When you think of watches by International Watch Company, you'll probably conjure images of the their lovely Portuguese chronographs, sturdy Aquatimer divers, Big Pilot aviators, or their 70's inspired Ingenieur SL. The latter is without question a pillar of wristwatch design, originally penned by legendary designer Gerald Genta, the "father" of the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus. With its characteristic integrated bracelet and sharp, angular case design, the Genta-penned Ingenieur is indisputably a sought after timepiece, but many don't know that the Ingy story started about twenty years prior.
Although IWC began producint anti-magnetic movements as early as 1888, the Reference 666 Ingenieur was IWC's first foray into producing a purpose-built anti-magnetic tool watch for scientific and industrial usage. Launched in 1954, the Ingenieur set the bar for all subsequent entries into the category, including the Omega Railmaster and the Rolex Milgauss. Offered originally in date and non-date format, the 666 is one of the most hard to find vintage IWC models on the market today. A combination of limited production and its unassuming looks (a large number of them were probably scrapped by people who didn't know they were something special), not to mention the perils of time, make early examples such as this one a highly desirable "pre-Genta" Ingenieur.
This particular piece comes from a private collection and is in outstanding original condition, with a crisp case, lovely silver pie-pan dial, and a Gay Freres signed bracelet that is to die for. Also available to interested parties are a second GF bracelet and a nearly flawless black service dial.
Perhaps most interestingly, the Reference 666 Ingenieur featured anti-magnetic protection up to 80,000 amperes per meter, exactly double the resistance of the SL model currently offered by IWC. Double. Newer, it seems, doesn't always mean better.
A great writeup on the history of the IWC Ingenieur can be found HERE.
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When you stare at vintage watches all day, you tend to see past the glitz and the glam of the oft-heralded 'icons' and begin to appreciate the understated timepieces that are generally passed over.
Take the Zenith Pilot, for example. While many enthusiasts are familiar with contemporary examples of the Pilot line from the Swiss manufacture, the early executions are largely overlooked. Zenith has long been acknowledged for producing many, if not all, of their watches in-house - a tradition that persists today.
This Pilot, dating from the early 1960s, is a perfect example of the brand's commitment to quality production and formidable design. With a manually-wound, 17-jewel Zenith movement housed in a svelte stainless case and topped with a gorgeous dark champagne-colored dial with subsidiary seconds at 6 o'clock and a signed crown, this watch is an extraordinary vintage piece that fits into any collection. Whether dressed up with an exotic, or down with a hearty leather, this gem is an excellent daily wearer at a tremendous value.
We admit it - we have a tendency to be repetitive.
When we find something we like, we stick with it. Call it old-fashioned, but that's just how we choose to be. So if you've been following us for awhile, you may notice a theme with some of our featured timepieces...and that theme is outright fantasticity (new word). Vintage wristwatches that are robust, beautiful, and timeless are the name of the game, and while the market is filled with myriad styles and models, we always come back to a certain few that have captured our imagination.
One such model is the venerable Datejust - perhaps the most recognizable model in the Rolex pantheon. In production since 1945, the original Datejust was designed for everyday wear, and was the world's first wristwatch to incorporate a date function. They have been worn proudly by presidents, athletes and movie stars - and probably your grandfather. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again; with perfect proportions, a robust automatic movement and timeless styling, the Rolex Datejust may simply be the most versatile and wearable watch ever designed.
This particular Datejust (Reference 1601) dates from approximately 1971 and features the classic 36mm Oyster case, textured silver linen dial and a lovely 18K White Gold fluted bezel. This is a simply stunning vintage piece, and is arguably the only watch a discerning modern gentleman would ever need. Its not hard to see why we like 'em so much.
For more information on then history of the Rolex Datejust, check out this recent article by Hodinkee, HERE.
The Chronostop is an interesting side note in the history of Omega chronographs.
Manufactured in the late 1960s-1970s with a few different case orientations and movements, the Chronostop offered the functionality of a 60-second stopwatch feature, operated from the single pusher located above the crown. These watches were designed to be worn under the wrist, making them popular with drivers. The Chronostop introduced a press and release stop-second feature, engaged by the single pusher at 2 o'clock. To start the chronograph, the single pusher is depressed. To stop it, the pusher is depressed and held, and then released to reset.
This particular example is completely original, driven by the Calibre 865 manual-wound movement, and features nicely patinated blue dial with original handset. Its size, dial design, and unique functionality make it an interesting conversation piece and collectable timepiece.
A video by Hodinkee explaining the history and operation of the Chronostop can be found HERE.
More information on the full Omega Chronostop line can be found HERE.
We are a couple of guys based in New York City with a passion for bespoke style, substance, and authenticity. Admittedly, we appreciate ALL well-crafted and precious things, from fine single-malts to handmade cordovan bluchers, but we have a special and earnest love for the world of vintage goods, in particular, the world of vintage and luxury timepieces. We love the stories and histories vintage watches contain and the unparalleled craftsmanship with which they were made, often harkening back to an era when raw value was respected and a firm handshake was unflappable. Most importantly, we enjoy them for the works of wearable art that they are. We've had it with digital...we are 100% analog.
Our goal is to find and bring to market a small collection of exceptional vintage and contemporary timepieces. All of our items are hand-picked by our team, representing horologically interesting, important and desirable pieces. Essentially, we scour the market for the best available wristwatches, authenticate them and present them to you in an honest and straightforward manner.
We are here to help you buy a watch — not sell you one.