How To Buy a 1969 Speedmaster

Its time now to focus on one of the most sought after references, the 145.022-69

This watch is in a sweet spot of Vintage desirability and affordable utility. So I am going to take a few examples offered from the net and use the sellers photographs from public domain, linking you to the sale. I am using these as tools for education rather than recommending or dismissing any watch or dealer.

You can skip to the bottom for a link to a video I made.

The cheapest I see on the market right now is $4,900 from a dealer in Miami and it is a good learning opportunity:

This watch is available to buy on at the time of writing, asking $4,900

Immediately obvious is the incorrect hour hand and the chrono creep in the hour subdial. The watch is very poorly presented, which doesn’t really worry me. There are two indications that the watch is uncared for, the strap is 22 mm stuffed between the lugs, and the top pusher may not match the bottom. This is apparent discrepancy is sometimes the angle of the shot shows, but I think there is something going on here. The dial itself might be OK, I think all the scratches are on the crystal. The lume is OK not great, and the bezel is actually pretty good. It is a DN90 so not super valuable but it is good to have.

When looking on Chrono24 we have to be aware that any watch we see that is still available after a week or two has a problem – that problem may just be it is too expensive, but usually it is because the watch has major issues. The other thing to bear in mind with C24 is that most watches are priced with a healthy amount of room to manoeuvre – in general I feel a watch might trade up to 20% less than asking. Or ought to, but that is another matter.

In terms of this watch, I feel I would be uncomfortable buying this watch on these photos, as I cannot check the true state of the dial. In any event it is going to need a service and a crystal change, and that needs to be factored into any valuation.

The lesson here is watch out for incorrect parts, and a non-functioning, or incorrectly functioning watch that will incur immediate expense

The next watch I want to discuss is this one on C24 from Japan. Asking $5,000

It is offered with very few details, but our lessons are all in the photograph. It is a Straight Writing Flight Qualified (SWQ) version so it has the rarer case back, but I inluded it here to show the service dial.

Now this is quite inexpensive for a SWQ and Japanese watches are often in very good condition. Unfortunately this one does not confirm the stereotype. The bracelet is non-original to the watch and the case may have seen some polish. The real issue with this is the service dial, identified by the “SWISS MADE” at the bottom of the dial, lacking the two T’s. It is a knack to spot sometimes on listings, but on a 69 the dial should have two T’s one under the 37-minute marker and one under the 28-marker. In this watch we can see that what ever is printed, there is nothing under the 37.

There is no reason to buy a 69 Speedmaster with a service dial unless it is very cheap, and perhaps you have a dial.

Now we can look at a watch from a Los Angeles dealer who has a great business on Melrose Avenue, as well as a site with a great deal of watches including several Speedmasters. I am showing this one as it is a great example of a dial where the lume has been removed. Sometimes known as a washed dial.

At first glance this watch has a coppery tint to the dial. Now look at the steel on the lugs – I think the white balance is a little off and is exaggerating the body colour of the dial. The crown is quite wrong, look how it does not fill the case opening.

The reason I chose this watch is that it is an example of a dial where the lume has been entirely removed, leaving only the white base paint. This would re lume very nicely if you have a good person to do it.

The DO90 bezel is not bad, but the price of $8750 puts it in competition with watches with much nicer lume and correct crowns. In addition, it would be hard for me to want to buy this watch as there are no side views and no movement shot. At this price level we should really see them.

The next watch is actually sold, and can be viewed here.

The photo is very sharp, and I do like that we can see everything. Compare this photo to the first sellers photo. The price was $9,000.

The sales photos are among the best I have seen. Note there are no spots of light on the hesalite. A few dust spots. We can see very clearly what is being offered. Trhe dial is stepped and the lume is slightly greenish. Not to my taste, but it is to some others. The dial seems in very good condition. The DO90 bezel has a few dings to bring it down, but again this photo is so good that there will be no surprises. The case has one or two marks, and the back shows some polishing. All in all it is a good watch, with lume that I personally do not go for, but the overall look is very good. I am not surprised it sold. Its not perfect but its good.

Here is a watch I sold recently, for around the same amount as the previous watch. Note the exceptional condition, and the presence of the correct bracelet.

I suppose I am biased as it was my watch, but for me this is quite an exceptional watch. Everything is correct, and the dial is exceptional, with a coppery tint. Print is clear and the lume is yellowish and present. there is a little mark visible on the lug, and the case is otherwise very good. The bezel is a correct DO90.

If you show me a watch in this condition there is not much I can say that is wrong with it.