The first thing you need to check, is that you actually like the watch! Don’t waste time on an ugly watch.
Find a watch that attracts you, has a charm, a patina, or lack of it if that is what you prefer. People often get lost in technicalities, buy a watch that while having all the correct parts, has no charm, soul or attraction.
You need to read the pages on this reference to be confident but here is the short overview:
- Check the serial, and case back reference are correct and matching.
- Check the case for (over) polish and condition. There is no need to accept an over-polished case in this plentiful reference.
- Check the dial for correctness and condition, and attraction. Have confidence in yourself. If you do not like the dial, it is unlikely to be a valuable watch.
- Check the hands, bezel for correctness and condition.
- Assume the movement needs a $650 service unless you see documents.
145.022-68. The Transitional. Highly sought after, with the long indices, Applied Metal Logo (AML) dial. Sometimes seen with drop end spear Chrono hand. State of the dial is crucial to value. I expect a DO90 bezel.
145.022-69. The most common. Again the state of the case and dial is central to the value. The dial has shorter plots, a painted logo and the chrono is square ended spear. Bezel can be DN90 or DO90 but adjust price for the DO90 bezel by 500-2000, but can be as much as $3000. (as at October 2016)
145.022-69 Straight Writing. There are several versions, make sure the one you are looking at is vintage, and know if you are looking at the very rare Apollo XI one. Bezels are DN90.
145.022-71 Stamped case back. The dial is still stepped, DN90, square end Chrono. These can still exhibit attractive patination.
145.022-74. The dial loses its step. These dials tend not to show thier age in the same way as the previous.
145.022-76 and 78. These are the last of the date stamped cases. These should offer the greatest value.
Things to be aware of:
- A DO90 bezel can be worth up to $3000 (October 2016) in mint condition. This is correct equipment up to and including approximately 29m.
- The hippocampus on the rear on the premoon is acid etched, and was designed to be easily removed for re engraving by the customer.
- These watches are often serviced by replacing the hands, bezel, and even dial with modern ones. See this page. This destroys the vintage attraction, and therefore value.
- All dials have T SWISS MADE T.
- Brown dials can be very much more valuable than the Price Chart. See the Brown Dial page. This is a whole different area of collecting.
- As a rule, anything under $2000 will need an immediate service.
- As a rule, anything over $2000 will need a service. See what I am saying there? Everything will need a service, unless you have papers to say it has one already from a recognized workshop.
- The straight writing case back has three executions – make sure you know which one you are looking at. One is very much rarer.