2020年5月 1日 (金)

An Attainable Autavia, A Multicolored Mido

For many, it's a difficult time of uncertainty. But, do yourself a favor, and allow yourself a brief diversion amidst all the unrest. We've got a great selection of watches to take your mind off it all this week, including an early Autavia from Heuer, and a two-register Breitling in top condition. For the dive watch aficionados, this is a roundup you won't want to miss, with a perfect Scafograf 300, a colorful Mido Power wind, and the nicest Submariner you'll see in a good long while.
If you hadn't already heard, Steve McQueen never wore an early Explorer II, and his association with the watch is the stuff of vintage watch-collecting Apocrypha. However, he most certainly did wear a Ref. 5512 configured like so – even if his didn't age as attractively as today's example. Replica Watches

Upon first seeing this example, I knew right away that it deserved a spot in this week's roundup. Hunting down a truly great Submariner is anything but an easy task, often taking considerably longer than that of other Rolex sports models. To maximize your quarantine down-time, don't bother searching high and low, just look in the direction of this example from 1966.

As the two extra lines of text on its dial would suggest, this example of the Ref. 5512 is powered by the COSC-certified Cal. 1570, which can be confirmed by inspecting its movement shot. While some are quick to quip about the amount of text on certain Rolex dials, I personally view the ability to add additional text with confidence as a testament to the strength of the Submariner's design. It remains as appealing and iconic as ever, even when complicated. Making matters more compelling is the fact that these added lines of certification-touting text were applied in silver, adding an extra degree of dimension to an already multi-faceted fake Rolex watch.
Another reason to like this example, and perhaps a less obvious one, is the material used for its luminous applications. The bulk of four-line, gilt dials make use of radium, whereas this piece is illuminated using the far less radioactive compound of tritium. This not only makes this version of the reference a rarity within Submariner collecting, but also affords a little peace of mind. With a Geiger counter reading similar to that of a banana (yes, bananas are technically radioactive), it's a little easier for the hypochondriacally inclined to sleep at night with a tritium watch by their bedside.

Jacek Kozubek of Tropical Watch has this outstanding Submariner listed on his site for $56,850. Get in touch by Just last week, I had the pleasure of visiting a good friend within the industry who's now at Sotheby's. Prior to bringing out a few trays of goodies to drool over, my friend was showing two Heuer's to a client, which I was asked to inspect. The watches checked out and then some, but it was the state of the brand's current market which really got the three of us talking. In my personal opinion, there's never been a better time to buy a Heuer, as their pricing is now stable and not inflated by those who were previously looking to turn a quick profit amidst a bout of hype. Examples are attainable, and noteworthy ones at that, which this next piece most definitely is.
Despite comparisons, early Autavias are radically different watches than Daytonas of the same vintage. Sure, they've both got ties to motorsport and are powered by Valjoux 72's, but the former of the two models has considerably more going on in the funk department. With their oversized registers, contrasting typefaces, and bold luminous applications, more character factored into their design, yielding a perhaps less timeless though more lively watch. Nevertheless, 1960s Autavias have aged incredibly well, and the one we're breaking down today is no exception.
This is my favorite variant of the early Autavias, featuring a first execution case and dial, traced by a second execution handset. Though the entirely lumed, dauphine-shaped hands seen on the Ref. 2446's earliest iteration are a sight to see, these ever so slightly later hands are arguably less fragile and give the watch a more premium appearance. Condition wise, it's clean, but not in a questionable way that inspires skepticism. Honest watches will generally have a few insignificant blemishes, like the minimal wear seen on the big-eye registers and bezel insert. Most importantly, the hands and hour markings have aged to an even tone and also react evenly under a UV-light. For those who have yet to get familiarized with the wonders of a black light, this sort of reaction speaks to their originality.

