In The Shop – Vintage Watches: A 1973 Rolex Explorer, A 1938 Longines Pocket Watch, And A 1972 Audemars Piguet Ref. 5271BC

In The Shop – Vintage Watches: A 1973 Rolex Explorer, A 1938 Longines Pocket Watch, And A 1972 Audemars Piguet Ref. 5271BC

A fresh batch of vintage watches for you to consider during the middle of the week – what could be better? We’ve got an unexpected assortment for you this Wednesday, with everything from a pocket watch to a pair of time-only pieces – one that is lavishly decorated and another that shines in its simplicity. We cover some distinctive models from Rolex and Audemars Piguet as well as a few tried-and-true favorites from Omega and IWC.

Let’s get into it.

1973 Rolex Explorer Ref. 1016 ‘Frog Foot’

Rolex collectors go wild for the little details that would easily be overlooked by, well, pretty much everyone else. Whether it’s an underline, an exclamation point, or even a line of red text on the dial, these small details will make any Rolex lover’s ears perk right up. The devil is in the details, as they say. 

In the case of this Explorer ref. 1016, watch collectors have described it as featuring a “frog’s foot” coronet on the dial. The coronet – or the crown, if you prefer – is Rolex’s iconic logo, known worldwide as a symbol of uncontested quality in watchmaking. Over the years, the crown has largely retained the same look, but in some cases, variants would appear with the spikes being either shorter or taller. On this ref. 1016, for example, the spikes of the crown are rendered in such a way that they resemble the webbed foot of a frog, hence this variation’s fun nickname.  

1972 Audemars Piguet ‘Hobnail’ Ref. 5271BC In 18k White Gold With Original Presentation Box

This Audemars Piguet is definitely something you won’t come across every day. It is a time-only white gold automatic dress watch with a hobnail, or clous de Paris, finish on the bezel, the top of the lugs, and the dial. Audemars Piguet is no stranger to this style of engraving, equipping the dial of the Royal Oak, its iconic luxury sports watch, with a variant of the finish that the brand calls a tapisserie pattern. (Interestingly, Audemars Piguet released its first Royal Oak the same year today’s watch was created.) The extensiveness of the finish on this ref. 5271BC is remarkable, given the highly delicate and labor-intensive procedure involved in uniformly executing it. This watch’s case is in excellent condition with no signs of polishing and not too much wear. Once a case like this hits the polishing wheel, its hobnail pattern would be forever changed.  

1938 Longines Pocket Watch Ref. 3412 with Sector Dial

There is just something about sector dials that are so appealing, they get watch lovers excited over and over again. The Longines pocket watch we have here features a beautiful two-tone sector dial with a cross-hair that splits the dial into four sections with exacting precision. The two separate finishes on the interior and exterior of the dial brings out the inner character of the watch, and the way light shimmers off the metallic outer ring accentuates the difference in tones. Not only do sector dials look great to the eye, but they’re also functional, allowing for a straightforward way to visualize either an hour or a day in quarter chunks. The black numerals, the stick markers on the periphery of the dial, and the large, blued-steel hands make for a highly legible display. Trust us, telling time on this pocket watch is a joy. 

The Full Set

In addition to the three highlights above, we have an attractive 1968 Omega Speedmaster Professional ref. 145.012 featuring the legendary caliber 321 and a beautiful 14k gold IWC with caliber 89 from the 1960s that has developed a lovely patina on the outside of the case. Head over to the HODINKEE Shop to check out our entire vintage watch selection.  

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