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    Sale 1413

    Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections

    16 May 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 229

    Omega. A fine, important and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet

    SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, BROAD ARROW MODEL, REF. 2915-1, MOVEMENT NO. 15'499’398, MANUFACTURED IN 1957

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    Omega. A fine, important and extremely rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet
    Signed Omega, Speedmaster, broad arrow model, ref. 2915-1, movement No. 15'499’398, manufactured in 1957
    Cal. 321 mechanical movement, 17 jewels, metal dust cap, black dial, applied Omega symbol, luminous baton numerals, fifth of a second divisions, luminous 'broad arrow' hands and small white 'alpha' register hands, three sunken beveled engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds and 30 minutes and 12 hours registers, crystal etched with Omega symbol, tonneau-shaped water-resistant type case, steel bezel with 1000 base tachymeter scale Graduated to 300 units per hour, straight lugs, screw back with engraved Speedmaster to the bevel, Omega crown, two small round chronograph buttons in the band, stainless steel Omega bracelet stamped 6 to the end links, deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed
    38 mm. diam.; overall bracelet length approx. 185 mm.


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    With Omega Extract of the Archives confirming production of the present watch in stainless steel with black dial with luminous indexes on 11 October 1957, and its subsequent shipment to Venezuela

    The 1950s and 1960s were a remarkably thriving age for watch design both in terms of quantity and in terms of quality as well: it is during that time that some of the most aesthetically balanced, easily readable, and downright iconic timepieces were originally conceived. The Omega Speedmaster is one of such timeless designs. Launched in 1957, the Speedmaster was first and foremost a driver’s watch, joining the other lines of tool watches produced by Omega at the time: the diver’s Seamaster  300 (of which the Speedmaster is somewhat of a descendant, sharing many similarities in the case design) and the engineer’s Railmaster.

    The present piece represents the earliest and purest iteration of the model. In reference 2915-1, produced between 1957 and up to possibly 1959, we find, distilled, the hallmark traits of the Speedmaster line, such as the bezel with tachymetre scale, the black dial, the luminous hands, the waterproof case and the capped round pushers. Reference 2915-1 can bear movement numbers 15’499’xxx, 15’997’xxx and probably also 15’148’xxx.

    This archetypical reference, however, includes also unique characteristics later abandoned which grant it an incredible vintage appeal and charm. The most obvious of such features consists in the broad hands, which can be only found on reference 2915-1, 2915-2 and early examples of ref. 2915-3. Then, Omega will strive to simplify the dial, briefly moving on to Alpha hands and eventually the baton hands still found on the line today.
    The bezel as well of this reference is special: not the usual black insert, but rather a metal bezel with engraved scale. Interestingly, surviving pieces show that Omega experimented with more than one version of this bezel: some examples appear to be unpainted, while some others present black filling to the engraving. There exist two different series of the bezel: type 1A, featuring a flat 3 in 300, and type A2 (the case for this watch), featuring a rounded 3.
    This specimen also presents a very early dial configuration, distinguished by the nearly perfectly round “O” of Omega. In depth research indicates that this is an extremely rare detail. We were able to ascertain the existence of only 3 other pieces with this same signature. Furthermore, accurate analysis of the dial indicates that a tropicalization process is in act, the color already shifting toward an intense dark chocolate hue; this process is probably destined to continue over time.
    The case back is of course screwed onto the case, and it can be without engraving (Type A1, like in the present example) or with the Seahorse engraving (type A2)

    Also because of its original classification as tool watch – which meant heavy usage and consequently many lost examples – reference 2915-1 is now an astoundingly rare timepiece. Few examples are jealously held in the most important Omega private collections, while the market most often offers damaged or modified specimens. This pristine example joins instead the ranks of the one sold at the Christie’s Omega Speedmaster sale in New York, on December 15 (that one being number 15’499’382: incredibly, only 16 numbers earlier than this piece) as one of the most attractive and original 2915-1 ever to be publicly offered.

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