Sothebys sale, 145.022’s

We have five watches here. Lets start with the “ordinary” 69 Pre-Moon, the watch that everyone should own once in their life!


These are quite different watches, and yet estimated the same. Lets try and see why.

Lot 14

Lot 14 145.022-69 DN90 30’996’767 $6,000 – $8,000

So face on we have an attractive looking dial and handset and the DN90 bezel. The case seems clean and the bracelet is a 1039/516 so that has value. However I feel that this a strong estimate when these appear fairly regularly for a lower price. Unless of course in hand this is a particularly special condition – which it may be. These photos do not allow me to really get in and get hold of the body colour of the dial. (I realize that does not make sense, but I am trying to convey how deep I want to go in and see the dial)

Lot 44

Lot 44 145.022-69 30’582’085 $6,000-8,000

Now this is a nice looking watch, with a good looking DO90 bezel. The dial and handset is attractive. The pusher necks are filthy, so at least we can think they are original. The chrono hand might be a replacement, as the white is slightly different. There is no bracelet, but still between the two I would buy this one – it looks clean and has attractive parts. It comes with a box that nowadays sells for around $200-300. From what I can see I like this watch.

Tropical 145.022’s

I love a brown dial. Its a passion of mine, and one that I develop by owning and comparing a lot. I mean a lot. I have owned perhaps 30 of them and handled more. It is essential to compare browns, if you want to make an informed decision. Here it seems obvious which is more attractive, and the estimates reflect that. One is in the known range for browns, 2960xxxx and the other is not. That does not make it incorrect, just an outlier.

Lot 16

Lot 16 145.022-69 Tropical 29’609’014 $8,000 – $12,000

From what I can see this is a spectacular watch, and I would be very surprised if it did not break double the low estimate. A lovely colour dial, and a DO90 bezel, on a 1171/1 bracelet. Remember that we would prefer a 1171 bracelet with trapeze logo to feel comfortable it was original. This would not stop me buying the watch.

2960xxxx range in my experience produces a darker, more even brown than the 2911xxxx range which can be galaxy. This 2960xxxx brown is the one I see very experienced collectors gravitate to. This could be a fashion of the old, or it could be that a refined eye finds more pleasure in this dark, even, rich brown.

I like this watch.

Lot 25

Lot 25 145.022-69 Tropical 32’857’108 $7,000 – $9,000

This is listed as tropical and if we look closely in the photo we can see browning at the dial step between six and eight markers. (I really feel that the photo setup here is not being kind to this dial). It is possible in real life this is a very attractive watch. It has the less valuable bezel, and I therefore think this will sell to someone who has viewed it in person and is able to see for themselves if this dial is good. I think it might be really good, in spite of the serial number that is not known for browns. However I have seen more than one watch with this later serial with this reddish brown dial – which in those watches was extremely attractive. Is this one of those? Someone will have to view it. If it is the reddish brown, this is a rare and attractive phenomena and I have only owned one before.

The slight down side of this watch is an engraving on the back. I think its quite shallow and could be removable. For me to want this watch the dial would have to be special in real life.


Lot 31

Lot 31 145.022-71 32’204’936 $3,000 – $5,000

It has a stepped dial, correct bezel and a bracelet that almost certainly will be removed by the buyer and thrown away. It is the cheapest watch in the sale and it is entirely possible that under that scratched crystal lies a nice dial. Although I find the plots a little green for my taste. Is it cheap? Well possibly, at the low estimate. I think if it went for much more than the high estimate it would be expensive, but in sales like this you never know what will happen. I would expect to see a lot like this on ebay not Sotheby’s but here it is.

I suppose if it was on ebay, then many of the potential buyers that sothebys find will not have the confidence to bid for it, and prefer the safety of buying from an established name. No bad thing. Ebay is the wild west for watches, and with all the issues (fraud, empty boxes, switching post receipts) I can see that paying a premium for piece of mind is no bad thing. Just because some of us are willing to take the risk for a bargain does not make people who dont want do it foolish – in fact they would call me foolish. And 25% premium on $3000 is not a huge thing if that gives you piece of mind.