We love it when something out of the ordinary comes through the office. This unusual mid-century Longines really gets us going because it’s such a nice change of pace from the usual Rolexes and Omegas. Sure, we love Subs and Speedys, but sometimes we want to wear a great vintage watch that stands out from the crowd.
There’s so much to like about this Art Deco Longines. Let’s start with the guilloché dial, which is an incredible tapisserie pattern that’s reminiscent of the AP Royal Oak. In a sea of plain-dialed dress watches, this one is something special. The hour markers hold their own, and are a mix of a faceted style at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock, and ridged markers at the remaining hours.
The hinged lugs are our favorite feature of the watch, and if any watch brands are reading this, we kindly request that you bring this style back! Besides the comfort factor of the lugs conforming to everyone’s individual wrist shapes, they just look downright cool with their irresistible Art Deco flair.
In the middle of the 20th century, Longines was one of the world’s most highly regarded watchmakers, and the in-house caliber 9LT movement is a good example of what made the brand the success that it was. Unfortunately, Longines suffered the same fate as many other storied Swiss brands during the Quartz Crisis, and while the current incarnation of the brand leaves many vintage collectors cold, the old stuff is ripe for the picking.
We’d tell you that this Longines is exactly what you should buy if you’re looking for a dress watch, but we won’t say that, because we’re really hoping that this watch doesn’t go anywhere for a quite some time.
If it looks like a Navitimer, swims like a Navitimer and quacks like a Navitimer, then it probably is a Navitimer.
Not this time. However, this is not some lame Breitling Navitimer homage, it is a veritable watch and an interesting and excellent piece of horological history.
Breitling was founded in 1892, and while still around today, the company is no longer in the hands of the Breitling family. The late 1970s was a turbulent time for the Swiss watch industry, and many storied houses were swept away by the Quartz Crisis. By 1978, Breitling was in trouble due to the illness of its leader, Willy Breitling, and the steep decline in sales that had befallen the entire industry. Unable to keep operations going, the Breitling company was liquidated, and parts, toolings and naming rights were sold off. The Ollech & Wajs company, founded in the 1950s, was one of several groups who bought some of the Breitling properties, and they began producing Navitimers under the Aviation brand name soon afterward.
The Aviation Navitimers are nearly identical to their Breitling counterparts, and present a tremendous value proposition compared with a Breitling-branded watch. The archetypical pilots watch, Navitimers are one true icons of the genre. The slide rule bezel is the watch’s most recognized design feature, and it is what endeared the Navitimer to pilots in the analog era. The Navitimer is a time-speed-distance flight computer, and by starting the chronograph on takeoff and stopping it on landing, the pilot is able to calculate his average flight speed via the bezel. Before GPS, this was an essential tool for navigation.
This particular piece is a wonderful example of an Aviation chronograph, with the classic Navitimer dial, in completely new old stock condition. The Navitimer was a large watch for it’s day, but perfectly sized to modern tastes. The dial is certainly has a lot going on, but that is what distinguishes the Navitimer from every other sports watch and lets someone in the know spot one from a mile away.
We’re more than a little nostalgic for the days when these watches were such important tools for professionals, but now it’s our job as enthusiasts to be caretakers of watches from those good old days, and to share the stories of these fine mechanical instruments with you.
Strap this watch to your wrist, put on your bomber jacket, buckle in, start her up and take off. Repeat after me: “Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby”.
Rolex: Submariner, as Breitling: Navitimer, as Omega: Speedmaster. This SAT-style analogy (if the real test was like this we wouldn’t have had to become watch dealers!) may describe the best-known models from the three brands, but as you know, there’s so much more to Rolex than just the Sub, just like there are so many great Omegas out there besides the Speedy Pro. Now let’s talk about vintage Breitling.
When it comes to collecting vintage chronographs, Breitling can be a polarizing brand. Generally known for their Navitimer aviation computer watches, many find their dial designs hectic and difficult to read for daily wear. While those pieces are indisputably cool, they are indeed a lot to take in, and as a result Breitling doesn't always get the same appreciation as some of their contemporary counterparts. We'd like to change that. Exhibit A:
The Breitling Top Time line was created in the 1950s as a simpler line of chronographs for more basic tasks then timing an orbital burn (you know, like driving a car in circles or making dinner). The Top Time came in a variety of case, dial and movement configurations, but they all had a clean and classic vintage chronograph style that is reminiscent of a Heuer Carrera or Rolex Daytona while maintaining it’s own identity.
This reference 2003 falls on the dressier end of the Top Time spectrum with its gold-plated steel case and silver dial, featuring gold hands and hour markers. While still a sports watch, the watch dresses up well and is a fantastic option for those of us who still like to wear a chronograph with a suit. With a comfortable 36mm case and Venus manual-winding movement, the Top Time checks all of our boxes for a vintage chrono, and it’s only a matter of time before Top Times are as popular as their Heuer and Omega contemporaries.
Let’s not forget that a Top Time was Bond’s choice in Thunderball, and you can learn more about that one over at Hodinkee HERE.
It’s seems likes Tudor is everywhere these days. There are always a few Tudors on the table at collector get-togethers and Tudor's is one of the most hotly anticipated booths at the upcoming Baselworld watch show in Switzerland. After decades of playing second fiddle to Rolex, the sibling brand has caught on in an epic fashion, and collectors can’t get enough.
Vintage Tudor have always had somewhat of a following, but in terms of enthusiasm and price, it paled in comparison to Rolex. The times, they are a changin’, and vintage Tudors are now extremely sought-after. Snowflakes and Monte Carlo chronographs have been hot for some time, but one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of the Tudor market are the simpler Oyster Princes and DateJust and Oyster Precision analogs, which are being “found” after decades hiding in the backs of drawers, garnering the attention that these beauties deserve.
The “Big Rose” Oyster Prince is one of the best of the once-forgotten Tudors, featuring a stunning applied Tudor Rose logo and matching polished steel markers and hands set on a sharp black dial. Dating from the 1960s, this Tudor Reference 7964 is 34mm and wears similarly to Rolex Oysterdates. The Tudor uses the same Genuine Oyster Case design as its Rolex contemporaries, but is fitted with an automatic ETA movement. The Jubilee-style bracelet stamped 'Made in USA' is signed by Rolex and is the perfect compliment to the silver accents on the dial.
This is a truly elegant timepiece with an iconic Oyster design and a lovely dial for a relatively meager sum. You seriously can’t go wrong.
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.