• Important Watches Including A  auction at Christies

    Sale 1372

    Important Watches Including A CONNOISSEUR'S VISION PART II

    10 May 2010, Geneva

  • Lot 51

    Omega. A very rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and brown dial

    SIGNED OMEGA, SPEEDMASTER, BROAD ARROW MODEL, REF. 2915-1, MOVEMENT NO. 15'147'139, MANUFACTURED IN 1957

    Price Realised  

    Omega. A very rare stainless steel chronograph wristwatch with bracelet and brown dial
    Signed Omega, Speedmaster, Broad Arrow model, ref. 2915-1, movement no. 15'147'139, manufactured in 1957
    Cal. 321 copper-finished lever movement, 17 jewels, soft iron anti-magnetic cap, brown dial, luminous baton numerals, luminous "Broad Arrow" hands, three subsidiary dials for constant seconds, 30 minutes and 12 hours registers, large tonneau-shaped water-resistant-type case with blank bezel engraved for tachymetre scale, screw back with engraved Speedmaster inscription, two round chronograph buttons in the band, stainless steel Omega semi-extending bracelet with deployant clasp, case, dial and movement signed
    39 mm. diam.


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    With Omega Extract of the Archives confirming the manufacture of the present watch, the first model identified as a "Speedmaster", in 1957.

    The present watch is one of the exceedingly rare examples of the very first series "Speedmaster Broad Arrow" 2915-1 to be offered in public. Made in 1957, year of introduction of the model, it is still retaining the original bezel and the original Omega stainless steel semi-extendable bracelet. The watch furthermore stands out by its very good overall condition, the attractively discoloured luminous material to numerals and hands and the chocolate-brown "tropical" dial.

    Launched in 1957, the celebrated Omega "Speedmaster" was the creation of Pierre Moinat, head of Omega's "creative" department, with case designed by Claude Baillod and the prototype made by George Hartmann. The watch was originally destined for "men who reckon time in seconds", i.e. automobile racers, athletes, engineers and scientists, the tachymetre scale engraved on the bezel allowing the calculation of speed at a glimpse, hence the name "Speedmaster". As the thought of men on the moon was still in the realm of science fiction at the time, it was only later that it became the "Moon Watch".

    Even before its conquest of space, the "Speedmaster" was and still is one of the most iconic watches in production. Introduced into the market in 1957, it can be considered the originator of the water-resistant sports chronograph watches. The most important improvement is unquestionably the tachymetre scale on the bezel as opposed to printed on the dial, hence rendering the dial more legible while simplifying the calculation of speed. In the years to come, this revolutionary feature was incorporated by most of the other watch manufacturers, notably by Rolex when introducing the famous "Daytona" model in the 1960s.

    The original "Speedmaster Broad Arrow" ref. CK 2915 such as the present watch had a 39 mm. water-resistant case with engraved steel bezel graduated to 300 km/h, its principle characteristics, the "Broad Arrow" shaped hands, and the calibre 321 movement protected by an anti-magnetic soft iron cap. Its dial showed some very distinctive features such as the applied metal "Omega" logo as opposed to the common printed version, the "Omega" signature in a different fond, appearing smaller and thinner, the letters "O" and "G" almost oval in shape, and the simple "Swiss Made" below 6 o'clock, omitting the "T" designation.

    In 1959, the model became ref. 2998 (see lot 277 in this auction), the "Broad Arrow" hands were replaced with "Alpha" hands and the engraved steel bezel by the version with black insert graduated to 500 km/h.

    The "Speedmaster Broad Arrow" is described and illustrated in Marco Richon's Omega - A Journey Through Time, pp. 596 - 597, Omega Saga, pp. 372 - 374 as well as in Omega Sportswatches by John Goldberger, pp. 95 - 107, where it is in addition prominently featured on the cover.