We believe every vintage watch has a story to tell. That’s what HODINKEE was founded on, and since 2016, we’ve used our knowledge to bring you a curated selection of vintage watches in the HODINKEE Shop that you won’t find elsewhere, all delivered with an emphasis on education, transparency, and storytelling. And now, we’re kicking things up a notch.
You’ll still find us here every Wednesday morning, and we’ll still be highlighting what we love and what you should know about every vintage watch that appears in the HODINKEE Shop. You’ll also see every angle, of every watch, because we shoot all the vintage watches listed in the HODINKEE Shop ourselves – and we always will.
What’s new, however, is the amount of watches you’ll discover each week. We’ve grown our team of specialists, and we’re now able to deliver a larger – and broader – selection of vintage watches than ever before. You’ll also learn about the highlight pieces in each week’s assortment in articles like the below, directly from the team members who are most excited about them. The comments section is also now open for discussion, because we want to hear from you – don’t hesitate to let us know what you think and what you’d like to see from us going forward.
This Week’s Vintage Watches
There are 15 new vintage watches up for grabs this Wednesday, and a number of those are perfect for tapping into the Halloween spirit before this weekend. That means plenty of orange accents – hello, 1969 Doxa Sub 300T Professional ‘U.S. Divers’ – plus a blacked-out 1970s Porsche Design by Orfina included for good measure. You have some serious classics to consider, including a blue-dialed Tudor Submariner from 1978 and a 1972 Rolex GMT-Master “Root Beer” with a faded bezel, as well as some deep-cut examples from brands like Breitling, Heuer, Girard-Perregaux, and Patek Philippe. You can check out all the watches for yourself in the HODINKEE Shop, or read on to discover a few of our team’s personal highlights.
A 1960s LeJour Yachtingraf And A 1972 Rolex GMT-Master ‘Root Beer’
By Saori Omura
I appreciate watch brands that take a chance in their designs to craft something functional yet totally out of the box. Modern watches often feel overly safe and can lack any sense of playfulness, so there is really something to be said about these colorful, quirky tool watches from the 1960s and 1970s that capture the imagination. This 1972 LeJour Yachtingraf is a perfect example.
At its core, it’s a classic 38mm manual-wound chronograph in steel with a screw-down caseback designed for on-the-water operation – but the oversized regatta counter on the dial in red, blue, and white jumps out at you right away. If you don’t find yourself attending yacht races very often, that’s totally ok, because you can easily repurpose the countdown function for brewing your perfect cup of coffee or tea each morning. Plus, how fun is the LeJour logo at 12 o’clock! The whole package serves as an excellent reminder that collecting vintage watches is all about appreciating the different stories and characters that each piece brings to your collection and to not take it all so seriously. You can sail away with this 1972 LeJour Yachtingraf in the HODINKEE Shop today.
This Rolex GMT-Master caught my eye right away when it came across our desks. The various colors all blend together so seamlessly that it doesn’t even look like a two-tone watch at first glance. I love a nice “ghost” bezel, and this one is extra special because of its two-tone colorway. The pair of light grey and soft champagne hues on the bezel come together nicely with the combination of steel and gold in the case and bracelet. The bezel colors have faded to a degree where even the numerals are now faint (which is a detail I quite like about the watch, as it makes it less obvious that it is a Rolex GMT-Master). Finally, the “Root Beer” brown dial on this watch has a hint of burgundy that comes through beautifully in certain lights and angles.
The gold accents on the dial also match the case and crown, adding a hint of elegance to the classic tool-watch design, plus the original Jubilee bracelet is easily one of the most comfortable bracelet options out there. It’s interesting to witness how vintage watches age differently over time, and this GMT-Master is one of the more enigmatic examples I’ve come across – see for yourself.
A 1978 Tudor Submariner ‘Snowflake’ And A 1963 Patek Philippe Calatrava In Stainless Steel
By Brandon Frazin
One of the aspects I love most about vintage watches is the subtlety, but when it comes to certain models – including numerous Rolex examples – the details, and the value within them, can become more apparent from afar. That’s why I appreciate Tudor’s take on the Submariner. You’ll fly under the radar, while also retaining all the classic elements of a vintage Submariner. It’s the best of both worlds, plus you can opt for a watch like today’s example, with a blue-dial and blue-bezel in a steel case.
