Want a Vintage Tool Watch? Get a Deal by Buying One from an Obscure Brand

Three watches from Gruen, Cortébert and Lemania.

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10:25 Vintage

Everyone loves an icon, but one of the great things about vintage watch collecting is the rediscovery of forgotten watches from forgotten brands. There are hundreds of models from scores of brands to choose from, and just because they aren’t remembered fondly doesn’t mean they aren’t worth collecting. Many experimented with bold designs and offered exceptional value for money in their day. Today, they still offer that kind of value.

Gruen Precision Diver

What we like: This dive watch is one of countless generic “skin divers” to pop up around the ’60s which means it has a small (36mm) but sleek case design and a simple dial design. The dial looks to be in near-mint condition, and the black bezel has taken on a nice patina.
From the seller: “Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear, particularly to the bezel. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age.”

Buy Now: $995

Cortébert Sport Chronograph

What we like: While Cortébert is almost entirely forgotten today, the company had a history of making some truly exceptional watches. Even this Sport model — which contains a Valjoux movement inside — is probably one of the brand’s least remarkable models. But it’s still a beautiful timepiece that is pretty much the embodiment of ’50s chronograph design.
From the seller: “Case is in very good condition overall with signs of moderate use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age. Unsigned crown.”

Buy Now: $1,600

Lemania 5100 Chronograph

What we like: The venerable and super-tough Lemania 5100 movement made its way into countless watches from other brands, but there aren’t many watches containing the movement touting the Lemania name on the dial. This bold, squircle chronograph is an exception. In addition to the Lemania name making up the dial, we love the red and blue markings along the minute track as well as the bright orange hands.
From the seller: “Close to new old stock … unpolished and near pristine. The movement was cleaned and the chronograph functions are working perfectly.”

Buy Now: $2,950

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