Pre-Owned Spotlight: Four Of Thomas’s Vintage Favorites From Rolex, Patek, Longines, And Heuer
It’s my turn to do a Pre-Owned Spotlight article for this week! As you have probably noticed, we love browsing online offerings as much as our readers do. Hunting down the real gems is possibly even more fun than owning them. So join me on a chase for some cool watches that are currently available at different dealers and webshops.
You know I have a tendency to go vintage, so you will find some older watches in my selection. And I think I have an interesting lineup for you today, including sporty watches from Rolex and Heuer alongside dressier pieces from Longines and Patek. Let’s have a look.
1964 Rolex Submariner 5513 with an Explorer dial
Let’s kick things off with an exceedingly rare pre-owned pick. A Rolex Submariner ref. 5513 with a gilt dial is honestly one of my grail watches. But here is an example that will make those look pedestrian by comparison. This example comes with an Explorer dial, characterized by baton indices and that iconic 3-6-9 layout.
There are actually several Submariner references that were available with Explorer dials. The 5513 is the last of them. The one thing they all share is an extremely short production period. Rolex finally settled on the dive watch’s archetypal combination of circles, batons, and triangles.
This one is in fair condition and on offer for an eye-watering €182,799. That is a premium of about €160,000 over a good “regular” gilt 5513. But hey, if you want something this rare, you are paying through the nose. Luckily, Xupes offers spread payments. I found the “As low as £30,466.50/month” proposition rather funny. In short, no, this is certainly not a pre-owned bargain. But I thought I’d kick things off with a bit of a banger.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 5120G in 18K white gold
If you are into simple Patek Philippe two- or three-handers at 34–36mm, you are out of luck. For some reason, Patek only makes Calatrava models in 39mm cases now, unless you like diamonds or a design language that plays on stereotypical female watch features. Therefore, if you want a small men’s or unisex dress watch from Patek, you have to look at the back catalog.
And then you might just come across this beauty. This Calatrava 5120G in 18K white gold dates back to the early 2000s. It measures 35mm across, which is perfect for this style. I particularly love the Clous de Paris bezel and the micro-rotor caliber 10-240/111 visible through the display case back. To me, this is a sweet spot between vintage and modern Patek.
This watch is currently on offer through Bulang & Sons. Priced at €13,700, I think this is a lot of watch for the money. In fact, it is very nicely priced for a 5120.
Longines Jumbo Calatrava 6377
We will remain in Calatrava territory for a little longer. I have been obsessed with 1940s watches lately, and this is a prime example of precisely why I love them. This is a Longines Calatrava in the jumbo size. It might not sound like much these days, but 37mm really is quite large for these watches. Unfortunately, the size does add a lot to the price as well.
The watch is powered by the caliber 12.68ZS, which — judging by the pictures on the site — survived the decades rather well. The star of the show, however, is the dial. It features a subtle, vertically brushed texture. It is in remarkable condition. Most of these, however, are either heavily patinated or refinished.
The watch is on offer at Shuck the Oyster in Germany. It comes with the original box and an extract of archives from Longines. This Calatrava is priced at €5,200.
Heuer Autavia 1163 Full set NOS
The terms “full set” and “NOS” (new old stock) get the vintage watch lover’s heart racing. And this racing chronograph from Heuer is perfect to time just how fast your heart is pumping. It is a watch from 1972 with clear ’70s styling. Just have a look at those orange details, rectangular tritium indices, and alternating seconds track.
This Autavia ref. 1163 is powered by the Heuer Calibre 15. In this particular watch, it has a very odd layout. There is no hour counter for the chronograph, and the running-seconds sub-dial is placed at 10 o’clock. A vertical stripe right down the middle interestingly brings some balance to the quirky layout. The case, as expected from a NOS watch, is in perfect condition.
This watch has been brought to market by my old colleagues at Amsterdam Watch Company. It is priced at €15,500. While that is certainly a lot of money, it is quite fair for a full set in this condition, especially since it is believed that fewer than 100 pieces were ever produced.
Which is your favorite of these pre-owned picks?
There you have it — four fine vintage watches on the market today that make up my Pre-Owned Spotlight this week. Which one do you like best? Let us know in the comments below.