It’s Wednesday, which means more vintage watches in the HODINKEE Shop! Today, we have a charming selection of timepieces from classic brands you know and love, like Rolex and Breitling, as well as some from lesser-known makers like Olma. They say variety is the spice of life, and this week’s selection sure proves it with a wide range of sizes, styles, brands, and levels of patina. So sit back and enjoy!
1956 Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 With Tropical Dial
Breitling released the first Navitimer in 1954 in association with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), and it is now one of the most iconic and recognizable watches not only from the brand, but also in all of watchmaking. Breitling continues to produce the Navitimer more than 65 years later, and the company even came out with a re-issue in 2019 that is very close to the Navitimer we have here today. This example has a confirmed production date of 1956 from Breitling, and it features a rare logo on the dial. You’ll notice a letter “B” in white above the “Breitling” script text, itself placed above the AOPA wings. The “Navitimer” language is included in the lower portion of the dial, above the subsidiary register at six o’clock. What sets this watch apart from similar examples is how the dial has aged over the course of its life thus far. It has developed a patina with a distinctive brown color that is not often found on vintage Navitimers. It provides the watch with a whole new look that we can’t get enough of. The tropical dial, the beaded bezel, and the syringe-style hands also help in making this Breitling stand out.
1982 Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 16750 ‘Transitional’
The Rolex GMT-Master with a “Pepsi” dial is one of the most sought-after watches on the market today, whether vintage or contemporary. Rolex debuted this model in the early 1950s to help pilots keep track of two time-zones at once while in the air. Rolex has continued to iterate and upgrade the watch until today. In 1980, the company released the ref. 16750, just like we have here. Early examples featured the same matte-style dial found on the predecessor ref. 1675 that it replaced, but inside the watch was a brand new movement with a higher beat rate and a quick-set date. These transitional ref. 16750 examples with matte dials provide the best of both worlds, featuring the desirable vintage look with a more modern movement that makes adjusting the time a breeze.
1960s Gallet MultiChron 45
Gallet was well-known for its specialty chronograph production, producing watches for all sorts of different and unique purposes. The example we have today is a multi-scale chronograph with a tachymeter on the periphery of the dial and a telemeter indicated in miles toward the center of the dial in light blue. The tachymeter would be used for measuring speed on a fixed track, while the telemeter could be used to track distance via sound. These two scales fit on the dial quite nicely, and at a glance, the dial looks uncluttered and attractively balanced. This can be attributed to how Gallet lined the subsidiary dials up on the same axis as the central pinion for the hands as well as the minimal amount of branding or text on the dial.
The Full Set
In addition to the three highlight watches above, we’ve added another five vintage watches to the HODINKEE Shop today. There’s a funky 1970s Olma diver with a Super Compressor case, a 1960s IWC Dress Watch in steel, a couple nice Rolex watches including a steel Rolex Date from 1976 and a 1946 Bubbleback in 14k gold, and a 1960s Zodiac Chronograph with a reverse panda dial. Head over to the HODINKEE Shop to discover and learn more about all eight new vintage watches, right here.