The Three Asymmetric Cases

I am trying to photograph the three examples of an asymmetric speedmaster together and here is what I have so far. Placed side by side it might not be immediately apparant to a novice that the value of the watch on left is twice that of the one on the right.

The three examples of asymmetric cased Speedmasters. From left, 105.012, 145.012, 145.022
The three examples of asymmetric cased Speedmasters. From left, 105.012, 145.012, 145.022


A 145.012 for sale on Ebay

I came across this, and it caught my eye. I wont know until the end of this piece if I like it, you are literally coming on the journey with me, as I assess it.

The eBay lot is here.

145.012 on ebay
145.012 on eBay, May 2015

So my initial feelings are, over touched photo, but potentially interesting. Dial and handset not the most attractive, but they seem to have a nice aging, although the plots are missing the lume. The hour recorder shows chrono creep so it will need to go straight to service, if bought.

It is hard to really get a feel when a photo has been this edited. So lets look deeper. I am liking it less and less…

As I always say, check the case reference, then the movement calibre, and then the serial – and see if they all could have left the factory together. First then the movement, because that’s what I looked at next.

(EDIT: Really I should check the case ref. first as you will see)Movement. Note the number.

Movement. Note the number. It is not correct for a 145.012

Oh dear, we are in trouble now. 2052xxxx is way to early for a 145.012, so better check inside the case back….

A service case back! Note the 145 0012
A service case back! Note the 145 0012

Note the reference is a “Double 00” reference, which indicates a factory supplied service part.

So this is a franken-watch ! Certainly the movement is from around 1962, long before the 145.012 was ever made.

I wonder if the whole case is a service case, although I think not as it shows too much wear:

Side view showing either dirt or corrosion
Side view showing either dirt or corrosion

The seller needs a little investigation now. No one gets one of these by accident.

The description suggests he is a non English speaker. Not being racist, but several of these assembled watches come in from middle Europe, so it might be a factory sending into UK to a “friend” to disguise the origin. Here I am just thinking aloud, my anti-scam radar on full alert.

Now I dig into his ID history and found he changed it in 2003 from a strange name, “buddhikaweerasena” which does not sound Eastern or Middle Europe. More like 419 territory to me.

Then checking further, I look into the sellers history, (as we always should) and I see  he sells a lot of watches. So he is a dealer, (certainly he passes the IRS’s definition of over 20 trades). As a dealer I think he should be ashamed of himself to offer this watch up as though it is an original piece.

Pieces like this have a place, but must be sold under full disclosure. A fine 145.012 might be worth this much, but this is a dubious condition, assembled non original watch. I think it cannot be worth more than $2200-3000 as parts.

But that’s just me – I expect too much from people I realize.


Its a monster.

Auction Results, Geneva May 2015

Lot 396 Antiquorum 2998-4 sold for $9,400  reviewed here

2998-4 for sale Antiquorum May 2015. Photo from listing.
2998-4 for sale Antiquorum May 2015. Photo from listing.

Lot 217 Phillips 2998-5 Sold for $26,800 reviewed here

2998-5 in Phillips May 2015
2998-5 in Phillips May 2015

Lot 60 Christies 105.003-65 Sold for $9500 Reviewed here

Lot 60
Lot 60

Lot 61 Christies 105.002 Sold for $12,200 Reviewed here

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

Lot 215 Christies 2998-2 Sold for $29,900 reviewed here

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

Lot 216 Christies 2998-2 Sold for $12,900 reviewed here

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



145.012 Market Report

Prompted by the recent sale of this 145.012 I thought I would have a hard look at what has been selling recently, to make sure the price chart its accurate. I must confess that this is my least favorite reference, as it offers little in the way of evolution or historical interest – each of the previous references were either used first in space, or were the first to carry improvements – particularly the 105.012. In other words, if I wanted an asymmetrical cased 321, then I would want a 105.012.

Here are some examples sold off ebay in recent months, that illustrate to me the price for a running 145.012 has moved to a solid $3300+. All the following watches have something wanting, but had very strong bidding. It is clear that good photos encourage higher prices – some of the photos obviously better than others.

At the end are two Buy It Now examples. (BIN). Unfortunately Ebay has removed the ability for the end price to be found, (Used to get it from the “print” option) so we do not know what they sod for.

