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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

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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.

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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

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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

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.