The result was many times the estimate of Sfr80,000- 120,000, many times the previous high for this reference (SFr330,000 at Phillips in 2018) and indeed several times the previous record for any Omega watch (SFr1.2m bid for a white gold watch presented to Elvis Presley by RCA in February 1961 to mark the sale of 75m records).
The first Speedmasters
The reference CK2915 is part of the first series of Speedmasters that was made and produced only between 1957-59. The brainchild of Pierre Moinat and Claude Baillod, this was the watch whose successors featured in the Moon landing.
There were three different iterations in production for a total of approximately 3000 watches. CK2915-1 and -2 are the very first – and most collectable.
They have differences from all later generations of Speedmasters, most notably in their dial graphics, ‘broad arrow’ minute and hour hands and elements of case design such as a metal bezel with a tachymeter scale. This watch is part of the first iteration made between 1957-58 (in this case on November 22, 1957) but what set it apart from others of its type was the ‘tropical’ dial that had aged from its original black to a rich and vivid milk chocolate hue.
This uniformity of colour suggests the watch has received regular use, often in full sunlight, and yet had escaped the regular episodes of maintenance and repair associated with many vintage tool watches. Typically, faded dials such as this were replaced whenever a watch was sent to the factory for servicing.
It was not the only reference CK2915 on the market this autumn. There were others to make some sort of comparison: two at Sotheby’s as part of its Geneva series and another at London firm Sterling Vault.
Sotheby’s (26/21% buyer's premium) watches were also part of the first iteration with production dates of October 11, 1957, and April 17, 1958. The first offered on November 10 was part of a very limited batch that were retailed in Venezuela and do not bear the seahorse on the case back.
It still retained the original hands (relumed) and the original black dial although the bezel had been replaced. Estimated at SFr80,000-120,000, it sold for SFr260,000 (£210,600).
The second offered on November 11 was made for delivery to the Belgian market. Dial and case were described as being in fair condition and the selling price was a much more modest low-estimate sum of SFr32,000 (£25,900).
The example at Sterling Vault (20% buyer’s premium) on November 25 had a dark brown tropical dial and was in unrestored condition but was missing its tachymeter bezel. It was made in September 23, 1958. Against an estimate of £80,000-160,000 it took £165,000.
Red Racing in Yorkshire
Numerous variants of the 1960s Speedy exist – all of them hugely collectable – but few are deemed better than those with the exotic ‘Red Racing’ dial. They were produced by Omega only in 1967-68, in two generations and three different executions.
Sold for a £85,000 (guide £40,000-60,000) at Tennants (20% buyer's premium) in Leyburn on November 13 was this ‘Red Racing’ Professional Speedmaster ref 145012. This watch, the second variant, had been in the same family since it was purchased from Bagshaws of Liverpool in 1970 and was sold with original paperwork.
It is one of only half a dozen to come to market, although another sold at Sotheby’s New York in February for $75,000. That example had the name Meister to the dial – the Zurich based retailer where the consignor Henk de Vries had bought it in 1969.
De Vries was a Dutch-Canadian adventurer who wore his trusty Speedmaster when crossing the Andes and sailing the Atlantic Ocean.