BASE500 Bezel Identification
Dot Over 90:
Dot Next to 90:
In total there are four BASE500 bezels but only two fitted up to 1978, and here is a quick easy method to identify for certain if the watch you are inspecting has the correct bezel.
For the purposes of this site we are interested in only two types of BASE500 bezel, and we need to make sure that a later bezel is not fitted. As the value of post -69’s has risen, so has the importance of making sure the watches carry the correct bezel. There are two types of tall letter bezels – one of which is correct for watches up to -78 and the other that is too late for us. It is essential now on these later watches to check the bezel is period correct.
Once again we are looking for small differences in font that someone new to Speedmasters might shake their head wondering at the fuss, but these small differences can change the value by thousands – so it matters.
In three steps we can quickly and accurately identify the bezel :
1. Is there a Dot over the 90 ?
If not go to #2 – if yes keep reading
This is the most valuable bezel, as fitted to the 2998-3 until midway through the 145.022. The Dot Over Ninety (DO90). It is so important that many lower priced Speedmasters with good bezels have been bought to upgrade a more valuable reference, like a 2998 for example.
If you have a DO90 then you do not proceed as you have identified the bezel. If the Dot is Next to the 90 then proceed to next step:
2. Is there an Accent on the TACHYMETRE, and a Dot Next to 90?
If not go to #3 – If yes continue to read
And a Dot Next to 90? :
If the bezel has both the accent and Dot Next to 90, it is the late, small font bezel from the 1990’s+ and as such not fitted to any watch covered by this site.
If there is no accent then proceed to next step.
3. Is the 7 on the 70 with a serif (a downward drop on the left edge of the 7 as shown) ?
if so it is what we refer to in this site as the DN90 bezel as fitted from mid 145.022-69 until the 145.022-78.
This bezel also comes with the 200 replaced by 220. This is a misprint and is correct on a narrow range of 145.022-69’s produced in 1970.
If it does not have a serif, then it is only correct on watches post 1990:
This is seen on 1990 to 1995 approximate and therefore is not original to any of the watches covered on the site.
DN90 with tall TACHYMETRE letters, but with a non serif 70. This can be confused with the earlier tall TACHYMETRE bezel that does have some additional font differences, but for the purposes of identification the serif test will separate them without further investigation.[/caption]