All photos are from the ebay listings.


With Pulsations Bezel:

145.012-67 Sold Ebay  May 2015 for $5250
145.012-67 Sold Ebay May 2015 for $5250

The watch above is a very nice condition watch – but what makes it very interesting is the original pulsations bezel. Note the line between the markers and the numbers, that is missing in modern versions of this bezel. This watch carries incorrect hour/minute hand, as well as a new drop chrono hand. The photos appear edited for contrast and this makes it harder to judge the condition. For all that the dial and case look good. The seller is British and feedback under 70 but all good, and specializing in watches. The high price for this watch might be explained by the rare bezel, the good dial, and the excellent photos.

Poor Dial from Mexico:

145.012 sold ebay may 2015 $3151
145.012 sold ebay may 2015 $3151

This watch has something funny going on with the dial, missing lume on the hands, and a poor condition bezel. I would have not wanted it. The dial is the heart of the value, and this one is simply awful. The seller is a solid watch seller from Mexico with a strong history. Many of his watches have had a hard life and this is an example of one such.

From a Canadian Picker:

145.012 sold on Ebay May 2015 for $3850
145.012 sold on Ebay May 2015 for $3850

This watch sold in Canada, which often causes a slightly higher price as locals feel ready to pay higher because of import charges. The seller appears to be a picker, or estate trader, for whom a watch is just another item. This watch also has some new hands. In general I find this an abused watch, one that will need some careful restoration – and removal of that modern bracelet. It will  however be an excellent project, needing just a few things to be a nice watch. Once again I think the photos do not help.

Chicago Enthusiast:

145012 sold on Ebay March 2015 for $3333
145012 sold on Ebay March 2015 for $3333

This watch was sold by an enthusiast in USA. It has the wrong hands, (originals were supplied) and came with a bracelet. Again the photos don’t help. The bezel and case are fair, the dial hard to judge, but it looks as though the lume has gone, leaving the white paint on the plots. I am not sure this will ever be a nice watch – just an average. The white plots will always bother me.

BIN from USA:

145012 Sold on Ebay May 2015. The BIN price was $5500, but a lower offer was accepted.
145012 Sold on Ebay May 2015. The BIN price was $5500, but a lower offer was accepted.

Ironically the USA seller apologized for the photos, saying he didn’t have a very good camera. Frankly I preferred these photos over every other example I have listed. This is also, (bezel excepted) the best looking watch for me. The lume is present, the hands original, and the case in good condition. It is impossible to tell what it sold for since ebay removed that option. The bezel is new, but that is easily replaced. If expensive.

BIN from Argentina:

145,012 sold on Ebay. BIN price of $5400 and a lower offer was accepted
145,012 sold on Ebay. BIN price of $5400 and a lower offer was accepted

From an Argentinian seller, this watch is not as nice as the previous BIN example, and yet posted for similar money. The bezel is again new, but the case, like many south American watches, is heavily used and dinged. The dial is dirty and the hands look a mismatch from three different watches. It does not attract me.

Here is the page for the 145.012

Speedmaster 2998 in Phillips Geneva May 2015

Phillips are selling a lot of watches only two of which are speedmasters, and at first glance have relatively reasonable estimates. Reasonable for Geneva auctions! The sheer number of “rare” rolexes does make you wonder.

On the the Speedmaster. I will look first at the 2998, the other is a 1969 Gold commemorative, that is a bit outside my scope. I may get to it, but I cant add too much.

The first is my favorite reference a 2998. You can look at the watch on Phillips’ site here

2998-5 in Phillips May 2015
2998-5 in Phillips May 2015. Photo from Listing.

According to the catalog this watch carries a movement serial number 17301309. My observations put this number in an earlier case, in fact a 2998-1. I would expect to see an 18m serial in a 2998-5. HOWEVER ! I am just an amatuer observing the watches as they appear and reading all the information I can. I cannot be certain this is incorrect. All I can say is that it will not be me going all out to buy it because I do not think it is correct. The listing says it has an Omega extract which will be very interesting to see – if it is recent, then I must reexamine all my ideas regarding serials for 2998’s. If it is old, its not worth the paper its printed on.

Estimate is $7200 – $12,000 plus commission.

