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 for all of 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.
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.
As with any vintage Seiko, originality is key - and given the ready supply of Asian market 6139s and aftermarket parts, it is increasingly difficult to find an honest example. But we like a challenge, and we've turned up this entirely original example for your consideration. Showing just the right amount of patination
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 it!
For a bit more information on this interesting timepiece, check out our piece on DreamChrono, HERE.
There are two things we love more in this world more than a dram of ten-year-old Laphroaig. A beautiful DOXA is one of them. The other? Well, we'll let you use your imagination...
In the early days of SCUBA, a good dive watch was hard to find. Some designs failed and others downright flopped. But the innovative designs that DOXA compiled a series of innovative purpose-built elements (uni-directional rotating bezel, expanding steel bracelet with ratcheting clasp, helium release valve and orange dial, to name a few) into their watches and were universally hailed as a success. So much so that the King of The Sea himself, Jacques Cousteau, selected DOXA to be the only dive watch to be sold through his U.S. Divers Company at dive shops nationwide. In our opinion, and in the opinion of savvy collectors all over who have listened to our constant soap-box rantings, DOXA should be ranked and regarded among side those other iconic divers - the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms and the Rolex Submariner.
Alas, the brand didn't have the financial power of the larger companies, and was lost in obscurity for decades as a result of the quartz crisis, kept alive to a dedicated legion of enthusiasts only through the writings of adventure writer Clive Cussler, whose fictional hero wore an orange dial DOXA in many of his world-saving exploits.
But not all DOXAs were orange! The absolutely awesome Sub 300T Sharkhunter, an example of which we have for you here features a black dial with white markers and hands. Known to the DOXA faithful as a "Sharkie," it is every bit as awesome a vintage diver as it's orange-dialed brothers. This early example dates to around 1968 and features a short lived "transitional" case with a moderate thickness as compared to later examples. The piece is in excellent condition overall, featuring an original DOXA dial and handset with superb patina, "Sailing Ship" case back and early uni-directional bezel with graduations in Feet, suggesting it was a North American market watch originally. We pride ourselves in being a consistent source for these tough, storied divers, and are pleased to present this wonderful example - don't miss it!
Lots of great information about the history of the DOXA brand and their timepieces can be found HERE.
If you had asked us a few months back as to our opinion on what the most undervalued vintage Rolex model was, we surely would have answered the GMT-Master Reference 1675. For many years, values on this iconic aviation watch have lagged behind their Submariner counterparts, and in our opinion, this wasn't warranted. Given the similarities of the two watches (full size Oyster cases, matte dials, rotating bezels, Oyster bracelets) and the added benefits of the GMT (second time zone hand, two tone bezel, date function), this just didn't add up. So we weren't as surprised as most when these beautiful vintage pieces took a long-overdue leap in value earlier this year - although it did come as a shock how many were snatched off the market at the same time!
The red and blue rotating bezel and third GMT hand was originally developed for Pan-Am pilots in the 1950s traveling between timezones, and is just as functional today for travel purposes. In fact, a vintage GMT-Master is our single favorite traveler's watch. One of the unexpected things about this model is how they wear on the wrist, which despite the same case dimensions in length and and width, is considerably thinner than its dive-watch cousins. In our opinion, this makes the 1675 much more comfortable to wear, and more versatile under a shirt cuff as well.
We've been searching high and low for an excellent example of a 1675 for the past several months, and the market hasn't offered up much. The majority of those on offer tend to be beaten up or worse - modified with replacement parts. Not satisfied with either option, we went back to basics, and convinced one of our clients to sell us back a watch we had provided to them some time back. This is a piece we are very excited to have on offer once again, and is a no-excuses, all original example!
Dating from around 1972, this particular piece features an entirely original dial, handset, and bezel insert, all of which have developed a fantastic even patina. Coupled with a genuine Rolex Oyster bracelet and signed clasp and showing no signs of abuse, this GMT is a fine example that will continue to appreciate as the market for them explodes. Of course, that satisfaction will come second to that which you derive from simply wearing it.
Every. Single. Day.
In the midst of all the horological icons (Speedmasters, GMTs, Cartier Tanks and the like) that we are fortunate enough to handle every day, one of the most rewarding parts of doing what we do is discovering lesser known vintage timepieces and seeing what makes them tick (pun intended!). Most of the time the pieces we come across are less than desirable for one reason or another, but every so often one comes along that simply blows us away, and we can't wait to share it with our colleagues, friends and fellow enthusiasts.
Coming from the private collection of a good friend on the Left Coast, this awesome 1970s Movado chronograph has totally slipped under the radar of most enthusiasts, and while we knew of their existence, we admit we had never seen one in the metal until he showed up with it at analog/shift HQ a few weeks ago. Needless to say, he didn't leave with it!
At least three distinct elements go into making this unusual chronograph an awesome piece worthy of your attention:
Firstly, the design is evocative of the integrated bracelet sports watches common of the era. You have probably heard of some of them (Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Patek Philippe Nautilus, IWC Ingenieur SL). The design is incredibly comfortable to wear and totally 70s, meaning it is very much wearable today.
Secondly, the detailing on the watch is impressive. Comparable to the Heuer Monaco of the era, the 40mm case is substantial and makes for a sizable statement on the wrist. With a gorgeous two-tone blue dial with triple subsidiary registers, angled internal tachymetre scale, diagonally-oriented date window, and "rocker-style" chrono pushers, this is one of those timepieces that is virtually impossible to stop looking at and playing with on your wrist.
Finally, the movement inside this piece is none other than the legendary El Primero by Zenith. One of the world's first automatic chronograph units, the El Primero is a high-beat mechanical movement that is still in use today. Launched in 1969, Zenith made their movements available to a few other manufactures. Unfortunately, Movado isn't much more than a fashion brand today, but back in the day they clearly didn't fuck around, and selected some impressive movements for their line. "Off-Brand" timepieces are often a great value for collectors, and this is no exception. Early El Primero powered chronographs are incredibly hot on the market, yet this one slips under the radar.
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.