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.
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
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.
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
Universal Geneve Compax Exotic Dial
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.
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.
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
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.by