The dial looks ok, and the case does too. The bezel is correct and in fair condition. If it were not for the movement discrepancy I would recommend this watch.

A minor issue is that the hand layout does not fit the received wisdom for a 2998-5. Here is what I would expect, stick hands on the subdials:

2998-61. This carries the same hand layout as what I expect to see in a 2998-5. I dont have one at the moment, so this is the nearest I can offer!

 Once again, when I see something a little off in a watch, I start to be suspicious. In the case of the Phillips 2998-5, the movement does not match the case reference, and the hands are slightly incorrect for the reference. SO is it original? I dont think so. But I may be proved wrong if Phillips produce a recent Omega extract.

Transitional Prices

After some reserch, and trying to find one for a friend, I am going to modify the transitional price in the chart. I think there is a strong body of people prepared to pay a premium over the 145.022-69 that justifies these price changes, although the volume of transactions is so small due to the rarity it is hard to say if a price is correct or not. Pretty much everyone I speak to is ready to pay over $4000 for a correctly fitted transitional.

See more on Transitionals here.

145.022-68. Just Aquired
145.022-68. Just Acquired – this is now at the workshop for a service.

Speedmasters at Christies

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

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

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

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

Lot 60

Lot 60
Lot 60. Photo from Christies listing

Estimate  $ 7400-$10,500

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


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

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

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

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

I like that it comes with an archive extract.

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

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

Lot 61

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

Estimate is $7400-$10,500



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

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

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

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

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

Lot 215

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

Estimate  $20,000-$30,000



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

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

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

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

Lot 216

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

Estimate is $6400 – $8500



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

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

It ought to have a BASE1000 bezel.

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

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

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

Speedmaster 2998-4 in Antiquorum Geneva

Antiquorum are selling some interesting Omegas in Geneva – only one of them is a Speedmaster. The others are definately worth a look.

Usual auction house caveats must apply:

  1. They know less about speedmasters than an informed amateur – so take whatever they say under advisement and verify elsewhere.
  2. They sometimes have pretty girls handling the watches that can make you forget #1
  3. They charge a huge premium on top of the bid, which makes most of us pay more than we might on Ebay.
  4. In general Speedmasters in Auction achieve more than I think they are worth – with some exceptions.

Sale is on May 10th 2015 and the link to the lot is here

It is billed as a 2998-4 with a movement number 1958 4900.

2998-4 for sale Antiquorum May 2015. Photo from listing.
2998-4 for sale Antiquorum May 2015. Photo from listing.

There is only one photograph, but even so I immediately call this as an assembly and while I am open to be proved wrong – here is why I start from that position, rather than another:

Dial: this has short markers on the subdial minute track and I expect to see this dial on an earlier watch, -1 or -2. As such it is a valuable dial, but has no place on this watch. So for me, the dial and case back never left the factory together. The dial is damaged, scratches and blemishes, but overall attractive – not fine.

Movement: at 19m this is outside of my observed parameters for a -4, which I see below 18m. This seems a small difference but it is important. It may as well be a 24m in terms of being correct. So now I see a movement that did not leave the factory with this -4 case back.

Hour Minute hands: These have square ends on the lume, indicating Omega suplied service replacements. So that shows the watch has been worked on. These hands are worth much less than originals, which can sell for $500-1200 just for the Hour Minute set.

As I said – this is an assembly to me, and as such would not persuade me to bid. The estimate is so high, I suspect this is a dealers watch consigned to sale. If it were private I would have expected a much lower estimate. The description claims it is from a private owner, so the other explanation is that it is an overpaid recently acquired from a dealer piece.

The one thing that makes this watch buy-able is the dial – its wrong for the reference, but if someone owned a 2998-1 or -2 with the slightly later dial, they could swap, sort out some vintage hands and then have two correct watches. Expensive way to go – but then everything is becoming expensive, and the opportunities to buy are few.

Estimate is $10,500 – $16,000 plus premium.

Here is the correct appearance for a 2998-4:

Correct layout of dial and hands for a 2998-4
Correct layout of dial and hands for a 2998-4

Check out the 2998 page here

More ebay 105.003’s

Following on from a previous 105.003 sales review, here is another. I must say there is a very wide gap between the nice ones and the poor ones. There has been a steady flow of not so good ones onto the market recently.

