I have had this love for Moonwatches ever since I saw this French 🙁 chap riding a vintage Vespa scooter in Saigon, wearing a Cal 861 with a NATO strap in 2003 or 2004.
It was the monsoon season and it was coming down on sheets. I was standing in front of this little stall that sold second hand watches on Dong Khoi Street run by a guy named Hien. We later got to know each other quite well – given that I have bought more than 100 watches from him over the years.
The stall is no longer there as Hien was finding it harder and harder to find genuine vintage watches at reasonable prices that he could sell on at a decent enough profit.
Believe it or not, rents in Saigon are also very high and are getting crazier every year. A couple of years ago he closed the stall and now he and his 3 watchmakers work out of a workshop in his home making reproductions or replicas to be sold primarily in Europe and Japan.
The first moonwatch I bought shortly after this first sighting cost $1300. It was in excellent condition mechanically and presented well enough, with only a few scratches on the bezel. It had the original plexi glass crystal with the Omega stamp on it and was starting to form a nice patina on the dial. As many moonwatch aficiandos would know and agree, a well preserved watch with 100% original parts since new, with a nice even patina is more collectible and often commands an even better price than a new looking watch. After all, anyone with a bit of cash can walk in to an Omega retailer and buy a new watch. Not many can find an own one with an interesting history.
This watch came with an after-market bracelet with an original clasp hence the ‘good’ price I paid for it. It is pictured here with the brown leather strap.
Bought 3 or 4 Cal 861 and Cal 1861 Moonwatches in 2012 and from January to November, I have found that prices have been creeping up and they jumped up after the unfortunate passing of Neil Armstrong. Prices now start at about $2400 or more depending on age, condition and whether or not it is a limited edition Moonwatch.
According to the 2008 / 2009 Classic Wristwatches price guide, Moonwatch prices are on the increase and in this picture this cal 861 sold for $3000 and the upward pointing arrow means that they expect Moonwatch prices to continue going up.
Conclusion – Moonwatches are perhaps the most affordable collectible watch on the market today. They certainly have more character and style than your run of the mill Submariner and is an appreciating classic.
If you buy one at the right price, you can sell it for more than you bought it for. They also make a great ‘daily wear’ watch.
I have one for sale at the moment. A Cal 861 with serial numbers 4828XXXX making it a circa 1984 watch. If you are on the market for one, let me know. It still has a 6 month guarantee from one of the most reliable and respected previously owned watch dealers in Singapore.