Speedmasters in HQ Miltons

HQ Milton * is a firm I respect.

I have had dealings with them and found them to be completely honest straightforward and often very good value – IF you know what you are looking at. I have never got the feeling that they are trying to make the months rent on a watch they are selling. They have recently moved more into Speedmasters, and so I now look at their site regularly.

They are like a river of watches – scores of watches, mostly Rolex,  pass through, and I feel like a fisherman on the bank watching the river flow, leaning in and grabbing a passing fish, in the knowledge that if I don’t grab it when I see it, it will be gone. HQMiltons have a habit of turnover, and I always feel the watches they sell are sold on a margin, and quickly. I notice that they sell everything, and so there is always new stock to see, and the older stock that I like is gone.

The down side to them is that they rely on their customers to assess the watches on offer; they do not promote, assess or over describe – they really do leave it up the buyer to decide. Indeed I feel the expect their buyers to be knowledgeable. This means that the watches they sell might have issues – though mostly this is reflected in the price. In fact I expect they sell to a lot of dealers.

Last week they offered a lovely 105.012 with what was described as a tropical dial. It was offered at $9800 which is very strong, but understandable if the dial looked good in real life. Unfortunately Miltons lighting does not show browns in a way I find easy to judge.

Tropical 105.012 sold by HQMilton last week
Tropical 105.012 sold by HQMilton last week. This watch has issues: The bezel is terrible, the pushers look awful. The dial is what makes it attractive, and indeed it sold within a few days

This week they have on offer a 145.022-68. Now this should be Transitional teritory, but the dial clearly is later. The watch deserves further investigation. As usual we look to the case reference, and the serial, and check the two are commensurate. Lets see the watch:

145.022-68 offered by HQ Miltons for $3700. It carries a later dial, and a modern pulsations bezel.

The case reference is 145.022-68 and the serial is 26.5m. This is one of the earliest calibre 861 Speedmasters I have seen, and almost certainly left the factory with a long indices, AML dial, and a DO90 bezel like this:


So the Miltons 145.022-68 is a Transitional, but without the dial and bezel that makes it so attractive and desirable. At $3700 it falls between running and good on the chart, BUT it is missing the two most valuable parts of the essential transitional elements, the dial and the bezel. Now in fairness, and this underlines everything I have said about them, they do not sell this as a Transitional. I think this is partly because they do not understand Speedmasters like some of us, but mostly because they expect their customers to do their own due diligence.

*I feel I should stress I am not endorsing, recommending, nor warning against this firm. I simply report my experiences with them and also assess some of the watches. They have not asked me to write this.