Vintage watch collectors are a funny bunch. Mint-condition and new-old-stock watches will always fetch premiums for being in immaculate shape. Ironically, on the other end of the spectrum, watches with heavy Patina can also get big bucks. Why? Well, in the world of watch collecting, rarity, above all else, is king, and a watch that’s faded and worn in an attractive way makes it unique (and particularly good fodder for the ‘Gram). Silly as it may seem, it certainly is one of the things that make buying on the vintage market particularly exciting — these three watches are proof of that.
Bulova Oceanographer 666
What we like: Bulova’s Oceanographer divers are a great value for those looking for old-school dive watches from the ’60s and ’70s. What makes this particular example so special is how well it’s aged. The dial has faded to a speckled “tropical” brown, and the blue on the bezel has faded to gray while the red has (mostly) maintained its illustrious hue.
From the seller: Original condition overall with minor honest wear consistent with age and use; solid stainless steel case appears to be completely unpolished with razor-sharp edges and bevels. Original metallic blue dial has aged to a beautiful “tropical” brown hue with fantastic creamy tritium patina to the hour markers; bezel is secure and rotates smoothly, but with little resistance.
Piaget Ref. 9591
What we like: At just 2mm thick, Piaget’s handwinding 9P movement is one of the thinnest movements ever produced (and remains in production to this day, despite launching in the ’50s). That’s at the heart of this stuninng, rectangular white gold dress watch. The dial, once blue, has now faded to a purple-and-gray nebula, which makes it all the more fetching.
From the seller: Case is in great condition, no serious nicks or scratches. Dial has patina throughout.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date
What we like: Brown, tropical-dial Rolexes are the result of a chemical defect in dial paints, yet despite their imperfections, they can cultivate huge premiums over their less-defected counterparts. This early ’60s Datejust, however, seems to come in at a reasonable price tag despite its rarity compared to other Rolexes of its vintage.
From the seller: Excellent case with some wear from use; tropical “Swiss only” dial has some spotting from age. The watch is running at COSC spec.