Watches of Knightsbridge Sale September 2017

Sorry to tell you that WOK have told me I cannot use the images of their watches. So I have removed them. They have also asked me not to comment on any further auctions. (right). I have added further comments in italics to make up for the lack of pictures.

Please do not let the behavior of WOK staff stop you from acquiring a watch – there are some worth having.

There is an auction at Watches of Knightsbridge in the UK on September 16th 2017. The catalog is here. This auction house is always interesting as it has a wide variety of sources, including a strong dealer contingent. As a result we do have to be extra vigilant as the watches are not checked as thoroughly as the Big Four Houses do. (I saw a watch bought from WOK that was held together inside with rodico – when asked, the Expert said they could not be expected to open every watch they sell. I am not saying they should, but its good to know what they consider standard practice). There will be bargains, but also there might be bluffers and shams so be careful and don’t take what the staff say as truth – they just don’t know as much as you ought to know, if you are going to bid here.

Commissions are 20%. I think this is reasonable compared to the other houses. There is another 20% VAT on top of the commission. There is no extra charge to bid online. (Yay! at last).

In general this is an interesting selection of speedmasters, and most are definitely worth considering. This is unusual to have a high proportion of desirable watches.

Lot 178 105.002-62 with grey dial

Estimate £25,000-£35,000

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A straight lug case, with a fair to good DO90 bezel. The dial is matte grey showing signs of decay, especially on the step, easily seen at 12 to two o’clock. The alpha hands triangle lume. The bracelet is a 7912/6.

This is a very special watch, because of the dial. We have to be very careful assessing this watch – what exactly is it? In my opinion this is the matte grey variety, not the blue solei with the metallic lustre. These metallic dials sell for over $80,000 but this is not one of those.

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The watch is described as “Special Projects” by the auctioneers. This is a made up term and not one used by Omega in any documentation offered with the watch. I do not believe it is a “Special Project”,  a term that might be used for example to describe the Alaska III projects, some other internal research prototype. This spurious label is to be ignored when valuing, unless the seller produces some documentation, when of course it will make a difference.

If you check the dial you will see chips and degradation at the step. This is typical of these matte grey dials and sometimes this degradation goes to extremes. Although they often look as though the dial has spent time out of a watch, I believe based on seeing many, that they remain in the watch but something in the manufacturing has caused it to degrade quicker than the standard dial. I do not know where they come from – are they fitted from new? Well no extract has confirmed this on the ones I have handled. So I am working on the idea they are service dials.

It comes on a 7912/6 bracelet and that is worth a lot of money now. The DO90 bezel is not a very valuable one. The hands are the more desirable triangle lume. – but remember to confirm they they are vintage by looking for a curve across the hand. There is some engraving, but not so much as to affect the value too much. If you want a rare dial, you have to be flexible! The engraving would not stop me buying this watch.

It will be interesting to see what it sells for. These dials are rare, but there are nice ones and not so nice ones. This is one of the better “greys” if have seen, but rememberit is not the blue metallic, it is the matte grey degraded one. While recent Blue Solei dials have sold for as much as $80,000, WOK themselves sold one a few years ago for the equivalent of circa $22,000.  So a wide value. There was one recent sale of a matte grey in Antiquorum (not Christies as I initially wrote) for $16,000. Here is the link. So this estimate is strong, but I cannot critise it. I will wait to see what the market has to say about it. It only takes two collectors to want it for the rocket to take off.

This dial is highly collectable, by a few collectors who cruise this area. They are intelligent experienced and knowledgeable – some are ready to pay strong prices for special watches. There is no doubt this is a rare dial. The matte grey dial is very unusual and while it is attractive, when placed next to the also rare blue soliel dial, there is a difference in attractiveness. This is a fine distinction, but if you are going to be buying this level of Speedmaster you better be ready to know it. So I believe it is special, and this one is in better condition than many which can be found illustrated in I would urge potential buyers to compare, especially the degradation. On that subject, we do not know how stable these dials are. If the paint loss really does occur in situ, (which I think it does) then how stable will it be long term? There are other attributes that make this watch rare – the reference 105.002 is already rare, and the alpha hands are very desirable.  As I said above. This will be an interesting one to see where it ends up, and perhaps the result could have influences on the values of all other blues and greys. I was accused of trying to manipulate the price with this blog by WOK. Well all I can say is that it would only benefit me if prices rose. I am not trying to manipulate anything.