These Tudor Submariners feature square lume plots and a “snowflake” handset, which helped inspire the look of the contemporary Tudor Black Bay series that was introduced in 2012. The Tudor Submariner we have listed today is in nice, attractive condition, and it comes from the original owner who purchased it new in 1978. Unfortunately, he did not save the box or papers, but he did keep the watch in great condition. The lume has aged to an attractive buttery yellow color and is all matching, seamlessly complementing the cool blue tone of the dial and bezel. Like every Submariner, this blue-dialed Tudor is extremely versatile. On the bracelet, it’s excellent, and on a NATO strap or leather, it’s just as good while also almost feeling like a new watch. Try this Tudor Submariner out for size in the HODINKEE Shop.
While a vintage Submariner is one of my go-to daily watches, my tastes have evolved over the years, especially after working in the auction world. When I first started in the business, the idea of wearing a time-only “dress watch” was not appealing at all, but as I kept working and learning, I slowly warmed to the concept thanks, in particular, to Patek Philippe’s Calatrava.
The Calatrava we are adding to the HODINKEE Shop today is a ref. 3483, which Patek Philippe first brought to market in 1963. Interestingly, the brand would only ever offer the reference in stainless steel. This example is from the first year of production and features the manually wound 27SC movement inside of a screw-back case. (I always appreciate a screw-down caseback for the added protection it provides.) With a 35mm diameter, this watch fits nicely on the wrist and the straight, downturned lugs provide it with good wrist presence. This Calatrava has aged gracefully over the years. The silvered dial has developed a nice champagne-colored patina throughout, and its sunburst finish reflects the light quite attractively. One great thing to note about this watch is how versatile it can be depending on the strap choice. We’ve paired it with our Moss Green Calfskin Strap, to bring out the patina on the dial and to dress the whole profile down a bit, which I think better matches the durable and low-key nature of stainless steel. Go ahead and up your dress watch game with this steel Calatrava.
A 1970s Glycine Airman SST And A 1970s Porsche Design By Orfina Chronograph I
By Logan Baker
The very first watch I purchased for myself was a 1970s Glycine sport model that I snagged off a forum in my early undergraduate years. I was a complete and utter neophyte to all aspects of watch collecting at that point, but one of the first topics I dove into was the history of Glycine, which always comes back to a single watch: The Airman. We showed you a pretty incredible example of the Glycine Airman in its original form last week, and today, we’re back again with one of its later evolutions, the SST.
This Glycine comes from a moment in the history of air travel that seemed to be full of limitless potential. It was early 1967, and Boeing had just been awarded the U.S. government contract for developing the first supersonic commercial jet, the 2707 SST (SuperSonic Transport). Glycine released its own SST – with a two-tone black and grey dial and a bold, bright orange internal 24-hour rotating bezel – soon after to emphasize its relevance in the rapidly changing world of aviation. The Boeing 2707 SST never reached completion, however, with the project eventually being canceled in 1971. (The story of the project’s cultural and economic impact on the greater Seattle area is fascinating – do you recall what the former NBA team in Washington State was named after? – but alas, it is for another time.)
While Boeing’s SST never officially took off, I personally believe the Glycine SST manages to reach the expectations it set out for itself on release. It’s a bold, memorable take on a classic tool watch, with a look that feels straight out of the 1970s (the Airman SST remained in production until 1978) but will be right at home on any contemporary wrist. Its orange internal bezel has earned it the well-deserved nickname of “Pumpkin” among some collectors, which is why we knew it would be a great fit for this week’s pre-Halloween vintage selection. You can pick this “Pumpkin” for yourself right now in the HODINKEE Shop.
Where the Glycine Airman SST exudes 1970s style with its use of bright orange and tonneau-shaped case, this Porsche Design by Orfina Chronograph that comes from the same decade evokes a more contemporary sheen with its blacked-out case and bracelet. Although commonplace today, the use of physical vapor deposition (PVD) to achieve a single comprehensive color on the outer elements of a watch had never been executed successfully before Ferdinand Alexander “Butzi” Porsche founded his eponymous design studio in 1972. F.A. Porsche is best known for creating the Porsche 911 – swoon – but what is likely his second most well-known design (at least among watch lovers) is seen here with an automatic chronograph built in collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker Orfina.
Porsche Design would later go on to collaborate with IWC and a few other brands, but the firm’s work with Orfina represented its inaugural venture into watchmaking. The example we have today is a 1970s reference powered by the self-winding Lemania 5100. It’s in good overall condition with consistent wear to the PVD coating on the case and bracelet. It also comes with its original box, instruction manual, and a blank guarantee. Blacked-out watch designs can be hit-or-miss for many people, but there’s something so inherently compelling about wearing an early progenitor of the aesthetic with this Porsche Design.
To view the entire current selection of vintage watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here.