A Vintage Omega Speedmaster That Sold at Auction for P190 Million Turned Out to Be Fake

That’s an expensive fake.

An Omega Speedmaster watch sold at auction for $3.4 million (about P190 million) is allegedly fake. 

A report by Bloomberg said Omega itself bought the 1957 Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Ref. 2915-1 that was sold through Philips Auction in November 2021.

During the auction, Phillips said that the Ref. 2915-1 was “the first chronograph to feature a tachymeter scale (or what Omega called at the time the Tacho-productometer scale) on the bezel, rather than on the dial.


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“In terms of movements, Omega did not go for a brand-new caliber, turning instead to caliber 321, an extremely robust and reliable column-wheel chronograph, which it recognized as the best available option for its new Speedmaster," Phillips added.

The watch was sold under Lot 53 of the Geneva Watch Auction XIV and was initially estimated by the auction house to be sold only from $87,000 to a maximum of $131,000 only.

The watch in question is what collectors call a “Frankenstein,” or a watch made with parts taken from various and authentic vintage watches of a different production year, including its signature “Broad Arrow” hands, which attracted many collectors.  The watch was eventually sold to the Omega Museum. Bloomberg reported that it was sold under false pretenses with criminal intent by the perpetrators.

Quoted by Bloomberg, an official from Omega said that a former employee of the Omega Museum and its brand heritage department was among the people behind the scam. This former employee worked with intermediaries to purchase the watch for the Omega Museum and influenced it to purchase the “exceptionally rare find” for its collection. Omega CEO Raynald Aeschlimann said that the scheme was a massive detriment to Omega, according to Swiss newspaper NZZ, which was the first to report the scam. 


Esquire Philippines reached out to representative from the auction house Phillips, which sent a statement. “Buyers come to Phillips because they know we are committed to the highest standards and due diligence levels in the watch market,” Phillips said. “We are therefore most concerned to discover that despite our commitment to these high standards Phillips and Omega have been the joint victims of organized criminal activity involving lot 53, the Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2915-1, which sold at auction in November 2021. The watch was bought by Omega for the Omega Museum, and we understand from Omega that it has discovered that the watch is composed of unrelated parts from various sources, and that Omega employees may have been involved in assembling the watch. We look forward to seeing the outcome of Omega's findings and will of course be cooperating in full with any resulting investigation or prosecution of the perpetrators by the authorities. 

Phillips further claimed that, until last week, nobody had suggested that the watch in question was not authentic and that it had, in fact, been inspected by specialists, experts and even the manufacturer at the time of the sale and that nobody raised any concerns over it. The auction house said that, even now it had yet to see any reports or even have access to the watch for it to carry out its own analysis.

“We do not offer watches unless we are 100 percent satisfied about their authenticity,” the Phillips Spokesperson added. “On the extremely rare occasions where a watch is so important that it can be offered despite having a part which is not original or which is made at a later date then this will be highlighted in the catalogue notes or condition report.”

watch now

The first Omega Speedmaster chronograph wasn’t originally intended for space exploration but was introduced as a racing and sports timepiece. Over its five-decade period, many variations of the Speedmaster Moonwatch were produced by Omega, including special edition and limited edition variants that have gone up in value over the years. This includes the Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 and three iterations of the Omega “Snoopy” Speedmaster Moonwatch that are valued over three times its original retail price.

According to Omega, the Speedmaster Moonwatch has been worn by astronauts on every moon landing in history. It was qualified by NASA for “all manned space missions” in 1965, and since then, the timepiece became official kit on all the successful Apollo journeys, beginning with Apollo 11 in 1969, and ending with Apollo 17 in 1972.

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