Nice but not a real "Jedi"
Over the past month I have received a couple of emails from budding collectors seeking my assistance in appraising what have been described on eBay as Seamaster “Jedi” models. On both occasions the watches were not Jedi Seamasters, but models 176.005, common Seamaster chronographs with an attractive and chunky inclined case that housed the automatic chronograph calibre 1040.
The real “Jedi” model 145.024s were produced for a very short period of time in late 1971 and then in limited edition in 1973 as commemorative watches for the inaugural World Football Day held in Barcelona. The Barcelona models contain a commemorative stamp that frames the hippocampus on the case back. So, we are talking about an uncommon, or because of attrition a relatively rare, model that infrequently appears in global markets, two of which sold at the Omegamania auction in 2007 for around four and five thousand US dollars respectively.
Featuring the hand-wind calibre 861, the “Jedi” received its nickname as a result of the late Chuck Maddox’s interest in sci-fi movies and his naming the hard metal black coated Seamaster 145.023 the “Darth Vader”. While it is not known definitively if Chuck continued with this theme and coined the terms “Jedi” and “Anakin Skywalker” for other Seamaster calibre 861 chronographs, what is known is that he embraced and used the terms at least as a very early adopter, as the screen shot below from his website shows.
The confusion about “Jedi” arose in 2007 when those who compiled the Omegamania catalogue mistakenly referred to the 176.005 as “the so-called Jedi” in several descriptions of this model. Consequently, values and descriptions were jumbled, leading some dealers and on-line sellers to assume that the 176.005 was a rarer model. They then attempted to extract maximum prices for what were a fairly common series. On the Internet, one glaring error stated with confidence can beget many, and we have now reached the point where common Seamaster 176.005’s are almost inevitably mis-described as “Jedis”.
You should be able to source a Seamaster 176.005 automatic chronograph for around fourteen hundred to sixteen hundred US dollars, given that they are relatively commonplace. It may come to pass that the term “Jedi” becomes ubiquitous in descriptions of the 176.005, but don't be fooled into thinking they should command anywhere near the price of the real McCoy
Real Jedis were offered both on a leather strap and with bracelet 1116 with 148 ends, and these days a Jedi with a bracelet would be considered the more collectible. They came in two dial styles, each with two colour stories. The first style featured raised markers complimented by rhodium plated, skeletonised stick hands with tritium inserts on the ends. This dial style is believed to be the least common. The second dial style featured tritium markers with skeletonised rouge orange hands with tritium inserts. Both styles appear below, the first of which was Chuck Maddox's watch.