Vintage catch: Omega Seamaster Professional 600 Ploprof

A Contemporary Watch Collector Goes Vintage

To my longtime friends in the watch hobby, and perhaps to regular readers here as well, the mention of my name may conjure up a number of connotations: patron of the independents, fan of A. Lange & Söhne, admirer of Patek Philippe grand complications, and longtime customer of Jaeger-LeCoultre, among other characterizations more or less favorable.

But these likely never included vintage maven! So how did I get here?

The Blancpain Rolls by Léon Hatot

Eternity In A Box: The Blancpain Rolls Starring Léon Hatot Made Watchmaking History

Léon Hatot and Blancpain met in 1929 and Hatot revealed his prototype of a revolutionary movement with automatic winding: the inside of the Rolls case included a rail on which the whole movement moved up and down on ball bearings, powered by the motion of its owner and providing the name for this unique timepiece right out of the history books.

K1: Larcum Kendal's reproduction of Harrison's H4 marine chronometer

Larcum Kendall And K1: The Greatest Watchmaker And Watch You Have (Probably) Never Heard Of

You may have heard of a few or more of the following historical people and events: Thomas Mudge, George Graham, John Harrison, the Longitude Prize, Captain James Cook, and the mutiny on the ‘HMS Bounty.’ However, you are less likely to have heard the name of a horologist who played a pivotal role in all of the above: Larcum Kendall (1719–1790). Come with me on a worldwide adventure involving timekeeping and history.

1994 George Daniels co-axial four-minute tourbillon with Daniel's compact chronograph mechanism

Inside A Second: Chronograph Exhibition Featuring Many Of The Most Important Chronographs Ever Made

Among the many highlights of SalonQP 2015 was the “Inside a Second” exhibition of chronographs presented in partnership with the Foundation de la Haute Horlogerie. The exhibition included the George Daniels co-axial four-minute tourbillon with Daniels’ compact chronograph mechanism. And that would have been enough chronograph for me all by itself, but there were many more highlights.

Vintage Jaeger "Panda dial 4 ATM"

Vintage Jaeger — Not Jaeger-LeCoultre — Panda Dial 4 ATM

You often see watches signed “LeCoultre,” but very rarely simply signed “Jaeger.” The reason is that Edmond Jaeger of Paris and Jacques-David LeCoultre of Le Sentier, Switzerland merged their businesses in the early 1900s and it became Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1937. While we often see the”LeCoultre” name on dials, we very, very rarely see one signed “Jaeger.” So, take a good long look, you may never see one again.

This 1931 Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle from 1931 sold for 143,000 Swiss francs

Phillips’ Inaugural One Auction: So How Did Watches By Patek Philippe, Blancpain, Rolex, And Longines Do?

The very solid and spacious tent on the grounds of the La Reserve hotel in Geneva on May 10, 2015 turned out to be a very special time and place as the world’s most prestigious watches went under the hammer for the inaugural Phillips Watches auction in association with Bacs & Russo. Let’s have a look at how a few of the most interesteing pieces did at this premier event, which was presided over by auction guru Aurel Bacs.

Vintage 1950s Vacheron Constantin Reference 6087 chronograph

Vintage Watch Snobbery Or How I Met Your Mother

Standing before my eyes was the most perfect of God’s creatures, a wonderful mix of Audrey Hepburn and Penelope Cruz. I think my heart skipped a beat, and I heard the chimes of every single minute repeater Patek Philippe had ever created – all chiming at exactly the same time! Six months later the gentle creature and I were married. This extraordinary story reflects the marvelous world of vintage watches: finding the rare bird, linking it to a story, and never letting it go.

Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 with "rail" dial

Rolex Sea-Dweller Reference 1665 With ‘Rare’ Rail Dial

The collector community has christened vintage Rolex models with a great many nicknames. One of these is the “rail” dial. While the exact origins of the word “rail” are not clear, this name is used for Rolex dials on which the letter C within the two lines stating “superlative chronometer” and “officially certified” line up as straight as train tracks. Have a look at an Oyster Perpetual Sea-Dweller, a watch water-resistant to a depth of 610 meters (2,000 feet), with a “rare” rail dial.

Bright lume on the Rolex Submariner 5512

Afterglow: A 1967 Rolex Submariner Reference 5512 With Tritium/Zinc Sulfide Markers

I recall when I first found a Rolex Submariner 5512 with zinc sulfide on the dial. It led to a major discussion on an Internet forum about whether the dial had been re-lumed or not. Well, years later, we know a lot more; and one thing that is now certain is that the dial had not been re-lumed, but that it was an original zinc sulfide dial.