Here is a pretty beaten up 105.003 on sale now on Ebay at $5900.

105.003-65 On sale on Ebay
105.003-65 On sale on Ebay. Photo from listing

Now at first glance this is in shocking condition. The bezel is faded, the hands have lost paint and the dial is in terrible condition.  However I will not go so far as to say it is nasty. It looks pretty much original, with only service items changed.

is that corrosion? There is the vestiges of the top facet on the lugs which is a positive. Photo from listing

Case is not great, and there may be corrosion. It has been polished, and then further worn.

This is a well used watch – but it is not prepared. This has not been “gone over” by a dealer searching for a profit. I am sure it has been serviced at some point, and someone must have painted the hands, but overall it is pretty close to looking like an owners watch.  This watch grows on me, in the opposite way those dealer watches become less and less attractive the more I look at them.

However when valuing, this is exactly the kind of watch I have in mind as “poor” as although the parts look pretty much correct, they are in such poor condition that if sold separately they would not excite interest.

The seller, despite his celltronics seller handle, has currently listed only watch items, and 330 feedback. I would be cautious but go ahead and engage if I wanted the watch. I don’t like the way it is described, but there may be language / cultural differences that I have learned to work around. However I would also say that scammers use a similar theme. So for this watch I would want to speak on the phone with the seller before sending any money.

The dial, the heart of the value in this era, is rotten. Not completely rotten, but really degraded with very little to say in its favour other than it is probably original. It is missing some of the minute track, the plots are in terrible condition and the body of the dial has raised bubbles.

The bezel may or may not be a DO90, but it is so bad it makes no difference.

This is a really battered watch. However if this is sent to a sympathetic workshop I think it would turn out well. It is a sound basis for a watch full of character – not to everyone’s taste I know.

It needs a service, new glass, pushers and possibly crown. The case I would clean, possibly a very light refinish. The hands can be repainted an appropriate aged colour, or left as is. Normally I would leave them but I think they have been repainted once and that is why it is all flaked off.

The movement looks good, correct serial range and the right parts that I can see.

This might make a good watch for someone, subject as ever, to price.

 Now compare to this:

105.003 on sale on ebay. Photo from listing
105.003 on sale on ebay. Photo from listing

On sale here

This is polished, good bezel, new hands, and an unattractive dial. It may have been relumed or worked on. Looks a little touched up, but in general in MUCH better condition than the first one I looked at above. But asking $9000 it should be.

It does not seem attractive, because of those superluminova hands. That can easily be changed.

The bezel is pretty good, and this could make a difference to the price!

Case Opening

(I preface all practical posts with the disclaimer that I am not a watchmaker, just an enthusiastic amateur living in a remote part of the world where it is better to learn to do things myself than trust what passes for a watchmaker here in Bangkok)

I live far away from any competent watchmakers. So I have to make do, or wait. I have learned that if I am very patient, and cautious with the correct tools, I can dismantle a watch this far:

A Speedmaster disassembled for a thorough clean.
A Speedmaster disassembled for a thorough clean. I was choosing a bezel to go on, obviously I cannot put three bezels on a watch.

So to get the back off I need a tool. Here is my choice:

A Horotec case back opener with a custom holder on the platform, and holding a watch is the adjustable holder. A two pronged casual opener for winding off loose backs, and a three pronged opener. The brass tool is a custom CNC machined speedmaster specific tool kindly given to me by a member of Thank you Pahawi!

My default tool up to now has been the Chinese made three pronged unit I bought off ebay for $8. It will remove most casebacks, but I was always wary of coming up against a stiff one, so I acquired the red Horotec unit with various fittings on a visit to downtown LA.

The Horotec unit has interchangeable heads and I use this two pronged fitting that I am not totally at ease with, I would prefer a custom one – but strangely none seems available.

Then along came this:

Brass Tool
Brass Tool. Teeth matched perfectly to the back of a speedmaster.

CNC machined, this tool fits the back perfectly and with flat edged teeth, in a soft metal, that aligns perfectly. This is a prototype but I think it is going to be my go-to opener. I still like to hold the watch in a clamp.

I made a video sometime ago showing how I open a watch, and where to check for the serial and calibre. I could be updated but it is a simple exercise and worth showing for those who, like me before I got into it all, know nothing. We all start from a place of not knowing.