What’s up, sports fans? We’re back with another installment of Market Watch(ing), and it’s a good one. We really mixed it up this week. Not only did each of us pick one chrono and one non-chrono, but no brand is represented more than once. That’s the Market Watch(ing) equivalent to finding a parking space in front of the post office and there’s time left on the meter. Sit back and enjoy this week’s selection.
Rodania L248 Chronograph
I’ve been on a search recently for more obscure vintage chronographs that won’t break the bank. There are many out there that look great but are also not your cookie-cutter vintage watch. This Rodania Chronograph is one of those watches. It features a 38mm case with a well known Landeron 248 movement inside. The hands and markers are all intact with fairly even patina and very little corrosion. The text on the dial is crystal clear and very sharp against the vintage dial. What sets this one apart is the amazing tropical patina. It walks that fine tropical line of being striking without detracting from the rest of the watch. This is a classy, understated, yet very unique piece. It’s amazing to think a watch that looks this good is well under $1,000.
Rolex Explorer II 16550
It’s the other, other, Explorer II. It may not get as much love at the 1655 or be as popular as the 16570, but that’s perhaps what attracts me to the the 16550. This transitional model also may not get the notoriety of the other transitional models like the 16660 Sea Dweller or 16750 GMT Master, but that also means the prices don’t reach those levels either. The uniqueness, rarity, and black sheep quality are what make it appealing. All too often, the black dialed 16550’s have spider cracking. Fortunately this one is the exception and the dial is crisp. The markers and hands are also fading to a nice egg shell patina. The bezel is a little worn but that just means this Explorer II was used for its intended purpose and adds character. This is one of the best deals in vintage Rolex in my opinion. You can’t go wrong with this pick, and although it may look common as first glance, it’s anything but.
Audemars Piguet Chronograph ref 1533
As most that are tuned in to the vintage watch world will know, Audemars Piguet is doing especially well lately. We saw a number of records set during this past auction season, and according to some friends that attended this year’s Antique Show in Miami, the interest and enthusiasm for rare AP chronographs could be seen on the show floor as eyes widened and knees weakened. Is this an exaggeration? Maybe, but I urge you to try strapping a Ref. 1533 on your wrist, it most definitely does not suck. That’s a guarantee.
While doing some research for another project that you’ll find out about in the upcoming weeks, I was shown an AP currently available from Corrado Mattarelli, which I recognized from a past Christie’s sale. In 2012, the watch more than doubled its estimate after going for CHF123,000, which is understandable once you take the extremely scarce nature and gorgeous detailing of these watches into account. Though it may not be “mint”, this honest example is very clean, and the case still has a great deal of meat left on its bones. They certainly don’t make them like they used to. *sigh*
Patek Philippe Calatrava ref 2526
Yellow gold isn’t exactly “my thing” for a number of reasons, but if presented with a select few aurous offerings, I don’t think I’d be physically capable of refusing. This example Patek Philippe’s Ref. 2526 Calatrava is one of those watches. With its beautifully constructed bracelet (complete with a double P signature), utilitarian screw-back caseback, and porcelain-enamel dial, this watch represents vintage “bling” in the most tasteful way possible, and values today certainly reflect this.
After handling a 2526 over the holidays, I was instantly enamored, and for me, it’s all about that dial. The porcelain dial adds an extra touch of crisp warmth (don’t mind my love-struck ramblings) to the watch, that brings depth to an otherwise simple design. Overall, this piece is in terrific shape, and the dial is free of any cracks that are often seen on lesser examples. I’d say I should unload my kidney, but I don’t think it’ll cover the bill.
IWC Mark 11
It’s no secret that Wound For Life at its core is a love letter to the tool watch, and my first pick is one that is sure to make my digital overlords proud. There is arguably no more quintessential military watch than the Mark 11. Now a lot has been written about the history of the watches made by IWC and JLC for the RAF, and I won’t rehash all of that excellent research here. Here are the bullet points: commissioned in ’46/’47 by the RAF, anti-magnetic, 36mm, fixed spring bars. The IWC I have my eye on has an immaculate “Circle T”, broad arrow dial and is powered by the renowned hacking cal. 89, which is specially inscribed with the broad arrow on the movement. I haven’t seen a better one for sale.
Eterna Gilt Chronograph
Omega Speedmaster Perpetual Calendar ref 176.0037
Okay, here’s one you see never. This is a full gold, perpetual calendar Speedmaster made in 50 pieces for the Japanese market in 1991. It’s a thoroughly impressive watch, and is actually Omega’s most complicated serialized watch. I recall the seller showing this off when it was a new acquisition, and I’m sorry to hear he has to sell it. This example is for sale at a hair under $25,000, which I don’t think is unreasonable. The last sales I found were for $22,000 in 2013, and $17,000 in 2008.
Doxa 600T Sharkhunter
Over the last couple of years, I’ve become a pretty big fan of Doxa watches. The most recognizable Doxas typically have orange dials and cushion cases, but here’s a black dial reference that has a bit more of a Submariner look going on. This is the 600T Sharkhunter (Sharkhunter models carry black dials versus the orange Professional dials), and it’s got a lot to like in terms of a vintage diver. The overall condition isn’t bad, and you can see it was honestly worn and used quite a bit. Normally, an example like this wouldn’t stand out to me, but it’s up with no reserve and sitting under $250 right now. I think it’s one worth keeping an eye on.by