Pre-Owned Spotlight: Watches From German Brands — Featuring Sinn, Laco, And More
There’s no doubt that most of us are mainly focused on Swiss(-made) watches. I also quickly scanned a few of the Pre-Owned Spotlight articles we’ve done, and most of them highlight Swiss watches as well. So why not go on a little excursion and see what Switzerland’s northern neighbors have to offer? There are so many well-respected German brands around, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find some nice pre-owned German watches, right?
Thomas already went shopping for American watches recently, and I thought it was quite a good idea to focus on a particular country. So I simply made a list of the German brands I knew and started hunting down some gems over at Chrono24. In the end, I had a long list of about 15 brands and watches, but I think I’ll highlight around five of those today. All right, let’s get started!
The watch I’d like to start with comes from a brand that I thought was Swiss. To my surprise, though, Montblanc is a German brand. Yes, it has been a part of the Swiss Richemont Group since 1993, and most of Montblanc’s watches do indeed say “Swiss Made” on the dial. But the company’s headquarters are still in Hamburg.
When I looked around for pre-owned Montblanc watches, this 38mm Summit from 2004 really stood out. Its almost-integrated-looking bracelet, the particular typeface, and the engraving right in the center of the dial speak to me, although I could’ve done without the date. But the bracelet kind of reminds me of the bracelet on my Cartier Santos, and that’s certainly a good thing. I also find it interesting that it doesn’t have a seconds hand, but the fact that it has a quartz movement might have something to do with that. The same goes for the price because, at around €850 (4,500 Brazilian reais), it’s not very expensive as far as Montblanc watches go.
Here’s another surprising watch, at least to me, but not because I didn’t know Laco was a German brand. I just didn’t associate it with anything other than pilot’s watches. So when I saw this dressier piece, I was surprised that it was made by Laco. It doesn’t exactly look like your regular pilot’s watch.
Instead, it looks very graceful with its 14K gold case and fancy welded lugs. And let’s not overlook that beautiful dial. It has a combination of a checkered center and a two-tone hour track with faceted diamond-shaped and rectangular indices. When I saw it, it immediately reminded me of the Universal Genève Polerouter, which stems from the same era, the 1950s. The dial also features a Saudi emblem at 12 o’clock. That might explain why it’s now for sale right across the Red Sea at an Egyptian dealer for US$2,000 (just under €1,900).
I think it was at a get-together last year when someone showed me his pre-owned Sinn 103. It was a bit smaller than the current model, it had some wear and tear, and to be honest, it looked perfect. So now and then, I check what kind of 103s are available on the secondhand market. And of course, this model had to be part of today’s list.
The one here today is a very nice example from the ’70s with a reverse panda dial. Yes, it looks a bit beaten up, but I find that the case still looks quite sharp. And so does the dial. It’s powered by the hand-wound Valjoux 726, which was introduced right around the time that this watch also made its debut. You don’t see too many of these around anymore, and that has its effect on the steep price of just over US$6,125 (roughly €5,650). It’s a very nice example, but I think I’ll keep looking for one that’s a little younger and, consequently, more affordable.
Another favorite German brand of mine is NOMOS. It’s always a pleasure to browse through the brand’s watches, especially those on the pre-owned market. One reason is that, over the years, there have been so many limited editions and collaborations. There’s one limited series that caught my attention that came out last year in Japan. It’s called Four Seasons, and as you can probably already guess, there are four watches in the series. They’re all 35mm Tangente models, and each version has a minute track in a different color. I like that because it spices up the typically plain NOMOS dial design.
The only thing is that these are technically not pre-owned watches. As far as I can tell, they’ve simply not sold out yet. But for ¥286,000 (approximately €1,940), I think these are very nice models to get, and each is limited to just 60 pieces.
The other thing that came to mind with NOMOS was the brand’s pre-owned/refurbishing program, Rare Finds. There, I found a really nice refurbished Tetra 406.9 for €1,450 with an exhibition case back. The thing that I particularly like about it is that the brass movement doesn’t have rhodium plating, giving it a very nice contrast with the stainless steel case. You can’t get them like this anymore, and that’s why it’s so nice to be able to pick up these pre-owned watches.
So these were my favorites from my little stroll around the pre-owned watch market this time. Which German brands and particular models would you look for? Let me know in the comments below.
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