We are back this Wednesday with another selection of vintage watches up for grabs. Today, every watch falls into either the time-only or chronograph genre – save for a single time-and-date watch. All of the new watches come from big-label brands that will be familiar favorites, but some are uncommon variants of the classics you know well. Whether you’re looking for a funky vintage chronograph or a new (to you) dress watch, we’ve got something for everyone this week.
1965 Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 With Original Box
Breitling released the Navitimer in 1954 and has kept the watch in continuous production ever since. It’s arguably one of the most recognizable chronographs from any brand, and it is certainly Breitling’s best-known watch. The Navitimer’s most recognizable attribute is the slide-rule scale on its bezel. This bezel was designed for pilots to calculate various details in the air, such as speed, fuel consumption, or even simple multiplication and division – all handled by simply turning the bezel. The slide-rule bezel execution was first featured by Breitling on the 1942 Chronomat, and it wasn’t until over a decade later that it was integrated into the first Navitimer design.
1958 Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 2552 ‘Disco Volante’
Patek Philippe has released many different executions of its classic Calatrava over the decades. It’s a fairly simple design to iterate on, as all that is required to be considered a Calatrava is a time-only dial and a round case shape. The ref. 2552 we have here fits the Calatrava categorization perfectly, but it is definitely one of the funkier historical executions. Known as the “Disco Volante,” or flying saucer, this watch has some great characteristics you won’t find on other Calatrava-style watches. These include the distinctive, stepped bezel that adds nice dimension to the case profile, and the semi-recessed crown that maintains the visual symmetry of the case.
1967 Omega Speedmaster Professional Ref. 105.012-66
Omega released the first Speedmaster in 1957, and from that point on, nothing would be the same for the chronograph genre. The original Speedmaster was intended to be a drivers’ watch – hence the “speed” in Speedmaster – and it is considered the first chronograph to place a tachymeter scale on an external bezel. Omega submitted the Speedmaster to NASA for use in space during the Apollo missions, where it subsequently passed all the necessary tests to become the first flight-qualified watch for all manned space missions. The watch we have today is the first reference to feature the “Professional” language on the dial. It’s also the same reference worn by many early astronauts, including Neil Armstrong when he set foot on the Moon in 1969.
The Full Story
In addition to the three highlight watches above, we have a beautiful Omega from 1962 with a butterscotch-colored tropical dial, a funky Vulcain Centenary from the 1960s, a mint 1960s Croton Chronomaster with broad-arrow style hands, and a seldom-seen 1970s Zenith El Primero Ref. A778. Head on over to the HODINKEE Shop to check out all the new vintage watches!