A Fabulous Rolex Tru-Beat, A Classic Heuer Auto Rallye

It's that time of the week again, and I've got you covered with purpose-built picks like a Rolex Tru-Beat, a pulsations dial chronograph from Omega, and a new-old-stock, never-mounted Heuer Auto Rallye. For good measure, there's also a top-tier gilt dial DS by Certina and a Breitling catalog of extreme relevance. Watch Replicas

As an aside, I'd be doing you a disservice if I didn't address the different state of the market than in past installments of the column. In addition to its more profound impact, coronavirus is wreaking havoc on world economies. With this in mind, I'd like to be of service should you need assistance with selling a watch. Feel free to reach out by sliding into my DM's on Instagram @isaacwingold, and I'll do my best to direct some attention towards your outstanding watches in the weeks to come.

Should you be so lucky to find yourself with a bit of downtime and also have an old car tucked away in the garage, might I suggest making a little project for yourself? With a treasure trove of online guides, now's the time to get wrenching and see the fruits of your labor in action. If you're not daring enough to start replacing injectors or fitting a set of coilovers, maybe adding a little horological flair to your ride is the move. What better way to do it than with a new-old-stock, third-execution Auto Rallye from Heuer Breitling replica watches

Known as the Auto Rallye "Decimal," this variant of the Heuer-produced timer is fitted with a more complex dial, capable of measuring fifths of seconds, and hundredths of minutes. In an age where a seldom-used app on your iPhone can relay more information with greater precision, this might not sound all that significant, but when attempting to shave fractions of seconds off point-to-point times in the '50s, this tracing detail made all the difference. Moreover, the decision to apply luminous compound on the dial and hands also proved useful to drivers, allowing them to make use of the instrument with ease.

Included with the never-mounted dash timer are its original papers, suggesting that this example was originally delivered to the American market way back when. These papers are also intriguing in that they refer to the timer as an "Auto Rally" as opposed to "Auto Rallye," reminding us how the times of watch marketing have indeed changed. Such an inconsistency would not fly in the year 2020, but back then, the spelling of terms could be adapted however you so pleased. Its original yellow box is present, as well, complete with the original sticker listing the model and variant.

This Heuer is being sold by Jonathan Krovitz, who's got it up for grabs for a reasonable $2,900. Information and contact details can be found on his Instagram page,

Part of what makes Rolex such a compelling watchmaker is the scope of their countless offerings, ranging from the run-of-the-mill to the next level of indulgent extravagance. Of the bunch, silver-dial, 36mm Oysters are about as plain as they come (in a good way), earning them the same sort of universal appeal as a trusty pair of denim. But sometimes, they're simultaneously plain and anything but. Not only is this pick one of the most seldom seen references from the Wilsdorf brand, but it's also one of the most stealthy showstoppers, bound to leave only those who really know their stuff in awe.

The Tru-Beat was first introduced by Rolex as a doctor's watch. While it might not have a chronograph traced by a pulsations scale, Rolex equipped it with a Cal. 1040 movement to aid with the measuring of heart rates. Unlike the more common Cal. 1030, the 1040 featured dead beat seconds similar to the motion of a quartz timepiece, affording increased accuracy and precision in medical applications. The rub with this movement is just how short a production run it had and how few parts were available for it in the following years. This resulted in many Tru-Beat movements being swapped for more conventional counterparts, making examples with the original movement fitted, like this one, considerably more desirable than the rest.
What attracted me to this particular example — other than the fact that it's one of maybe two available on the market as a whole right now — was its crosshair-emblazoned dial. I've only ever seen such a uniquely configured dial once before, which you'll notice is missing the usual two-line accuracy-touting spiel that most bona fide watch nerds can recite by heart at will. Instead of having "SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER OFFICIALLY CERTIFIED" below the hand stack, this dial reads "SUPERLATIVE CHRONOMETER BY OFFICIAL TEST," spread across three separate lines. Ultimately, these two applications of text mean the exact same thing, but to find one that deviates from what's usually seen is quite exciting. It's the little variances that keep vintage Rolex collecting entertaining, and this is an interesting one if I do say so myself.

