The glow of the new year has quickly faded, and here we are, in the throes of a brisk January. The days are short, and it’s easy to want nothing more than to curl up by a fire with a warm beverage, a good read, and, of course, your favorite timepiece on your wrist. There’s nothing more comforting than spending time inside with a vintage watch on a cold winter day, and our staff couldn’t agree more – now more than ever.
We’re all looking for something to enliven the winter months, and that something may very well be a vintage watch with a story that can’t help but warm your heart. Here, our staff has chosen three watches from this week’s vintage selection that are sure to remind you of sunnier days ahead. Keep reading to explore our picks, or pop on over to the HODINKEE Shop for this week’s full assortment of vintage watches that are ready and waiting to brighten your wrist.
A 1970s Audemars Piguet Dress Watch In 18k White Gold
By Saori Omura
I find the beauty of wearing a vintage dress watch is all about giving you the feeling of being a grown-up. But with the recent global pandemic, we’ve had fewer occasions to dress up, or even – for some of us – to go to the office. As a shift in our lifestyles began taking shape over the last year, the world has started dressing differently; a little more casual, and comfort has become key. But because of this new wardrobe rotation, I suddenly liked the idea of wearing a dress watch to remind me to sit up a bit straighter when working from home, and to wear it as a reminder that brighter days are ahead, keeping us inspired to look forward to when we can socialize in person once again.
This sleek and chic Audemars Piguet from the 1970s is exactly the type of watch I enjoy having on my wrist when I’m working from home, cocooned in a soft and cozy sweater. The simple but well-edited nature of the design gives it a serene sensibility and makes you feel you’re going along with time, not against it. The watch comes in a beautifully finished slim white-gold case that’s fairly large for its period. It gives the watch just the right amount of presence on my wrist and would on a man’s wrist also. The dial looks like it’s matte black at a glance, but up close, it has a very deep navy blue hue and provides an ideal backdrop for the hands and hour marker accents to offer ample legibility. Thanks to Audemars Piguet’s ultra-slim manual wound movement (the caliber 2001), the case thickness measures only 6mm, which allows for a compact wearing experience when typing on a keyboard or taking a break and having a cup of tea on the sofa. The versatility of this piece is endless, now and beyond. Give yourself a subtle uplift for your wrist by heading over to the HODINKEE Shop now.
A 1963 Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 ‘PCG’ With Glossy Dial
By Brandon Frazin
We haven’t had a glossy dial GMT-Master in the HODINKEE Shop for quite some time, and I’m pleased we’re able to offer this beauty today. Rolex started off producing the GMT-Master with a glossy dial in 1955, and it continued production until the mid-1960s before making the transition to matte dials. Glossy dial Rolex sport watches hold a special place in collectors’ hearts. I never owned a vintage Rolex with a glossy dial, but one is on my list – there’s just something about that shiny black dial that really speaks to me. I love that when you angle the watch, the dial almost looks like a mirror.
This example is from 1963 and features a “pointed crown guard” (PCG) case, meaning the crown guards are sharper than those on the following models. These early GMT-Masters feature this style of crown guards, whereas in the mid-1960s, Rolex would make the crown guards rounder, similar to what you’ll find on today’s GMT-Master II. This watch also simply has a great overall look, with a rich black dial featuring buttery lume, to the nicely faded “Pepsi” bezel and well-preserved Oyster rivet bracelet. If you’re ready to give this watch a good home, visit the HODINKEE Shop.
A 1966 Tudor Prince Oysterdate ‘Big Rose’ Ref. 7996 With Box And Papers
By Rich Fordon
This Tudor “Big Rose” sits at the intersection of three trends we’ve been following over the past year. With a 34mm Oyster case that sits close to the wrist, this ref. 7996 offers a look that’s unmistakably vintage, even from afar. Gone are the days when small-diameter non-sport Rolex and Tudor watches trade well below their larger, bezeled brothers. Collectors are increasingly looking to these simple references as perfect daily watches. Another feature previously seen as a flaw by the community is the lack of lume on the dial and hands. General sentiment has changed on this, with non-lume watches offering worry-free ownership with no risk of lume loss on a hand or an hour marker. To top it all off, this example is offered complete with box and papers, showing an original purchase by an active serviceman in Vietnam.
Through the PACEX catalog, Americans serving in the Pacific were offered the opportunity to purchase goods intended for sale in the markets in which they were stationed. The catalog included cameras, stereos, chinaware, small appliances, and, of course, watches. While most of the items were manufactured in the Pacific (like Seiko watches and Fujifilm cameras, for example), some were made outside the area but simply sold there, such as a Swiss watch. This watch was sold July 1, 1968, for $ 92.50 and is described as “1 Tudor watch” on the receipt, with intent for personal use. With a full set of box and papers, receiving this watch will offer nearly the same experience as the first owner. Just imagine yourself picking it out in the PACEX before the mailman arrives while you’re heading to the HODINKEE Shop to make it your own.
To view the entire current selection of vintage watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here.