Antiquorum has a very interesting collection of 13 speedmasters (Pre 1978)  for sale in November in Geneva out of a total of 563 lots.

By contrast Phillips has 250 lots and just 4 speedmasters. Sotheby’s just 2 out of 258.

Antiquorum has a reputation for these large sales, and most would agree that quite a lot of their watches have issues that other houses might not accept. On a sliding scale between Car Boot Sale at 1, and Davidoff Brothers at 10, Phillips might be an 8 and Antiquorum a 6.5 in terms of Speedmaster integrity.

My advice to any buyers at Antiquorum is go and see the watches, handle before buying and do your due diligence. Or ask for additional photos, especially in day light. An iPhone video can be more revealing than almost anything nowadays.This is not a criticism, far from it. I find their sales more stimulating than others as its always interesting to see the wide variety, and you cant beat them for sheer numbers of watches. For example where else could you see three 2915’s and three 2998’s in the same, and as a result learn?

Antiquorum’s commission is slightly lower at 25% of the hammer price. – bidding will be in CHF.

Below is the list of estimates in USD including commission

2915:

Lot 260    2915-1          USD 13,625 – 20,375        (wrong Movement)

Lot 261    2915-2          USD 61,000 – 88,750

Lot 264    2915-1          USD 68,750 – 82,500

2998:

Lot 33     2998-3           USD 5,500 – 8,250

Lot 259    2998-5          USD 20,375 – 33,875

Lot 263    2998-6          USD 10,875 – 16,375

Ed White 105.003:

Lot 34      105003-65   USD 5,500 – 8,250     Ed White

Lot 175    105003-63   USD 10,875 – 16,375

145.012

Lot 173    145012-67    USD 33,385 – 61,000 Ultraman

105.012

Lot 372    105012-66   USD 7,500 – 10,250

Lot 382    105012         USD 8,250 – 10-,875

145.022

Lot 378    145022         USD 54,250 – 82,500 Apollo Soyuz

Lot 379    BA145022-69 USD 40,750 – 68,750 18Kt

This is a very cheap looking watch with a low estimate around $4400. ($5500 Incl Premium). It is offered without reserve.

The idea of a 2998 for under $6000 is unheard of – I have seen original sets of hands sell for that. I think this is the auctioneers warm up lot, to generate interest, and a guaranteed over estimate sale. It is certainly going to sell, and often auctioneers will have some early low estimates to get the momentum going.

The first thing we can look at is the extract, or rather lack of it. Nowadays most 2998’s can get a extract from the museum. If it doesn’t get one, that indicates the movement may not be for a Speedmaster. (Or the museum has lost the records). In any event, it has to be worth less than a watch that can get an extract.

This watch has an FAP case back and it is very carefully described in the catalogue. It is very unusual for an FAP watch to have no evidence from the museum, but it is possible they have no record of it. Obviously the value is greatly affected if the watch cannot get an extract. Some times, from experience, the Auctions simply don’t have the extract in time for the auction catalog, but that surely is less and less justifiable in today’s easily up-datable on-line catalogs.

This catalogue description raises more questions than it answers. The dial does look correct it has Swiss made at the bottom, and it has long indices on the right hand subdial which is correct for the -3 (and later). The body colour has a slightly dry look to it, and minor damage. The plots are thinly covered in lume, looking original, and down to the paint in some places. It is a dial that while correct, is in fair to good condition. There is a serious damage to the minute subdial that will be easily seen by the eye and therefore hold the value back.

It has a dot over 90 bezel.I do think it is correct, although I cannot see any serifs on the “1”s the rest of the font and layout is as per originals. These photos do not help.

The case appears to have had some work on it with quite a large facet applied to the lower right hand lug that we can see, and then quite rounded on the upper right hand lug. (Again, could be the photo)

The pushers, whilst clean, do look correct and period. The crown does not.

The hands are interesting, and the alpha hands have green lume. We do sometimes see green lume in old 2998s however in this case the large hour hand looks flat and therefore requires further investigation. The minute hand has a very severe bend in it which may or may not be a recent addition. The question is are these the original hands, or later additions. The lollipop hand is missing its lume entirely but these are very desirable, and there are some rumors of these selling for over $5,000 – although when pressed, no one I know has actually paid for one.

In the description we see the bracelet is described as the correct bracelet dated 1961 and I think I can see the corner of a number 6 on the end link. A physical inspection will reveal all, and if genuine, is worth more than the low estimate. It should be a 7912/6..

