Vintage Watches: A 1970s Cartier Tortue, A 1998 Patek Philippe Aquanaut, And A 1970s Universal Genève Retailed By Hermès

Vintage Watches: A 1970s Cartier Tortue, A 1998 Patek Philippe Aquanaut, And A 1970s Universal Genève Retailed By Hermès

Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching. Over the next two weeks, we’ve mixed in a few more unisex-leaning vintage watches, just in case your significant other is bare-wristed this winter (or you’re in the proverbial dog house). For this week, included as well are the more usual suspects from Rolex, Universal Genève, and Breitling. Picking out a theme, any of today’s watches would make an outstanding gift to someone you love or even yourself.

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/legant-zenith-chronograph-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1960s LeGant Caliber 146HP Chronograph For Montgomery Ward By Zenith</u></a></p>

1960s LeGant Caliber 146HP Chronograph For Montgomery Ward By Zenith

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/patek-philippe-rectangle-ref-2427" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1951 Patek Philippe Ref. 2427 In 18k Yellow Gold</u></a></p>

1951 Patek Philippe Ref. 2427 In 18k Yellow Gold

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/1966-rolex-gmt-master-ref-1675-glossy-dial"><u>1966 Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 With Glossy Dial</u></a></p>

1966 Rolex GMT-Master Ref. 1675 With Glossy Dial

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/rolex-precision-18k-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1954 Rolex Precision Ref. 9006 In 18k Yellow Gold</u></a></p>

1954 Rolex Precision Ref. 9006 In 18k Yellow Gold

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/breitling-788-chronograph-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank">1940s Breitling Premier Chronograph Ref. 788</a></p>

1940s Breitling Premier Chronograph Ref. 788

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/rolex-ref-6694-oysterdate-precision-blue-dial-on-bracelet-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1978 Rolex Oysterdate Precision Ref. 6694 With Blue Dial</u></a></p>

1978 Rolex Oysterdate Precision Ref. 6694 With Blue Dial

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/nivada-chronoking-chronograph-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1970s Nivada Chronoking Chronomaster Ref. 85017/4773</u></a></p>

1970s Nivada Chronoking Chronomaster Ref. 85017/4773

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/omega-stainless-steel-constellation-on-ss-bracelet-1" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1950s Omega Constellation Ref. 14393 6 SC</u></a></p>

1950s Omega Constellation Ref. 14393 6 SC

<p><a href="https://shop.hodinkee.com/products/bulova-marine-star-chrono-2" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><u>1970s Bulova Marine Star Chronograph Ref. BA 8080101 A</u></a></p>

1970s Bulova Marine Star Chronograph Ref. BA 8080101 A

Beyond the opportunity to treat that special someone, this week’s selection speaks for itself. Three watches from the group are highlighted in more detail here, but other favorites include a LeGant-branded Zenith originally sold in a Montgomery Ward catalog, an especially uncommon Nivada Chronomaster, and a glossy Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675. Check out the entire selection, from the Full Story to the Nitty Gritty, over in the HODINKEE Shop.

A 1998 Patek Philippe Aquanaut Ref. 5060A

By Brandon Frazin

This is the first Aquanaut we’ve ever offered in the HODINKEE Shop, and it couldn’t have come at a better time with the steel-sport-Patek craze that continues unabated. The Aquanaut has a more contemporary look and feel compared to most of the watches we typically offer, but this is the original Aquanaut, now over 20 years old. Patek Philippe used tritium lume for the dial and hands on these early examples before switching over to Super-LumiNova, and as a result, they’re known to age. The lume on the dial of this example has done exactly that, turning a very nice butter-yellow color with slight patina on the edge.  

When looking at this watch in hand, one detail really sticks out to me: The textured dial that almost looks like a pineapple grenade. This aggressive pattern has become synonymous with the Aquanaut, and Patek Philippe continues to use the same motif on more recent examples. The combination of the textured dial, the large luminous hands, the applied Arabic numerals, and the rubber composite strap really gives the Aquanaut a true sport watch vibe. Another thing I dig about these original Aquanauts is they’re understated and can fly under the radar – it’s one of those “if you know, you know” situations, which I always appreciate. And if you know, you should head over to the Shop now to snatch this early Aquanaut up.  

A 1970s Universal Genève Stainless Steel Dress Watch Retailed By Hermès

By Saori Omura

Universal Genève has always been one of our favorite watchmakers since the brand’s catalog truly covers a wide variety of designs, from beautifully executed tool watches with complications like the Tri-Compax to elegant dress watches for the spiffy, sartorially-conscious set. It’s no wonder then that Hermès, the quintessential Parisian purveyor of luxury goods, saw a connection with Universal Genève. Known for its distinctive yet classic equestrian style, it made total sense for Hermès to align with a company that could also represent sporty-chic when it came to watches. The two companies started their collaborative efforts in the 1930s and continued working together for approximately four decades, which says a lot about their loyalty to one another. 

What I love about this watch is that the co-branding is not represented on the dial, as is a certainly more common practice. Instead, the Hermès signature is discreetly stamped on the caseback. From the front, the watch is a clean, well-proportioned piece. The simple stainless steel case with a crisp non-lume eggshell dial is quite sharp-looking, perfect for any occasion. The bold black Roman numerals and the subtle “U” logo with the Universal Genève signature underneath keeps the dial uncluttered for clean legibility. The blued steel leaf hands are a nod to classic watchmaking, plus they provide a nice pop of color. The case also measures only 6mm in thickness, thanks to the ultra-slim manually wound caliber 42 inside. If you’re a Universal Genève and an Hermès fan, this one is not to be missed, so head to the Shop now to make it your own. 

A 1970s Cartier Tortue In 18k Yellow Gold

By Rich Fordon

The period of French history between 1880 and the outbreak of the World War I is often termed, La Belle Époque, or “The Beautiful Epoch.” In this interwar period of peace, France blossomed under a growing economy. For high society, La Belle Époque meant the opening of the Moulin Rouge and the construction of the Eiffel Tower for the 1889 World’s Fair. For Louis Cartier, La Belle Époque meant guiding the Maison Cartier into wristwatches by designing the Santos-Dumont in 1904, and in 1912, the addition of the Baignoire and Tortue. With all three predating the classic Cartier Tank, this trio of wristwatch designs placed an exclamation point on an era of prosperity and opulence that brought Cartier to the forefront of the luxury goods industry.

One of the first designed and longest-running wristwatch models from Cartier, the Tortue, features a nearly tonneau-shaped case with distinctive curved sides and, most often, a classic Roman numeral dial. This week, we’re excited to offer a Cartier Tortue in 18k yellow gold dating to the 1970s. This example is paired with its original Cartier-stamped mesh bracelet in matching 18k gold to complete the look. At a suitable size for both men and women, this Tortue is an excellent gift that could always be “borrowed” from time to time by the gifter, if the occasion or mood strikes. Head on over to the Shop for all the photos and details on this share-size Cartier.

To view the entire current selection of vintage watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here

Questions? Send us a note, or let us know in the comments. Want to sell your watch through the HODINKEE Shop? Click here

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