Salvation Speedmaster

I rcently saw this at auction on Ebay. It was offered by the Salvation Army and as you can see from the photos, it was almost like buying from an original owner. It is dirty, un restored, unserviced, and its mechanical state unknown.

Bought last week from the Salvation Army, via ebay
Bought last week from the Salvation Army, via ebay

Now this watch has arrived at my home, but I wont have it in hand until next week. Here is a few shots to get you interested.

Double step caseback, with some opening marks – these may or may not turn out to be serious. One photo cannot convey the true state. Note the dirt on the lugs. This watch was worn like a Seiko.
Salvation Speedmaster
From the head on shot, we can see a nice DO90 bezel. a narrow space T SWISS T dial, what looks like an undamaged dial under a badly scratched crystal. It caries short pushers. The hands and plots have a matching faded patina. From what I see, my guess would be a 105.012-64 or more likely, -65.

First, I know I have taken a gamble. Lets sum up the situation:

  • The watch is unopened, and the crystal is very worn.
  • It has been used hard, and then thrown in a drawer and forgotten.
  • I do not know if it works. (I told my wife not to wind it up!)
  • The watch is very dirty, possibly corroded
  • The state of the movement is unknown
  • Based on what we can see, it ought to be a 105.012-65, or -64.

So why did I, – the man who claims a “good condition” 105.012 is worth $6000 – pay over that for a watch that clearly is not?

The answer lies out in the proverbial barn….

The term “Barn Find” I first saw in Classic Car circles where a car was literally dragged from a barn, covered in dust and also possibly all maner of dung, dead things and once a tree. These untouched specimins started selling for small money, as the cost of restoration was so high, disproportionate to the evental value.

Photo from Bonhams. While this is a barn find, I think the shot was faked. It does illustrate my point.
Photo from Bonhams. While this is a barn find, I think the shot was faked. It does illustrate my point.

Then something changed. I noticed it first at one of the first Bonhams Aston Martin sales when a one owner DB4 that looked partially disolved, with its interior in boxes but complete, sold for more than a well maintained original example. The thinking, I was told, was that the new owner did not care what he spent, and would end up with a car that cost three times the accepeted value, but one that he knew all the history of, and that he could know was original. I believe the fashion has now moved even further, and that these cars are now restored without painting if possible, preserving the original patinated finish on the bodywork.

So back to the watch. One owner speedmaster watches are rare. I have one, a 145.012 that I bought from the grandaughter of the original owner. I did nothing but clean and service, and it is one of my favorite watches.

This will, I hope, turn out to be 100% original, down to that badly scratched crystal, and the original crown and pushers. There are not many watches like that

With this new find, my plan is to do a similar job.

More news later. It arrives friday…..(with the wife)