This is such a cheap estimate I wonder whether the auction knows some problem that we cannot see. While this could be an attractive watch at the low estimate, the danger to me as a buyer is that I get competitive, and over pay for something with serious issues, perhaps hidden.

To be honest unless the dial is fake and the bracelet is not a 7912 this can go over $10,000 and it is still worth it in parts. A dealer or prolific collector will certainly like this for its parts.

I would ask the auctioneer why there is no extract – sometimes by the time of the sale they get one, going by previous experience.

Remember the damage to the minute subdial.

After all that is said, yes, I am tempted.

I do not like to make predictions but I think this could sell for $15,000

Here is another inexpensive, no reserve speedmaster, an Ed White with a brown bezel.

The dial is correct for the reference – stepped, non pro, long indices on the subdial. The body colour is damaged, near the 4, 8, and the 1 o’clock markers and I think this damage is quite severe. It is possible it is simply loose luminous material from the minute hand but I think it is actual surface damage. The plots are thin, and missing in parts.

If we look at the bezel, it’s brown, but I wonder if the brown has had some human help in the form of chemicals. I’m not sure that it makes a big difference in terms of valuation because the bezel itself is not very special. It is also positioned off centre, and that indicates that someone not entirely skilled has worked on the watch.

The case had some attention but no more than I would expect a watch of this age and quality to have. The pushers appear to be original, and the crown I’m not so sure, probably not.  

Antiquorum does not give us an awful lot to go on in terms of images for this lot but then again they are not expecting it to get a very high price, nor am I.

At  the low estimate including premium of $5500, this is inexpensive. It would be a challenge to find one cheaper.

However the question is the extract, and if it can get one, and dial condition.

The serial of 2400xxxx is seen in Ed Whites, but also in 105.012s and in Seamasters. We must also be wary of the potential dial damage at the 8 o’clock marker, which if present is a deal breaker for me.

Remember also this is missing a dust cap on the movement, and all that implies.

We always look straight to the orange hand when offered an Ultraman, and here we see a very clean hand, slightly more orange then red, but long enough to reach over the minute track. We have to be wary nowadays, of the Vietnamese replacements which are the correct length. I am not yet familiar enough with them to know if they get the colour right, but colours can always be changed locally. It would be interesting to see the underside of this hand. I am bothered that the condition of the hand is very clean and does not match the condition of the other hands, nor the watch as a whole and therefore makes me want to inspect closer.

My gut instinct, my first reaction, when seeing this watch, is to think the bright orange hand does not fit in terms of patina. It looks long enough, but the colour is more orange than I am used to, and it is very clean. On the one hand, I am suspicious, but then we accept replaced baton hands all the time, why not these, if indistinguishable? This also brings into focus the massive premium the Ultraman has over the 145.012, and if that makes any sense at all. That said, I know you cannot argue with the market, which thinks there is about a 4X valuation difference between an Ultraman and a 145.012.

Looking at the dial body colour it is black. I don’t think it is the satin finish that the Ultraman mafia tell me is supposed to be on all examples (which I don’t believe). The condition of the dial body colour itself is a little tired, and there are some marks that may be dust on the crystal, but if the dial is marked then that will affect the desirability. This needs to be checked. I can certainly see a small oil stain near the 4 marker.

The lume is a mess. The 12 o’clock looks like it was relumed with soil from a cat litter and the rest of the plots are a master class in terrible vintage re luming. Frankly I could see a dealer buying this, and restoring the dial lume and making a much more attractive watch.

The bezel looks correct and in fact is almost textbook correct in terms of the font and the layout, it’s just that the condition is not very good. I would call it fair at best.  

The case has clearly been polished and some of the profiles look changed. 

The pushers is a look to have been replaced as does the crown. 

 

At $33,750 low estimate inc premium, this is not a pleasing example of an Ultraman and has too many question marks hanging over it. The auction house repeats the received wisdom of 50 examples in existence, and this has to be untrue. Just look at the number of examples that keep appearing at auction and for privates sale, and it doesn’t make any sense to think there are only 50. Imagine for example the occurrences of the Apollo Soyuz of which there are 500, and see how often they come for auction, compared to the numbers of Ultraman that we see on the market. I tread carefully around the Ultaman. I love them, but I have to be careful.In fact the examples I own I acquired by accident. ( A long time ago now)

The most important thing is the extract, which this one has. Who knows, perhaps in five years we might look back at this watch as cheap.

This is a very early 105 003.