 

2020年4月30日 (木)

Understanding The Rolex GMT-Master

One of the crowning achievements of humankind in the last century was the mastery of flight. When the Wright Brothers launched their Flyer into the seaside breeze of Kitty Hawk, N.C., a door was opened onto possibilities previously only imagined in myths or dreams. The first scheduled commercial flight took place in Florida a little more than 100 years ago, from St. Petersburg to neighboring Tampa. And the subsequent popularization of commercial air travel in the 1950s and '60s allowed civilians to go places with greater speed than any previous generation. But while the possibility to arrive on another continent in mere hours was certainly Cheap Replica Watches game-changing, it created problems too, particularly as it pertained to keeping and adjusting to time.

There was no longer just the time. Rather, there was the time where one was and the time where one was going. This was a daily concern for the commercial pilots crisscrossing the world's time zones in the nascent commercial aviation industry. One of the great American companies of the last century, Pan American World Airways, partnered with a Swiss watch brand by the name of Rolex to see if it could make them a watch capable of telling the time in more places than one. It is from this overture that came one of today's most collectible, historically important, and iconic Rolex sport watches: The GMT-Master.

The Albino Dial GMT-Master Ref. 6542 Hublot big bang replica

The first GMT-Master was a large-for-its-time 38mm in diameter with a legible dial created for Pan Am Pilots. It is believed that at least some of these supplied watches featured unusual white, or Albino, dials. The name is appropriate in more ways than one. Such examples of the 6542 are, truly, white whales. In 2015, HODINKEE had this very watch in the office, and Ben went hands-on with it.

The GMT-Master didn't come from a blank slate. We can trace its roots back to other classic Rolex sport watches, perhaps starting with the Rolex Zerographe reference 3346 circa 1937 with a rotating bezel, but continuing to the Submariner and Turn-O-Graph models that Rolex introduced in 1953. These watches featured rotating aluminum bezels for timing elapsed minutes, and they served as the platform upon which Rolex was to develop the first GMT-Master. To this day, if you think of a watch made for tracking time in more places than one, there is a very good chance that the blue-and-red bezeled Rolex GMT-Master, graduated for 24 hours, is the image that appears in your mind's eye. What started as a purpose-built tool for pilots has transcended that role to become a totem of a cosmopolitan, urbane, and well-traveled life. As such, it's been worn not just by pilots and navigators, but by famous actors, entertainers, artists, thinkers, and musicians – the people whose personalities and style influence us on a daily basis.

The watch collecting community continues to show great interest in the GMT-Master's vintage references. And the current collection of GMT-Master IIs accounts for several of the most sought-after watches at retail. The Rolex GMT-Master is, in all its many forms, quite simply the most famous travel watch the world has ever seen.

Wherever possible, I've provided production dates for the references in this article. It is crucial to understand that what the numbers on the inside caseback tell us regards the case production, but that watches were often not assembled until a year later and then sold after that, sometimes many years later. In the mid-'70s, Rolex ceased printing case production dates on the inside of casebacks. For those watches, the serial numbers printed on the case between the lugs offer the best insight into when a watch was made, but this too is something of an imprecise science.

It's been 65 years since Rolex launched the first GMT-Master, and in that time, there have been a great many variations if you take into account all of the gem-set examples and different strap / bracelet configurations. Showing you every single one of them would probably have been impossible, so instead we've decided to focus on the watches that we think tell the story of the world's most famous travel watch, from 1955 to the present.

In order to do this, we've once again tapped Eric Wind, former HODINKEE contributor and the proprietor of Wind Vintage. Eric reached well into his network of friends and collectors to bring us more than 30 world-class examples of the Rolex GMT-Master to include in this article.
While the Bakelite bezel of the 6542 has come to be known as the reference's defining feature, it proved problematic for two reasons. First, it was prone to cracking and was therefore replaced with a non-luminous metal insert toward the end of the 6542's run. Second, the radioactivity of the bezels was the source of controversy in the United States when, in 1961, an American Naval officer and his family sued Rolex, claiming that his 6542's luminous bezel had caused cancer.

Rolex recalled these bezels and replaced them with anodized metal ones. Owing to these factors, examples of the 6542 with original Bakelite bezels are exceedingly rare.

