Sometimes, the most universally well-liked and respected things prove themselves as the best time and time again. In movies, you’ll find titles like Citizen Kane, The Godfather, and Pulp Fiction at the top of most “best” or “greatest of all time” lists because, well, they’re just really that special. The classics are the classics for a reason.
This week’s drop features models that would pop up near the top of a similar list in the world of vintage watches. Rolex’s Submariner, Omega’s Speed- and Seamasters, and Heuer’s Carrera are classics and, while they pop up from time to time in our drops, this week we curated some really special examples with a few added details.
Beyond the blockbuster hits, the selection includes some lesser-known watches that could always use more attention from brands like Gallet and Zenith. There’s even a brand in here we can’t quite pin down; Duval Jewelry Co. could be the Uncut Gem(s) of the vintage world. Check out the entire drop over in the vintage watches section of the HODINKEE Shop now.
1960s Heuer Carrera ‘Dato 45’ Ref. 3147N
By Rich Fordon
Yesterday at 8:00 AM ET, HODINKEE’s second limited edition with TAG Heuer was introduced, placed for sale, and sold out all within a few minutes. The watch takes inspiration from a vintage Heuer Carrera nicknamed the “Dato 45” with its chronograph and date layout, black dial, and stainless steel case. The vintage watch is filled in the Heuer archives as reference number 3147N, with the “N” standing for noir. The LE team here at HODINKEE took that noir feel to the next level by opting for more black features than even the original, such as in the outer chapter ring. The look and feel of each of these watches are just excellent and distinctly different. Experiencing how two pieces, that are on the surface and in the specs very similar, can come off vastly different in the metal is part of what makes watch collecting so great.
Very few watch designs stand out on a table at a get-together or in a watchbox like the Heuer Carrera “Dato 45.” The second-execution cyclops dial layout naturally draws attention even when put next to vintage watches in much larger cases and even with more complications. More collectors, namely the great Jeff Stein, seem to refer to the Dato’s dial as a cyclops, but I prefer to look at it as winking. Brandon even said he can’t look at the dial without seeing a winking face Emoji – so that’s something. Check out our winking noir “Dato 45” in the Shop now.
1968 Omega Speedmaster Ref. 145.012-67 SP Retailed by Meister
By Brandon Frazin
The Speedmaster is a watch that can start and even finish a collection. Its origins date back to 1957 and was originally geared toward drivers. But in the mid-1960s, it became the first watch to be flight-qualified by NASA, and when I hear Speedmaster, I think of that big ball of cheese in the sky. On a personal level, the Speedy Pro is a watch I hold close to my heart. As I mentioned in “My Watch Story,” I grew up watching my grandfather wear one, and whenever I mentioned it to him, he would just say, “this watch went to the moon.” It’s something that always intrigued me and makes me think of him.
The Speedy we have here today is a ref. 145.012 circa 1968 and was originally sold by the Swiss retailer, Meister. Dubbed the “SpeedMeister,” this example is signed on the dial by the retailer underneath the “Professional” text at 12. In the world of vintage watches, retailer-signed watches are some of the most sought-after and most coveted pieces. Retailer-signed Speedmasters are not very common, and when we found this one, we knew we needed to offer it in the Shop. Between all the little details of the ref. 145.012 plus the retailer-signed dial, I can’t help but stare at this thing all day when it’s in my vicinity. Another neat thing about this watch is that the caseback has a personal engraving, “Ralph N Childs Switzerland 1968.” The original owner, Ralph, must have purchased this at Meister in 1968, which all lines up so nicely with when the watch is from and with the Meister on the dial. Click here to take a closer look at Ralph’s Speedy.
1966 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 1013
By Saori Omura
Continuing from last week, I’m on my yellow-gold Rolex train! As of late, yellow-gold watches are speaking to me. An all-gold watch with a bracelet can be a bit intimidating, but a strap makes it definitively more wearable, and this watch fits the bill. The ref. 1013 is quite a rarity. The ref. 1012 and 1013 were offered in gold – the ref. 1012 with a smooth bezel and ref. 1013 with the signature fluted bezel, as you see here with this example.
For this watch, the non-date design keeps it simple and elegant, focusing on a cohesive design as a whole as opposed to focusing on each element of the piece. The monochrome gold-tone motif from the dial, applied dagger hour markers, and luminous baton hands flow nicely together with the gold case and the bezel. The lume on the dial and the hands has aged perfectly in custard yellow, matching the rest of the watch. The warm patina really makes this watch sing! Measuring 36mm across, it has a nice heft, which is most definitely satisfying on the wrist. Head over to the Shop for all the details.
To view the entire current selection of vintage watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here.