CB Case 105.012-66 Omega Speedmaster
Watch enthusiasts are, almost by definition, students of detail. Early Speedmaster productions, particularly pre-moon, offer a wealth of varying tiny details which may fill a lifetime of study. Few of them, however, are able to spotted across a room. I can only think of tropical dials, broad arrow/alpha handsets, straight lugged cases, and, for those with a keen eye, these CB cases. Early Speedmaster cases hallmarked CB on back were manufactured by La Centrale Boites, initially likely to make up for a shortfall in production from the majority production HF or Huguenin Frères cases. The CB case’s subtleties are a masterclass in just how detailed pre-moons Speedmasters can be with a keen eye.
The most obvious distinction is their lugs, which have a flatter and wider lyre lug, with a bevel. The line of that twist is also slightly more voluptuous in straight-on view. Their lyre lugs have a faceted edge in their inner junction of the two polishing planes. This edge was deemed a defect by Omega, and often polished out aggressively when sent in for service. CB cases which retain this facet are quite uncommon, we are lucky that this example comes straight from its original owner never having been touched. Finding a case signed CB is not a particularly difficult task for a 105.012, but one this strong? Considerably tougher ask.
Moreover, this example also sports a DON bezel, fat-neck pushers, flat foot crown, narrow T dial, beautiful tritium, date-matched 1039 bracelet, and caseback engraving of its original owner’s name. It’s easy to underestimate the appeal of a 321-powered vintage Speedy before you’ve fixed one to your wrist. I’ve been fortunate enough to own about five Speedmasters, mostly modern. If you’ll excuse me a bit personal voice, I never bonded with them until a heavily tropical 105.012. I am now infatuated with its purposeful design. I cannot articulate well the physical distinction in presence that the vintage Speedy brings to the table. It’s more of a feeling that comes with the texture of scratches, feeling of solidity, and sure sweep of a 321 chronograph hand. With its applied logo, honey tritium, and CB case, I would bet it all on black for this 105.012.
As examples go, it’s not perfect but damn close. The dial sports a tiny discoloration between the 1 marker and the A in omega, with one very tiny hand drag mark in the hour totalizer. These both must be pointed out and inspected closely to see. Its case is perfect to my eye, and I would absolutely advise keeping the engraving. It comes with an extract from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this CB 105.012-66 here from Chronoholic for 18500 USD.