Market Watch(ing): Rare Chronos and More

breitling 765 avi

We’re all vintage this week on Market Watch(ing), and we’ve got a great selection: divers, alarms, chronographs, and military watches. With the weekend at the doorstep, it’s time to read up.


Neil’s Picks

LeCoultre Alarm ref. 871 ‘TV Screen’ w/ cal. 917



Here we have a rare version of JLC’s Memovox alarm. This is certainly one of the less conservative vintage pieces for JLC, which is why I like it. It reminds me of the quirky vintage references from Omega that we love to much. The case is a perfect 39mm and inside beats an automatic winding JLC Cal. 917. Watches like this one with solely LeCoultre labeled on the dial were for the American market. While some purists may prefer Jaeger-LeCoultre on the dial, the DNA is the same and it’s still just as cool to me. There is some wear on the case but the dial and hands are clean. The orange on the seconds hand and the inner dial are crisp and add just the right amount of color against the charcoal grey background. Throw this on a vintage mesh and you have a stunner at a great price.




Longines WWW ref. 23088 Greenlander

Longines WWW Ref. 23088

Longines is no slouch in the vintage market and it’s this watch that initially got me interested in vintage Longines. This WWW (Wrist Watch Waterproof) is one of my favorite vintage military pieces. It may not be as popular as an IWC Mark XI, as trendy as a Heuer Bund, or as affordable and abundant as a Smiths, but it’s got character all its own. The cathedral hands look stunning as they move along the outer minute track and the sub seconds at 6:00 adds the right amount character to the dial without making it too busy or distracting. I’m also a sucker for anything with a Broad Arrow on it. At 38mm, it is the perfect case size for a vintage military watch. Not too big and not too small. While the hands have some corrosion and loss of tritium, it certainly is not a deal-breaker, and the astounding condition of the dial makes up for it in my opinion — it’s one of the cleanest I’ve seen. The markers, minute track, text, and subdial are all razor sharp. While incorrectly given the moniker “Greenlander”, this is no less a legendary watch compared to many of it’s rivals from the era. This is an outstanding watch for any collector and one of the best examples of a Longines WWW ref. 23088 I’ve seen in a long time.

Inquire for Price


Dean’s Picks

Okay, quick shot time. Sometimes it’s a really easy week to pick watches and this is one of them.

Tudor “Snowflake” Submariner ref 9401

tudor snowflake watchmywatch

First off is a watch that needs little introduction: the blue, no-date Tudor “Snowflake” Submariner. What is it about these watches? Well, it’s like a blue sub, except its got those funky hands and markers, so there’s that. Also, well…they used to be a good, somewhat cheaper alternative to your average matte dial sub. No such luck on that account these days. For whatever reason the blue no-date Snowflakes are rare. They are most commonly seen on the market these days as issued via the Marine Nationale. That’s all well and good if you don’t mind spending upwards of 15 grand, and these days probably closer in the $20k range for great examples with provenance or documentation. Personally, I could give a shit if some French sailor had the watch back in the day (sorry, Scott). I would get the same amount of enjoyment out of a watch without that vaunted caseback engraving. Alas, no-date Snowflakes not issued by the MN haven’t exactly been abundant at market over the last few years. When I have seen them they have been in the $7-9k range. At that price you are basically on par with a very nice 5513, and instead of the Rolex 1530 movement you are getting a less well-regarded ETA 2776 Tudor modified movement. But oh, those hands! That blue dial! The choice is not so clear. Having said all that, noted French dealer has an excellent blue Snowflake for sale up on his site. Act fast, though; I’d be surprised if it wasn’t sold already.

