During the week, we get a lot of questions by e-mail about buying an Omega Speedmaster. We thought it was about time that we made an article that’s basically an Omega Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide. If you are already a Speedmaster collector, this might not be interesting to you, as I will cover some basic information as well. This is Part 2 of the Omega Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide, with a focus on sourcing a (vintage) Speedmaster. Part 1 discussed the Omega Speedmaster collection briefly and can be found here.
Buying a new Speedmaster watch
Sourcing a new Omega Speedmaster is not that difficult. You can either go to an Omega boutique, Tourbillon Boutique (Swatch Group concept), an authorized dealer or find your way to a non-authorized dealer. One of the frequently asked questions we receive is the difference between an official sales channel such as an Omega boutique or authorized Omega dealer and a non-authorized dealer. In the section below I will explain the difference:
Authorized Dealers, an Omega Boutique or Tourbillon Boutique are the only official sales channels of Omega watches. This means that they receive their watches directly from the Omega manufacture or the official Omega subsidiary for your country. Only these locations can provide after sales service and help you with warranty related cases. The Omega boutiques and Tourbillon Boutiques will use the official list price with regards to selling watches. An authorized dealer might be willing to give you a discount on a watch, depending on the model or whether you are a returning customer and so on. However, an authorized dealer can also use the official retail price and give you a small discount by giving you an extra accessory, book, winder etc. It is up to them and the official policy they have to preserve. Some authorized dealers add value by inviting you to watch events they host or hosted by Omega. You can ask about these type of things when you are buying a Speedmaster at these official sales channels.
An overview of official dealers and boutiques can be found here.
A non-authorized dealer is a watch dealer that sells (and sometimes buys) watches of which they’re no official point of sales. These sellers are often also referred to as grey market dealers. This means that these watches are perfectly authentic, but sold through a non-authorized channel. These watches end-up as grey market watches for different reasons. You will surely be able to get an interesting discount on a new Speedmaster through a grey market dealer, but also realize that it might become difficult to claim warranty in case of malfunction.
In the end, if you want to buy a new Omega Speedmaster (Professional), it is up to you which channel you prefer. However, make sure you are aware of the differences and the consequences it might have so you can do your own ‘risk analysis’. In any case, always make sure your warranty card matches your watch (both the reference number (or PIC number as Omega calls it) and the serial number of the watch are mentioned on the card). The serial number is engraved in the lower left lug of the Speedmaster (Professional) watch.
Pre-owned and Vintage Speedmasters
That was the easy part. The search and struggle mainly begins when you are buying a pre-owned or vintage Speedmaster watch. The problem is mainly, that if you have to search for that one specific Speedmaster, you will probably have to pay too much. The best deals are the ones that are being offered to you by coincidence. However, let’s rule that one out, as it only rarely happens that you will get a CK2998 or nice 105.003 offered by an old lady who found one in a drawer and doesn’t know anything about its value. I also think the times are over, that you will find one cheap at a pawn shop, garage sale or antique market. The internet has done its job, the market is very transparent. Everyone can do a quick look-up on Chrono24 or other source to compare or request the market value of a particular Speedmaster.
So, where would you be able to find a nice pre-owned or vintage Speedmaster? Before I will give you a few addresses, let’s do a drill-down of the possibilities in general.
Brick and Mortar (+ bricks and clicks) shop
There are a number of fine shops for pre-owned and vintage watches that always seem to have a number of Omega Speedmaster watches. I have yet to see a shop that is solely specialized in Speedmaster watches, but a number of them out there have a strong focus on Omega. The good thing about them is that they have a shop, where you can see and try the watch. Especially important when buying a vintage Speedmaster.
Shops that we recommend are:
Auction houses like Auctionata, Antiquorum, Bonhams, Christie’s etc. have their share of Omega Speedmaster watches once in a while. The good thing is that the most special or sought-after pieces will show up, the bad thing is that you could be competing to a lot of other bidders. Furthermore, take the +20% commission fee into account and the fact that the watch might need an expensive service/overhaul. The good thing is, that especially with the relatively unknown auctionhouses, you can be able to snatch a nice Speedmaster for relatively low prices. Another auctionhouse that can’t be neglected is eBay. I have found (and bought) some of my nicest Speedmaster watches there myself. However, either the price should be really attractive or you should be certain of the reliability of the seller to do this. Make sure you have gathered enough knowledge to go this way. This applies for eBay but also the other ones mentioned.
On-Line Market Places
I already briefly mentioned Chrono24, which is the World’s biggest on-line platform for selling watches. This German company has over 1000 professional sellers offering their watches and thousands of private sellers as well. On a daily basis, over 160.000 watches are being offered for sale. For pre-owned and vintage watches, you can use the filters on the left side of the website after you’ve entered ‘Omega Speedmaster’. Here is an example result listing of over 400 Omega Speedmaster Professional watches.
Another great initiative is WatchRecon, that scrapes off listings from certain Sales Forums (see below) and other market sites.
Of course, you can also use local on-line market places like the Dutch Marktplaats (click here for the Speedmaster query). However, always make sure you buy from a trusted seller and make sure you bring enough knowledge to the table.
If you are already familiar with websites like WatchUseek, TimeZone and Purists Pro, we probably won’t tell you anything new. If you are not, give them a go and look at their respective Sales Forums. There is probably a search-box that you can use to look for an Omega Speedmaster.
However, we certainly recommend to have a look at www.omegaforums.net. A superb initiative with a lively Omega audience and ditto sales forum. Both professional sellers as well as private sellers are offering their Omega Speedmasters on there. It was the place where I found my Speedmaster Pro ‘Snoopy Award’ and Speedmaster Pro ‘Apollo 13’ watches.
Also here, the golden rule is that you either bring enough knowledge and(/or) trust the seller.
If you have any more trustful sources to find Omega Speedmaster watches that I can add, shoot me a message.
So, let’s say you found a wonderful Speedmaster for sale that you would like to buy. What’s next? How do you know you are buying a genuine timepiece? In the next part of this Omega Speedmaster Buyer’s Guide, we will touch perhaps the most important aspect of buying a Speedmaster watch. The things you need to pay close attention to, when looking at an Omega Speedmaster watch. Most details are covered in a lot of Speedy Tuesday posts that we’ve posted on Fratello Watches, but there are also some ‘golden rules’ to use when handling and observing a Speedmaster timepiece.