Adetail can make all the difference. The 2000s black series CLK AMG has just ever-so slightly anabolic wheel arches and multi-spoke alloys which allow the educated observer to mark it apart from some dime-a-dozen Germanic grocery getter. Similarly, a Japanese whisky with an age statement hidden on the corner of the label, these days, makes it quite the rarity to stumble across in some LA watering hole. Discretion of detail seems lost on our generation. I digress. If you are a disciple of the moon watch, consider a fat plot of radium at the end of a chronograph hand. While one normally sees alpha hands paired with the traditional squared teardrop, a rare few were sold from Omega with the ultra-desirable lollipop we see here. A slight difference, sure. But one which entices those who appreciate the slightest detail: IE watch people.
The 2998 took over just after the initial 2915 and was one of the last hold outs of alpha hands, a straight lugged case, and 321. One could fairly call the 2998 is a sweet spot in pre-moon references for its handset, chunky steel case, and historic significance. Latter iterations added straight hands and twisted the lugs to the more traditional shape we love. Wally Schirra even wore a 2998 on the Mercury Atlas 8 in 1962 and that exact watch was the inspiration for the recent-ish FOIS release. Both are a bit of a niche within the genre of Speedmaster as a whole, but an undeniably attractive one. Any Speedmaster before the professional signature made an appearance is just something to be cherished.
Here’s a bit of a retailer secret though: Omega’s production was something of a parts-bin in the pre-moon era. Lollipop hands have been observed on multiple reference dashes by Omega (ie 2998-1 or -2 definitely, even some latter ones). Therefore, there is no way to know what is original and what isn’t. This is why an original, well-preseved lollipop hand will often sell for as much as a well-preserved 2998—yes, the entire watch. One is on offer for 11K USD today (okay a little less than a 2998). Sure, one could say that’s ridiculous. It is. But isn’t that half the fun?
I have immense respect for this seller for openly disclosing the history of work done. First of all, the radium dial is untouched and in a lovely state. Full pumpkin tone with minimal burn. Same can be said of the hands. It is worth noting that the seconds hand was lumed to match other applications in recent service. The watch previously had a cracked crystal which was also replaced. Its straigh lug case is full and only lightly worn, a quite rare sight. It comes on a 7077 dated to 1961, same as the supplied extract. DON bezel and 321 perfect. It comes from a well-regarded small retailer, recently serviced.
Find this 2998-3 here from Chronoholic for 48500 USD.