An early model 1957 Speedmaster recently sold at auction for a whopping $3.4 million, making it the most expensive Omega watch ever sold. Read the full story below to see how it all happened, or buy your own Speedmaster today.
Discover the Story Behind the History-Making Watch
This 1957 Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1 wasn’t a watch anyone expected to make history on November 5, 2021, at the Phillips’s Geneva Watch Auction XIV. Though first-generation Speedmasters are popular among collections, this particular watch was unassuming. In a sea of stainless steel, gold, and diamonds, this specific watch featured a tropical brown face, stainless steel case, and a brown leather strap.
The staff at the auction house expected this to sell between a modest $80,000 and $120,000. However, when the gavel came down on Guy Fawkes Day, the final bid was a whopping $3.4 million, smashing the record for the most expensive Omega watch ever sold. An investor from China made the winning bid.
Elvis’s signed Omega watch previously held the record after it was sold at auction for $1.8 million in 2018. Though these are just two examples, the value of Omega Speedster has continued to boom in the past few years. It makes it an excellent investment for any serious collector.
If you want to own a legendary Swiss watch, like the Speedmaster, you are in the right place. At Bob’s Watches, we carry an excellent selection of certified authentic Speedmasters and would be happy to help you find the perfect one for you. Continue learning about this history-making watch, or browse our collection today.
The History of the Iconic Omega Speedmaster
You might be wondering what made this simple watch so valuable to collectors. The answer starts with the founding of the Omega family of Swiss watches. Omega is one of the older Swiss manufacturers, founded in 1848. However, the operation remained small until founder Louis Brandt’s sons took over the business following his passing in 1879. They wanted to honor their father’s legacy by transforming his shop into a world-class producer of premium Swiss timepieces. Today the brand is known for combining its heritage with advanced innovation.
The Omega Speedmaster Races onto the Scene
Omega released its Speedmaster collection in 1957. It was initially designed to be a car racing and sports watch, similar to the Rolex Daytona, though the Speedmaster came out six years before the Daytona.
This aligned with the fact that Omega was the official timekeeper for the Olympics. The original Speedmaster, including the $3.4 million Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1, are powered by the Calibre 321 movement, developed in 1946 by Albert Piguet. These timepieces also introduced the triple-register chronograph layout, domed Hésalite crystal, and high-contrast index markers.
The Speedmaster Takes a Giant Leap Forward
While these watches have their roots as sports watch, like many high-end chronographs, they are also associated with aviation and space travel. In 1962, Wally Schirra became the first person to wear a Speedmaster in space. However, the earlier 1957 Omega Speedmaster remain some of the most sought-after watches by collectors.
What Makes Omega Speedmaster So Special?
While a history of innovation and precision is not unique among Swiss watches, the Omega Speedmaster is in a league of its own. Omega has built a reputation for crafting watches that offer exceptional performance and extreme beauty. They also feature some of the best chronograph features, making them highly functional. Speedmaster watches are also the official timepiece of NASA, and it was the watch of choice for the fictional James Bond. Today many influential people and celebrities don these watches, including Ryan Gosling, Ron Howard, and more.
The Brings Us to the $3.4 Million 1957 Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1
You might still be wondering why this particular 1957 Speedmaster broke the record for the most expensive Omega watch ever sold. Several factors play into this astonishing price tag. These factors include:
The Date Released
All Speedmasters are popular among collectors, including contemporary models. However, the Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1 is one of the first Speedmasters ever produced, as the line was released that year.
Exclusivity & Scarcity
Omega is a master at creating scarcity, releasing several limited editions to drive up value. The Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1 is one of those watches. Omega only produced a limited quantity of Ref. 2915-1 timepieces between 1957 and 1959. This makes them incredibly hard to find.
The Price of Omegas Has Continued to Rise
Even before the previous record-holder in 2018, Omega Speedmaster watches have rapidly increased in value over the past 20 years. This makes them an excellent investment for serious investors.
About the 1957 Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1
While many were shocked by the final price tag of the 1957 Omega Speedmaster, it was a remarkably well-preserved timepiece packed with the little details that this collection is known for. See what made this watch a hit.
The watch’s plain appearance is deceiving at first glance. It features a brown leather band, a tropical brown dial, and a 38 mm stainless steel case, making it a large, robust watch. However, on second glance, one can’t help but notice the little details like the company’s seahorse logo engraved on the back.
This Omega Speedmaster featured the Cal. 321 movement style. While many contemporary Omega Speedmaster watches feature this movement, it was rare among the early Speedmaster models. This watch had a manual wind movement type.
What Set This Ref. 2915-1 Apart
When it comes down to it, one can’t fail to notice that this is quite an old watch. However, this model aged beautifully while retaining impeccable quality in the bezel, case, hands, and dial. When combined with its low serial number, it truly is a one-of-a-kind watch.
What’s Next for the Omega Speedmaster
The 1957 version might have surprised the audience at the auction house when it became the most expensive Omega watch ever sold, but what does that mean for the future of this iconic watch? While $3.4 million for a vintage watch is the exception, not the rule, this model tends to hold their value over time.
Additionally, Omega has continued to increase the price of new Speedmasters. These contemporary models typically sell in the mid-five figures. While a 1957 Speedmaster might be hard to find, it can still be worth investing in newer and pre-owned watch.
Things to Consider When Purchasing an Omega Speedmaster
No matter which Omega Speedmaster you are considering, you can expect to make a significant investment. Here are some things to consider when you are looking.
When buying an Omega Speedmaster, you first need to decide whether to buy a new or pre-owned one. However, unlike some watches, purchasing an older watch may not save you money, as many older Speedmasters have increased in value. Still, at Bob’s Watches, we offer a wide selection of pre-owned Omega Speedmasters that provide exceptional value.
One of the things that made the 1957 Omega Speedmaster so valuable was its pristine condition. We screen all our watches for quality before selling them, so you know you are getting a beautiful piece.
In the long run, the value of your Speedmaster will also depend on the model. The first-generation Speedmasters are always a great choice but are extremely rare. Omega watches associated with NASA, like the Speedmaster Moonwatch, are also an excellent choice.
Because Omega Speedmaster watches are so valuable and rare, purchasing them from a reputable preowned watch dealer that guarantees authenticity, like Bob’s Watches, is essential. Our team has the experience needed to ensure that your watch is authentic.
How to Buy an Authentic Omega Speedmaster
Step 1: View Available Omega Speedmaster
Check out our collection of Omega Speedmaster to see what we have. All the watches featured online are guaranteed to be in stock.
Step 2: Place Your Order
We offer several secure payment options for your convenience and safety. Choose yours and place your order.
Step 3: The Shipping Process
After you place your order, we’ll send your watch with insured shipping. This protects your investment if it is lost or damaged.
Step 4: Cherish Your Watch
Once your watch arrives, all you have to do is enjoy this iconic piece of timekeeping history. Browse our watches to begin.
How Much Do Omega Watches Cost?
The cost to buy an Omega watch will depend on the style, age, and condition. Omega watches can cost somewhere in the low four figures up to six figures and, in rare cases, over a million dollars. We carry a great selection at all prices.
Want to Sell an Omega Watch?
Do you have an Omega Speedmaster or other model with which you’d like to part? Feel free to contact us today and tell us all about your watch. We’ll be happy to authenticate it and give you a fair price.
A Watch That’s Out of This World
Whether you love this collection for its exquisite design or its exhilarating history, this is a watch you won’t want to miss. Order yours today to discover why this model was the most expensive Omega watch ever.
*All photographs courtesy of Phillips