It’s been a good day for watches. First, Ethan Newton posts this beautiful soft-focus shot of an Omega Seamaster. Then two similar Omegas come up for auction in England. Sometimes, the world just works out.
Most of the vintage Rolex trade specializes in ’60s-era divers, but there’s plenty of good wrist candy to be found in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, too—and some prime examples are coming up for auction at Bonhams next week.
This ’50s-era Oyster is a prime example—the wrist-wear equivalent of a gray flannel suit—but there’s plenty more, like this ’40s manual-wind or a 9-karat gold Oyster from 1936. They don’t quite have the James Bond vibe you’d get from a GMT, but we wouldn’t be surprised if we saw one of these on M.
The Very Old Watch has always been a status symbol, whether you got it from great-granddad or your man in Zurich. But if you go back too far, most of the watches come on a chain instead of a wrist strap, which is enough to stop most vintage-diggers in their tracks. Unless, of course, someone’s handy with a soldering iron…
So in the name of progress, the retronauts at Bench & Loom have outfitted a pair of classic pocket watches with some new hardware and alligator straps. By the end, they’re ready for the 21st century—and easily the oldest thing you’ve ever had on your wrist.
The pocket watches in question are a 1938 Hamilton and a 1923 Illinois, both cast from 14k white gold in the intricate style of the day. In short, they look every bit as old as they are. And while they’ll each set you back a solid four figures, that’s not much compared to your Rolex budget.
We take it for granted that your gift list is also a shopping list, but we’d like to suggest a curveball idea for those at the very top of your list: the old gift.
It’s something you’ve owned for years—a first-edition book, maybe, or a trinket you picked up in foreign climes. Something you’ve had long enough to get tired of, but that hasn’t lost its luster to anyone else. Something personal.
And most importantly, something money can’t buy.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the best watch deals all come from auction houses. So we were thrilled to see a new batch coming to Rockefeller Center later this month. Our favorites so far are this square Patek Philippe (circa 1929), a Longines military watch made just after the close of WWII and this 1965 Rolex GMT-Master. You’ve got two weeks to raise the funds.
As anyone with a serious vintage watch habit can testify, the really good stuff is all at auction. The latest example is a Christie’s auction coming up this Monday in Geneva, featuring three of our favorite post-Submariner watches for some extremely friendly prices. (Don’t worry, you can bid remotely.) There’s the Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso, the Cartier Tank and an unusually art deco Patek Phillipe.
That last one also comes in a million-dollar version, if you want to do your part for the Eurozone.
Here’s another watch to add to your post-Submariner lineup. It comes from J.Crew, who convinced Tourneau to bring back the defunct label Mougin & Piquard for one last hurrah.
The result, available here, is just what you’d expect: a slightly nicer European twist on the military Timex chic they’ve been mining for the past few years.
Our favorite update is the second, smaller circle in the middle—just to give the hour hand its own space. Nicely done, gentlemen.
If you’ve been paying close attention to the wrists of menswear lately, you’ll have noticed a lot of metal-strapped diving watches peeking from under well-appointed cuffs. It’s a good look, the rugged juxtaposed with the elegant (à la Agnelli’s Italian hiking boots and bespoke suit). But nowadays the Submariner has become so ubiquitous, it’s almost as if there aren’t other wearable watches out there—which couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Our two cents: it’s time to move on and start looking for a new, dressier watch. And as luck would have it, we’ve got a few suggestions…
If you haven’t checked your mailbox recently, we’ve got some good news. Another round of glossy style advice has arrived on the nation’s collective doorstep, and
In fact, this month’s haul was particularly interesting because of Esquire’s latest Big Black Book—a glossy tome filled with all the intricacies of style too involved for the general subscriber base. That means dark rum, exotic leathers and all manner of Italian suiting.
Of course, it’s not all good advice—so we’re stepping in to tell you what to read, what to try and what to avoid at all costs.
Ladies and gentlemen, James Bond’s Rolex has come up for auction.
Specifically, it’s the Submariner from Live and Let Die that managed to saw through Roger Moore’s shackles in the climactic moment—and it’s coming to Christies in just under a month.
That rotating sawtooth bezel is real, although we wouldn’t count on it sawing through any ropes. (You can see from the rear face how they pulled off the trick.) The watch spent the last four decades with the film’s production designer, Syd Cain, and is only seeing the light of day now.
If you’re already burned out on Submariners, you’ll also find a Paul Newman Daytona and a million-dollar pink gold Patek Phillipe—but we doubt either one will be much use when you’re hovering over a shark tank.
As you know, we love a good pocket watch. But we draw the line at the digital ones.
The creation before you comes from Flud Watches, a streetwear-minded accessory shop that’s decided to jump into the pocket watch game. The problem is, if you’re not wearing a suit, it’s going to look like a chain wallet; and if you are wearing a suit, it’s just going to look unfortunate.
Still, we have to respect the ambition. Maybe Kanye can pull it off?
A lesson from watch-trawling: once you get past the famous models, you’re liable to get into some seriously weird stuff.
Take, for example, this Jean d’Eve Sectora. As you may have noticed, there’s no dial. The minute hand slowly creeps right all day until, every hour, on the hour, it reaches the end and swoops back to the left in one glorious second. It’s not quite as elegant as the endless circles of a traditional timepiece, but we’ve always had a soft spot for eccentrics.
The philosopher in us wants to say it’s a bold rejection of the circular concept of time…but it might just be some clever gearhead showing off a new kind of movement.
As always, if you’re interested in picking it up, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll pass it along to our watch guy.
As you may have noticed, chunky diving watches are in vogue at the moment. But unless you’re in the trade, you might not see it as a business opportunity…
Case in point: this Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris, one of only 1700 ever made, and currently residing in our Watch Guy’s enormous metal safe. We could go on and on about the details—the elegant circular face, the indestructible workmanship, those 16 divots in the back that let it ring underwater—but to a businessman, the most important detail is the skyrocketing value.
Our Watch Guy has been holding onto this one for upwards of five years now, strictly for personal use. The current price tag is $15,000—on the low end for a Polaris in this condition, and easily twice what he paid for it. And based on what we’re seeing on tumblr, we don’t imagine it’s going down any time soon.
As always, if you want to take the thing home, all you have to do is drop us a line. Now, to invest in Amiga futures.
Aside from reminding us how well “Cape Canaveral” rolls off the tongue, yesterday’s shuttle launch of the Endeavor also reminded us of one particularly handsome watch: the Breitling Cosmonaute.
Otherwise known as the first watch in space.
Nothing makes an iconic watch like sitting on the wrist of a racecar driver. Take, for example, Formula One legend Jo “Seppi” Siffert. By the end of ’68, he’d won the British Grand Prix, earned a seat at the lead driver’s wheel for Porsche, sped into the history books by winning the 24-hour Daytona and 12-hour Sebring endurance races within weeks of one another, and picked up the sponsorship of Heuer watches.
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