In The Shop – Vintage Watches: A 1982 Rolex Submariner, A 1960s Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, And A 1976 Audemars Piguet Dress Watch

In The Shop – Vintage Watches: A 1982 Rolex Submariner, A 1960s Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver, And A 1976 Audemars Piguet Dress Watch

This week’s round-up of vintage watches in the HODINKEE Shop consists entirely of white metal watches – meaning stainless steel and white gold. Some of these watches are on their original bracelets, while others were carefully paired with one of our famous leather straps to complement their look. 

Whatever your summer plans entail, one of these watches is sure to enhance the occasion. 

1982 Rolex Submariner Ref. 16800 With Matte Dial

Rolex released the Submariner ref. 16800 in 1979 as a replacement for the legendary ref. 1680. The early ref. 16800 models are now considered transitional, because for the first few years of production, Rolex used matte dials with large, painted lume plots that were very similar to those found on the previous ref. 1680 models. With the new reference, Rolex also improved the Submariner’s water resistance, changed the crystal from acrylic to sapphire, and updated the movement to feature a quick-set date. For a few years in the early 1980s, the ref. 16800 combined the well-regarded, classic aesthetics of the ref. 1680 with the latest material and technical innovations. Rolex eventually switched up the aesthetics of the Submariner in the mid-1980s, giving it a glossy dial with white-gold surrounds on the hour markers, a look that continues to define the Submariner to this day. The example we currently have available is from that original transitional batch of Submariner ref. 16800s, featuring an attractive matte dial and standard lume plots. 

1960s Croton Chronomaster Aviator Sea Diver Ref. 105-9870

Chronomasters are unique for the sheer amount of designs and models that were produced during the model’s life. This watch, ref. 105-9870, is branded by Croton (many other variants were branded Nivada Grenchen or Croton Nivada Grenchen, and others were the result of private label agreements) and is full of neat details that set it apart. Perhaps the most eye-catching characteristic is the big Broad Arrow-style hands that are reminiscent of those on the original Omega Speedmasters, Seamasters, and Railmasters from the late 1950s. You also have radial numbers in the watch’s twin sub-dials that provide a sporty aesthetic, almost reminiscent of the speedometer in a vintage sports car. These sub-dials are also stepped, adding some attractive depth to the dial. The five-minute regatta countdown timer in the three o’clock register adds another layer of sportiness to the watch as well as an extra pop of color. 

1976 Audemars Piguet Ref. 4024BC Dress Watch In 18k White Gold

This slim Audemars Piguet dress watch was originally sold in Paris back in 1976; as a result, you’ll find French hallmarks on the caseback. The clean look of the oval white-gold case is enhanced by the richness of the dark blue dial, but the real appeal of this watch lies under its hood. Inside the case is caliber 2121/1, a movement that sits just 3.05mm tall. It was originally developed in 1967, and at the time of its release, it set the record for the thinnest, full-rotor automatic movement ever built.

The Full Set

In addition to the three highlights above, we have a beautiful 1975 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Date ref. 1501 with a grey dial that can look blue depending on the light, a sporty Wittnauer Chronograph from the 1970s with a striking burgundy bezel, and a classic 1971 Rolex Datejust ref. 1601 in stainless steel. Head on over to the HODINKEE Shop for a closer look! 


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