"From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free." - Jacques Ives Cousteau
The Rolex Submariner Reference 5513 is likely the world's most important watch. In constant production since 1954, the Submariner has become so well known that it is often what one thinks of when they hear the brand's name. But the Submariner did not earn its iconic status simply by being ubiquitous. The watch was specifically designed for use in the Earth's oceans, expertly crafted and honed to serve sport, scientific and military forays beneath the waves. Thus, it is imbued with the mystery of the deep, forever linked to the desire to interact with the one environment on this earth most inhospitable to man.
Though the Submariner has evolved over time, it has remained very close to its original execution. And while there are some variants that are valued at incredibly high levels, the modest no-date, matte dial Reference 5513, produced from the early 1960s until 1990, is perhaps the loveliest - a simple tool watch constructed for one purpose in mind.
The world of vintage Submariners is replete with terms the collector or enthusiast has undoubtedly heard. But decoding this often complex lexicon can be difficult, and leaves many individuals clawing at terms that have become inflated, overused and largely misunderstood over time. Words like Maxi, meters first, serif and non-serif have become catchy terms, flipped here and there carelessly by many an enthusiast. But when its all said and done, they generally don't add much clarity to the process of knowing where to begin looking, how to know how much you should spend and what the value of the watch you are getting actually is. In our opinion, a Submariner should check three simple boxes.
First and foremost, the case should be thick with no signs of over-polishing - once metal has been polished away, there is no getting it back. Secondly, the watch should have an honest, matching dial and handset. Refinished and re-lumed dials should be avoided. Lastly, and most importantly, the watch should sing to you. When deciding between these monoliths that surged through history as the most iconic watches in existence, look for that something special that moves you.
This watch, dating from roughly 1977, is a lovely example that we are pleased to have on offer. With a beautifully patinated matte dial and Mercedes hands, and sharp, thick Oyster case without the common signs of over-polishing, this Sub checks all the above boxes, and is a great example for any collector!
This is Omega’s Real Deal Holyfield pilot’s watch. Take a Speedmaster, add some more functionality, a dash of color and an avant-garde case, and a Flightmaster is born.
The Flightmaster line was introduced in 1969, and was the first Omega with a movement (Reference c.910) designed with the timing needs of pilots in mind. The first version of the watch replaced the running seconds sub-register typically found at 9 o’clock in chronographs with a AM/PM indicator, letting the globe-hopping pilot track the time of day in his home city. Omega also added a rocket-shaped blue GMT hand for tracing the time in two separate time zones. The wearer was also given two methods of timing events: a 12-hour chronograph, as well as a 60-minute inner elapsed time bezel. That’s a hell of a lot of features in one watch!
A few years into production, Omega updated the movement (Reference c.911) by replacing the AM/PM indicator with a running seconds hand, which is useful on a hand-wound watch since it let's you easily tell at a glance if it is wound and running. This example of Flightmaster features the c.911 movement, as well as an incredibly beautiful aged dial. The chocolate tropical sub-registers and patina to the tritium hour markers give this watch a wonderful vintage look and exudes an aura of adventure. We can just imagine this watch strapped to the wrist of a Pan-Am pilot visiting exotic cities during the golden age of jet travel.
A substantial and chunky piece, the Flightmaster actually wears very comfortably on the wrist due to its hidden lugs and heavily tapered case. The case shape definitely has a funky vintage vibe, but that pairs perfectly with the colorfully accented dial and color-coded crowns.
If you’re looking for a true pilot’s tool watch, the Flightmaser is as cool as it gets.
Lots of information on this awesome timepiece can be found HERE on Chronomaddox.
Tudor has been hitting it out of the park these past few years with their modern line and return to the US Market, and appreciation for their vintage models continues to swell. Particularly desirable amongst the vintage offerings is their Submariner line, which ran alongside their siblings - the iconic Rolex Submariners. Tudor Subs feature the same cases, crowns, and build quality as their "Big Brother" Rolex models, but were fitted without the in-house movements that gave Rolex their price tag.
While Tudor Submariners from the 1970s and early 80s are incredibly cool, here's something earlier and even more impressive: A Reference 7928 Tudor "Rose" Submariner with a gilt dial, chapter ring, and pointed crown guards...the kind of timepiece that melts souls and makes the knees of grown men go all wobbly.
Dating from1963, this is an early execution "MKII" dial, with gilt markers and chapter ring and silver script. The original dial and hands have a patina that will make you swoon. And those pointed crown guards...oh lawdy lawdy, is it getting hot in here?
The bottom line is that if this piece were a Rolex Submariner with the same attributes (Gilt, Chapter Ring, PCG), it would be pushing past the $20K mark...so this is an incredible opportunity to pick up something truly special for a fraction of the price.
We first sold this watch to a client a couple years ago, and part of what we love about this business is that some of the coolest watches have a habit of finding their way back to us as clients go through the process of consolidation and upgrading. Our relationships with our clients are our number one priority, and that’s how we end up with a great situation like this! If you were one of the many who missed this tremendous piece on its first go around, don't hesitate this time - there's no telling when or if it might be back!
More info on these great pieces can be found HERE, at Tudor Collector!
Everyone knows that the first watch worn on the moon was an Omega Speedmaster, one of history's greatest manually winding chronographs. But did you know that the first automatic chronograph worn in space was a Seiko?
Although it didn't become known until just a few years ago, and even though it was not part of his official mission kit, Astronaut Colonel William Pogue made history when he snuck his personal Seiko 6139-6002 chronograph onto the Skylab 4 mission as part of his personal kit in 1973. Manufactured in large quantities in the early 70s by the Japanese manufacturer, 6139-series chronographs were in many ways light years ahead of their Swiss counterparts, offering brightly colored dials, internal rotating bezels, and day/date functionality along with an automatic chronograph movement. The 6139-6002 cost a whopping $71.50 in the early seventies. Colonel Pogue bought his at the PX at Ellington Air Force base and subsequently used it throughout his astronaut training leading up to the mission, preferring it to the NASA-issued Speedmaster. While Pogue did not wear the Seiko during an EVA (spacewalk), he did use it for timing experiments and other mission-pertinent uses while in orbit.
Automatic watches rely on the motion of the wearer’s arm to make the rotor spin, and in the early days of the space program many did not believe automatic winding systems would work in space, where there is no gravitational force. Col. Pouge’s Seiko effectively ended that debate.
Over a decade later, the Sinn model 140 automatic chrono was taken into space on the wrist of Reinhard Furrer on the Spacelab D1 Mission. For decades it was assumed that this was the first automatic chronograph ever worn in space, and it shocked the watch collector community when photographs of Col. Pogue wearing a yellow dialed Seiko in the Skylab module surfaced on the web in 2006. As soon as the news broke, prices for 6139s skyrocketed and a whole aftermarket parts network appeared virtually overnight.
The Col. Pogue legacy has transformed the 6139 into a hotly sought after watch, but it’s also worth pointing out the even without Pogue, the 6139 would still be an important watch to chronograph collectors. Seiko released the watch in 1969, and to many of you that year should ring a bell, since it was the year that the world first saw automatic chronographs. Seiko was in a race against Heuer and Zenith to be the first to market, and while we tend to believe Heuer crossed the finish line first, all the brands were truly neck and neck.
If you're a fan of aviation history you'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting and significant timepiece at this price point. Don't miss out on this nice original (not so easy to find these days) example!
For a bit more information on this interesting timepiece, check out our piece on DreamChrono, 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.