Vintage Watch Update – 22nd September 2017 | 22.9.17

Vintage Watch Update No. 120

Kicking things off this week is one of the iconic Omega Speedmaster Mark II’s. This watch has a matte black dial which is in excellent original condition with three engine-turned subsidiary dials for constant seconds and minute and hour recording whilst the chronograph is in use. The case on this model is a hefty block of tonneau-shaped steel which measures 42mm in width and 45.5mm in length. The movement serial number indicates a date of production of 1969 and the original receipt, which accompanies the watch, shows that it was sold in 1972. This watch is fitted with a steel Speedmaster bracelet – the links are stretched from wear – the bracelet can be detached if preferred and we are also supplying this watch with one of our new silicone rubber straps (more info on these below).

Next up is a Tudor Oyster Ref. 7934 from 1965 which has a handsome and unusual circular grained, satin finished dial. The applied baton indexes are faceted downwards towards their upper edges, naturally following the curve of the dial surface. During the 1950s, the so-called ‘Alpha-shaped’ hand design was already in use on Tudor watches, but the style remained popular on models such as this through to the second half of the 1960s.

Above is a stunning example of the Longines Flagship Ref. 3104 -4 which dates to 1960. This wristwatch has a silvered dial with applied, stylised, Arabic and baton indexes. To the outside of the stainless steel case back, the gold Longines medallion (detail shown above left) is decorated with the signature ‘Flagship’ in full sail against a blue enamel sky and with a green enamel sea beneath.  The steel case retains excellent definition to its angles and edges with minor scuffs and a small pin-head sized depression to the top right hand lug. This automatic model is powered by a beautifully crisp Longines’ calibre 340 movement. We have fitted this watch with one of our steel Milanese mesh bracelets but the watch can be fitted with a leather strap if preferred.

Next is an early example of the Omega Ref. 920 which dates to 1945 – one of the first examples of this model made. This wristwatch has a superb two-tone dial which is in outstanding original condition with fine black painted Arabic numerals and a ‘rail track’ style minute ring which has a distinctive, higher sheen finish that contrasts with the silk matte surface of the main dial body. The blued steel hands are rich in tone, giving an excellent contrast to the dial’s surface.

Continuing with Omega and heading further back in time is a silver wristwatch which dates to c. 1925. Early Omega wristwatches appear increasingly rarely to the market. This example, with silver hinged case, dates to the mid 1920s and its shape is one of the earliest wristwatch designs that appeared from the 1910s onwards. As with many watch models of this period, the strap is especially narrow and is attached to fixed bar lugs. The black exaggerated numerals are typical of the Art Deco period and the blued steel spade hands are of traditional form. Manually wound, the calibre 23.7S T2 Omega movement is beautifully finished with decoratively machine pearling to the backplate (detail photos can be seen on our website).

Shown here is a great example of the lady’s Omega Genève Dynamic model. Made in c.1969, this watch has a very attractive deep blue dial that is in excellent original condition and has contrasting white hands and a light blue centre seconds. The steel elliptically shaped case is made from a single block of stainless steel and has a satin finish and matching, detachable, stainless steel Omega link bracelet. The watch is fitted with a signed Omega crystal and crown. This watch is accompanied by a lady’s Omega Dynamic dark blue leather strap with steel Omega pin buckle and an Omega presentation case (the leather strap is in used condition).

Dating to c. 1966 the Tudor Princess Date wristwatch shown next is a smart and rarely seen lady’s model. This watch has a 21 jewel automatic movement with provision for semi-quick date change. The dial has a high sheen, satin silvered finish with applied baton indexes and the 9ct yellow gold case retains the original Rolex crown. There is a minor, small scratch to the dial below the 12 o’clock position and the watch is otherwise in excellent condition.

This stylish Lanco wristwatch was made in c. 1955. The watch has a handsome two-tone dial with a satin finished body and mirror finished silvered ring that separates the numerals from the outer track for minutes/seconds. The hour and minute hands are made from blued steel whilst the seconds hand is contrastingly painted red. The chromed upper case has flared and stepped lugs with solid bars and a steel snap-on back.

Just added to the site are our new silicone rubber wristwatch straps. Just £20 each, these straps have a contemporary yet classic design that works brilliantly with both new and vintage sports’ wristwatches – they look especially good on late 60s/70s chunky sports watches such as the Omega Speedmaster II listed in this week’s newsletter. The straps are reversible giving the choice of either a thin border or a wider, more pronounced edge, each with a matte finish. The main surface of the straps has a smart hobnail texture and there are three different buckles to choose from: steel, gold plated or black.

Amongst the new watch books added are a First Edition of George Daniels’ and Cecil Clutton’s seminal work titled “Watches.” Published in 1965, it was the first important work on the history and development of pocket watches since Baillie’s book Watches: Their History Decoration and Mechanism (published 1929) and Britten’s Old Clocks and Watches and their Makers (first published 1899). The book includes 600 black and white photographs illustrating the history of the watch, mechanical advances of the watch movement and the stylistic and decorative development of the watch. Also added is Terence Camerer Cuss’s brilliant 2008 book titled “The English Watch 1585-1970” which gives an extraordinarily in depth history and analysis of the English watch from its appearance at the end of the 16th century until the latter part of the 20th century. A large part of the watches illustrated in this book were offered at Sotheby’s series of sales “Celebration of the English Watch” which were held from 15th December 2015 until 6th July 2017, for which total sales reached in excess of £7.5 million – in my role as a consultant to Sotheby’s watch department, I was heavily involved in the four sales – researching, writing and working on the catalogue layouts – this book was my bible throughout.

Recently I was also involved in the research and writing of Sotheby’s catalogue: “George Daniels Masterpieces” – the highlight of which was George Daniels’ Space Travellers’ watch – an incredible watch and one of the most important made in the 20th century. The watch sold for £3.2 million last Tuesday, around 2.5 times more than it brought last time it appeared at Sotheby’s, just 5 years ago in 2012. I paid one final visit to the watch just before the auction to photograph and video it – you can see it and read about it on our journal here: 

Our next newsletter will be sent out on Friday 6th October. In the meantime, you’ll find much more information and further photographs of all of these pieces, together with pricing and the rest of our current watch stock, as well as our range of accessories, including straps, buckles, tools, loupes and books on our website.

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