A fine, early, very rare and highly important stainless steel chronograph with bracelet

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1958
    Reference No: 2915-1
    Movement No: 15'997'591
    Model Name: Speedmaster
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 321, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel semi-expandable Omega bracelet, maximum length 185mm
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Omega deployant clasp stamped "2 60"
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by two period instruction leaflets and red fitted presentation box. Furthermore delivered with Omega Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch and its subsequent sale in Costa Rica on December 17, 1958.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Omega Speedmaster family is arguably the line of wristwatches which most directly competes with the Rolex Daytona for the scepter of most appealing sport’s chronograph wristwatch of the past century. In fact, the Speedmaster was the first chronograph wristwatch to feature the tachometer scale (or, as Omega called it at the time, the Tacho-productometer scale) on the bezel, rather than on the dial: a remarkable historical milestone which would be the inspiration for generations of chronographs to come.

    The Speedmaster line features a remarkable evolution, with a number of references and variations often very similar to one another. Reference 2915, the first Speedmaster model, is instead by far the most easily recognizable and “different” Speedmaster reference. While it already features the key elements of the model - the overall dial and case design, the tachometer scale on the bezel, the screw back case - it also has a number of traits which aesthetically put it well apart from the later models. The large “Broad Arrow” minute and hour hands are one such trait, but also the metal bezel - rather than a bezel with black insert - and slightly different dial graphics, distinguishable by the oval “O” of Omega, which will later become perfectly round. Also the case has details which will later be abandoned, such as the “Speedmaster” designation engraved on the slanted edge of the case back rather than on the center, and the lack, in earlier examples such as the present one, of the Seahorse engraving.

    In production between 1957 and 1959, reference 2915 is known in three different iterations: -1, -2, and -3. CK2915-1 and -2 are the very first Speedmaster models, and the most collectible. They are practically identical to each other, with some minor graphic variations noticeable on the tachymeter scale of some - not all - 2915-1. The -3 version is instead a transitional model, and much more difficult to define as some examples feature elements typical of 2915-1 and -2 (broad hands, metal bezel) while others sport traits of later reference 2998 (alpha hands, bezel with black insert) and other again a mix of the two. This is a consequence of the model being made just before reference 2998 introduced new details: in some instances Omega used components from previous iterations most probably in order to deplete their stock, while in others they used the new components developed for the later model.

    The present Speedmaster example is however one of the extremely scarce -1 iterations, and furthermore preserved in extremely attractive condition: the dial is virtually flawless and has turned a perfectly balanced and harmonious dark chocolate color, the luminous material has evenly aged to an outstandingly attractive intense tobacco hue. According to the Archives of Omega, it was sold in Costa Rica on December 17, 1958. This would suggest a mid-1958 production date which perfectly matches some details of the specimen: the caseback is still blank, without Seahorse engraving, and this is possibly one of the very last examples made with this caseback. The bezel instead is a Mark II version, with rounded 3 instead of flat one. Mid-1958 is exactly halfway through the production run of the model, a detail which perfectly explains this rare “transitional” configuration.

    Considering how intensively these wristwatches were used by their original owners, it is an extremely rare occurrence for a 2915-1 to arrive to us in such an unspoiled condition. In fact, it was common practice at the time to heavily polish the case during service, and also to change various parts of the watch (bezel, pushers, crown) to a later version in order to maintain and/or improve the water resistance of the piece. Luckily, this appears to be the exception that proves the rule; actually, the watch is offered even with its original box and instruction leaflet, giving additional insight into the "first purchase experience" reserved to the buyers in 1958. It is a very educated guess to say that it will easily be years before an example in such honest and appealing condition makes an appearance on the public market, rendering this an extremely rarified opportunity for the collector of high-end vintage timepieces to own one of the best-in-class examples of what is indisputably one of the most elusive and collectible models to ever come out of Omega's workshop.

  • Maker Bio

    Omega

    Swiss • 1848

    Omega's rich history begins with its founder, Louis Brandt, who established the firm in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1903, the company changed its name to Omega, becoming the only watch brand in history to have been named after one its own movements. A full-fledged manufacturer of highly accurate, affordable and reliable watches, its sterling reputation enabled them to be chosen as the first watch company to time the Olympic Games beginning in 1932. Its continued focus on precision and reliability ultimately led their Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch to be chosen by NASA in 1965 — the first watch worn on the moon.

    Key models sought-after by collectors include their first, oversized water-resistant chronograph — the reference 2077, early Speedmaster models such as the CK 2915 and 2998, military-issued versions of the Seamaster and oversized chronometer models such as those fitted with their prestigious caliber 30T2Rg.

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124

Omega

Ref. 2915-1
A fine, early, very rare and highly important stainless steel chronograph with bracelet

1958
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and bracelet signed

Estimate
CHF80,000 - 140,000 
€68,600-120,000
$84,700-148,000

sold for CHF408,500

Contact Specialist
Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Sale
+41 22 317 81 81
aghotbi@phillips.com

The Geneva Watch Auction: SEVEN

Geneva Auction 12-13 May 2018