Hey guys, Ben here. It’s been a minute, I know. But I wanted to take a second today to share with you some changes – I believe all for the better – to how HODINKEE handles something that is near and dear to my heart, and the hearts of many of my colleagues here, and certainly you, our readers – vintage watches.
Vintage watches are at the very core of this company. They were, after my grandfather’s Omega, my first love in mechanical watches, and in many ways, it was the schooling I learned studying vintage watches by myself for those many years that taught me to have the eye that I do in all forms of collecting. Beyond that, the community that surrounds vintage watches is as active as any – and as I’ve said many times, the thing I am most proud of after 12 years of HODINKEE has little to do with the watches themselves, and entirely to do with the home that we’ve helped build for now millions of people just like us. And having said that, I want you to know that each and every one of these changes we’re announcing today is a direct result of listening to you, our dear community. So what’s happening here? Let’s get into it.
What You See Is What You Get
More vintage watches, more transparency, more feedback. When we launched our online vintage watches program in 2016, we wanted to solve the problems of the day – dealers requiring you to contact them to inquire about a price, or make a purchase. People glossing over what was wrong with watches with tricky verbiage. And frankly, a lack of accountability.
We think we helped push the entire market to be more descriptive and more honest about what a vintage watch really is, and our “Things To Love” and “Things To Know” on each individual piece – a frank, honest assessment of the good and the bad of each watch – is still something we receive amazing feedback on. Because there’s no such thing as a perfect 50-year-old watch – and that’s ok! The nicks and bruises are all part of what makes vintage watches interesting. If you want a mint condition watch, buy a brand new one. It’s just that simple.
We’ve Expanded Our Team
Since 2016, we’ve hired more photographers, writers, and experts to help build out the vintage department even further. Now helmed by the amazing Logan Baker (ex-WatchTime), Brandon Frazin (ex-Christie’s), Saori Omura (ex-Antiquorum), and managed by the man himself, Mr. Russell Kelly (ex-Tudor/Rolex), you couldn’t ask for a better team to ensure the highest quality of watches, storytelling, and service. The amount of vetting that every watch goes through by Brandon and Saori is downright remarkable – and everything we sell is backed completely by us. You’ll never be left in the wind should something go wrong. Which, by the way, it can, because these are weird old watches! And that’s OK. If something does go wrong, we want you to know our team is behind you, and quite frankly, our entire job is to make you happy. You’ll see even more of that to come soon.
One of the complaints we hear most often is ‘I want to buy a vintage watch from you, but by the time I get to the shop each Wednesday, they’re all sold out.’
That sucks, and trust us, it’s not by design.
With our expanded team, we’ve decided to up the quantity and quality of the watches we’ll be offering for sale online. We’re doing this because we’ve listened to you, and the demand is there. In fact, one of the complaints we hear most often is “I want to buy a vintage watch from you, but by the time I get to the shop each Wednesday, they’re all sold out.” That sucks, and trust us, it’s not by design. But with the level of detail we go into for each piece, it wasn’t possible to bring any more watches to market with the level of vetting we insist on. Now, with our expanded team, we can. So there will be more watches with greater variety than ever. Just wait to see what we have below.
We Want To Hear From You
Oh, and on the transparency thing. We know you guys have thoughts. Lots of them. On everything. And we know you love to get ’em out into the world. So starting today, every time we drop some vintage watches for sale, the comments are on, baby. The goal here is not to allow a platform for bickering or snide remarks, an inevitability of literally all digital platforms across the world, but rather to engage in meaningful dialogue that pushes the conversation and scholarship of watches forward. More comments, we believe, will lead to a greater understanding of watches in general.
With the expanded assortment of vintage watches each week, our team of editors will likewise be working on some more vintage-heavy content for you. We know the types of stories you love, and you’re gonna be getting a lot of them. Deep dives, Reference Points, you name it. It’s all coming to you soon.
But before we do that, let’s talk about today. Because we’ve gone ahead and found some outstanding ones for you, ranging from high to low, and all very special.
This Week’s Highlights
A 1950s Vulcain Cricket In 14k Yellow Gold
First, we wanted to celebrate a watch we’ve talked about for a decade-plus on HODINKEE as something we just love – a Vulcain Cricket. You know, the watch of Presidents, and one of the most charming vintage watches out there. This one is noteworthy in that it’s solid 14k gold, and very honest. It’s smaller at 34mm, but so charming, and very elegant. Also, the sound of the alarm is just wonderful. You can take a closer look at this Cricket right now in the HODINKEE Shop.
A 1960s Zenith Cairelli CP-2 Chronograph For The Italian Air Force
We then go into a watch that we still believe has a long way to go in terms of appreciation and value – the Zenith Cairelli CP-2. As you likely remember from the story we wrote many years back, this is a real Italian Air Force-issued watch, and this particular example is just killer with a strong case, deep caseback engravings, and nice aged dial, hands, and bezel. You can learn more about this Cairelli, right here.
A 1960s Heuer Carrera Ref. 2447N ‘First Execution’
To round it out, let’s talk about full-on blue-chip, flagship vintage watches. First, we have one of my favorite chronographs of all time, the early 1960s Heuer Carrera Reference 2447N. This watch, as expertly detailed by our old pal Eric Wind in this 2013 story, has so much character and charm, not to mention incredible quality and value in it, it’s a must for a serious vintage chronograph collector. As we’ve often said, this watch is very much an early Daytona 6239 by a different name. This one, of course, has the original unsigned crown, just as it should. See it for yourself.
A 1974 Rolex ‘Red’ Submariner Ref. 1680 With Box And Papers
Next, what’s more blue-chip than a Red Sub? How about one with a thick case, an original folded 9315 bracelet, original inner and outer box, and PUNCHED guarantee card (little tip for you – hand-written papers on a vintage Rolex are good, punched papers are GREAT). This watch has just the right look, and it can be yours today.
A 1960 Omega Speedmaster Ref. 2998-1 With Tropical Dial
Finally, how could we ever talk vintage watches without a KILLER Omega Speedmaster? Yes, this guy features the legendary 321 caliber. Yes, this is a 2998-1, otherwise known as the very foundation of the Speedmaster as we know it, and this one is complete with rare base-1000 bezel, original bracelet, extract from the Omega Archives, a replacement crystal and the original crystal, absolutely gorgeous hands – and did I mention the dial is a killer shade of dark chocolate brown? This is a dream Speedmaster, and one we are thrilled to offer to you guys in the HODINKEE Shop.
These watches aren’t all we have for you, but they’re some of my personal favorites for this week (you can check out the rest of this week’s lineup, and all of the vintage watches currently available in the HODINKEE Shop, right here). Again, we hope that the increased attention we’ve given to vintage watches, as well as the fact that we now encourage feedback on everything we do publicly below, is something you guys appreciate. Oh, and don’t think because we’re upping the game on vintage that anything will change on the modern side of the house. We have some incredible things coming to you very soon. I’d pay close attention to this space on October 27 if I were you …
Until next time,