Just appeared on the market at Drewetts Auctioneers in UK is this rare 18kt gold Speedmaster from 1969. This is inrterseting as there were two in the geneva auctions, see previous blog posts, and this one looks good.
The listing is here
As we can see from this one photograph, this example has a lot going for it at first sight, but on close inspection and consideration we can assess that it is in fact an example with more issues than many. It is a little worn, to be setting this level of estimate.
The first thing to notice is that it is No 40, extremely early, and right next to the astronauts watches. It has the Oval O dial, but the dial is noted in the description to have some minor condition issues, but I cannot see them clearly in the photos.
The bezel is noted to be a service bezel. This is obvious in terms of condition, but I am surprised to see the DO90 design on a service bezel — up to now the service bezels have the same design of the ones from the 1970’s. This service bezel must be from the recent re edition? In any event it means we have to be careful going forward, as before it was easy to spot the service bezel, now we have to concentrate.
I am sure if I was holding the watch in hand it would be obvious, but these photos are not very informative.
The estimate is Sterling, 25,000 to 35,000. Plus commission.
In USD this equates to USD $42,000 to $59,000 including commission.
This compares to the recent sale in Geneva by Phillips for $48,000.
For me, this watch is a second grade example, one that has not got the sparkle of some that I have seen recently. It is asking a high price for a watch with a service bezel, a dial with some damage, and a worn bracelet.
That said, it is No 40, has the more desirable dial, and it may be the original bezel supplied is acceptable. Be aware that the bracelet, if worn to the point of needing attention, will be expensive to restore.
It is otherwise a very interesting example. I am not sure the market will see the value as it is clearly a watch that has been owned and worn, then serviced. So not as original and untouched as some.