Also immediately striking is the bright green lume in the hands, which is clearly not original. It has a non original bracelet.

The dial body looks as though it might have some small oil marks to the right of the lower subdial and also to the left of the left hand subdial. There are also several white marks that may or may not be on the crystal or dust. This should be established before buying this watch, as if the dial is as marked it will be disappointing. The dial plots look similar to other Ed Whites I have handled and I like the dial, despite the small marks. These small oil marks are often easier to see in photos than real life.

The bezel is faded grey which some people like but I would rather have a nice black bezel. Again this has correct font and layout.

The case has been polished, which is quite usual for speedmasters, and the pushers  and crown look like they might be original.

It has no extract which is a shame.

The bracelet is of negligible value. 

This is another watch without an extract, with an irrelevant bracelet and incorrect hands, and a question mark over the dial condition.

It is estimated at $10,875 low estimate incl premium this is priced higher than Lot 34 ($5,500 incl) and that is clearly because the dial on this watch is attractive – just check  it for marks.

The problem for me is the lack of extract. If this watch can get one, its definitely worth the money.

A very striking watch that makes a good first impression that slowly replaced by slight suspicion. The bezel is quite brown and I wonder if it is the real colour or if it is post production change in the photo – we need to see a daylight photo or in hand.

Otherwise it appears correct and has an extract of the archives. 

Looking closely at the dial, those orange plots really jump out, and make analysis really hard as they are distracting. Whenever I see perfectly matching hands and lume plots we have to consider that the possibility  it is entirely re lumed . Note the chrono hand lume is different. It is possible that the post processing on this photograph has accentuated this orange, but if it is like this in real life this watch could have been re lumed.

The bezel is a correct dot over 90 and is also displaying the correct fonts. Condition is fair to good.

The hands could be original, and have the more desirable triangle lume slots, However I have to be sure they are re lumed – and to a perfect match on the plots.

Again we run into the problem of just having one photograph. This makes it extremely hard to judge the things that I really want to know. I want to know if the lume really is that bright orange.

At $18,750 low estimate incl premium we’re starting to get into serious value. This price falls between the two stools, that of a bargain and the price of good quality. This is the hardest to work on – also there is the danger that if you bid to the high estimate, (that comes to $33,8750 incl) then we are talking the kind of money that will get you a good one from a dealer. The problem working from these images, is this watch that good? It might be.

It terms of raw value of the parts, it stands up to the low estimate. Especially if those hands are original.  It has an extract. We also have to take into account it has a correct 7912 bracelet with number six end links which if all genuine, could add at least $5,000 to $7000 to the value. 

But that matching orange lume….see it it daylight. It  all dependends on how it looks in real life, and how confident we are of the originality of the dial plots.

Here is a very cheap 2915, and like all cheap 2915’s it has some serious issues.In fact we have to examine how much of this watch is 2915-1, let alone original. When you break it down, how much of this watch is actually 2915-1?

However at the low estimate of just over $13,625 incl premium, I am fairly sure that a dealer or a parts breaker will buy it for the dial and case. Possibly even allocating value to the bezel.

The dial is a correct for a 2915, with an Oval O, and short indices on the subdial. The plots are dirty, and not very attractive, but they look quite original. I must say it looks fairly correct – it is just not especially nice. There appears to be some damage in the lower subdial and elsewhere on the dial, that shows up in even these photographs. There is decay coming through the body colour in numerous locations. I suspect this dial might decay further  over time. It looks at the end of its life. (Though that life will continue on for a long time.)

The bezel is unlikely to be original. It could be an Omega service bezel as it matches exactly the font, or it could be a German repro. Either way it has been additionally distressed at the outer edge and surface. .

We don’t have enough pictures of the case, nor the movement to make any judgement on that. The number for the movement, as the Auctioneers point out, is “later”.

The pushers are later, and the crown is also not correct. 

The hands are new.

All in all, this is an assembled watch and so it will be valued by its parts.

As the movement is incorrect, and the bezel and hands are added.

So what we are looking at is a 2915 case and dial, and that is probably worth the low estimate of $13,625 incl, if you “need” them.

Alternatively a buyer might buy this for circa $15,000, and think he owns a partial 2915 while keeping in mind that a solid correct one sells for $200,000 to $400,000.

It is going to look much better with the hands worked on, but you are still left with an undocumented assembly. BUT, and we coming back to the price, for a fraction of a correct, or even nearly correct example.

It is extremely hard to value. Or at least predict what the auction will achieve.

People are funny.

