It was sold with information from the Omega Museum that confirms the watch was manufactured in July 1915 and is thus one of the earliest Omega first-generation model chronographs ever made.
It uses a pocket watch-size movement and an outsize case with a button at 6 o’clock that made for ease of use during flying.
An almost identical watch, owned by Lawrence of Arabia and worn by him throughout the Arabia campaign, was discovered on BBC’s Antiques Roadshow, and later sold at Antiquorum to the Omega Museum for Sfr86,000.
Rolex tool watch pioneer
Regardless of rarity, watches of this vintage are frequently outpaced in the market by later issues.
The Leyburn sale on May 22 was topped at £12,000 by a rare 1953 Rolex: the Turn-O-Graph or ref 6202. Made for just two years alongside the first Submariners, the ref 6202 – touted as “a self-winding, waterproof watch that acts as a stopwatch” – marks the genesis of Rolex’s most popular tool models.
At 36mm it is smaller than other tool watches but all the classic case and dial elements are there. Perhaps only 1000 were made. This example with an original dial finish and a 1957 bracelet had been owned by the vendor since new.
The buyer's premium at Tennants was 20/17.5/10%.