Lot 179 105.012-66-HF

Estimate £3,500-£4,500

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This is an asymmetric cased, short pusher speedmaster with long indices dial. On the photos it is clear the chrono second hand is poorly adjusted and rests at 1 second past the zero. The Chrono hand is a later square ended. The Bezel is slightly grey and faded. The dial body colour is black and the indices are losing some luminous material. The dial looks very good. The pushers are original, short, fat necked ones typical of the reference and the whole watch looks attractive.

From what I can see this is an HF case – I cannot see any facet lines and the lugs look like the other HF cases. (this is confirmed as HF in the detailed images on the site,) This watch has a great look to it – as though it is unmolested and seems honest. (Always could be wrong, i am going on the photos). Its not a fine watch, but its an attractive one. Even given the wonky hand – which I take as a good sign it has not been prepared by a seller for sale. (That is a good thing)

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It has the fat neck pushers, so important to this reference as they are unobtainable, the service pushers have thin necks. The chrono hand is square ended, and while I do see so many on this reference, I do feel this is a replacement hand. The bezel is correct but not great – I do not like these tired grey “dry” looking bezels. The crown looks original and in general I think this watch looks good – while needing a service.

I prefer to buy a watch like this that obviously needs a service so I can do what I want to it – rather than have a dealer do what he thinks is best – which for him will be to spend as little as possible and make it shiny.

I would try to buy this if I were looking, and send it straight to

I think the price of this watch is very fair and may well exceed the estimate. In Net USD values the watch is estimated $5725 to $7360. Even taking into account the need for a service I think this is a good buy at these estimates, as the prices are comparable to OF trades in the last six months. (You can tell I like this one).

Lot 180 105.003-65

Estimate £5,000-£6,000

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This is a straight lug speedmaster on a strap, with an extract of the archives from Omega.

I think this is a sorry looking watch that might well go for more than it deserves. When I talk about a watch having all correct parts, but not enough attraction, I could be talking about this watch.

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The dial is dry looking with patches of discoloration. There is at least one mark on the dial, on the 6 minute block on the minute subdial. This is also is scratched from an incorrectly fitted hand from 0 to 5.

The plots are like algae. The bezel is marked and worn. On the positive side the parts are correct, with the possible exception of the crown. The pushers look original. The hands look correct. I appears to have an extract which is a big plus in today’s world of Seamaster powered Speedmasters.

In the photos in the description we can see a modern dust cover is fitted.

Unless the photos are being really unfair, this is a poor looking watch but it might sell for more than its estimate if it looks good in hand. It is so important to view these watches in the metal. Recent sales of this reference are well over $15,000 so this is cheaper on the estimate. At the low end of the estimate its not a bad buy but remember this is exactly the kind of watch that if a turn in the market comes, this will be a big loser – so buy it cheap.

Now I am a big fan of correct, poor condition watches – IF THEY ARE CHEAP.  Is this cheap enough? That is your decision. At the high estimate this is USD $9800. That might make sense to someone today, and may be in the future we will look back and think wow that was cheap. However, as a poor example this will be the first to become unsalable if we have a downturn.

Lot 181 145.022-69

Estimate £3,000-£3,500

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An attractive looking asymmetric case with black dial and grey DN90 bezel. Square end chrono. I am sorry I cannot show the image of this one because I really like the dial, and they got a really good shot of it.

What a difference lighting makes! Here it looks much better:

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An attractive looking watch, with grey bezel, stepped dial and correct hands. I like the look of this watch. Pushers appear dirty so it might need a service, though I would try to keep these pushers. I like this watch. The grey bezel is not to everyone’s taste but it works on this watch.

It is not a bargain, but I like it.

