These Three Seemingly Simple Watches Are Sleeper Hits

Three vintage watches from Univeral Genéve, Ulysee Nardin and Rolex.


There’s something to be said about a watch that flies under the radar. In passing, they’ll look simple, unremarkable — there are no bold, rotating bezels, colorful subdials or chunky cases like you’d find on a sought-after vintage dive watch or chronograph. But under closer inspection, these watches harbor some lust-worthy details: high-end movements, impeccable finishing, refined case designs. That’s why the nerdiest of watch nerds will “ooh” and “aah” over them, and why they’re worth seeking out. They may not turn heads, but they’ll surely make you smile.

Universal Genéve Polerouter

What we like: Before Gerald Genta turned the watch world on its head with the Royal Oak, he crafted decidedly simpler (but no less striking) designs like the Poelrouter, an anti-magnetic watch meant to commemorate the first commercial flight route over the North Pole. The two-tone, cross-hair dial is a stunner, while the “twisted” lugs on the case are an elegant touch. Though this doesn’t feature the micro-rotor automatic of later Polerouters, the 138 bumper automatic is an excellent movement in its own right.
From the seller: The watch is in good condition overall, with light wear marks visible on the steel case throughout. Silver quadrant dial has taken on an even patination, as has the luminous material on the dial and dauphine hands. Some light stippling is visible across the dial, and there is some minor degradation to the luminous material between 10:00 and 11:00. Screw case back retains original UG engraving and numbers; UG-signed crown.

Buy Now: $2,750

Ulysse Nardin 36000 Chronometer

What we like: Ulysse Nardin is known for its haute horologerie today, but the brand’s been around since the mid 19th century and made a name for itself building super-accurate marine chronometers and chronometer wristwatches. This is what we have here in the 36000, a high-beat automatic rated chronometer-accurate. Complimenting the special movement, the watch features a dial with handsome, vertical brushing and black enameled hour markers.
From the seller: This Ulysse Nardin Automatic is in great vintage condition. The case is beefy and unpolished, with the original bevels still present, and appears unpolished. The dial is in mint condition, with no wear. The original JB Champion, Ulysse Nardin-signed bracelet is in good condition with light wear.

Buy Now: $3,750

Rolex DateJust 16014

What we like: The DateJust is fairly common as far as vintage Rolexes go, but this example features a “linen dial,” comprised of tons of little vertical and horizontal hashmarks that echo the look of the breathable, summer-ready fabric. In addition, this watch still rolls on its Jubilee bracelet, and while the rest of the watch is made from stainless steel, the fluted bezel is cast in white gold, a sleeper-worthy flourish.
From the seller: This Rolex Datejust comes with Bob’s 3-day satisfaction guarantee and one year warranty.

Buy Now: $4,295

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