‘Soleil’ Blue Metallic Dial 105.003-65 Omega Speedmaster
This is what’s called a Soleil dial, and unless you’ve been collecting Speedmasters for a few years you probably won’t have ever come across one. Even if you have, chances of seeing one in the metal are slim. It’s a steely-blue metallic and is one of just a handful of small production dials from the pre-moon era. More than that, though, it’s proof that you can spend as long as you like studying the Speedmaster and not run out of things to learn. I was once at Neal’s Yard Dairy, a storied cheesemonger in London, in need of some manchego for a risotto recipe. I foolishly asked the man behind the counter to tell me everything I need to know about manchego sheep cheese for Italian cooking. His reply was, ‘How many lifetimes do you have?’ When your passion is deep enough, you never stop learning. Even about cheese. Or watches. This is one of those kind of watches.
Consensus holds that this is part of a small production from Singer, much like the early racing dials. Singer had finished other dials for different Omega models comparably, and gave it shot for Speedmasters. There are blue metallic dials known as the Soleil, but also a matte grey dial which is often confused for being the same thing. The blue metallic appears in a range of references from 2998 until 145.012, but is most often seen in this 105.003 ‘Ed White’. This dial has slightly longer indices in the chronograph track as well, compared to standard production, though there are other Soleil dials with normal length. I’ve heard many a tale from grizzled retailers and friends in the auction world that these were, until very recently, not considered kosher. Many thought they were outright fakes or bad reproductions, but they’re very much the real Omega McCoy. Much like the Red/Black Racing dial, these are just so rarely seen that it’s taken decades for scholarship to catch up.
Where these dials came from is still a complete mystery. Either it was a test by Omega to see how the market responded in very low volume, or prototype productions that found their way into cases. In any event, these are probably right up there with the Red/Black Racing or Grey Matte dials in collectability. In all three, not much is really known, the Omega community is slowly piecing together the facts now, decades later. There are thought to be four different iterations of the Soleil dial that have been catalogued. This is the Type 3, which sports a sunburst metallic blue with long indices on a pre-pro dial. And if you think that’s a lot of words, that’s exactly how I felt when I wound up buying 6 month caved-aged La Mancha manchego curado. In the end all that matters in cheese is that it’s delicious. All that matters in watches is that you love what’s on your wrist. I’d love a Soleil on mine, not even to mention the period-correct pulsations bezel. Quite the visual twist on a classic.
This example is in excellent overall condition. Most of the value is the dial here so we’ll start there. Its tone is a lightly faded, with an even moderate degree of patination. There are light spots, no serious visible damage. The tritium has a commensurate kind of feel, aged definitely but original and not abused. Worth noting that the watch had a small bit of lume crumble off and is currently being serviced to have it cleaned up. All scripts are still clear and that metallic tone is bright as ever. Its case has seen a light polish, not at all bad. I’d say moderate surface wear on both case and bezel. It’s a great, honest, very original looking watch. It comes as watch only from a well-regarded retailer.