Omega Speedmaster 105.002 – An Oddball Speedy

 In Omega Speedmaster

When you think of the evolution of the Speedmaster from the first 2915 to the 145.022, it’s easy to overlook one reference – the 105.002.

That slight mistake comes from the fact, that the 105.002 is quite difficult to find because Omega only produced a small quantity of them. But we’ll get to that later.

Also, it’s worth remembering, that any insight into the reference can’t take place without putting it up against the ref. 2998, which you can easily confuse with a 105.002 and for a good reason.

What is it?

It’s powered by the cal. 321 (Lemania CH27 C12) like all the Speedies prior to the 145.022.

It’s a “transitional” model between the iconic CK 2998 and the 105.003 “Ed White.”

Omega only produced them in 1962, for a very short time, for 6 months to be precise. You can easily imagine, that even in mass production (by 1960s standards), that’s not a lot of time.

Construction-wise, it’s almost identical to the late (1961-1962) versions of the CK 2998. It features pretty much the same case (save for the reference number, of course), and almost identical dial, the same alpha hands, and the chronograph seconds hand found on all pre-Moons from the later versions of the 2998 up to the last 145.012.

Omega Speedmaster 105.002

Speedmaster ref. ST 105.002-62, with alpha hands

So, how to tell it apart from the other straight-lug Speedmasters?

How to identify it?

Of course, save for the reference number on the inner side of the back, compared to early 2998s, the differences are obvious.

The early 2998 featured a straight or a “lollipop” chronograph seconds hand, had the distinctive “Tachymetre Base 1000” bezel (often replaced with the later bezels without the “Base 1000”), and mostly alpha hands on the subdials.

Also, the 105.002 did not feature the domed dial found on earlier 2998s.

I’ve no idea, why anyone would use a 2998 domed dial as a spare part for the 105.002. You can’t explain the logic (or lack thereof) of frankenising watches with a rational explanation other than “because that’s what I had in my drawer.”

That said, walk away if you see a domed dial on a 105.002.

With the later 2998-5, the differences become less obvious.

Both the 2998-5 and the 105.002 feature an identical step dial, the same lumed “spear” chronograph seconds hand, alpha minute and hour hands, and baton hands on the subdial.

The difference remains (in the case of the 2998-1 and -2) that the bezel- which, if not replaced on the 2998-1 or the 2998-2, should be the “Base 1000”, as opposed to the “Dot Over Ninety” (DON) found on the 105.002.

Interestingly enough, the 2998-3, -4 and -5 featured the very same DON bezel found on the 105.002. Which, all in all, makes the 105.002 and the 2998-5 pretty much identical.

Confused? I’m tempted to say “you should be.” I’d be genuinely surprised if you weren’t.

Omega Speedmaster 105.002

A better look at the dial- clearly visible “step”, no “T” markings, consistent aging throughout all the lume plots. Correct DON bezel.

Are there exceptions from these rules?

Yes. Notably, you can find specimens of the 105.002 with all baton hands (making it look like the later 105.003!).

It’s not known if they’re correct, as there is no confirmation as to whether both types (alpha and baton) are correct for the 105.002, or if the batons simply are replacement hands.

Given that in many cases the aging of the lume appears consistent all throughout the watch, it’s almost impossible to determine if that’s the set of hands, with which the watch has left the factory.

The Omega Vintage Database (OVD) lists only the alpha hands for the 105.002. But with the OVD and all the fairly well-known facts and even entire references that it doesn’t list, it would be hard to treat the OVD as a holy scripture.

Generally, if you ever have the chance to buy a 105.002 (which means, if you’ve got $15-25K to spend), stick to the specimens with alpha hands.

How collectible is it (and what to pay attention to)?

Very collectible. It’s one of the rarest production (one-off experimental batches like the Alaska Project and limited editions don’t count) Speedmaster models.

Specimens in good condition are hard to come by- after all, back then these watches were as much of a tool watch as a tool watch can get. That means that nobody really “babied” them.

