We’re back, folks. Valentine’s Day is around the corner and we’ve got you covered for last minute gift ideas (self gifts are the best). If you like rare, weird vintage watches with a dash of modern stuff thrown in, this is your week. Sit back and enjoy this week’s Market Watch(ing)!
Rolex Sea Dweller Ref. 116600
The new Sea Dweller was a breath of fresh air for me. Not being the biggest fan of modern Rolex sports models compared to the classic vintage pieces, it was nice to see them get back to basics with the 116600. We’ve discussed before how this model was a step back in the right direction from the 44mm DSSD back down to 40mm along with the slightly thinner lugs compared to the Sub C. This watch is less than a year old, comes with all boxed and papers, and doesn’t even seem to have any desk diving marks on the clasp. Fortunately the market is having the same affect on this watch as with the Black Bay I posted several weeks back. You can get a fantastic, nearly new modern tool watch at a significant discount from the retail price but with the piece of mind of buying from Scott and Jacek at HQ Milton. If I had to pick on modern Rolex sports watch, it would be the Sea Dweller 4000.
IWC 3799 Top Gun “Doppelchronograph”
I know, I just talk about how I prefer the smaller case size of classic pieces and I now I go and post a 46mm pilot’s watch. Well I don’t care because the IWC Doppelchrono is just a damn cool watch. Technically, the 3799 is stunning. Doppelchronos are rare and this one is exceptionally well made. The pushers are crisp and the subdials reset flawlessly back to 12. The dual chronograph hands align perfectly in line with each other and look like a single hand. Yes, 46mm is large but fortunately the black and relatively thin case, along with its lightweight ceramic construction means it wears surprisingly well. Being ceramic, this watch is virtually scratch-free. It also comes with all boxes and papers, yet another watch that’s nearly new yet at great price well below retail. If the size doesn’t bother you and you can get over the Top Gun branding, then here’s you opportunity to own one bad ass watch.
Quirk, you say? Uniqueness is what you yearn for? I’ve got just the thing. Earlier this week, my friends over at Menta Watches shot me a picture of a curious looking, slide-rule equipped watch by the name of “Arithmo”, by Juvenia. As the story goes, the Arithmo was introduced in 1945, and is said to be the world’s first calculator watch, which was very much in line with the brand’s previous models, that offered similarly interesting and idiosyncratic functionality. Condition-wise, this specific example is in extremely nice shape, with its 35mm case appearing to never have been polished, though I will point out the fact that there’s some luminous compound missing from the hour hand – though where else have you seen a Juvenia Arithmo up for sale recently? Super cool, all original, and extremely tempting.
Anonymous Gilt Dial Cronografo
If you’re looking for rich history, icon status, or on-the-wrist recognition, this isn’t your watch. With no branding whatsoever, appreciating the beauty of this anonymous chronograph is entirely about respecting fine craftsmanship, well executed details, and the style of a bygone era. It has a strong Art Deco vibe thanks to its extended lugs, which is paired wonderfully with a gloss gilt dial, featuring multiple scales, and text reading “CRONOGRAFO” — indicating that it must have been originally produced for the Italian market. On top of that, it comes mounted on an expandable beads of rice bracelet, which adds another facet of taste to an already quite sophisticated look.
Omega Ranchero 2990-1
This one is a bit controversial of a pick. Here we have a “franken” Omega Ranchero, where the seller refers to it as an “un-franken”. What that means is he found a legitimate Ranchero dial and hands in the wrong case, and sourced the case and movement to create what is seen here. Normally I would zip right past this listing, but Rancheros are awesome in the right condition. Here you can see the dial and hands match nicely, and the broadarrow look on the Seamaster dial is killer. The seller is very transparent about the origin of his watch, and with all of what’s known, the $3,600 still seems like a solid deal. With a little negotiating, you’re never going to find an arguably legitimate Ranchero in this shape for this kind of money.
Wittnauer GMT Chronograph
What if a Heuer Autavia and a Rolex GMT Master had a baby? Well, it’d probably look just like this Wittnauer. Here we have a highly functional watch carrying a chronograph and a GMT. This Wittnauer has a bezel insert and set of hands that looks suspiciously like they’re ripped from a Rolex GMT, and the overall case shape is utterly Autavia. What I like about it is the fantastic patina, the inverse panda dial, and the lollipop seconds and GMT hands. If that wasn’t enough, it comes on an original Wittnauer 5-link steel bracelet. You just don’t see ’em like this, folks.by