Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

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Strada_130
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Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Strada_130 » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:09 pm

Hi guys - first time post :-)

I recently missed out on a Speedmaster 125 on TM, that I noticed had a '17 Jewels' movement (1040 / 41 calibre's are more commonly 22 Jewels) Nice watch, should have bid higher I guess !

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Browse/Listing ... 1253518650

Aaanyway, I asked Andy who has that cool calibre1040.com site if the movement was legitimate or not and he confirmed for me that it likley was. He did a little post subsequently on the 17J 1040 / 41 variant here : http://www.calibre1040.com/17-jewel-movements/

He is keen to know if the local (NZ) market had tax / duty incentives for 17J watch movements back in the 70's, in order to help him understand possible movement variations for his favourite topic (1040 movements). Any insight here would be appreciated.

Cheers!

Hamish

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Don
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Don » Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:14 pm

Welcome to TKNZ, Hamish. :)

I don't know whether New Zealand had such a tax incentive for lower jewel-count movements in 70s, and considering the many 1970s watches that we know to have been bought new locally at the time, it doesn't seem to be the case. Not sure why Andy has jumped to the conclusion that this Speedmaster 125 was purchased new in NZ, based on only one specimen. If one were to apply Occam's razor, the simpler explanation would be that this Omega was originally bought from the US or the seller's father bought it second hand from someone who got originally it from the States. A similar case would be if I saw a Japanese market model vintage watch on sale locally, I would certainly not assume it was store-bought new in NZ.

This is just my 2c, but there are a few watchmakers on this forum who may have been around longer than me. They might be able to tell you more about the 70s import duty on watches.
Don

I may not always see your post, so if you have a question for me, or would like my view on a certain topic, simply start a New Topic on the appropriate sub-forum, then send a PM to alert me.

Strada_130
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Strada_130 » Tue Mar 14, 2017 8:29 am

Thanks Don - yep a U.S purchase sounds like a logical scenario. Looks like I missed out on my 'grail' watch haha !

Andy K
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Andy K » Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:39 am

Hello all,

My name is Andy, and I'm a collector from the US that has been into watches for about a decade now. Thanks for letting me join and chime in!
Don wrote:
Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:14 pm

I don't know whether New Zealand had such a tax incentive for lower jewel-count movements in 70s, and considering the many 1970s watches that we know to have been bought new locally at the time, it doesn't seem to be the case. Not sure why Andy has jumped to the conclusion that this Speedmaster 125 was purchased new in NZ, based on only one specimen. I
I'm the author of that blog piece and I just wanted to clarify - I haven't reached the conclusion that the watch was purchased in NZ, and I haven't really arrived at any conclusions really. I was just throwing that out there as a possibility - thinking out loud if you will. I should have been more clear on that so I apologize!
Don wrote:
Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:14 pm
If one were to apply Occam's razor, the simpler explanation would be that this Omega was originally bought from the US or the seller's father bought it second hand from someone who got originally it from the States
You're 100% right of course, the simplest explanation is that this example was a US import. It's just strange to me that I've seen 22j examples with USA cited as the destination country on Extracts of the Archives. So maybe Omega decided that having multiple movement versions wasn't worth the effort on their end, and abandoned that approach quickly. I suppose only Omega knows...

Cheers,
Andy

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captainscarlet1
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by captainscarlet1 » Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:01 pm

According to Roland Ranfft's movement database the cal 1040 is 22 jewels, and the 1041 is 17 jewels. I know Roland is not infallible, but I'm a bit confused by this post. Could you clarify for my wizened brain :?:
There is another aspect that I'm not sure of and that is U.S. import codes stamped on movements. OXG being Omega. Were all movements stamped :?:
Democracy is the worst form of government..........Except for all the others.

Andy K
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Andy K » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:11 am

captainscarlet1 wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 6:01 pm
According to Roland Ranfft's movement database the cal 1040 is 22 jewels, and the 1041 is 17 jewels. I know Roland is not infallible, but I'm a bit confused by this post. Could you clarify for my wizened brain :?:
There is another aspect that I'm not sure of and that is U.S. import codes stamped on movements. OXG being Omega. Were all movements stamped :?:
OK, here's a situation in which I did jump to a conclusion! :D

Ranfft's site sort of muddies the waters. His page on 1041 is a bit confusing for two reasons - first, the photo he shows is of cal. 1040 movement with a service rotor, which is an odd choice but not uncommon for him to just use the base movement as the stock photo for entries for the entire family.

