The world of vintage horology can be esoteric, snobby, unapproachable. We’re here to try and change that. This week we welcome back @aircooltime to de-mystify the world of gilt Rolex.
What to look for, what to avoid, and how these amazing watches were made.
So without further ado, let’s turn it over to the vintage watch maven and air-cooled Porsche enthusiast himself…
Vintage gilt Rolex from the ‘50’s — ‘60’s era impart a certain vibe. As cool as they are, however, there are also many perils and pitfalls when acquiring a top quality, honest and original example. The popularity of…
Except for the rich kids mentioned in Patek Phillipe advertisements, almost no one’s first wristwatch could be called something like a ‘grail.’ (Usually it’s called something like Timex, or Swatch, or Seiko.) But for certain people, once they learn about timepieces, some sort of fire gets lit. It becomes a sort of journey.
We’ve heard about guys who sold houses to buy watches. People who drive high-mileage Civics but wear minty Rolex. In almost every collector’s mind lies a ‘holy grail,’ the watch you’d wear if money was no object. While Submariners and GMTs are nice (and trust…
‘So ein Modell laesst man nicht auslaufen, ohne etwas Neues in der Hinterhand zu haben.’
So the word is out. Supposedly it was an Italian dealer that let it slip. The most popular Patek Phillipe will be discontinued. At first it makes no sense; that is, unless you follow Patek Phillipe. The CEO himself made it clear; Patek Phillipe is a watch company that produces pieces in precious metals. They are a watch company that mainly makes timepieces in traditional styles.
And this, of course, is everything the Nautilus watch is not.
What the Nautilus is, however, is a watch…
All the good stuff is too expensive.
That’s what you would think if you’ve followed vintage chronograph prices since the ‘80s or ’90s. First it was the Rolex Daytonas from the ’60s. Balanced, lovely, well-designed, and now the cost of a very nice car or a cheap house. Heuer chronographs? Um, also already in rich-guy territory. Vintage ‘Ed White’ Speedmasters? Forget about it. Universal Geneve’s ‘Nina’ or ‘Evil Nina?’ Hodinkee took care of that.
So what’s left?
In an earlier ‘Closer Look’ column, we examined the earlier calendar and chronograph complications used in the 1940s and ’50s by Universal Geneve…
When you bought vintage instead of brand new, you’re being brave in a way. You have to be an educated buyer. You have to navigate this world of secondhand goods. Buying a new watch is the ‘easy way.’ So if you go through the added wildness that is the vintage watch world, respect what you have!
If you’re a collector of classic watches, in some sense you have to be passionate about things like beauty, design, workmanship, and aesthetics.
You have to do research; buying a vintage piece requires doing a bit of ‘homework!’ Originality and condition are important; a…
CC: So, Edgar, what watch are you wearing?
E: It’s my Rolex 6694, my first Rolex. I bought her in Paris last year to celebrate my 18th birthday.
CC: Does this Rollie get regular wear, or is it more of a special occasion piece?
E: It’s my daily watch, I wear it almost every day.
CC: Is it weird to rock a Rolex, especially as a younger guy?
E: Well, I wear it all the time, so in school sometimes people think I’m rich! Just because of the name and the crown on the watch. They don’t know it’s more…
'Form follows function.’ It’s a cliché phrase, but 100 percent true when dealing with many Angelus watches.
Founded in Le Locle by two brothers in 1891, Angelus was a well-known watch and clock manufacturer of its day. Accelerating quickly from a constructor to a full-fledged movement maker, they began manufacturing chronographs utilizing an 'in-house' movement in 1935.
Of course, the 'wrist chronograph' market was much smaller in the mid-thirties compared to the present day. The added bulk, complexity, and expense of these machines meant that only people who really wanted one bought one. …
As mentioned in the companion piece, the Omega 'Geneve' is the sort of underrated little brother of the brand’s watch lineup. But it’s much more than that! The vintage Geneve line covers dressy, classic, and sports watch styles; there’s just too many good examples to fit into one article.
First we’ll start with the cover shots: the 70s integrated bracelet models. These can have rotatable divers-style bezels (as shown above) or a fixed bezel (as shown below.)
In the distant watch-nerd past known as B.I., (before Instagram) the main source of horology info came from online forums and message boards. Back in the day on these forums, if you had an Omega, it needed to be a Speedy. If it wasn’t one of those, then a Seamaster would suffice. There were even a few people that stuck up for the Constellation, as sometimes that watch came with a chronograph-grade movement.
(Also, a lot of people like that pie-pan look, for reasons unbeknownst to actual good taste.)
On those same forums, almost no one seemed to give props…
Men who guide the destinies of the world wear Rolex watches.
This was the slogan of the famous Rolex ads of the ’50s, and it seems these days have at least in some ways returned. Whereas most American Presidents have worn understated wristwear in the recent past (think Clinton in his Timex Ironman velcro straps) Biden seems to be throwing things back a bit. Eisenhower, Reagan, and yes, Trump all wore the Crown. Joe seems to have thrown the public a bit of a curveball tonight, as he’s usually known to rock Omega.
He’s worn a trusty blue-dialed 36mm Seamaster…
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