“Finders Keepers” is all about showing you a side of watch dealers you rarely see: the watches they aren’t trying to sell you. Those special timepieces they’ve come across that have a sentimental value far exceeding their market value.
Tom Joy is a watch dealer who above all else wants to share his passion for watches with you. Tom told us he “enjoys being able to help people build their collections; see that someone is really enjoying a watch [he] helped them get.” And the watch he feels most strongly about you owning – the one he regularly has for sale – is the Omega Speedmaster. If you’re new to the world of Speedmasters, Tom will tell you “it’s been around since 1957 and largely unchanged since 1965 – a testament to how perfect it is from a design standpoint. From its inception it was made to time race cars; it has a history with NASA and it’s a manual wind chronograph, which is the cherry on top.”
Tom earned his stripes as a watch dealer on the forums. More recently, with the help of his best friend – and silent partner – came the launch of Luxuwrist.com and @luxuwrist on Instagram. As you probably already know, the best stuff usually never makes it to a dealer’s site, so be sure to follow Tom on IG. And speaking of watches never making it to Luxuwrist.com: Tom’s ’62 Ref. 105.002 straight lug Speedy. This one’s NOT FOR SALE.
The story behind his vintage Speedy begins a few years ago at an auction house in the middle-of-nowhere, U.S.A. Tom said it was the only watch in an estate sale – everything else was “antiques, furniture, tractors, old guns, ivory…” He never saw the watch in person, just in watermarked Internet photos. “It had a terribly scratched crystal and was missing a pusher cap; really rough looking,” was Tom’s estimation. But he knew this Speedy was truly a diamond in the rough – he just had to win the lot… On the day of the auction he bid over the phone, pacing back and forth in his driveway, hoping to score it for a good price.
Tom was more than happy to educate us on his 105.002 Speedy. He broke it down by saying, “it was made for a short transitional period in 1962. The .002 came about when Omega changed the reference number of the Speedmaster from four-digits to six. The first batch of .002s looked pretty much identical to the Ref. 2998-62 – it has Alpha hands. The later .002s had hands similar to its successor – the Ref 105.003 – or “Ed White” Speedy as it’s more commonly referred. The biggest difference between the .002 and Speedys produced after it was the use of radium on the dial and a crystal with a polished tension ring rather than a black one.”
Besides it being an incredibly lucky find there’s another reason this Speedy is so special to Tom. As mentioned already, it wasn’t in the best of shape, so Tom ended up sending it in for service. A watchmaker took in Tom’s Speedy and then went off the grid… Tom was freaking out… Just when he was about to give up hope on ever seeing it again, he miraculously got it back – unscathed and unserviced.
Tom found another watchmaker and mustered the courage to let it out of his sight once again. Unfortunately his watch was en route to Texas the week of historic flooding in Houston. For several days he received no update scans when he checked tracking info. He was freaking out again… Did the delivery van get stuck in the water and abandoned? Was his Speedy lost? Just as he was prepared to file an insurance claim, he received notification that it was successfully delivered to its destination. This time the watch got fixed up and made it back on his wrist – where it’s been ever since. The fact that this Speedy survived two nightmare watchmaker experiences makes it seem meant to be Tom’s – not yours. Sorry Speedy lovers.
All images taken by the owner, Mr. Tom Joy