Second, on the left under "data" he describes it as 17 jewels but on the right he describes the cal. 1040 pictured and refers to it as 22 jewels. I had previously assumed the 17 jewels was just a typo or error in his data, but now we know it could have certainly been intentional. My assumption of a typo/error was based on the fact that the all the 1041 examples I had seen up until now clearly show 22 jewels, as does the example shown on Chuck Maddox's article on Speedmaster 125s. There was just more evidence that the 1041 was a 22j movement as opposed to 17j.
1041.JPG
1041.JPG (100.23 KiB) Viewed 229 times
Another reason I had assumed Ranfft was in error regarding 1041 is that typically when a movement was available with multiple jewel counts, his database points it out. The Ranfft entry for one of the the most well known movements with multiple jewel counts is the Zenith El Primero 3019PHC, which was 17j for the US and 31j elsewhere, clearly says that it could have multiple jewel counts. There are other examples of this - I was recently researching Felsa 693, an automatic moonphase movement from the 40s and 50s, was made in 3 variants (17, 21, or 25 jewels).
3019.JPG
3019.JPG (38.92 KiB) Viewed 229 times
As for the OXG stamp, I do not know if it is there or not on the one 17j example I've seen but my understanding (from this article http://www.twistoftime.com/2016/08/11/o ... t-and-why/) is that the OXG stamps went away around 1970.

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Don
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Don » Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:53 pm

Andy K wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:39 am
My name is Andy, and I'm a collector from the US that has been into watches for about a decade now. Thanks for letting me join and chime in!
Hi Andy :) and thank you for taking the time to join our small watch community. It’s a privilege for us to have a collector of such obvious enthusiasm for learning and researching like yourself here.

Andy K wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:39 am
Don wrote:
Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:14 pm
I don't know whether New Zealand had such a tax incentive for lower jewel-count movements in 70s, and considering the many 1970s watches that we know to have been bought new locally at the time, it doesn't seem to be the case. Not sure why Andy has jumped to the conclusion that this Speedmaster 125 was purchased new in NZ, based on only one specimen.
I'm the author of that blog piece and I just wanted to clarify - I haven't reached the conclusion that the watch was purchased in NZ, and I haven't really arrived at any conclusions really. I was just throwing that out there as a possibility - thinking out loud if you will. I should have been more clear on that so I apologize!
I appreciate you clearing that up, and while I was critical, I did not intend to criticize. In any fact-finding mission, it is of course wise to follow up on any and all leads, so please, no apology is due. However, I think that you will find, Andy, that in the very near future you and calibre1040.com will be considered one of the leading authorities on matters concerning the Omega Cal 1040/1. There is no reason that you will not join the likes of Desmond Guilfoyle and Chuck Maddox when it comes to vintage Omega.

The nature of information dispersion these days means though that something you write on your website will be first quoted as, “Andy K of Calibre1040.com suggests that…”, then repeated as “Andy K of Calibre1040.com thinks that…”, to “Andy K of Calibre1040.com believes that…”, to “Andy K of Calibre1040.com states that…”, and eventually even your name will be omitted, and what you "thought out loud" will be taken as fact. This is what I’ve seen happening with some of Chuck Maddox’s “thoughts” also. So, yes, with greatness comes a price, and something to keep in mind ;)

Andy K wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:39 am
Don wrote:
Mon Mar 13, 2017 1:14 pm
If one were to apply Occam's razor, the simpler explanation would be that this Omega was originally bought from the US or the seller's father bought it second hand from someone who got originally it from the States
You're 100% right of course, the simplest explanation is that this example was a US import...
Actually, I do have a friend who worked as a master watchmaker here in Auckland in the 1970s and who, I’m certain, can shed a light on this. He is currently away on holidays, but I will inquire with him for you when I see him again early next month. In the mean time, I am more on the side of there been no special version of Omega Cal 1041 for the New Zealand market based on three factors.

The first has to do with the market size—we have always been a very small market here. I am aware that during the 60s and 70s, Omega did make several versions of a model available to specific markets like USA and Japan, as did other Swiss brands such as Rado. Such arrangements can be seen as feasible due to the size of these markets. In 1973, the population of the US was 213 million, with Chicago, where you are based, having 3.4 million people, while Japan had a population of 108 million.

The population of NZ in 1973 was only 3 million—the City of Chicago was actually a bigger market for Omega than the whole country of New Zealand! :)

The second reason is based on early- to mid-1970s watches that I have personally purchased locally, here in Auckland, from first owners whom I knew with certainty bought the watches new in stores at the time. Here are three examples.


