The third week in February is right around the time where a new year starts to feel comfortable and normal. Maybe you are only mistyping “2021” as “2020” once or twice a week. Hey, we improve every day. How are those resolutions doing, by the way? If you happened to promise yourself a new vintage watch, we can help. This week’s vintage drop includes the heavy-hitting classics as well as a few off-the-beaten-path options – all with a story to tell, be it on your wrist or mounted near your stove (more on that below).
As the shortest month of the year, February can be over in a blink of an eye, but it usually tends to drag as frigid temperatures hit (at least in our neck of the woods) and, well, it even snows in Texas. With the days creeping by, why not bring something into your life that allows you to focus on every passing second even more? Check out the entire vintage drop over on the HODINKEE Shop now.
1978 Rolex Day-Date Ref. 1803 With Spanish Day Disc
By Saori Omura
Following my colleagues Cara Barrett’s and Cait Bazemore’s recent pieces about how watches should not be categorized by gender, this is where Vintage watches really shine. Yes, there are cultural and industry norms that have been prevalent in terms of which styles, sizes, and colors people should wear. But I see that notion more as a general guideline and not as a rule anymore, especially in 2021.
Let’s think about how cultural norms have evolved over time. In the 1950s, a simple dress watch measuring on average around 35mm was the standard for men and under 30mm for women. I believe aesthetics are personal regardless of gender, and we’re in this new era in which we have the freedom to choose whatever we want to wear on any given day. So, why not take advantage of the variety of options? Today, men or women can wear an ultra-slim gold dress watch from the 1960s one day and a chunky sporty dive watch from the 1970s on another day. What you can wear and what you can’t wear is only in your mind, especially when it comes to vintage pieces. They’re all about the “feel,” since each piece is uniquely different because of how it’s lived through time. It’s all about feeling comfortable and wearing what makes you smile when you check your wrist to see the time. Watches are meant to elevate our lives, not to permanently define who we are as individuals or which gender we belong to. It’s what speaks to you, so keep an open mind and just let your instinct guide you.
This Rolex Day-Date ref. 1803 from 1978 in 18k yellow gold with a champagne dial, to me, is a perfect example of a watch that works wonderfully for both men and women. This model has long been associated with powerful global politicians and entertainers who, for the most part, happen to be men (at least so far). But when you look at the watch itself, it’s perfectly well-balanced to be worn by a woman. The 18k yellow-gold case measures at 36mm, and it wears nicely on any wrist size. As yellow-gold cases age, there’s a hint of rich warmth that comes through from the patina over time. The signature fluted gold bezel with the shimmery “pie pan” champagne dial gives the watch an ornate jewelry-like presence as well. The patina on the lume provides the accents in warm creamy yellow, which gives a subtle yet eye-catching punctuation to the dial. Lastly, the more uncommon Spanish calendar disc adds a nice twist to this model. Altogether, we have a decidedly gorgeous watch here in the Shop, one which has been imprinted in many people’s minds as epitome of classic luxury for over six decades.
1972 Patek Philippe Ref. 3587/2 ‘Beta 21’
By Brandon Frazin
It’s big, it’s bold, and, of course, it’s solid gold. This Beta 21 is just something else. One of the reasons why I decided to write about this watch this week is that it’s just so unique, and it gives such a specific type of satisfaction on the wrist. When holding this watch in my hand, I can’t help but feel empowered. Then, when I fastened it on my wrist, it’s unlike anything else I’ve worn.
The first thing I notice when looking at the Beta 21 is the gold bracelet with holes in it – these are synonymous with the model. Collectors have referred to this style of bracelet as “Swiss cheese” because of the holes, which is very fitting. Patek made different iterations of the Beta 21 and even a few different variations of the reference 3587, like we have here. This one has the integrated bracelet and champagne-colored dial, giving it that all-gold look that just can’t be missed. The creation of Beta 21 movement was collaboration between a few different companies and was used in multiple watches and brands. However, Patek is the one I think of when I hear Beta 21, which makes this watch particularly special. Head on over to the Shop to see for yourself.
1950s Heuer Autavia Dashboard Stopwatch Retailed By Abercrombie & Fitch Co
By Rich Fordon
Before joining the vintage team here at HODINKEE, I was (and still am) a longtime reader of the site. I can remember reading about Heuer dashboard timers in those earlier years of HODINKEE. The great and powerful Eric Wind highlighted a few sets back in 2014, here and here. Immediately, I was drawn to these, far more than any other stopwatch or pocket watch that had crossed my mid-2012 Macbook Pro. Quickly realizing I had no car to take to the track, the question became: Are these now relegated to being a desk clock for most people? If I don’t own an air-cooled Porsche 911, how do I enjoy a Heuer dashboard timer? Well, when this A&F-signed Autavia stopwatch came into the HODINKEE office, the answer dawned on me – mount it in your kitchen.
That’s right: In my dream kitchen, there’s a Heuer dash timer or two mounted right into the range. Location is up to you, but the watch could always go to the right of a pot filler (which are all the rage in kitchen build-outs these days), integrated into the stove knob dashboard if you picked your Viking model with the modification in mind, or even off to the side on a backsplash. The possibilities are endless, kind of. Regardless of where you put it, with this Heuer-dashboard-stopwatch-turned-kitchen-stopwatch, your pasta should always be perfectly al dente and your eggs expertly poached. A watched pot never boils? No worries, just stare at your vintage Heuer stopwatch while the water gets rolling. All the while, you’d be the coolest house on the block. I’m imagining a “keeping up with the Joneses” situation now, with Heuer stopwatches mounted in kitchens all down the block; now that’s my kind of neighborhood.
Sure, it’s a dashboard timer in name, but hit the Shop and at least imagine where you’d put this Heuer in your kitchen. Tap in to learn more about that Abercrombie & Fitch Co signature as well, an uncommon detail to further the story of your cooking.
To view the entire current selection of vintage watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here.