You may have heard the news. HODINKEE is now in the pre-owned watch business. What does that mean? Well, you’ll now find a curated selection of pre-loved watches available in the HODINKEE Shop that we’ve scrutinized, serviced, photographed, and sourced from their owners around the world to bring to you. We’re getting our feet wet before we dive all the way in, so in the short-term, expect to see a new batch of pre-owned watches highlighted right here nearly every Thursday by the team members that are most excited about them. And in the future? The sky’s the limit.
Oh, and just as with our selection of vintage and new watches, we’re tackling the pre-owned market with our enthusiast hats on, and we’ll only highlight the best of what’s out there with a focus on variety, education, transparency, and storytelling. If there’s a scratch on the caseback, you’ll know about it. If the case has been polished, you’ll know about it. And if you buy a watch and something goes wrong, we’ve got you covered with a one-year warranty and seven-day return policy on all pre-owned watches. And of course, every single pre-owned watch that you see in the HODINKEE Shop is the actual watch we have available for sale.
What you see is what you get – no matter what.
This Week’s Pre-Owned Favorites
We apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled program of ’80s watch content for some back-to-the-future timepieces. Yup, everything listed in today’s selection of nine pre-owned watches dates from the 1990s to today. (Why that date? Here’s the scoop on how we distinguish pre-owned watches from vintage watches.) And we’ve got some heavy hitters for you from across the spectrum.
All your favorites and more are represented here, from a complete-set OMEGA 1957 Trilogy, with all three watches (!) plus box and papers; your choice of Rolex watches, between the fan-favorite white-dial Oyster Perpetual 39 and a drop-dead-gorgeous 1990s solid-gold “Zenith” Daytona; plus, a mid-2010s complicated Breitling Transocean that might just be the secret hit of this week’s selection…
You can take a closer look at our entire pre-owned assortment right here, or read on for our team members’ top picks.
Tudor Black Bay Ref. 79220R ‘Smiley’
By Logan Baker
First up, we’ve got an old friend – the first-generation Tudor Black Bay, an undisputed champ of watchmaking from the previous decade. It’s hard to understate the sheer amount of buzz this watch brought with it when the brand introduced it in 2012. Tudor was fresh off the Heritage Chronograph and used the excitement of the Black Bay’s debut to ride back into various international markets – including, ahem, right here in the U.S. – where it had been absent from for far too long. It’s hard to imagine today’s contemporary watch landscape without Tudor and even harder for me to imagine my watch collection without a Black Bay in it; I’m writing this with one on my wrist right now.
Here we have an original Tudor Black Bay with a burgundy bezel insert from the collection’s inaugural series, as indicated by the automatic ETA 2824 movement inside, the classic Tudor Rose logo at 12 o’clock, and the curved “SELF-WINDING” text at six o’clock that gives it the “Smiley” nickname. When Tudor switched the Black Bay over to its in-house movement series in 2015, all these details accompanied the ETA ebauché out the door, ending Tudor’s five-decade-long history of producing ETA-powered dive watches with it.
So, is the first-gen Black Bay a future collectible? Maybe. Given its enthusiast prominence and overall significance to the brand today, it’s difficult to fathom Tudor without the Black Bay anytime soon. And the first of something is always important to dyed-in-the-wool collectors – although you won’t find me handing out speculative advice. But is it a fantastic watch? Yes. That’s an unequivocal yes. And this example comes as a complete set – make it yours in the HODINKEE Shop.
OMEGA 1957 ‘Trilogy’ Limited Edition Set
By Cait Bazemore
It’s hard not to appreciate the Moonwatch. It was the only model to pass NASA’s torture tests and secure its place in one of the most significant moments in our planet’s history: The inaugural trip to the Moon. As if you needed another reason to marvel at OMEGA’s horological prowess, just look at the other watches the brand produced the very same year as the first Speedy. In 1957, OMEGA launched the Seamaster 300 ref. CK2913, marking the history of the Seamaster as the superior dive watch as we know it today. That same year, the brand also debuted the Railmaster, a lesser-known yet equally adept model boasting antimagnetic properties a la the Rolex Milgauss.
To say 1957 turned out to be a big year for OMEGA would be an understatement, and 50 years later in 2017, the brand would have been remiss not to commemorate the occasion. What better way to do so than with a beautifully boxed set with near-exact reincarnations of each watch. OMEGA went so far as to use digital scanning technology to make the look and feel just like the originals. Yet under the hood, you’ll find the latest and greatest OMEGA technology, with the manually wound caliber 1861 found in the current generation of the Speedmaster Professional and a METAS-certified Master Chronometer caliber 8806 in both the Seamaster and Railmaster.
Run don’t walk to snag this numbered, limited edition box set of all three watches right now in the HODINKEE Shop.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 16528 In 18k Yellow Gold
By Rich Fordon
Logan, Cait, and I like to host snake drafts to divide the writing privileges for each week’s grouping of pre-owned watches – it’s really the only way. This Rolex “Zenith” Daytona was my first overall selection. While this week’s group is full of classics, there was no way an 18k yellow-gold Daytona was making it all the way back to my second-round selection, the sixth overall pick of the draft. So, *draft chime* with the first pick in the March 4, 2021, HODINKEE Pre-Owned draft, Rich Fordon selects the ref. 16528 Daytona, chronograph, Rolex.
As a vintage guy at heart, the choice was easy really. Beyond the vintage 101 Rolex Daytona details – from the Cosmograph’s origin story to Paul Newman’s penchant for the model – there’s so much to appreciate about this watch. Everyone seems to know and love the various 62XX references, as they stuck around the Rolex catalog for decades from the 1960s into the 1980s. For the collector, of any kind, drawn toward a watch with a story behind it, I can’t think of a better candidate than the Rolex “Zenith” Daytona.
There’s so much to read on how this watch came to be. It really starts with the name in quotes, Zenith. The nickname comes from the modified Zenith El Primero movement that powers this generation of Rolex Daytonas. Behind this caliber is the race to create the world’s first automatic chronograph, the Quartz Revolution nearly causing the movement to disappear, and the heroics of Charles Vermot – the man who helped save Zenith, eventually allowing them to provide Rolex with its inaugural automatic chronograph movement. From there, Rolex wrapped its first truly modern chronograph Oyster case design around a modified El Primero and completely revamped the Daytona’s dial.
The Daytona ref. 16528 does it all in 18k yellow gold and with an uncommon champagne gold-tone dial. I really fell in love with this watch during our brief time with it, so check out the rest of the details over in the HODINKEE Shop.
Best Of The Rest
That’s not all we have for you today. Taking us home are six additional pieces that highlight the overall diversity that pre-owned watches have to offer. We have you covered no matter where you’re at in your collecting journey. Here’s the rundown: There’s a full-set example of the cult-classic and – sadly – recently discontinued white-dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39, a solid-gold, sub-40mm OMEGA Speedmaster, a classic California-dial Panerai Radiomir, and the always-unconventional sport-luxury hybrid Cartier Roadster. Plus, there’s a no-date Zenith El Primero dress chronograph that offers a true value proposition.
And about that Breitling we teased earlier? Just take a closer look at the Transocean Chronograph GMT Limited Edition, an in-house chronograph with local jumping-hour “true” GMT functionality paired on a mesh stainless steel bracelet. It’s a real hidden gem from the brand’s transitional mid-2010s era.
To view the entire current selection of pre-owned watches available in the HODINKEE Shop, click here.