Calling Attention to Our Vintage Steals
In recent years, there’s been a noticeably increasing interest in vintage watches. From record-breaking auction sales of models owned by famous wearers to copious vintage-reissues, the enthusiasm for vintage watches is undeniable. Whether it’s the story and history behind these watches or the classic, time-tested designs, there’s something alluring about models past. These watches set the foundation for designs we see today, they established trends, and they’re important pieces of horological history.
As purveyors of pre-owned watches – many of which fall into the vintage category – this trend is particularly compelling. There’s nothing more fascinating than the heritage behind a vintage model. There’s also nothing more rewarding than connecting a vintage model with its next owner. It perpetuates the next chapter of its story. Maybe you’re curious about getting into the vintage watch market or looking to add another vintage model to your collection. Sometimes, the most interesting vintage models go unnoticed among the countless offerings in our catalog. So, we decided to round up five vintage hidden gems and the stories behind them.
Rolex Date 1500
Rolex first debuted their groundbreaking Oyster in 1926 as the first water resistant wristwatch. Today, the model is still a crucial part of their catalog. Over the years, it has seen a number of updates and modifications. One particularly popular iteration is the Reference 1500. The brand initially introduced this model in 1962. However, the watch in our inventory dates just over ten years later to about 1973. Its run for over a decade is a testament to the 1500’s timelessness and appeal. The model comes equipped with the brand’s Caliber 1570 chronometer certified automatic movement and a date function. It’s also interesting to note the 1500 has a Sigma dial. In addition, the patina on the lume looks great on both the hands and indices.
Heuer Pewter Lemania 1500 Chronograph
The relationship between Heuer and Lemania is an interesting partnership that spurred in the 1980s. The 1500 series first launched in 1982 and replaced the previous Valjoux movement with the Lemania 5100 chronograph. The model in our inventory, 510.503, showcases a few unique features. The simple date function, as opposed to day-date, indicates it’s a first series model. Another unique attribute is the pewter design. The line offered three stylistic options: classic stainless steel, PVD, and pewter. The pewter variation creates a distinct monochromatic look that’s simply one-of-a-kind. The bright, contrasting orange chronograph hands pop against the pewter background and give the model a handsome, sporty style.
Longines Ultra-Chron 431
The Longines Ultra-Chron is an example of one of the earliest, mass-produced high-beat watches. The brand first released the model in 1967 to commemorate their 100th anniversary. In basic terms, a high-beat watch is one with a movement whose oscillating wheel is faster than the average watch. From a technical perspective, this results in higher precision. At the time of the Ultra-Chron’s debut, Longines asserted it was the world’s most accurate watch. However, as one might guess, the higher frequency also places more strain on the internal mechanisms. This means high-beat watches must be equipped with more durable parts and better lubricants to combat the added friction. Stylistically, the Ultra-Chron is the quintessential dress watch. Plus, with the high-beat movement, it has the added bonus of the visually appealing smooth second hand.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 1509
The Calatrava is Patek Philippe’s flagship model, first introduced in 1932. Similar to the Ultra-Chron, it’s a classic dress watch with a minimalist, no-frills, time-only design. The model in our catalog hails from a few decades after the initial Calatrava debuted. The Reference 1509 first launched in the 1940s, and our particular model dates to the 1950s. This reference is most notable for its distinctive teardrop lugs. However, its design also marks the transition to the 2500 series of the model in the 1950s. The 2500 references feature the unique “Disco Volante” or “flying saucer” case style. Here, the crown rests inside the outer circular portion that lines up with the raised bezel.
Breitling Top Time 824
Last but not least in our round up of vintage hidden gems in our inventory is the Breitling Top Time 824. The brand first released the Top Time in 1964 as an entry-level chronograph. However, the model soon gained celebrity status and widespread popularity. For instance, Sean Connery sported the watch in the James Bond film Thunderball a year after its debut in 1965. One of the most notable and desirable aspects of this particular reference is the iconic reverse panda dial. Breitling was the first to introduce this style on the SuperOcean in 1957. It quickly became a favorite for its one-of-a-kind look and practical, easy legibility.