Watches of Knightsbridge Sale March 2016

This auction house charges 18% premium, plus 3.6% if you bid online. Then if you take delivery in UK there is 20% on the premium. Then should you pay by credit card, you are charges an additional 2%.

See the sale here

There are several Speedmasters in this sale. I shall start with the most interesting first:

Here is a 2998-2 Serial 17761331

Lot 183 Estimate 15,000 to 25,000 GBP plus premium

Here is a rare watch – a brown dialed, BASE 1000 bezel, lolipop hand 2998. The holy trinity of 2998 attributes.

Basics first. Serial fits in with observed ranges, movement carries the correct bridges and is appropriate for the year.

Bezel is a BASE1000 which even in this condition might be worth $1000 – the last one I saw for sale was several years ago and I purchased it for $600. It is possible this bezel photographs with better definition than in real life – these ghost BASE1000’s do that. In real life it might not be possible to see the numbers from all angles.

The hands all tick boxes. BUT !

The lume on the hour minute hands is the less attractive greenish lume. It may be original, but given the choice I like the yelowish brownish kind. Tobacco, not snot. The lolipop is without lume, and looks freshly painted. Not sure about that. The subdial hands are leaf, possibly newer replacements.

The case is polished, they all are, but the back is has lost slightly more definition than usual. Beggars cant be choosers with 2998’s, but you need to know before buying. The bevels on the back, and the seahorse all look worse for the polishers wheel.

The pushers look clean, and the crown is appropriate.

Now the dial. The sellers are calling it chocolate. See my ideas of chocolate here. This dial is brown, but dry looking. It is possible that it has spent time outside of a watch. That is the only way I see dials like this. The step is pronounced. Unusual for an early 2998 which often has a small step, or very early ones have no step.

But most important is this an attractive watch? Yes it is.

But is it worth the $40,000 paid for lot 5 at the Christies auction for a brown dialed 2998? No, it does not compare, even though the high estimate is more. This watch is dry looking, with question marks hanging over the originality of the parts, and even if they were original, each cosmetic part is fair condition, not good, certainly not excellent.

It is a nice looking watch, certainly not for everyone because of the condition, but I think it will sell, because there are no 2998’s on the market today. However I will be shocked to see it go anywhere near the high estimate, which at today’s rates and including commission would be about $44,000.

Next lets look at another 2998:

2998-1 Serial 17301573

2998 services
Lot 182 5500-6500 GBP + premium

This must have been to an Omega Service centre. While it is the most desirable reference, the -1,  it has lost the very heart of the value, the very reasons these watches are valued.

The dial, hands, and bezel are all service replacements, and as such this watch can only be valued on its movement and case – which match, so that’s a plus.

Dont buy this thinking you will find a dial – you wont. Hands maybe, but then the BASE1000 bezel will elude you. Its a long road to go down to try and make this watch look original, and then it will only look original.

Here is a 145.022-69 I would avoid myself because it is expensive for the condition:

Lot 180 2500-3000 GBP + Premium
Lot 181 2500-3000 GBP + Premium

The serial fits and the rest is correct, it just is not very nice for that money. Movement is dirty, and bezel is very poor. I see this trading on ebay for $2000-2500 if that. I expect it will sell well in this rising market – then the ebay prices will catch up.

Here is a Straight Writing Moonwatch:

Lot 180
Lot 180 2500-3500 GBP + premium

It is the less desirable version of the case back, and I am not sure about the bracelet. Bezel is correct. More on the straight writing versions here.

There are only three pictures in the listing, no movement shot. Its hard to make a judgement.

Here is a 145.022-69 with only one picture, but thats all I need:

lot 179
lot 179 2200-2600 GBP+Premium

What a dog. Possibly a service dial, definite service hands and bezel. Filth at the lugs. Filth at the pusher tubes.

How can this reach the lower estimate I do not know.

All in all a disappointing collection presented at very high prices.