One of the most rewarding parts of working in the vintage watch business are the rare occasions that we come across something truly unusual that we have never seen before. This doesn't happen nearly often as we'd like, but when it does - and when that truly unusual watch turns out to be something downright brilliant, it makes it all the sweeter!
When this piece - an incredibly rare Bulova from the early 1930s - walked into our offices a few weeks ago, our jaws dropped. A local collector has had this in his possession for many years, and pulled it out to show us on a recent visit. Needless to say, he didn't leave with it!
You are looking at a true marvel of horological design. Outwardly, it is simply a handsome steel gentleman's dress watch, fitted with a clean silver dial bearing applied gold Arabic numerals and featuring a mechanical movement with subsidiary seconds displayed by blued steel "Lozenge" hands. The only thing that seems a little out of place is the apparent lack of a crown. But the front of the watch only tells a small part of its story - the backside is something incredible unto its own.
Flipping the watch over in your hand, you will notice that there is a hinged case back attached to the top portion of the backside of the case. At first glance it appears this is an outer covering for the internal case, something you'd need to pop out of place to adjust or service the movement. However, beneath that hinged cover is where the real brilliance of this timepiece lies. Fitted to the "inner" case back is a crown for adjusting the time displayed on the front side. Positioned next to it is a small plunger, which, when depressed, serves to wind the Calibre 7AP movement inside.
Here's how it works: When worn on the wrist, the hinged case back is gently pressed and released by the motion of your forearm. This, in turn, depresses the plunger, winding the movement internally. Known by some collectors as a "Back Wind" wristwatch, this is essentially a manually-wound movement which is drawing its power from perpetual motion of the wrist. The movement has been fitted with a clutch mechanism to prevent overwinding, and the whole thing works like a charm. And its from NINETEEN THIRTY TWO! If this watch said "Patek Philippe" on the dial instead of "Bulova," we'd be talking about a seriously valuable timepiece here...
Alas, American ingenuity doesn't add up to a whole lot of dollar value in this instance, but this is a tremendous piece of history and deserves to go into the hands of someone who will truly appreciate it for the technical marvel that it is. Drop us a line if you'd like to discuss!
Yeah, we get it.
The thought of a Two-Tone Rolex often conjures images of ancient Datejusts dangling from you uncle's tanned, wrinkly wrist as he tells obnoxious stories at the family barbeque. We all have those memories (or at least have watched The Sopranos) and have sought to stay far away from any suggestion of similarity to them. With that said, it is understandable to some degree why steel timepieces with gold ornamentation have been on the outs with the latest generation of enthusiasts.
However, after some careful consideration, elapsed time, and some wrinkling of our own, we have realized that we have been dead wrong about them. Two-Tone Rolexes aren't the old man watches we thought they were. They are, in fact, every bit as cool as their steel counterparts - or possibly even cooler. They add a subtle suggestion of experience and success to the simple, iconic nature of the Rolex Oyster, without getting too loud.
Maybe we'll chalk it up to maturation of taste, evolving sense of style, or some level of accomplishment that Two-Tone models once so commonly commemorated. The bottom line is that we've come to really love them, and whether it is a Datejust, Turn-O-Graph, Sub, or GMT Master, we find ourselves lusting after their subtle flash on the daily.
Maybe you're the same way. Maybe you've had a secret love for them all these years and have been hiding it. Maybe you think we're crazy.
Whatever the case, there is no denying the wrist presence they suggest. The gold elements (bezel ring, crown, markers, and hands) play off the dial and insert brilliantly, giving a sophisticated yet sporty feel. This version is known amongst collectors and enthusiasts as a "Root Beer' GMT, so known for its beautiful brown dial and insert. With supremely creamy luminescent plots on the hands and "nipple" hour markers, this is a fucking handsome configuration!
This particular watch is additionally interesting due to the fact that it is an early Two-Tone model, Reference 1675 - not the latter version (Ref. 16753) like the vast majority on the market. Furthermore, it has a monotone brown and gold bezel setup, as opposed to the more commonly found two-tone brown and cream inserts. We've looked at a lot of Two-Tone and Root Beer GMT Masters these last few years, and this is without question one of the absolute best we've gotten our hands on.
Let's also not forget that underneath all that outward beauty is a downright brilliant GMT Master with second timezone - quite possibly the most useful timepiece complication and functionality we can think of. Whether you pair it up with the included Crown & Buckle NATOs (with Gold hardware, natch) or Clint Eastwood-ify it with a matching Two-Tone Jubilee bracelet, this watch is an incredibly versatile and wearable choice in a variety of settings, and is, in our opinion, the best looking watch for the Autumn season in particular.
This is a truly stunning example of one of the most-undervalued vintage sport Rolexes on the market, don't miss it!
For us vintage snobs, modern watches can be a touchy subject. Either they give us the same palpitations that their vintage brethren do, or they make us feel, well, dead inside. And for those of you who know us well, you already know that Panerai isn't a brand you're likely to find on our wrists.
That said, there is no denying the allure of their original professional diving watch: the Luminor Submersible. With a supremely rugged case design, signature rotating bezel, 5mm thick sapphire crystal, Helium Escape Valve, and large luminescent dive-style hands, this was a beast when it hit the market and is just as much so today. While big watches are generally on the "outs" in terms of acceptable fashion, purpose-built tool watches such as this one get a pass. While this example appears never to have seen rough usage, there is no doubt that it could take most anything you could throw at it. This is a model that Paneristi covet, for good reason.
This particular Submersible features one of the last Tritium dials offered by Panerai, dating from 2008. It is in fantastic condition over all, with a recent full service and professional case refinishing that makes it look brand new, aside from a slight patination to that gorgeous Tritium! This piece also comes complete with its full kit: Inner and outer boxes, paperwork, tools, service documents and two genuine Panerai straps. If you are looking for a large, professional-grade diver with unmistakable looks, you've found your next watch!
In 1960, Bulova had a vision of the future. In that future, there was humming.
The Accutron was the world's first electronic watch. About a decade before the infamous Quartz Crisis, Bulova put into production a watch that did away with the traditional balance wheel, favoring instead a tuning fork design - a 360-hertz steel tuning fork powered by electromagnets attached to a battery-powered transistor oscillator circuit - as its timekeeper. Designed by Max Hetzel, the Accutron made waves, becoming the first wristwatch to be precise enough to be qualified for U.S. Railroad certification, guaranteed to be accurate to about one minute per month, or about 2 seconds per day.
While the attempt at practical, affordable, and precise electric timekeeping was well-executed, the technology didn't stand a chance against the quartz revolution that came in the early 1970s. Quartz technology was an industry-changing innovation that nearly wiped out electric and mechanical watches alike with their simplicity and supremely low manufacturing costs. The Japanese had a corner on the quartz market and decimated much of the American and Swiss industries in only a few short years.
As the threat of the quartz crisis loomed, Bulova took steps to lower their production costs to remain competitive - a tactic that ultimately proved fruitless. This particular example Accutron is one of their attempts at building a more austere model, dubbed the 219, that did away with day and date complications and increased the number of plastic components internally as a cost-saving measure. Its kind of like the horological DeLorean: the intention was noble but result wasn't great, and didn't catch on with consumers as hoped, but today it marks the end of an era - and an interesting and important place in 20th Century horological history. Finished with a flawless light blue dial, like-new hands and a clean, unpolished case, this model serves as a great example of the future that never unfolded.
Oh, and the humming? Hold this baby up to your ear and you'll hear that tuning fork, still humming away!
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.