Last weekend was an important one for watch collectors and enthusiasts. Perhaps also for investors, I might add. We’ve seen (or heard about) some of the results of the Rolex 6062 (5mio USD) and Rolex Daytona 6263 3.7mio USD) for example. You can debate the ‘hot air’ in these prices, but someone paid these amounts so it is as real as it gets. But what about the Omega Speedmaster watches we wrote about recently, that were auctioned through Antiquorum and Christie’s. I am talking about the skeleton Speedmaster in gold and the two gold 1980 Speedmaster Professional Apollo XI pieces.
Let’s start with the piece that was skeletonized by no-one else than Armin Strom: the Speedmaster Jubilee 27 Chro C12 reference 3696.50 that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the 27 Chro C12 movement (which later on became caliber 321, no optical differences) in 1992. Antiquorum estimated this watch between 20.000 and 30.000 Swiss Francs, but the result is 52.500 Swiss Francs (including premium). Only 50 pieces were made of this gold version (there were also other commemorative models for the same anniversary). A rare piece and the price seems to be fair in the collector’s world. Gold Speedmaster Professional models are rare anyway, and this skeleton version combines the work of Strom with the Moonwatch heritage. My guess is that the gold Speedmaster Professional watches will become more popular over time (like we’ve seen with Daytonas from Rolex) and gain more appreciation by collectors. Friend of the show and our periodical auction reporter Sacha Davidoff took the photo below of the watch, days before the auction took place.
Next are the Speedmaster Professional watches auctioned by Christie’s. I already briefly mentioned the two gold pieces, one in yellow gold (numbered edition of 300 pieces) and one in white gold (numbered edition of 20 pieces). It is a watch that was introduced in 1980 to commemorate the Apollo XI Moonlanding and the re-qualification of the Speedmaster Professional for the Space Shuttle program. I sometimes refer to the yellow gold model as the “Stafford” Speedmaster as Gen. Thomas P. Stafford is wearing this specific watch quite often. He has No.A217 as his personal watch (see below an image of his watch). The other Speedmaster that Christie’s auctioned is the Speedmaster Apollo XI from 1985 that was limited to 1000 pieces only and was actually the first stainless steel Speedmaster to feature a display back.
The stainless steel Speedmaster Professional 345.0808 fetched 10.625 Swiss Francs, including buyers premium. That might sound like a lot for a 1980s Speedmaster in stainless steel, but it comes with box and papers. This watch commemorated the 20th anniversary of the qualification by NASA (1965). Later on, Omega made other limited runs of this watch as well with a slightly different caseback.
Then there are the two gold watches, reference BA345.0802 (yellow gold) and BC345.0802 (white gold). Both watches were described in detail last year on Fratello Watches (click here). I always was under the impression that there were 300 models in total, of which 20 were the white gold edition and 280 were in yellow gold. Which also would mean that the yellow gold models started with the A021 number. But only yesterday I found out this is not the case, there are yellow gold Speedmaster 345.0802 models that have a unique number below A021.
Anyway, the yellow gold model (numbered (A)031) fetched 30.000 Swiss Francs including buyers premium. That is quite a bit for this model, that normally sells for much lower, but this one is complete with box and papers and the specific letter from Thomas P. Stafford and Space Shuttle program ‘brochure’. This watch is not as rare as the gold skeleton Speedmaster or the white gold edition of course, but still much rarer than the Apollo XI 1969 model with the burgundy bezel. That one normally fetches more than this yellow gold piece, as it has the heritage of the astronauts (all Apollo astronauts were given one) and the US president at the time (Nixon refused to take such an expensive gift).
The white gold edition, BC345.0802 and only 20 made has the unique number A04 and I expected it to do very well at the auction. This watch has the same specifications as the yellow gold edition, with the rare caliber 861L (L stands for luxury finish) and the typical inscription on the caseback. This Speedmaster Professional BC345.0802 is complete with box and certificate and fetched a whopping 87.500 Swiss Francs including buyers premium. I’ve been watching the auction via the live connection and I noticed all three watches went to Australia. I hope it is the same buyer, so he will have a nice trio of pieces (all ‘sapphire caseback’ firsts) that correspond to each other. Especially the white and yellow gold ones are very rare to have together.
Does these results mean these will be the average going prices for these pieces? Nah, I am not entirely convinced about that. What it did do, is raise more awareness for these rare watches which will certainly be reflected in the going prices on the market. Where the yellow gold ‘Stafford’ pieces were traded for around 10.000 – 12.000 Euro (without box and papers), they might fetch a bit more now due to the awareness and the fact that people realize that these are actually quite rare.
I just hope that the prices won’t go as crazy as what we are seeing with Rolex. It would make the life of the Speedmaster collector tougher than necessary. Also less fun, I might add. The good thing about the Speedmaster is that you can still source a nice vintage 1970s piece for under 5000 Euro, the price of a brand new Moonwatch. That said, the increase in number of fans and the demand for all-original (quality) pieces is being reflected in today’s pricing. Our friend of Speedmaster101 has an interesting price chart that will give you some guidance.