Over the course of its five years in production, from 1955 through 1959, the 6542 used a 38mm Oyster case and three different automatic GMT-Master movements. First, there was the cal. 1036, then the 1065, and finally the 1066.

The very earliest examples of the ref. 6542 feature the words "GMT-Master" written in pink and are rare, with at least one example known to feature the depth rating of "50m = 165ft" on the dial in red above the pink GMT-Master text. Very early examples might also have a long-neck Mercedes hour hand similar to the Submariner reference 6200, which was also from that period.

The steel 6542 cases had some variation over the years, with some having narrower chamfered edges/bevels and some having very broad chamfered edges/bevels. There were also variations in the placement of the red and blue on the bezel. For steel 6542s, there are also some examples with fully lumed tips of the GMT hands and others, like the ones featured in this story, that have lume inside a small triangle.

Grand Seiko And Seiko Will Not Participate In Baselworld 2020

HODINKEE has just learned that Grand Seiko, and Seiko, will not be participating in the 2020 edition of the Baselworld trade show. Seiko has been a participant at Baselworld for several decades, and the departure of the two brands – which, of course also includes Prospex, Presage, and all the other Seiko families of watches – comes at a transition time for the trade show, which like many such shows is working to redefine itself in a rapidly changing media landscape.

The original source for this information was the publication Chronos Japan. imitation watches

Asked about the departure, Seiko and Grand Seiko have communicated to HODINKEE that the primary reason for the departure is the alteration in the timing of the show. The two brands currently have not shared with us, whether a return in 2021 is a possibility. While Seiko has not yet announced any alternative plans for 2020, Grand Seiko has confirmed that it will hold a separate Grand Seiko summit, in March of 2020.

The second answer is that like any other sort of watch, dive watches say something about us. A dive watch projects, in its broad-shouldered rejection of the unnecessary, the same trustworthy, here-to-get-work done vibe as rolled up sleeves, a loosened tie, and a (navy blue) jacket thrown over the back of a conference room chair with a devil-may-care disregard of wrinkles. It says that you're a person who, though you might spend the majority of the day warming a desk chair with your posterior, could outside the workplace be a person of physical bravery, if not outright daring, who just might need a watch that will tolerate, say, jumping off the side of the Staten Island Ferry on a muggy August afternoon to save a loved one's errant poodle (it could happen). A thinner, more understated (less overstated?) watch may speak to your sense of sober discretion, or your refinement of taste but these are probably secondary considerations in the minds of most dive watch lovers, who all things being equal would rather be thought of as the James Bonds of this world, than the Thomas Crowns (if you are unfamiliar with the latter film, Steve McQueen wears, at various times, a Patek Philippe pocket watch in gold, a gold Memovox, and a Cartier Tank). replica breitling


But the third and perhaps most important answer, I think, is that dive watches say something to us. The dive watch, as HODINKEE's most eminent dive watch expert, veteran diver Jason Heaton, reminded us in his Citizen Aqualand story, "Birth Of A Legend, End Of An Era," has been obsolete for decades, from a functional perspective. (He also has mentioned that on at least one occasion he's had a dive computer fail during a dive and was grateful to have a dive watch as a backup, but the general point remains). However in a time when mechanical watches are manifestly something no one needs, and which have for many years often striven for novelty effects in order to get attention, the purity and simplicity of dive watches is more appealing than ever.

A dive watch, in its most classic iterations, doesn't particularly feel designed at all, so much as made simply and purely to suit a particular purpose and that purity of intent has long outlasted the intent's actual relevance, in either diving or everyday life. In short, dive watches feel authentic – they project an air of necessity which other categories of timepieces simply fail to match, on many levels. In a world full of timepieces whose designs seem more or less arbitrary, or at best present in order to appeal to highly subjective vagaries of taste, the dive watch, we feel, looks the way it looks for a reason. This solid grounding in reality that the best dive watches have, this absence of arbitrariness and subjectivity in their basic features, is I think the most substantial reason for their enduring appeal.

