The Story Behind the Watch
Stop me if you’ve heard a similar story to this before – which you have, if you’ve gone through the site already. The scene: it’s Friday night, I’ve just poured a nice copper-hued IPA into a pint glass, and I’ve gone horizontal on the couch with my laptop opened to eBay. Essentially my “happy place,” like the scene in Happy Gilmore. As I started rolling through the routine search terms that I typically employ, a brand new “Buy It Now” listing for a 145.022 Speedmaster popped up from an estate dealer in Colorado. This was no ordinary listing, and I ran through the mental diligence checklist as fast as possible, fearing that others were seeing it real-time as well and would click the blue button before I could.
Let’s start with the picture in the listing – which is the sixth picture in the gallery below. Overexposed lighting? Check. Poor angle? Check. Scratched crystal (see fifth picture in the gallery)? CHECK. But there were a few things that were clear as day: applied logo, sharp case, and a “220” on the bezel that’s not normally there. Oh, and the price, which was roughly 60% of what the market dictated (at that time). The entire process took maybe 30 seconds, at which point I clicked the button, got a confirmation email that I’d grabbed it before anyone else, and then took a sip of beer as I glanced over at Mrs. Bazamu. It was time to break the news to her again…
The Nitty Gritty
After using an entire tube of PolyWatch on the crystal, it was clear that the quick diligence had indeed checked out. The patina, while lighter than some of the other late-60’s 145.022’s, was even and attractive. Case was sharp, with a few dings and dents, and given the dialogue from the seller, it was clear that the watch hadn’t been touched (or serviced) in a long time. Perhaps the most interesting part, however, is the bezel.
The correct bezel that should accompany a 145.022-68 is a dot-over-ninety pre-moon bezel (the same one that was fitted on all cal 321 pre-moon Speedmasters). The bezel that you see on this particular Speedmaster is a rare “mistake” from Bienne, though. While it says “220” on the tachy track (between the 3 and 4 o’clock indices), the actual measurement should be 200 units per hour, and despite the error, these “mistakes” ended up on a small range of 145.022-69’s. From a valuation perspective, I do actually consider them to be worth more than the average dot-next-to-ninety bezel from the late-60’s and 70’s, with the following caveat – they’re only acceptable on a small range of 145.022’s from a fairly narrow period, so unless your actual Speedmaster falls in that range, they’re not worth seeking out.