Inquire for Price

Universal Geneve Compax Exotic Dial

universal geneve compax blue

“Out of the frying pan into the fire,” as they say. The Universal Geneve Compax. A hotter watch over the last 12-18 months there is not. The most popular examples seem to be the sport models of the mid-’60s. You know the ones, 36mm case, Valjoux 72 movement, bombe lugs. The “Nina Rindt” panda is a popular example. I am partial to the examples with the textured silver dials and recessed subdials. There is also a rare model with brightly colored dial/subdials and a colored acrylic bezel, the most popular of these being the light blue colorway. They come up for sale now and again. A funny story about this model for me; when I initially got into collecting vintage watches I was following this particular model at an Antiquorum auction. The example in question was immaculate and a complete box and papers set with original bracelet and even the original hang tags. Well, at that time I didn’t exactly have much disposable income and I walked away from the bidding just shy of $3500. I think the watch sold for around $5k. I was later told the buyer was not other than Mr. Sunshine-on-my-goddamn-shoulders Ben Clymer (he reportedly later sold the watch). Prices have changed a little bit since then. ANYHOW, all that to say that the gents at recently posted a similar, very nice example of this watch up for sale on Instagram. I encourage you to take a look.

Inquire for Price


Isaac’s Picks

A. Cairelli Roma Zenith CP2 A.M.I. Chronograph

As far as vintage pilot’s chronographs go, Zenith CP2’s retailed by A. Cairelli Roma for the A.M.I. (Aeronautica Militare Italiana) are among my favorite. The discretely knurled bezel surrounding a nicely proportioned and legible dial have always done it for me. Collectors will recognize that it’s a great look, and the military history behind each issued piece surely contributes to the excitement. We’ve even covered them before on the site, here.

At the moment, an example of this watch is being offered out of Padua by Tempus Orologi. I must say that it’s quite appealing, with it’s now considerably faded bezel, and matching dial/handset. The original lines of the case are still visible, which is also good to see. If rare vintage chronographs hailing from slightly off the beaten path are your thing, you’ll definitely want to take a look at this.

Inquire for Price


Universal Geneve Space Compax and Aero Compax

Within the range of watches once produced by Universal Geneve, the Space Compax and Aero Compax are essentially two of most unique and sporty Compax (not Tricompax) models ever made. Of the two, the Space Compax is certainly the bolder look, mainly due to its black dial, red chronograph hand, and noticeably asymmetrical, almost exaggerated Speedmaster-like case. I’ve always liked the way it is in line with the design language of certain Polerouter Subs. The Aero Compax is similarly beautiful, but in its own way, thanks to the clean and clinical aesthetic of the white dial with black and silver accents.

Over the last few days, Menta Watches has received solid looking examples of both. Each bears a clean dial, and the first mentioned piece, priced at $10,500, is impressively accompanied by a Space Compax bracelet. It’s also worth noting that the bezel of the Aero Compax, priced at $9,500, looks to be in really good shape, while most examples aren’t. They really are some of the coolest chronograph’s of the 1960’s.

$10,500 / $9,500

Shane’s Picks

Payard Racing Chronograph

payard racing chronograph

I’ll be upfront here. I don’t know the first thing about Payard or any of the watches they made — with the exception of this awesome racing chronograph. It’s pulling off a Breitling “surfboard dial” mixed with Tudor vintage chronograph vibe that looks great. The example for sale seems to be in good shape, and the Valjoux 7734 is running well according to the seller. With an asking price of $650, I couldn’t tell you for sure that it’s a good price. However, compared to other similar off-brand chronos, I don’t think it’s unfair — maybe throw in an offer for $100 less.



Breitling 765 AVI

breitling 765 avi

There’s a lot to love with vintage Breitling, and the 765 AVI is no exception. I didn’t realize how much I liked the 765 AVI until I got to wear one around for a while. They’re a perfectly sized sport chronograph with lume for days. There’s even lume on the minute counter at three minute intervals. This one on offer is about as clean as you’ll find a 765 AVI. I mean, it’s practically NOS. The seller seems to be mostly interested in a trade for a Carrera, but I’ve never heard of anyone who didn’t have a cash price they’d settle on. Buyer’s should be aware that this is a professionally restored example.

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