10 Jun Vintage Watches of Instagram: June 2018
Welcome to the first of a new series I’m starting called Vintage Watches of Instagram! In it I’ll take a look at five great vintage watches from various dealers on Instagram, and delve into what makes each watch so damn cool. You’ll be able to see a brief overview of the points that make the watch a good vintage buy, as well as any potential negatives to consider. I hope to cover some of the less well-known pieces out there right now. After all, everyone reading this knows that a Rolex Sub is a damn cool watch and that it’s worth splashing out on a nice one, so why bother showing you one? I believe that there are so many other great watches out there that it’s worth shopping around for something a bit more unique.
So, without further ado, let’s delve right in!
1. 1950’s Vulcain “Centenary” Automatic from Localtime
First up we have a funky 1950’s dress watch by the well-known brand Vulcain, available from Localtime. It’s in great condition, with a stainless steel case that has a nice wide bezel that’s bound to give some great presence on the wrist. The sunburst silver dial is simple and clean, giving off an air of elegance, and the date magnifier on the crystal really makes the date window pop out at you. (Which is kinda what it’s supposed to do but it still looks cool!) The Vulcain logo has a fine applied border to it which shows a little extra effort on their part and is a cool little detail.
Most importantly the 17 jewel ETA 2452 movement is free from corrosion and shows no obvious signs of wear. It’s also signed by Vulcain, which is another neat (if not one you’ll see) touch. And props to Localtime for providing movement picture, because that really is a must when buying a vintage watch. Whilst the watch has not been serviced, Localtime claim to have inspected the watch and provide a 3 month warranty, which is a nice sign of confidence in the pieces they offer.
All in all for $655 you get a great quality vintage dress watch, from a respected band, in good condition and with a slightly funky look. Not bad if you ask me! You can check out the Vulcain on Localtime’s website here.
2. Benrus Ultra-Deep Super Compressor from Buying On Time
Next is a type of watch that is becoming increasingly popular- a super compressor. These unusual dive watches feature an internal rotating bezel and a case by EPSA that relies on the water pressure at depth to compress the case back into the case and increase water resistance.
This example, by Benrus, uses the common 36mm dual crown EPSA case which has only minor marks. The dial is what really stand out on this piece. It’s in near mint condition, with thick, creamy lume plots and crisp white printing that are super legible, even if they’re no longer luminous. The hands are pretty unique, which sets this piece apart from the numerous other super compressors out there. Part of the enduring appeal of super compressors, is their internal rotating bezel, which is operated by the top cross-hatched crown. They’re a pretty nifty feature, though you have to be careful as if the gears that move them wear out or break, they’re very difficult to replace.
Like the Vulcain, the movement is an ETA 2452, which is nicely plated and signed. It appears clean and free from rust, but has some small scratches and has not been serviced. Despite that, if you’re into your vintage divers and want something a bit more unusual, you can’t go wrong with a tool watch that looks this good after 50+ years. You can look over the full specs of this awesome Benrus on Buying On Time’s website here.
3. 1940’s Longines from Horare Watches
Third on our list is a classic steel 35mm Longines. Its stainless steel case is in a simple, yet unmistakeably military style that looks as sharp today as it did in the 40’s. Given the decade this was produced in, it is perhaps unsurprising that the watch has a number of other military features.
The dial features a fully graduated minute track, and lumed Arabic numerals in a very retro font that feature both an open “6” and “9”. Unfortunately in my opinion the dial has some degradation, and has discoloured to a light brown with minor spotting. Personally I prefer my watches to be as minty as possible but some people are happy with this “patina”. The choice is yours. For me the handset is the standout feature of the watch, being a gorgeous deep blue and filled with a vibrant mustard yellow lume. Even after 70 years these pop right out at you, and really draw the eye, and the vibrant colours are really appealing. Horare have provided a really crisp movement picture, a welcome sign, and as you can see the movement looks to be in superb condition.
The watch itself is fairly simple in its construction, but it’s a well put together design with a great aesthetic that still looks good after all these decades. At €1,990 this may be a little on the pricey side for some, especially considering I can’t see anything saying it’s been serviced, but value for money is always subjective. If you’re after a military-inspired piece from a classic Swiss brand then this is a solid timepiece you can get from Horare here.
4. Lanco Barracuda Skindiver from S. Song.
Skindiver style watches have a classic look that is very hard to beat. In the sixties and seventies innumerable brands released their own versions, putting them together from the wide variety of cases, dials, handsets and movements available from factory catalogues.
This Lanco Barracuda is amongst the more unique vintage skindivers out there, and its beefy 38mm case is not only rarer than the 36mm variant, but also features bevelled edges that add a great touch. The case on this example is in very good condition. Judging from the crisp edges it has never been polished and that finish is the original one. The bi-directional aluminium bezel shows little wear (a common problem given the softness of the metal) and the lume pip even still has some of the original lume!
The dial is simple, yet bold and completely functional. The heavily applied lume has aged to a gorgeous yellow, and the broad hour markers mean that this watch will definitely catch people’s attention. The “12” and “6” numerals are as crisply printed as the rest in a font that is straight out of the 1960’s, and the “Barracuda” printed on the dial is equally on point. S. Song has included a plethora of nice photos for us to gaze at in awe, including that crucial movement shot, which shows a pristine copper-plated Langendorf cal.1145. (Though S. Song don’t identify Langendorf as the maker).
Overall this is probably my favourite watch on the list. Its design is simple yet perfectly executed and overall condition is fantastic! You can get this rare Lanco Barracuda for $3,000 on S. Song’s site here.
5. 1956 Rolex Oyster from Mr. Jones Watches
Despite my comments about the ubiquity of Rolex Subs in my introduction, I’m going to round off this list with a classic Rolex Oyster from London-based watch company Mr. Jones. If you’re looking to get into owning a Rolex, but don’t quite have the moolah to splash on one of their more desirable pieces, then this one is a great place to start.
The classic oyster case is unpolished and sharp, with a nice big Rolex-signed screw down crown that is in perfect proportion with the case. The dial has some minor discolouration, but has aged to a warm cream colour, and the faceted applied hour markers and signature Rolex crown at twelve give some nice depth. Unusually this watch also has applied Rolex lettering beneath the crown logo, and I like how the depth rating is also unusually printed at the top of the dial (though it has faded somewhat). The dauphine hands look super sharp, with crisp lines of creamy lume that give them some colour and detail. Moving onto the cal.1210 manual winding Rolex movement, it does show some wear to the plating, but it looks spotless. And, very importantly, Mr Jones have serviced the watch and replaced its seals and gaskets. They’ll also guarantee it for 12 months, so kudos to them for great service!
The watch comes on what appears to be its original Rolex bracelet, and for £2,500 I honestly don’t think you could ask for more when buying a vintage Rolex. You get a classic oyster cased watch, freshly serviced with a year’s warranty in great condition and on its original bracelet. What’s not to love? You can pick up this beauty on Mr Jones’ site here.
So there we have it folks! Five great vintage watches available from dealers on Instagram. I think any of these would make a great addition to any watch nerd’s collection and that they’re a great example of what’s on offer in the vintage market right now. Each of these pieces is in great condition for its age, and the sellers have posted detailed descriptions and plenty of photos for you to examine. Remember, no matter where you’re shopping for vintage watches, always look over every aspect of the piece inside and out to check that all parts are original and in good condition.
And if you like the look of what these five sellers have to offer, why not follow them on Instagram to keep updated on new pieces as they arrive?
Lastly, credit to the respective sellers for the great photos of their watches!