In fact, we’ve been doing it a lot lately. It’s not that we have regrets, but sometimes, we just miss some of the killer watches that have passed through our hands to find happy homes on the wrists of our customers. Maybe we took them for granted when we had them? Maybe we should’ve spent more time drinking in the details, the weight of ‘em, the embrace of vintage bracelets that have weathered the years without losing any tension between their links. Oh, to gaze upon all that creamy lume in person again! Our therapist told us it’s good to process loss by reminding ourselves of the good times, but without living in the past and in that spirit we’ve been combing through our recent sales archive and punishing ourselves with a fond look back at some of the recently departed standout pieces that we truly loved, that we wish the very best, and that we think you’ll appreciate. So drop the needle on some Bill Evans Trio or your preferred batch of sad songs, light a few candles, and remember the good times with us as we list our top 5 picks from recent sales.
We need not oversell the allure of a classic Rolex design rendered in 18k yellow gold, but this particular example has an intoxicating mix of unique, yet understated details, and sports just enough patina to really put it in a class of its own. This is the kind of watch that you can truly wear with anything — especially with the more casual presentation afforded by a leather strap in lieu of a bracelet. While a full gold Day-Date is a horological icon anyone with even a cursory interest in watches should be able to appreciate, it’s the small details of the ref. 6611B (which was only manufactured for 2 years) — like its dagger markers and sharp Alpha hands — that will draw in any real enthusiast without having to scream too loud. While this example wears its age proudly, it still flexes with plenty of detail in the metal thanks to its lugs which have remained sharp and a coin edge bezel which has retained its shape despite some light polishing. This Day-Date is the perfect mix of iconic design, graceful aging, and unique details that make it a true standout for us.
One of the key points of entry into the world of vintage wristwatches for many collectors is their direct connection to specific vocations or hobbies, and even the greenest horological hobbyist knows that motorsports is at the top of the list for many of us. The problem here is that many of the vintage chronos worn by famed racers or associated with famous tracks or teams are increasingly rare and also really expensive these days. However, this ‘80s Valjoux 7750-powered Rodania (for Alfa Romeo, who celebrated its 111th anniversary this year) is an absolutely killer vintage motoring-inspired watch that crosses the line at a far more affordable price than its 7750-powered Heuer cousins. From the highly detailed Alfa Romeo logo embedded into one of its subdials, to the dial’s textured brown pseudo-tropical vibe, to the chunky, unmistakably late ‘70s/early ‘80s case design, to French language day wheel, this chrono is a feast of intriguing details that would realistically fetch 3x its asking price had it been manufactured by Heuer or Longines for Alfa. Throw in a set of original Alfa Romeo-signed boxes and you’ve got a relatively collectible and legitimately fun watch that we’d wager will start a lot more conversations at a track day or on the concours green than the next guy’s Daytona.
When it comes to dive watches as militaria, almost none hold as commanding a place in history as the venerable Seiko 6105-8110. Most American GIs were not issued wristwatches as part of their standard kit during the years of United States’ involvement in Vietnam, but Seiko’s iconic diver was relatively affordable, abundantly available throughout Southeast Asia (and at military post exchanges), and is one of the most robustly-built and reliable automatic dive watches ever made. As such, many 6105-8110s wound up on the wrists of the GIs that had the grave misfortune of finding themselves in Vietnam. This is also why one of these famously (and accurately) featured on the wrist of Martin Sheen’s Captain Willard in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam-focused opus, Apocalypse Now.
Many of the lucky GIs that returned home from Vietnam continued sporting their 6105s casually as their daily-worn watch and these watches played a major role in cementing chunky dive watches as a standard in casual menswear. While the prices of these watches have increased quite a bit over the years, they’re still a decidedly blue collar, but bold and beautiful example of a precision-made diver with deep history. And did we mention they’re nearly bulletproof? This particular example is unpolished, retains all of its original parts, and its lume is bright and clear, which is a true rarity for these watches.
Ok, you’re right — we already featured a full gold Rolex on this list. However, while we featured the aforementioned Day-Date for its versatility and nuanced charm, we’ve picked this ‘69 GMT-Master for the exact opposite reason: It’s perfectly over-the-top! This particular 1675 boasts a lot of our favorite features for a GMT Master, including a glossy brown “nipple” dial and the substantial Oyster-rivet bracelet, which beefs up the visual footprint of these watches ever so slightly relative to the more delicate appearance of the Jubilee bracelets 1675s are often worn on. Having weathered such a long time of collective grounding due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the novelty and romance of travel feels supercharged right now and a full gold 1675 is one of the most romantic traveller’s watches ever made in our book. At 40mm, these watches are commanding, but not overbearing — even in gold. As with the 1959 Day-Date, this Rolex’s condition puts it right in the sweet spot of well-loved and gracefully worn in, but with a patina that indicates it was never abused — making it an extremely wearable, but highly collectible piece.
This ‘60s Movado dive-chrono has a lot going for it: It’s got history as it’s powered by the swan song of the Zenith-Movado manual wind movements, the 17 Jewel 146-HP. It’s got daily functionality with its chrono movement, and it’s also one of the most collectable and identifiable vintage Movado wristwatches — making it a great investment as alternate brand sports watches continue their rise in the collector’s market. But above all, this Super Sub Sea boasts striking, timeless, painfully cool styling. Between its simultaneously chunky and elegant 40mm cushion case and the way its beautifully aged monochrome “reverse panda” dial contrasts with the watch’s bold orange inner tach bezel, it’s just an absolute visual knockout. And while the orthodoxy of the box and papers sect is lost on some watch enthusiasts, just get a load of that original box! It’s a work of art itself.
Truly it is better to have loved and sold than to have not loved at all, but we’ll never forget any of you. And while time heals all wounds, watches are forever.
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