watch has been prepared. At least the pushers are the thick tubed originals with short caps. My thinking on this lot and the following can be taken together.

Lot 371 105.012-65 Estimate $4000-6000

Sold For $7500

So now you see what I mean – Similar orange plots (though not quite so orange, but similar looking), matching lume on the hands and that brown bezel, along with the same style strap. These watches cannot be original. This one has service pushers, not a crime but in the 105.012 it is more obvious than other references.

At the low estimate these will be nice looking watches, but they are not in my opinion original and therefore not worth going “Medieval”on the bidding.

They are attractive, but both this and the previous lot lot appear to have been prepared for sale. The bezels make me deeply suspicious. They are never going to be valuable watches, but this is exactly what I am talking about when I discuss poor quality watches being dragged to higher values that they do not really deserve – to be discovered later when the market consolidated as buyers become educated.

Lot 375 145.022-74 Estimate $3000-5000

Sold for $3750

Another similar strap, and a bleached looking bezel. For this watch I would want to see if it has a stepped dial, which is more valuable. I do think this is more expensive by comparison. It still smells of a dealer to me.

Lot 376 105.003-65 Estimate $20,000 – 30,000

Sold For $25,000

This looks like it could be really nice. The dial appears to be in fine condition and a lovely colour. This MUST be viewed as the slightest deviation from fine in terms of colour and condition and the value will plummet. I have a feeling this will fly.

It looks in correct condition, case is a little polished but they all are.

I really like the look of this, and I feel it could go in excess of the high estimate because of that dial – it all depends on what it looks like in real life.

The Chef’s Watch

It is always a pleasure when people contact me through the site, and even more so when they want to sell a family watch. These watches handed down have more integrity and originality, and for some reason the history seems to stay with the watch.

This watch got the moniker “The Chef’s Watch” as the current owner, Dan,  is a professional chef. It came to him from his father, who had given it to his grandfather. One of the first photos he sent was this:

The Chef at work! Hence the nick name for this watch.

Well if a speedmaster can survive Apollo it ought to survive a kitchen!

Here is what he sent me: The watch, with a fresh Omega service document, a bag of replaced parts, (including hands thank heavens) and a 1039 in fairly used condition – hence the service bracelet.

Here is what arrived. it is a 145.022-69 with recent Omega history and a bag of spare parts.

The watch was bought on board a US Navy ship. Now I think about it, I should have called it the “USS Joseph Strauss” (pictured above)  watch and increased the military connection!

Here is the Dan’s grandfather, wearing the watch, starting his plane.

Here is the extract from the Dan’s email to me:

The watch was bought by my father Tom Ryan Jr in the ships store on the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) in approximately 1969 to 1970 somewhere in the oceans off the coast of Vietnam. It was a gift for my grandfather to wear while flying his plane.

Attached is the picture of my grandfather,[starting his ‘plane] as well as a picture of my father’s ship where the watch was bought.

Such a lot of history in such a short note. Here we can see the Owner’s last name scratched into the case back. In many cases this would devalue the watch, but here again I would argue the history and provenance  of the watch becomes stronger as a result:

It really is a privileged to acquire an important family watch  like this and a watch like this is not one I would ever plan to sell as I can feel the originality and the history.

Here it is, with the service 1171 bracelet removed. It looks in very nice condition.

Dan’s 145.022-69. Here we can see the hands are modern Superluminova. Luckily I was sent the originals.

When we turn it over we see a small area of corrosion, that I had not reckoned on. This is not uncommon, and the history of the watch far outweighs the damage.

Corrosion just at the join between the caseback and the mid case. I do not think it will be a great problem but possibly the watch will fail water testing. (not uncommon for vintage).

I have sent it to the workshop, for a service and to return the vintage hands onto it. After examining it, Simon Freese declared the watch was in fine order, not needing a movement service. We did need to replace the crown, and changed the hands as planned. There was also a minor issue with the setting lever screw, which had come loose (The screw that releases the stem from the movement).

Here it is before the hand change. You can see how white the hands are, they blow the white balance on the camera, also note the greenish tinge to the luminous material in the hands which contrasts with the original yellowish lume on the dial plots:

Here we have the old hands ready to go back on:

The watch is still at the workshop, and I have put into Omega for an extract of the archives, and it will be very interesting to see where Omega shipped the watch originally.

More on this watch later, when it returns and I have the extract.

105.002-62 with T dial and Perfect Case

This watch was acquired by me some time ago. At the time I was hesitant to buy it – becasues it had a T SWISSMADE T Dial – which is generally accepted as not seen in this reference. I did not realise at the time quite how good the case is.

105.002-62

According to all literature the 105.002-62 should only come with a dial that is marked SWISS MADE. So that would imply this dial is not original to the watch. This watch has as an exceptional case, and very little evidence that it has been worked on. So I cannot think of a really plausible explanation as to why the dial has been changed. My next step is to order an extract.

Note the thickness and definition of the lugs:

105002-62 with exceptional case, and clean bracelet
Note the side finish appears original and undamaged
Undamaged side
Sharp edges on the lower case
Note the lug definition. While these show clear lines there is some evidence of wear and so I think this is an unpolished, fine condition case.

To sum up. This is a watch with a question mark over the originality of the dial. The case is so good, it would suggest it has not seen much wear, and so not a lot of servicing.

As to the value. The dial is correct for a 105.003 – and this in itself has considerable value. All things being equal the 105002 dial is more valuable but it would be vary hard to quantify how the value in this watch is affected, because the overall quality is so high.

If the extract shows a late delivery, I wonder if it is possible that the dial was fitted at the factory. More will be revealed when we open it and inspect the movement for previous service.

Time 4 a Pint Podcast

The genius behind the OF get togethers has started making pod casts, and very good they are too. The lizard above goes under the umbrella of Time For A Pint.

T4P just launched its third episode. These shortish, well planned watch themed podcasts are a refreshing and entertaining insight into collectors thoughts. Like me, Chris is not financially motivated and these podcasts are a real pleasure to listen to. No adverts, no endorsements. Just opinions without bias.

I agreed to be interviewed by him for his third episode, and you can hear it here. Or below:

I have to say it was disappointment not to open the door to a drunk man in a lizard suit clutching a reel to reel tape deck and a smile – well he had the smile, and we had fun talking.

If you want an insight into just how far away from any evolutionary useful trait a watch collector has reached, tune in.

We got to talk about two of my favorite watches:

Hear the story here

Check out Chris’s excellent site and stay up to date with his world.

https://www.time4apint.com/

As well as links to the other episodes.

Support the Lizzard.