Image

Image

Image


The first two above are from 1972 and 1973-4 respectively, and equipped with the same movement, i.e. the in-house Certina Cal 25-651 with 28 jewels. The last is from early-1970s, and powered by the Citizen Cal 0200 21 Jewels. While these watches were certainly quality brands, compared to the luxury status and prestige of Omega, they should be the ones reducing their jewel counts. However, that was not the case, and therefore unlikely that Omega agents here would resort of ordering lower jewel-count versions for our market.

Lastly, I have kept a close eye on the local vintage market for nearly a decade that I have lived here in NZ, and our forum members combined keep an even closer eye on what gets bought and sold. This is the first time that I have seen a Speedmaster 125 of any jewel count being offered up for sale. If this model was available for purchase in local store in the 70s, surely we would see more than just one. For instance, the Certina DS-2 that you see in my first photo above is few in numbers on the international market, as Certina was present in relatively few countries compared to most Swiss brands at the time. Yet, they pop up on our market every once in a while—disproportionately frequent considering our small market size—purely because they were retailed here at the time.

Anyway, I will update you once my friend returns from holiday.

Andy K wrote:
Thu Mar 16, 2017 1:39 am
...It's just strange to me that I've seen 22j examples with USA cited as the destination country on Extracts of the Archives. So maybe Omega decided that having multiple movement versions wasn't worth the effort on their end, and abandoned that approach quickly. I suppose only Omega knows...
Yes, interesting isn't it. Could it be that these Cal 1040/1041 were produced during the peak of the Swiss industry meltdown of the 1970s, a time of confusion at the Omega factory? A lot of weird things under Seamaster and Constellation dials came out from Bienne at the time, and one wonders how much of this affected record-keeping for the Speedmaster models.

Have you tried inquiring with the Omega Museum, Andy? I had a number of correspondences with Alain Monachon many years ago, and not sure if he is still there. He was very helpful with matters relating to heritage archives.
Don

I may not always see your post, so if you have a question for me, or would like my view on a certain topic, simply start a New Topic on the appropriate sub-forum, then send a PM to alert me.

Andy K
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Re: Omega 125 "17 Jewels"

Post by Andy K » Wed Mar 22, 2017 3:37 am

Hi Don,
Thanks for the thoughtful and helpful reply! :clap:
Don wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:53 pm
I appreciate you clearing that up, and while I was critical, I did not intend to criticize. In any fact-finding mission, it is of course wise to follow up on any and all leads, so please, no apology is due. However, I think that you will find, Andy, that in the very near future you and calibre1040.com will be considered one of the leading authorities on matters concerning the Omega Cal 1040/1. There is no reason that you will not join the likes of Desmond Guilfoyle and Chuck Maddox when it comes to vintage Omega.

The nature of information dispersion these days means though that something you write on your website will be first quoted as, “Andy K of Calibre1040.com suggests that…”, then repeated as “Andy K of Calibre1040.com thinks that…”, to “Andy K of Calibre1040.com believes that…”, to “Andy K of Calibre1040.com states that…”, and eventually even your name will be omitted, and what you "thought out loud" will be taken as fact. This is what I’ve seen happening with some of Chuck Maddox’s “thoughts” also. So, yes, with greatness comes a price, and something to keep in mind ;)
You are far too kind. Compared to Desmond and Chuck my focus is very narrow and I have much fewer (okay, zero) primary sources. Because of that, I consider myself a curator and a student more than an expert, but I get what you’re saying. I try to be measured in my posts both on my site and on forums, but as you can see I’m not always communicating as clearly as I probably think I am. I’ll try to state my “thinking out loud” as such going forward. I feel a responsibility to be as accurate and thoughtful as possible, and my lack of primary sources means I need to always be open to adjusting my viewpoints when confronted with new information.
Don wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:53 pm
Actually, I do have a friend who worked as a master watchmaker here in Auckland in the 1970s and who, I’m certain, can shed a light on this. He is currently away on holidays, but I will inquire with him for you when I see him again early next month. In the mean time, I am more on the side of there been no special version of Omega Cal 1041 for the New Zealand market based on three factors.

The first has to do with the market size—we have always been a very small market here. I am aware that during the 60s and 70s, Omega did make several versions of a model available to specific markets like USA and Japan, as did other Swiss brands such as Rado. Such arrangements can be seen as feasible due to the size of these markets. In 1973, the population of the US was 213 million, with Chicago, where you are based, having 3.4 million people, while Japan had a population of 108 million.

