Dyed-in-the-wool vintage is more than a just popular way to buy a watch; it’s also a fine indicator of who you are and where you’re going. At least that’s the excuse you’ll make after lusting after dozens of them. But figuring out where to start with vintage watches can feel like a crapshoot (which is why you should be reading our Timekeeping Selects series and our vintage watch guide). This fall we’ve gathered five vintage watches that strike the themes we like: tradition, a sense of sport, and shrewd shopping. Give your iPhone lock screen a break and jump-start the season with some proper wrist wear — pick up a few straps while you’re at it. More information below (from left to right).
About our Selection: Naturally, we teamed up with our friends at Analog/Shift for the collection, all sporting Crown & Buckle’s handsome new Chromexcel Horween leather straps ($54) from their American Made collection.
This piece is timeless Rolex at its best. Produced since 1945, the Datejust was originally designed for everyday wear. That everyone from Eisenhower to your grandfather has worn one makes it that much better — and it’s been vetted. This particular piece dates to around 1971, and features the classic Oyster case and an 18K white gold fluted bezel. But more importantly: it’s pristine, having retained all of its original components in superb condition. If you’re in the market for a smaller, bulletproof Rolex, this is the one. Includes an unlined Cordovan strap by Hodinkee and two 20mm nylon straps. 36mm, Reference 1601. $3300 (sold)
Heuer Bundeswehr Chronograph
This general-issue military chronograph is vaunted amongst collectors and enthusiasts — another reason for its climbing prices. This example features a clean “civilian” dial without the military markings and flyback functionality. Known among collectors as a “T-Only” model for its tiny marking above 6:00 demarcating the use of tritium lume, this Bundeswehr features a crisp case, original dial in excellent condition and no discoloration. Includes a brown leather bund strap and two nylon straps. 43mm. $4600 (sold)
Heuer Monaco 1533G
Speaking of Heuer icons, you won’t find a better time-tested one than the Monaco, which was sealed into the annals of history when Steve McQueen donned one in the 1971 film Le Mans. Though McQueen’s variant with a blue dial is wildly popular (commanding equally wild premiums), some of the less-common models, like this rare example with a silver dial and vibrant hands and print, are the savvier shopper’s find. This excellent-condition Monaco features a Heuer Calibre 15 movement and features a 30-Minute Counter at 3:00. Includes a black leather rally strap and two 22mm Crown & Buckle nylon straps. Vintage Porsche not included. 40mm, Reference 1533G. $8500 (sold)
If you’re looking for a unique vintage Heuer chronograph without the equivalent price tag, then look no further than this Baylor chronograph. Made on the same assembly lines (Heuer was contracted to make chronographs for other brands during the 1960s and 1970s), it’s a fine example of a “poor man’s” Heuer Autavia; even more so if you’re into the vogue trend of panda dial watches (black on white, white on black). At 38mm, the Baylor has a just-right sizing with clean dials and sub-dials and hands with beautiful patina. The pushers have been replaced with genuine parts. Includes three straps from Crown & Buckle. 38mm, Landeron 349 Movement. $1950 (sold)
Benrus G.I Watch
Our unabashed penchant for Military watches is best explained by pieces like the Benrus G.I. watch. Understated, durable and spartan, the Benrus features a manual-wind movement with a special feature of yore: a mechanism that pauses the second hand to allow soldiers to synchronize timepieces with incredible accuracy. This piece, which dates back to 1973, is housed in a matte steel case and includes two nylon straps. 34mm, DoD DR-2F2. $495 (sold)