Here we have another 2915, one a bit better but still needs scrutiny, especially as we are starting to get into serious money. Still cheap for a 2915, which if correct should be well north of $100,000 and if special could be more than $200,000. So while this is “only” $61,000 low estimate including premium, its still a lot of money and we need to see what we are actually getting in terms of originality. Also interesting to compare with the two on offer at Sothebys.

The dial is another oval O, and appears to be in good condition – the photo stops the eye from focusing on the body of the dial. For example I cannot see if there are any concentric rings on the subdials, but I can see a blotch on the hour subdial near the 10 marker. I suspect in real life the dial looks good, bearing in mind most 2915’s have dials that have small issues at the least.

The plots are quite orange, but they have a character that makes me think they could be original. Or, possibly, a vintage re lume. This watch at this price needs to be examined. I think buying this watch on the information provided solely in the listing alone is risky, and I cannot see a lot of upside.

The Hour hand is missing its lume, not uncommon as its such a large area to fill, and the minute hand matches the plots exactly, a red flag.

We have to wonder if those plots are original they are bright orange, and match the hand. It could be that the photographic process Antiquorum is using that  is producing this colour. Or the watches share the same re lumer.

The bezel has very thick font, and a little blurred. I don’t know enough about 2915 bezels, but nothing about this one makes me think its original and vintage, or a good repro – I dont like it.

The pushers are very clean and probably replaced.

Although the number is very close to known examples, we have to ask, where is the extract?

This is a difficult watch to come to terms with. The estimates including premium are $61,000 to $88,750.

The auction description heavily implies that the watch is entirely original. I’m not sure evidence supports  that.

When a 2915 is known to have a repro bezel and service hands, paying a low price and gambling is one thing. But this is a lot of money if the watch turns out to have a repro bezel, and fails to get an extract.

It is too rich for me. On the other hand, next to some 2915’s it is still cheap if you think the issues I mention can be dismissed.

This does bring us the philosophical question, who is the demographic for a $61,000 2915? Spending that money, we could buy two nice 2998’s that wont give the same queries that this watch does. Would I want to spend $61,000 then get the PPB’s? (Post Purchase Blues).

Or am I wrong, and the dial is good enough to make all the issues forgivable.

These are the questions a buyer will ask himself.

 
 

Here we have another 2998 with bright orange loom, no extract, and bright green lume material in the hands.

The dial body colour is black, and although it is is described as tropical in the description I can’t see it. For me it is a black dial. The body colour is in good condition apart from an oil spot on the running seconds subdial. Otherwise the condition s very good.

Again I am drawn to the bright orange plots. I think this is a very unusual colour for a 2998, and to see so many watches in this auction all with the same colour makes me think that either the photography is going through the same post processing or they’ve all come from the same really lume artist. I am prepared to find out in hand none of these orange watches are as bright in real life – lets wait and see.

The bezel is in good condition and correct, with its damage to the lower part, thus fooling the eye into thinking it is better than it is. If the damage between 100-110 was at the TACHYMETRE instead it would be more off-putting.

The hands are bright green, so an early re lume or early service replacements. I think I can see a transverse curve, could this be original hands. If I were to buy this watch I would have no problem re luming those hands. 

There is only one photograph upon which to base this opinion which is a shame. It’s very cheap, but it does not have an extract. Again the people who dismantle watches to sell the parts will set the floor price on this above the low estimate in my opinion, let’s see 

With a very low estimate of $8700 ($10,875 incl) . Some would argue that if the bracelet and end links are in good condition that this would cover the cost.

This is possibly the watch of the sale, at the low estimate. My guess is that it will go at least double low estimate.

All depends on the opinions people have on those plots.

 
 

The third and final 2915 to be offered and the best. This is much better than the others in that the only real problem is the bezel, which I am sure is a repro, but that can be argued is taken into account on the estimate.

The dial is an oval O. Otherwise the body colour is very good, with a minor oil splotch on the minute counter subdial. There may be more on the dial, but the white spots are on the crystal. We know this as we have a second angled photo to compare the positions of the white spots. I am fairly sure I see minor scratches on the subdials.

The lume on the plots is varied around the dial, and may be original. I have been looking at lume so closely for a few days now my head is spinning. However the inconsitency here makes me think it is either original or a very old relume. I think if it is original it should show some reaction on the geiger counter from the Radium. Worth asking the auction house if you are considering bidding.

 

There is no doubt this is the best 2915 in the sale, and only a little more expensive than lot 261. Don’t forget to take into account the 7912/6.

