I love to read stories about watch selections that follow a theme. When I spotted Thor’s list of unusual rectangular watches last Saturday, I instantly started to put together a list of my own featuring rectangular vintage watches. Well, here we are! Besides two crazy mechanical complications, you will also find classic style and even a quartz watch in today’s #TBT feature. Fasten your wristbelts!

I have to admit that none of the highlighted watches below have populated my wrist in the last 365 days (at least). Yeah, I have way too many watches. In my defense, though, when I read Thor’s article, I didn’t need to open the safe to start collecting memories of all the great rectangular pieces I have. What surprised me even more was that a warm smile came to my face when I thought of each of them. Within a millisecond, I got an uncontrollable urge to take them out in daylight. Well, you don’t need to ask me twice what I will be wearing for the next seven days.


Tissot “Dark Deco”

Let’s take it easy with no complications, just a simple but beautiful three-handed time-only watch. The contrasting minute track within the rectangular case is stunning. It’s one of the finest dial executions I’ve had, resembling a minute sub-counter on a large chronograph. I love all the tiny cracks in the ivory-aged lume indexes. The way the ones at 3 and 9 o’clock cross the “railroad track” is another detail I find interesting. The good news? The Tissot “Dark Deco” was a low-budget watch that cost just a few hundred euros. The bad news? It’s the only watch on today’s list that I can’t wear anymore. Someone caught me at a weak moment, and I sold it. These are not easy to find.

vintage rectangular watches Seiko Voice Note

Seiko Voice Note M516-4009

These go for about triple the price of the Tissot Dark Deco. But this Seiko will be the first watch from this list that I put on my wrist. It reminds me of the times I used to take it to the playground with my kids. While they were playing in the sand, I’d record a message for them. Then, when they were done, I’d play it back and let them ask what I had said. Even for adults, they weren’t easy to understand. Nevertheless, this is one hell of a watch. I miss it. This time, I know for sure it’s sitting in my safe.

This watch was featured in the 1984 film Ghostbusters

Its 16KB solid-state RAM is enough to record one four- and one eight-second-long verbal message. You can do that on your iPhone, sure, but that doesn’t give you the same joy. By the watch, the Seiko Voice Note is highly wearable. It doesn’t stick out like a brick; on the contrary, it’s very comfortable. Make sure you get one with the original bracelet.

vintage rectangular watches Wyler Il Critchettino

Wyler “Il Crichettino”

Let’s move from funky quartz complications back to serious mechanics. If you are looking for alternative rectangular cool, the Wyler “Il Crichettino” must go on your list. It’s still a fairly unknown watch, and I believe it deserves way more recognition. That feeling instantly doubled when I saw it in real life. What’s so special about it?

The crown and winding pin

The Wyler Il Crichettino has no visible crown. Instead, it has two case backs. The first case back features an integrated crown and a tiny winding pinion. On top, there is a “false” hinged case back that moves freely. With random movements of your wrist, you can accidentally press the hinged case back against the other one. The tiny back-and-forth movements repeatedly press the small pusher that sticks through the hole down into the movement, operating a set of levers that wind the watch. It’s a phenomenal invention that works perfectly while making the watch comfortable and wearable. I have two of these watches, and you should get one too!

mido-radiotime-top vintage rectangular watches

My rectangular grail, the Mido Radiotime

It has been more than three years since I wrote an in-depth article about this watch on Fratello. Believe it or not, I haven’t seen another example resurface since then. I remember I had to wait years until I found mine and the surprise when I found it listed in the US while doing a random night check once. I also remember how afraid I was because the watch was traveling to me in a regular air-mail letter…


You have to watch the video here. When you press the pusher within the crown on the Mido Radiotime, two things happen simultaneously. The minute hand resets to the nearest quarter-hour (0, 15, 30, or 45) right as the small seconds hand resets to zero. In the 1940s, you just had to wait for the famous beep on the radio to sync your watch. Can you imagine if such playful and practical inventions were more common in mechanical watches these days?

Last thoughts

I have to say it was not easy to select just these four. If you were not impressed enough, there were plenty of other watches on my shortlist. The Melik-Mido is another grail I am after. One resurfaced recently, but the condition was beyond poor. The Longines Super Solo could be another contender, as could the quirky “poor man’s Reverso” from Tellus. But which of today’s four selected models would you want to wear the most? Let me know, and feel free to add your ideas in the comments section.