Lot 182 145.022-71 – Straight Writing

Estimate £3,200-£3,800

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Another honest looking watch, with original looking fittings. Glass has scratches and again it looks like it is not prepared for sale. Bezel is very clean, and this is important. I think this watch will clean up beautifully in the right hands. We would need to check the dial for damage, and the description does point out an oil mark on the dial – if so then it will be hard to clean.

The movement shows some discoloration but I think it can be cleaned.

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The straight writing case back is the more common one.

Price is strong, especially with the marked dial, and the poor movement but I think buyers will think it is worth overpaying for. (Don’t go mad).

Lot 183 145.022-69

Estimate £2,500-£3,000

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This is a tired looking watch on the face of the photos. Lots of spots and marks on the dial or glass. I think it has the correct stepped dial, but it looks degraded and marked. The marks to the one o’clock area need to be investigated – they might be on the glass. The description declares the dial to be in “very good condition”.

Its the second cheapest watch here, and if the dial is good, it should sell well. But that is the irony. At the bottom of the estimate, 2500 it comes out at $4088 all inclusive. At the top end, 3500, it comes out at $5725.

However you MUST INSPECT this watch. I have been studying the photos and especially the white mark at the six minute point on the dial. This does not “move”with the different angled views, so I think it is on the dial. Also check the colour of the dial plots which are Algae coloured. (not desirable).

The pushers have dirty necks so look original. The movement appears in very good condition. The bezel is marked, a DN90 with paint missing at the 400 and 300 mark.

The hands are aged, and missing some paint at the centre, and the lume material is dark.

Lot 184 145.022-69

Estimate £3,000-£3,500

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An asymmetric 861 with bracelet.Hour subdial hand is creeping.

As a -74 this carries a non stepped dial, and so this is a strong price to offer a watch with so little going for it. It needs a service, (Chrono Creep) and has a less interesting bracelet. Bezel is a little damaged but not bad. Hands indicate lots of removal and replacement, lacking paint at the centres. Crown shows dirt and so I think this again may be a private watch. Check the dial for blotches, especially at the hour subdial.

Bracelet is 1170/633. I would value a 1171 more.

However in hand it may present very well. At high estimate this is $5725 – but remember this watch has chrono creep and so will need a service. The non stepped -74 is not as desirable as a stepped dial.

Lot 185 145.022-78

Estimate £2,200-£2,600

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An asymmetric cased 861 speedmaster on leather strap, with good black dial, mostly good bezel and attractive presentation. Correct looking parts.

The last of the dated Speedmasters, with a non stepped dial and the correct DN90 bezel. Dial looks clean, bezel is not perfect but might clean up. This is the cheapest Speedmaster in the auction, and the least valuable when all things are equal, but it seems an honest and attractive watch. I would take this over the -74 above. The dial plots are a nice colour and the hands look correctly aged.

The only concern is the dirt or corrosion on the bezel at 140-150, not just the corrosion itself, but what caused it and how far it goes. However it would not stop me.

At 2200 it would get home for $3600 which even if it needed a service would be quite good.

Lot 188 105.003-65

Estimate £3,500-£4,000

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A straight lug Speedmaster with a service dial and worn but correct bezel. Pushers would need checking as from the photos they appear too large – but this is hard to be sure by the photos. The hands are aged. but the chrono hand is square ended and should be drop end.

The service dial kills this one dead. It also has incorrect pushers I think. The bezel is very poor, and I wonder about the movement. (No pictures). It is a watch that if you had a dial lying around you might buy it, but to buy it and look for a dial today will be an expensive and possibly fruitless task.

At the estimates the get home prices in USD are: $5725 to $6550.

A correct ed white with the right dial can sell for USD$12000 to 30,000 so this does look cheap – it even can help explain the very high prices of  Ed White dials. With this watch to improve it we would have to be sure the pushers, if incorrect, have not damaged the case, and that the case itesefl is in good condition. (There are not case back shots, nor movement shots). It is also imprtant before embarking on a massive project like this to be sure that the watch has indeed a 105.003 movement.


There are some other more modern speedmasters but outside my area.