Is it an expression of pride in scholarship or admission of madness that collectors often adore outright mistakes in watchmaking? The most infamous of this bunch must certainly be the double nine Air-King, royalty of the skies and mistakes in equal measure. Perhaps lesser discussed, however, is Omega’s equivalent: the 220. These bezels were applied to 145.022 Speedmasters within a tight serial range and are in fact quite rare (rarest of the three bezel types for this reference: DON, DNN, and this 220). Many were changed and lost in Omega service correction. Yet, not many collectors seem to care as far as values currently imply . . .yet.
This inaccuracy is precisely what it sounds like. In the autumn of 1970, Omega produced a batch of bezels with 220 where 200 should be on the tachymeter scale. The bezels were fitted to watches with serial numbers ranging from 30.589.XXX to 31.000.XXX. One such example made this misprint famous on page 295 of Gregoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié’s Moon Watch Only. The mistaken graduation is interesting, but it is particularly rare to find the bezel on a watch where it belongs. Collectors are quite certain about this serial range being the only allowable window for the 220 to appear. The bezel itself is substantially rarer than a DON, as is the window of production. When you take look closer details to the level of derangement, this is what results. A highly rare, collected, and even attractive technical fault.
The rest is classic 145.022: calibre 861, lyre lugs, step dial, 42mm HF asymmetrical case, Seahorse back. In fact, the distinguishing factors of this error print are nearly invisible to the naked eye. It would take quite the studied enthusiast to make this spot. Therefore, the 220 is a watch with a secret for its wearer alone to enjoy. Don’t tell Omega. And certainly don’t give it back to them for service.
This example has a full case with even, moderate surface wear. Its dial is clear of major fault and all tritium applications appear an even matched cream tone. A 1039 bracelet dated correctly to the second quarter of 1970 is on the watch. It comes with extract confirming its serial range to be correct from a well-regarded retailer.
Find this 220 Error 145.022-69 Speedmaster here from Chronoholic for 13500 USD.