It has the extract, a good dial, and has an overall look and feel of a more original watch. Yes the bezel is replaced, but so very many are, and not many can tell for sure.

At low estimate of $68,750 its worth considering if you “need” a 2915.

This is very good looking inexpensive 105012 at the low estimate of 6000 U.S. dollars. It has the CB case and this is evidenced in the photograph where we can see the facet line along the lugs. It does not come with an extract although the serial range appears to be similar to those I have seen before. Crucially this example has the short fat necked pushers unique to the reference. 

The dial on this watch seems pretty good from what we can see from the photograph. It is correct and has the widest spaced T marks which is common for the 66 examples. The body colour is black with no discernible decay, although I can’t quite see the full condition of the dial because of the photograph. There are one or two spots that maybe dust on the crystal. It also could be from the  lume that has fallen out of the minute hands. 

The bezel looks correct and has a few slight Marks and between the bezel and the crystal we can see some dirt this watch may respond very well to a full cleaning and service. The bezel carrier ring is unusualy free of damage, which makes me tingle a little.

The case looks pretty good and we can easily discern the facet lines along the top of all four lugs, confirming this as a CB case.  

 

The problem with this good looking watch is the lack of extract. I would be prepared to buy this without, as I think there is a strong chance it will get one, based on my previous experience – but I am not recommending anyone else does that. It is possible the auction house will get an extract by the time of sale.

I do like this watch, and I would expect to see it Go near to the high estimate of $10,250 incl premium unless there is a problem I can see in the listing.

It’s always good to see an Apollo Soyuz come up for sale. They are genuinely rare, desirable, and easily identifiable. This exact watch was last publicly sold on Omega forums here 

What makes these watches very special is that they have 5.5 mm pushers instead of 5 mm pushes and this requires a modification of the mid case. There are some assembled watches out there with standard cases, and there are some original cases with the correct apertures but with smaller pushers. Surprisingly no one seems to have found any alternative best fit replacements of the right size.

The dial is in good condition and is of course crucial to the value. While it seems correct, I can see some marks near the centre that could be scratches or could be on the crystal.

Unfortunately the bezel is incorrect. Note there is no serif on the 7s and this indicates it’s either a later bezel or an aftermarket replacement insert. This will not stop the watch selling as it is a simple matter to find mid 70s bezel to fit and there you have one of the rarest speedmasters in your collection. 

The watch is on the very rare 1168 bracelet.

 

The estimate of $53,750  to $82,500 incl premium makes sense. 

However there is so little opportunity to buy one of these, if two collectors want one it could go for $20,000 more. This highlights the craziness of the Ultraman, which seems to me to pop up at auction quite regularly, especially for a reference that was supposedly only made in 50 pieces. Here we have a limited run of 500 and there cannot have been more than 10 pieces at auction in the last 7 years since the Christie’s Speedmaster auction in New York in  2015.

This is not the best I have seen, and it does depend on the actual damage or lack of it on the dial.

However as I keep saying, if you want one, you better buy this one, as it is a correct example.

An example of the 1969 18kt speedmaster –  another very rare watch.

It is quite interesting to compare this example with the example being sold at Phillips, that I have described in my previous post. This example is numbered 971 and as such is late in the production. It carries around O dial in very good condition.

The bezel is correct however, it is in fair to good condition with several chips and scrapes to the paint as well as a slightly faded colour. But it is the correct dot over 90 font.

The case looks good – we have to check these as some have been worn, and the case definitions do not survive well, leading to damage or worse, re-profiling.

The bracelet is going to be slightly short for some people at 7 inches, and as I mentioned in my Phillips post these 18 karat bracelets have to be sized by a jeweler, using a torch. In addition if you wish to lengthen this bracelet he will probably have to make the link. (From experience)

 

The estimate of $40,000 to $68,750 incl premium is about $7,000 more than the Phillips watch but I would say the Philips watch is considerably better. Of course the Phillips watch will probably sell for over low estimate.

This watch has a few problems if it’s a 105012. If you look at the pushers they are very obviously standard 5 mm high pushers. This would indicate that either the case has been modified to accept these or it is an incorrect mid-case.

This watch has modern service bezel.

The dial looks correct, but the plots are a little tired. I think the body may have minor damage, but the photo is not clear.

I am not going in depth in this watch as it has so much wrong, its a parts watch really, and even as a parts watch, be careful of that case.

This is not really a buyable watch for anyone that has the most basic understanding of a 105.012 and market values.

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