Vacheron Constantin Ref. 6406 circa 1960 | 18ct gold wristwatch with Certificate of Origin
Vintage Watch Update – 5 November 2021 | 5.11.21

Vacheron Constantin Ref. 6406 circa 1960 | 18ct gold wristwatch with Certificate of Origin

Vacheron Constantin Ref.6406 c.1960 | 18ct Gold

Opening this week’s newsletter is a superb Vacheron Constantin dress watch which retains its numbered Certificate of Origin. This model is from a genre in which Vacheron Constantin have always excelled. The watch combines a well-balanced dial with applied gold indexes, slim 18ct gold case and attractive, finely milled bezel. The gold hands are of plain baton form but the sword-shaped taper to the centre seconds’ counter-balanced tail adds a pleasing accent. Manually wound the watch is powered by the calibre 1002 which is beautifully finished with damascened Geneva stripes to the surfaces. In wonderful condition, this is a very well preserved dress watch produced towards the end of the vintage watch’s golden era.

Rolex Oyster Air-King Ref. 4499 circa 1945 | steel manually wound vintage wristwatch

Rolex Oyster Air-King Ref.4499 c.1946 | Steel

Surely one of the most charismatic of vintage Oyster models, the reference 4499 is an early Air-King reference that is believed to have been launched in 1946. This version of the model has a highly distinctive numeral configuration with raised Arabic indexes of Art Deco design. Prior to the Second World War, Rolex actively promoted their watches as being endorsed by pilots. Their popularity amongst service personnel in the Second World War, together with Rolex’s founder’s deep respect for the skill and bravery of RAF pilots, is believed to have been behind the release of the first ‘Air-King’ models in the mid 1940s. The Ref. 4499 Air-King was in production for a relatively short period of time. The original Oyster crown retains a good thread and screws-down tightly to the case, there is some wear to the crown/stem which means occasional slippage occurs during winding. The dial is in very attractive condition, retaining a great lustre and warmth – there is light oxidation spotting.

Longines Cal. 12.68Z 'Full Set' sold 1959 | 9ct gold manually wound vintage wristwatch

Longines Cal.12.68Z ‘Full Set’ sold 1959 | 9ct Gold

Complete with its original Longines guarantee booklet and presentation case, this watch is in wonderful condition with a rich lustre to the dial, a well defined gold case, and a fully stitched vintage leather strap. The watch has an interesting provenance, having been presented in 1959 to S. T. Huggett, Secretary of the Auto Cycle Union. Formed in 1903, the ACU is the National Governing Body for motorcycle sport in the British Isles. As the inscription to the case back shows, the present watch was given to Huggett by the Union’s management committee to recognise 40 years’ service. Huggett is mentioned several times in Arthur Bourne’s book ‘Behind the Scenes in the Vintage Years’ (Troubador Publishing).

Omega Genève Ref.131.019 circa 1969 | steel manually wound vintage wristwatch

Omega Genève Ref.131.019 c.1969 | Steel

With simple, elegant lines and block-form Arabic numerals, this is a smart example of the Omega Genève Ref.131.019. The dial is in excellent condition with a rich lustre to the surface. There are light scuffs to the steel case. This watch is accompanied by a red Omega presentation box.

Omega Genève Ref. 166.0168 'Full Set' sold 1976 | steel automatic vintage wristwatch

Omega Genève Ref.166.0168 sold 1976 | Steel

A relatively large vintage model with a case diameter of 36.5mm, this watch is complete with its numbered Omega guarantee booklet and inner and outer presentation boxes. The light grey silvered dial has a vertical satin finish and applied baton indexes. Cased in steel, the gently flared lugs are formed directly from the case which gives a satisfying depth to their profile view. The bezel has a slight chamfer but is recessed into the main body of the case thereby giving the watch a flatter, more streamlined appearance. Automatically wound, the watch is powered by the Omega calibre 1012 which incorporates both a hack feature and a quick date-setting function.

The original Omega guarantee booklet notes that this watch was originally purchased from Ashwells Ltd of Bishop’s Stortford on 25 September 1976.

Longines Jamboree Ref. 6884 -12 invoiced 1962 | steel manually wound vintage wristwatch

Longines Jamboree Ref.6884 invoiced 1962 | Steel

With a super stylish dial design comprising Arabic and lozenge-shaped indexes, this model also features its own unique Jamboree logo. The silvered dial retains a good lustre with light oxidation spotting across the surface and the hands. The steel case has a chamfered bezel and interesting multi-faceted ‘twisting’ lugs – there are light scuffs and scratches to the surface.

The Longines Archives confirm that this watch was originally invoiced to their UK agent Baume on 15 June 1962. Co-incidentally this watch was therefore in the same batch as the last Jamboree we sold a couple of months ago which was invoiced to Baume on exactly the same date.

Smiths Astral hallmarked 1970 | 9ct gold manually wound vintage wristwatch

Smiths Astral hallmarked 1970 | 9ct Gold

A classic Smiths Astral gold presentation watch, this wristwatch was presented to the original owner to recognise their long service at British Waterways. The watch is cased in 9ct gold and the silvered dial has raised, gilded Arabic and triangular hour indexes.

Formed in the early 20th century, the English firm of S. Smith & Sons initially retailed both Swiss and English watches and clocks. During the Second World War, the company manufactured their own watches for the military but, from the mid 1940s, Smiths began to produce higher grade wristwatches which led to a transformation of their in-house production. In 1953, Smiths performed a marketing coup by supplying Edmund Hillary with a watch for his ascent of Everest. Seizing on the advertising opportunities, Smiths launched a campaign picturing a Smiths De Luxe watch on top of Everest with a quote from Hillary beneath stating: “I carried your watch to the summit. It worked perfectly.” 

Christopher Clarke for Black Bough handmade dark brown wild boar leather pull-through watch straps

Handmade Brown Wild Boar Pull-Through Straps

We now have three different versions of our pull-through watch straps. All handmade exclusively for us in Shropshire by Chris Clarke, the latest version is made with dark brown Italian wild boar leather. Available in lug gauges: 16, 17, 18, 19, 20mm, the straps are made from a single strip of leather with scribed edges and can be fitted in a similar way to NATO style watch straps. The leather is thinned down to a thickness of 1mm and the supple nature of the leather ensures that the straps fit easily around a watch’s lug bars and case back. To ensure the malleability of the straps they are unlined and a solution of carrageen moss extract is applied to the back of the leather to bind the fibres and smooth the surface. The buckles and keeps are hand sewn using linen thread coated with beeswax.

English Wristwatches: The Untold Story - David Penney

D. Penney – English Wristwatches: The Untold Story

In English Wristwatches: The Untold Story, David Penney’s insightful and meticulous research shines a light on a largely forgotten era of English watchmaking. This concise volume examines the significant part English watchmakers played in the development of the wristwatch from the last quarter of the 19th century until 1927. Following a short introduction, 14 watches are studied and illustrated in detail, including examples by Rotherhams, Nicole Nielsen, J. W. Benson, W. H. Williamson.

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