Produced in four executions, over three references.
Ascertaining originality on these watches is a refined skill, one that I am working on and learning all the time. I think there are very few people in the world who knows about these, and I am quite sure none of them work for an Auction House.
If I were you, I would not rely solely on this site for information, nor any single source, and especially not a seller, before purchasing a 2915 – though I bought my first 2915 almost without any real knowledge (!). That said it cost me $4,000, almost 1000 times cheaper than the most expensive 2915 sold recently.
I make no pronouncements here, I just gather what I have learned and put it here. There is a small number of collectors who know a lot about these. More than me. Some have been kind enough to share some details about bezels hands and dials that they have asked not to make public, so as not to educate counterfeiters. In this I now agree, and now I think that it is better to keep the minor tells on bezels, for example, quiet for the moment.
As of 2019, there were at least three different bezel projects around the world, so I am sure there are more now. It is surely only a matter of time before the very high values of these bezels motivates people to produce indistinguishable replicas. I do not let that concept put me off, but I take that idea into account when arriving at a valuation.
There are a lot of 2915’s assembled from parts. They are over 70 years old now, and were primarily tool watches. Many were discarded for many years, and lay unloved or in pieces for decades before being salvaged.
Any one looking at one of these, has to be a kind of lunatic treasure hunter, and feel a confidence in their own decisions. I have never seen one offered that did not trigger a huge amount of discussion amoungst collectors.
Here are some examples of 2915’s offered at Auction in November 2021. These are shown here to help give an idea of what to look for in 2915s. All dials should be radium, and the indices on the minute subdial are short. By all means observe the bezels but it is a minefield
Author’s note: I have seen more now, than when I first wrote this site, and this page is now updated (2021). I will reiterate that 2915’s are a minefield of counterfeit parts and put together watches. Be careful, and do due diligence.
Please do not take anything on this page as proof of correctness.
2915’s are very rare, and verifying them is very difficult as we do not always have reliable information as to what is original.
Be careful. Comparing bezel styles, for example, with photographs found on the net, is extremely poor research practice. The problem is we simply do not have the provenance to say that any given part was with the watch when new. And if it was, that is one variation of perhaps more than one specification.
One source that cannot be relied upon is contemporary Omega literature, as it has been shown many times that the watches illustrated, (often with drawings not photos) do not depict the watches on sale at the time.
As Omega Museum has now stared to issue more extracts for these 2915’s we are getting more serial data. This is the framework I am currently using, although I am open to change.
I would be very suspicious of watches carrying other serial ranges, because when I see a watch outside these parameters, there is almost always a question mark over it for some reason – perhaps other non-original parts, or dubious history that make me doubt it is an original movement.
The original bezel is steel, numbers either engraved or etched into it. Often these bezels have been polished, either by hand or in a lathe. So there can be a lot of different kinds of ageing and wear.
The original method of engraving is currently being debated.
The size and shape is unique to the reference, and very different to some modern steel bezels that Omega produce both for other models and as service replacements. These modern bezels are often distressed, polished or aged and fitted to complete a watch.
Original bezels are highly valued, and much sought after by collectors. I have heard talk that some collectors are willing to pay ten’s of thousands for a bezel. This is quite beyond my understanding and out of my league.
There are also reproductions made by at least three different people, and some of them sell for over $4,000.
I recently spoke to an auction house who told me they would rather sell a 2915 without a bezel than risk having the watch returned at a later date for a counterfeit bezel dispute. Which I thought was quite smart.
This example is the “Bukowski” 2915 that sold for $275,000 and again there are several people who say this is a real bezel.
Note this watch has a bezel carrying a flat top 3. This is thought to be a very early bezel, only fitted to early watches, and due to manufacturing defects often did not fit properly and fell off, to be lost.
So flat top 3 bezels on a 2915 are valued.
The 2915-3 comes with Alpha hands (note the length of the hour hand) or broad arrow hands. I tend to think this execution should have the black BASE1000 bezel if fitted with Alpha hands – but just because it makes sense does not mean it was true. These alpha hands are very rare indeed, and differ from the 2998 alphas by having a slightly longer hour hand, you can see it is closer to the end of the dial plot.
Here are some broad arrow hands. On the left are vintage service replacements and on the right original vintage (either original or service). There are other modern ones on the market but they have different shape lume. Over the years many sets seem to have been manufactured, and so even those below on the right may well be old service items. It is a minefield.
Subdial hands are all leaf, and I see them unpainted. Of course over years these get painted.
I have seen a lollipop on a 2915-3, and I am inclined to think this was added after it left the factory – because I have never seen it on another example and I believe lollipops were only fitted to the middle production of the 2998. However it does not put me off, if there is a lollipop on a watch – any watch!
The dials are Radium. Most I have seen have an oval O in the Omega, though some have a round O. All have short subdial indices. There is also a difference in some in the distance between the Omega Logo, and the print. So called “high print” and “low print”.
The first, and most sought after Speedmaster of all. Very hard to find in original condition. The last one that was thought to be original sold in Christies for around $70,000 several years ago. Then in December 2015 Christies sold a 2915-1 with a reworked case sold for $120,000 – but I doubt it was to a knowledgeable Speedmaster collector. Most recently Phillips have sold a 2915-1 for over $400,00. See more about it here
The case back is engraved “Speedmaster” at the edge on the bevel.
Identical to the -1 as far as I can see. Even the serial number ranges are the same, in observed watches.
This example of the 2915-2 was sold by Christies who claimed the bezel is genuine. The whole watch is in very nice condition.
The dial has an oval O and the print is lower on the dial.
The dial has short indices on the subdial, and the watch reacts to a Geiger counter.
A further example can be seen here
This reference came with both Alpha hands and Broad arrow hands. It also came either with a steel bezel or a black BASE1000 bezel. I have tried to discover if there is a pattern where the alphas go with the black bezel, but I see all combinations. Of course the watches are so old that these could have been changed.
Valuing them is based on which equipment they have.
The alpha hour hand is slightly longer than the 2998-1 that follows. This is unique to the 2915-3 and some early 2998-1’s, it is a very rare hand.
The engraving on the back changed so that the Speedmaster text was closer to the Hippocampus.
Here is a wonderful example of a 2915-3 sold at Christies in 2016. It was owned by a friend of mine and I think it was one of the nicest watches I have handled. At the time, it sold for CHF 81,000, about 20% over estimate. The link is here. It is one of those watches I keep remembering, which is a sign of a fine watch – I always forget the ones that are not so nice.
2915-3 Sold at Chrisites in 2016 for CHF 81,000.
Note the Alpha Hands and black BASE1000 bezel. It is a beautiful example.