The population of NZ in 1973 was only 3 million—the City of Chicago was actually a bigger market for Omega than the whole country of New Zealand! :)

The second reason is based on early- to mid-1970s watches that I have personally purchased locally, here in Auckland, from first owners whom I knew with certainty bought the watches new in stores at the time. Here are three examples.

The first two above are from 1972 and 1973-4 respectively, and equipped with the same movement, i.e. the in-house Certina Cal 25-651 with 28 jewels. The last is from early-1970s, and powered by the Citizen Cal 0200 21 Jewels. While these watches were certainly quality brands, compared to the luxury status and prestige of Omega, they should be the ones reducing their jewel counts. However, that was not the case, and therefore unlikely that Omega agents here would resort of ordering lower jewel-count versions for our market.

Lastly, I have kept a close eye on the local vintage market for nearly a decade that I have lived here in NZ, and our forum members combined keep an even closer eye on what gets bought and sold. This is the first time that I have seen a Speedmaster 125 of any jewel count being offered up for sale. If this model was available for purchase in local store in the 70s, surely we would see more than just one. For instance, the Certina DS-2 that you see in my first photo above is few in numbers on the international market, as Certina was present in relatively few countries compared to most Swiss brands at the time. Yet, they pop up on our market every once in a while—disproportionately frequent considering our small market size—purely because they were retailed here at the time.

Anyway, I will update you once my friend returns from holiday.
I agree for all the reasons you mention and I’m certain your friend will confirm this. If 28j Certinas were sold locally, Omega would likely have exported the 22j version of the 1041. Chalk my speculation up to my ignorance! I realize that the US is a much larger market than NZ, and as I understand it the largest market for Swiss watches at the time. But I’m also aware that Omega and other Swiss manufactures had a variety of different strategies in specific markets, and the examples you’ve shown illustrate this. Personally, I find this topic more fascinating than mere export duties based on jewel counts. For instance, that this is the first Speedmaster 125 you’ve seen posted for sale in NZ is deeply interesting to me.

I try my best to avoid confirmation bias, so I’m constantly looking at alternate explanations for the high frequency of 125s seen for sale. On my site, under “Other Possible Explanations” [Other meaning what if Omega actually did make just 2,000 125s and there is some other reason it shows up for sale 8x - 10x more often than its cal. 1040 counterparts] I write:

Possibility 3: The number of serial numbers observed has no meaningful correlation to production volume. Maybe certain reference’s casebacks are harder to remove to allow documenting or photographing the movement. Maybe certain models were marketed to parts of the world that are unlikely to pop up on my searches of the western internet. Maybe the Speedmaster 125 is just talked about relatively more often than its contemporaries due to its unusual looks. This is kind of a generic “other” explanation to account for this discrepancy.

Your Certina DS-2 example eloquently points out how certain pieces are distributed unevenly around the globe. That Omega potentially distributed the 125 differently than the rest of the cal. 1040 family, thus skewing my observations, remains a strong possibility.

..by the way, those are some very nice Certinas! :thumbup:
Don wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:53 pm
Could it be that these Cal 1040/1041 were produced during the peak of the Swiss industry meltdown of the 1970s, a time of confusion at the Omega factory? A lot of weird things under Seamaster and Constellation dials came out from Bienne at the time, and one wonders how much of this affected record-keeping for the Speedmaster models.
I really think this is the essence of what makes the Speedmaster 125 story so intriguing! It was supposed to represent Omega at its peak, but the mysteries of its production – the haphazard and mysterious codes on the caseback back, the three major serial number batches separated by millions, the production dates spanning from late 1973 – mid 1976, and of course the sense collectors have had long before me that it was too commonly available for a 40-year-old 2,000 piece LE – speak just as much to the crisis, or at least the beginning of a steep decline for the company and of the industry as a whole. I suspect this is EXACTLY why the “story” of the 125 became so cloudy.
Don wrote:
Sat Mar 18, 2017 7:53 pm
Have you tried inquiring with the Omega Museum, Andy? I had a number of correspondences with Alain Monachon many years ago, and not sure if he is still there. He was very helpful with matters relating to heritage archives.
I have tried contacting the museum, but not since last summer. I got no response at the time, but that was before my site went live and I started posting on Instagram. Through a third party, I’m told the museum staff is aware of my research but also I know they are busy with higher-profile projects, including the 60th anniversary of the Trilogy and the opening the new museum building. So I’m going to let them be for the time being while I continue to collect data. But eventually I’ll start pestering them again!

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