 

The (Almost) Inexplicable Popularity Of The Diver's Watch

Ispent last week in Geneva, during which time it poured incessantly for four straight days, which gave me the time to consider a number of questions. Naturally, given the location a lot of what I thought about had to do with watches and watchmaking, and it occurred to me to wonder why exactly it is that dive watches, in general, seem to be so overwhelmingly popular as a general category of timepieces. (Maybe all the rain inclined me unconsciously to thoughts aquatic).

The obvious answer is that they are as a rule, more durable and dependable than non-dive watches but the more I thought about it, the less clear it seemed to me that they are as a class better in a general sense for daily life away from actual diving, than other watches might be. Replica swiss watches

In fact, on longer consideration, it seemed to me rather remarkable that dive watches have become anything more than a very niche variety of timepiece intended for a very specific application. For a watch to be, so to speak, officially a dive watch, it must adhere to some fairly specific requirements, which are spelled out in the ISO 6425 standard (this is produced by the International Organization For Standardization, which is headquartered in Geneva and which has a whopping 163 member nations – everyone from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, which is surely the most remarkable example of buy-in in the history of international organizations). The fact that the organization has so many members, and that consensus is nearly universal on its utility, means that time pieces that can be called dive watches share to a remarkable degree, the same basic features. (Requiring actual testing of dive watches is both de facto and de jure impossible, but most major manufacturers, as far as I have been able to tell, do in fact subject watches billed as diver's watches, to actual testing of varying degrees of severity).

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The standard requires the ability to pass a number of tests, including of course a battery of water resistance tests, and diver's watches must also possess certain design features, including the ability to be read in total darkness at a distance of 25 centimeters, and as well, they must possess a unidirectional timing bezel – this has been an essential feature of true diver's watches going all the way back to the early 1950s, when the Rolex Submariner and Blancpain Fifty Fathoms debuted.

This brings us to the first somewhat thought-provoking aspect of the overwhelming popularity of diver's watches, which is that they have, at the very least, a startling visual similarity; to someone not immersed (as it were) in the world of watches on a regular basis, many of them must seem virtually indistinguishable one from the other and there is often little at first glance to set them apart. Certainly from the standpoint of expression of personal taste, they present a relatively narrow range of options.

The design homogeneity of diver's watches often seems to provoke brands to exert themselves, to find ways to design a dive watch which looks different enough from other offerings to attract attention as a unique effort, but this is a very tricky thing to pull off. A dive watch works or doesn't, on its most basic level, in terms of how successful it is functionally, and while you may want to make yours look different from those made by all the other manufacturers there is a very sharp point of diminishing returns – you simply cannot dress up a dive watch very much before it starts to look like an illustration of a dive watch, rather than a dive watch. At its most extreme, this syndrome produces watches that look like the drawings children (and some grownups, as far as that goes) make of racing cars or military vehicles – festooned with everything from extra tires of gigantic proportions, to turrets sprouting guns of five different and completely unrelated calibers, all of which features would make for not only a functionally disastrous vehicle but one which would in all probability be completely immobile as well (I made such drawings myself, as a kid).
Thus it is that we often end up with so-called diver's watches which may fulfill the letter of ISO 6425 but which by no means express the real spirit of a diver's watch, which is to be a lean, mean, purely functional life-saving machine. It would seem that you can have a quote unquote real dive watch, or you can have one that is definitively distinctive in its design but you can't have both, or at least, you can't try to have both without compromising one or the other to some degree.

This brings us to the second point, which is that thanks to their stated purpose, dive watches tend to be rather bulkier affairs than not. This makes them less suitable for everyday wear – you can only appeal to James Bond wearing a Sub with a tux so many times before it starts to feel like a the-lady-doth-protest-too-much situation. The fact is that dive watches don't generally tango very prettily with anything more formal than a polo shirt and khakis; they can depending on the person and the watch, look anything from slightly jarring to completely inappropriate with business attire and as for wearing one with semi-formal (tux) or formal wear (white tie and tails) I wouldn't do it. Of course in style there are very few absolute rules and as Melville says in Moby Dick, if you do anything cooly enough you can get away with almost anything, but that's not the way to bet.