#TBT My (wish)list of vintage watches for August
Get ready for some vintage inspiration. An original date version of the loved/hated chronograph, a playful diver from the 70s or a quirky and irreplaceable futuristic watch from the late 50s? You make the call.
“You buy the seller” is one of my profound rules for scouring the vintage watch market. It means buying watches from a verified and trusted source is your best bet. It takes a lot of energy, time, integrity, knowledge, high morale and quality standards to establish the reputation of a trusted seller. Last month I sold you on the idea that every month we will pick some of the watches on our wishlists. As a trusted salesman always keeps his promises, let’s take a look at the August dosage of vintage inspiration from our bucket lists.
Ordiam Sub 200
I first saw this watch on ChronoTrader two years ago, but already post-sale. It was an instant like as the watch combines multiple elements that speak to my heart. The thick arrow hand in the sub-register is the immediate attention grabber. It is a bit disproportionate if you’re strict but simultaneously fits the overall design. The reason the red hand seems so short is due to the arrow tip, which is big. I like that the tip is fully transparent, with no luminous material filling the arrow. One might consider it overdone or childish, and I see the original character.
The same thing applies to the small second sub-register with the hand styled in precisely the same way. The only difference is the rectangular tip. The chunky (or shall I say overdone) design is consistent all over the dial. A fat trace is also visible on hands or indexes. Surprisingly, I find the count-up scale on the bezel quite decent. The minute dots perfectly contrast the long 5-minute interval markings. I believe that the subtle bezel design allows the dial to shine and underscores the fact that the SUB 200 is no big busy mess. Looking at the watch again after a couple of months now, I still like the daring design/hands execution.
Place for compromise
The Landeron 248 movement isn’t anything special, but you can’t have everything for a diver sold within the 800 to 1200 Euro price range. I saw the same design os SUB 200 with a tiny difference offered under Nicolet or Silex manufacturers. Beware and check for the lume, original fill in hands and indexes as all these elements are a big part of SUB 200 personality and charm.
Elgin Golf Ball Direct Reading
If I’d be a golf player, this watch on my wrist would no doubt guarantee me the position of putting king. And if not that, then I would at least be the player with the quirkiest watch on the green. The Elgin Direct Read was introduced in the late fifties as a serious competitor to another weirdo of the era I am after for too: the Benrus Dial-o-Rama. But this fellow is not in a spotlight today.
The Elgin Direct Read models gained their good reputation quickly thanks to Elvis Presley who wore the rectangular version. The most different digital jump hour model from this line of three watches was the one with the dimpled case that can’t be called anything else but the Golf Ball. It’s 31mm in diameter, powered by an in-house analogue 717 caliber with 17 jewels. In case you end up with one, you can easily find spare parts in dozens of Elgins from the era.
The Golf Ball watch looks original and fun, but it is not very durable from what I’ve gathered. To source the new revolving discs spinning under the plexi is not so fun either. Rounded discs like to crack, and until you don’t want an aftermarket replacement you are… you know what. The same “joy” waits for you when it comes to the assembly, which is a test of patience and nuance. And we all know how our watchmakers love to undertake such challenging quests on watches under 200-300 Euros.
Nivada Chronoking Aviator Sea Diver
The Nivada Grenchen Chronomaster is either loved or hated – sometimes I feel like there is nothing in between. Collectors with refined tastes lead long arguments on why this watch deserves to be THE watch or not. Whatever side of the aisle you stand on, it is one of the few watches of all time that has its excellent and thick hardcover book featuring hundreds of pictures.
Trade of a lifetime
I have one of the more exciting variations of the CASDs with an arrow hand, lollipop hand and Valjoux 23 movement. Honestly, I landed it while I was searching for Chronoking and couldn’t (and still can’t) find one. If I’d be offered to swap mine for a Chronoking, I would agree in the blink of an eye. Why? Unless it’s a Speedy, I like to see the date implemented in a chronograph. And look at that – the date position on 12 is perfectly framed and pinned with the bezel triangle. Only the orange central chrono makes it better.
38mm is a perfect diameter looking at the squad in my collection. What I consider as a visual gamechanger are the hands. If you have seen many common CASDs around and now you see the Chronoking with a date window, white baton hands and a sleek orange central chrono hand that gets thinner at the tip, you’re bound to feel a surge of new energy. It is more modern, fresh and much more dynamic while still keeping the spirit and charisma of classy Chronomasters. For me, it is not Chronomaster Only for quite a time. But I guess I will have to wait a while until I land the Chronoking.