Ahh, patina — that contentious term, that glorious transformation, that metallurgical phenomenon that adds zeroes to the prices of otherwise ordinary steel timepieces.
To hell with it — we love patina here at Gear Patrol. Which is why we’ve rounded up three different examples of vintage watches with cool patina for your perusing — and/or purchasing — pleasure. From a sub-$1k, time-only watch from the 1940s to a silver-dialed example of an often black-dialed chronograph for just shy of $3k, we’ve got the goods for you this Friday.
1940s Mido Multifort
What We Like: What’s cooler than puffy, yellow radium on a black-dialed, military style watch? Nothing. (I mean, I’m sure I could think of a number of things if truly pressed, but I’m not pressed right now, and I’m sticking to my guns.) Though the case is diminutive by modern standards at 33mm, someone with smaller wrists could easily pull of this stainless steel Mido with screw-down case back and sub-seconds counter without a hitch.
From the Seller: Dial and hands are in very good condition. The luminous on hands and dial is original radium. The watch case appears to be unpolished. The case remains thick with equally thick lugs. The watch was just serviced by our watchmaker, thus in very good running condition, keeping very accurate time.
Omega Constellation 2852-9
What We Like: Yes, patina is technically a defect, but damn — this defect looks good. Appropriately for a watch called a “Constellation,” the patina sort of looks like a universe of khaki-colored stars. The size is also perfect at 35mm, and you get a chronometer-certified movement with pie pan dial and screw-down case back, all for less than $1,500.
From the Seller: In overall good condition. The dial shows some interesting patina that makes it quite unique. The case is crispy and does not show any signs of being overpolished w/ only superficial scratches. The movement is clean and runs smoothly.
Benrus Sky Chief
What We Like: More often than not, the Benrus Sky Chief is found with a black dial (and is super awesome, by the way), but it’s the white dial variants that invariably show the best patina. This particular example has turned a fairly uniform parchment color, which, when complimented with the handsome coin-edge bezel and robust Valjoux 71 movement, makes for an awesome vintage pilot’s chronograph.
From the Seller: The case is in excellent condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use. Non-luminous silver tone dial is in great condition showing even patination, printed numerals, and heat-blued steel handset. Unsigned crown.