145.022-78 showing a no-step dial

The two watches above clearly illustrate a domed dial on the left, and a stepped dial on the right. Both are marked T SWISS MADE T as they should be.

The 145.022-78 is the last reference we look at on this site. When this site was  first published, these watches rarely breached $2200 even in top condition and often they languished, unloved in drawers gently decaying, as the repair costs were disproportionate to the total value.  As with most things Vintage Speedmaster, this is changing.

The reference is characterised by a smooth domed dial, a DN90 bezel with large “TACHYMETRE” letters. The Chrono is always square ended.

They still represent the most affordable of the date marked Speedmasters and have become sought after.

145.022-78 showing a domed dial, that is without a step. Note the dial is not flat, like those seen in the MKII speedmasters. It has a slight dome similar to the very first speedmasters, though those dials have different markings.

One of the things I enjoy seeing in a Speedmaster is an air of Patina on the dial. Sometimes this reference can show it, as here, with slightly orangy  plots. I prefer this colour to  the greenish ones.P4010040

This watch carries the correct, original hands. However they have aged differently and the Hour hand shows yellow tritium, and on the minute hand the luminous material has degraded to a darker, dirtier hue. The above photo is taken to accentuate this difference.P4010041

From the back, the engraving has lost its paint – which is usual. The back does not show more than light polishing evidence – the notches are sharp and the bevel is also as sharp as I would expect in a used watch. You can also clearly see the new pusher tubes – indicative of a serviced watch, though not proof.P4010043

This is a nice watch – perfect to use everyday. Not so valuable as to give worry, but rare enough to give me pleasure, and aged enough to please me when I look at it. It is also serviced, “waterproof”, and fit for purpose.

A watch in this condition is rare to find. A dealer will not prepare a watch to this condition, because it will cost him too much. I recommend you look for a tired eBay watch and send it straight to service. It will cost a little more, but as long as you find a nice looking dial, and an unpolished case, most other things will get fixed in the service. In this reference I have often asked for a “very light case refinish ” . This expression, in the language I use with the workshop, means rebrushing the sides, and polishing very slightly with minimal metal removal, if any. I find the results most pleasing and as long as barely any metal is removed, it is very hard to tell.

It helps if you start with the right hands, and bezel too. Although these parts for the -78 are less valuable than for the -69, that situation is also changing. I think that bezels for this reference will become sought after.