Pre-Owned Spotlight: A Funky Doxa Sfygmos Chronograph, An Exciting Grand Seiko, And The Real Omega “Jedi”
Today’s Pre-Owned Spotlight is an eclectic bunch. I picked a vintage chronograph because, well, I love them. It’s not something you often see, but it has a complication (or rather, a purpose) that I find utterly fascinating. We discussed it while recording next week’s Fratello On Air episode, hence the idea. The second vintage chronograph comes from my beloved Omega. It is from an era — the late ’60s and early ’70s — when brands went funky, and you can undoubtedly see it in this one. I also selected a modern watch from Grand Seiko, a fancier version of my own timepiece.
The aim was to bring models to the forefront that might not be well known. On one hand, hunting for intriguing and rare pieces is fun. On the other hand, I’m sure all the brands I mention in the article have a considerable fan base. Yet these pieces might have gone under the radar for many, so why not give them a bit of much-deserved limelight?
A chronograph usually has at least one scale. We use it to measure speed, distance, or in the case of the Breitling Navitimer with its slide-rule bezel, pretty much anything else, even currency exchange. Some scales are on the bezel. Others are printed on the dial, often multiple ones. Then you have chronographs with a scale that has a very specific function. Just think of the decimal scale or the pulsometer that our first pick, the Doxa Sfygmos, has. Nomen est omen, as the Latin saying goes. That translates to “the name is a sign.” In the case of the Doxa Sfygmos, the model name is derived from the Greek word sphugmós (σφυγμός), which means “pulsation.”
Therefore, the Doxa Sfygmos has a pulsation scale on the dial, but that’s not the only intriguing thing about it. It also has a relatively small 35mm steel case with a pusher at 2 o’clock. The part of the dial that shows the time is raised with applied indexes, while the outer part is lower. There we find the pulsation scale that runs from 10 o’clock to somewhere between 6 and 7 o’clock. Because of this, the seconds hand, which is also the chronograph hand, resets to 9 o’clock. Inside the Doxa Sfygmos is the legendary Valjoux 23, a manual-wind caliber with a column wheel. Back in the day, you could get the Doxa Sfygmos in a steel or gold-plated case. A Japanese dealer on Chrono24 has the steel version for sale for ¥358,000 (approximately €2,525). The strap has seen better days, but it comes with the original buckle
Grand Seiko SBGA375
Amazingly high quality for a reasonable price — that sums up what I think of Grand Seiko as a brand. The same applies to vintage and modern pieces, although I admit that I’m no expert in this field. Still, I love to explore what Grand Seiko has to offer, which, by this time, is a vast collection. I’ll tell you why I gravitated to my watch, the SBGA439, in another article. For now, let’s focus on its bigger brother, the SBGA375. The watch has everything you can expect from a Grand Seiko — Zaratsu finishing, a Spring Drive movement, and diamond-cut hands.
Of course, I can list all these great details, but if the overall product does not speak to you, then it’s a lost cause. But what’s not to love about this watch? The size is excellent (40mm), that deep blue dial is to die for, it has a 44GS-style case, and the price is not extreme. On the secondary market, Japan will always be the cheapest place to buy a Grand Seiko. So I picked a Japanese dealer on Chrono24 that offers it for ¥450,000 (approximately €3,175). Even if you pay customs (in Germany), you are still way below €4K. At the same time, keep in mind that the retail of the SBGA375 is €5,200. This is not a bad deal, in my opinion.
Omega Seamaster “Jedi”
The Seamaster ref. 145.024 is often referred to as the “Flat Jedi.” Well, I have a bone to pick with this. Initially, the late, great Chuck Maddox nicknamed this reference the “Jedi” in line with two other watches. The ref. 145.023 exists in two executions — the “Darth Vader,” so nicknamed for its octagonal, black ceramic-finished case, and the “Anakin Skywalker” in a tungsten case with the same shape. A few years later, they referred to the wrong watch as the Jedi in an auction, and the confusion started. Now the original Jedi (ref. 145.024) is the Flat Jedi, and that other chronograph, wrongly, bears the Jedi nickname.
OK, history lesson over; let’s look at this beauty. The Seamaster 145. 024 comes in a 40mm oval-shaped case with the iconic 861 manual-wind Omega caliber beating inside it. While watch sales sites are flooded with members of the Mark series, you do not see the Jedi for sale too often. And if you do, the prices are relatively high. Regardless, it is a beautiful timepiece with a gray dial, radial sub-dial numerals, and that unmistakable sunburst finish. Check out this example on Chrono24 for €4,895.
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