Omega Speedmaster 105.002

“Straight lug” case, with its sleek profile. As nice as racing/tool chronographs can get.

They were what nowadays we’d call a “beater” for whoever needed a reliable tool for everyday use and wear.

That, of course, took its toll on the cases and the bezels- mostly the bezels.

Speaking of bezels, be careful when looking at the bezel. If it’s a DNN (Dot Next to Ninety), you can be sure it’s a replacement.

Pay attention to the small details of the dial. Especially, beware of specimens with T markings (for tritium) by the “Swiss Made” inscription. This means a 1960s service replacement dial, or a transplant from the 105.003.

If it also features the “Professional” inscription, you can be sure the dial is incorrect. That’s because the first Speedmaster with “Professional” on the dial were specimens of the ref. 105.003.

The prices for these watches tend to be wild these days. Like, CK 2998 sort of wild, going into tens of thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, there seems to be no shortage of collectors. They’ll fight over that one specimen, which surfaces on the vintage watch market from time to time.

What do you think of this rare Omega Speedmaster? Is it your grail watch? Do you own one? Let me know in the comments below.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Sasha
    Reply

    Is it a grail watch?
    It is a great watch!

  • jared
    Reply

    I just found one of these watches, it ran then stopped so i need to get it serviced. Anyone have any suggestions? What about the band, what should I put on it?

    • Michał Kolwas
      Michał Kolwas
      Reply

      Obviously, find a good independent watchmaker. If you’re based in the US or Canada, you can try Al Archer at Archer Watches. Generally, as long as you don’t have Omega service it (they’d most likely put an incorrect replacement dial and hands on it, not to mention an overhaul of the case), it’ll be OK, although make sure you’re trusting a pro (with experience with vintage watches) with the repairs.
      Here’s a link, which you might find useful for locating a watchmaker in your area:
      http://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/watch-repair-geographical-location-search-engines-3433002.html
      As to the band, you won’t find the original bracelet without spending a fortune – I’d simply suggest a nice leather strap. The choice will be somewhat limited, as it has 19mm lugs, like all straight-lug Speedmasters do.

  • Markus Wo
    Reply

    Great article about an outstanding watch with the special reference.
    Recently I bought the book „Moonwatch Only – 60 years of Omega Speedmaster“.
    In this book they clearly state that there is at the end of the production which was in 1964 the Baton hands have been replacing the Alpha hands. This is the reference 105.002-62. The dial is with a SWISS MADE touching the minutes, while the right edge of the D is in line with the 29 minute marker. They claim that this model is very rare and concerns only models with serial 20.52xxxx. Only produced for a short period of time in 1964.
    I think it’s interesting information. What are your thoughts?

    • Michał Kolwas
      Michał Kolwas
      Reply

      It may be, that Omega has been using up the previously produced batch of cases (from 1962), like they did with the 105.003, which theoretically has been discontinued in 1965, but in fact was still being assembled until as late as 1969.
      It is certainly an interesting explanation for the baton hands on the 105.002 – there was quite some debate on whether or not these were service replacements. With Omega service centre’s s unfortunate proclivity for using service components not necessarily consistent with the original, I’d say the controversy around the batons on the 105.002 comes from a perfectly reasonable doubt. And in fact, not every 105.002 baton needs to be one of the 1964 batch, but could well be a 1962 piece with incorrect replacement hands.
      That said, I’d be very cautious with the batons on this reference. If a baton 105.002 has been confirmed in an extract from the archives as produced in 1964, I’d say there’s little reason not to consider the combination legit.
      The rarity part, while “rare” being used far too lightly and far too often these days, here might be correct. The 105.002 on its own was only a brief “transitional” piece between the 2998 and the 1963 ref. 105.003 (with the 105.012-63 asymmetric case model introduced in the very same year of 1963) , so it would surprise me if the “leftovers” from the 1962 batch of 105.002 cases were in abundance.

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