The pleasure and happiness of both buying and selling vintage pieces originated from the special features of each piece. Delving into what makes a watch interesting and what makes it stand apart from a seemingly identical example is what we live for here at HODINKEE. This week’s watches, in all their diversity, refinement, and splendor, encompass that joyful feeling you get when you hold your new old cheap watch in your hand. A spectacular diving watch from Longines, an immaculate Heuer chronograph in olive green, and a Universal Geneve with a perfect wooden dial are just a few highlights from this week’s selection.
A 1980s Best Replica tag Heuer Chronograph
There are watches in great condition, and then there are those in exceptional condition, while this Tag Heuer replica is in the latter camp. Though a civilian watch, the look of this chronograph is completely military-inspired, from its olive green PVD coating and matching dial to the legible white lettering and orange accents on the handset. Add a matching bracelet in similarly incredible condition and you have quite the timepiece from right before Heuer became cheap Tag Heuer.
A 1960s Fake Longines Diver,
Starting in the 1940s and continuing on throughout most of the mid-twentieth century, Longines truly conquered both the air and the sky, with its perfect pilot’s watches and then like the ref. 7150-1 meant for diving. The most innovative detail of this watch is its ability to upgrade water resistance based on the external pressure, and it was even awarded mention in John Goldberger’s book Longines replica watches. Aesthetically, elements of this watch can be seen on Longines cheap watches till this day.
A 1960s Universal Geneve Dress replica Watch
As we all know that the Universal Geneve for their amazing chronographs and complications, but their simple time-only watches evoked the same clean lines and beautiful design codes. This example with a wood dial, however, is anything but simple. Different, and perhaps more subtle than a hard stone or a lacquered dial, this is a rather interesting dial application preserved in exemplary condition. Fitted in a slim stainless steel case, this is an elegant watch that required not to be overlooked.
The Full Set
There are more for your choice actually, including a 1940s Lemania Monopusher issued to the British Royal Navy, a 1950s Minerva Chronograph, a 1970 Rolex Oyster Date ref. 1500, a 1950s Eterna dress watch with applied rose gold numerals, and a 1978 Rolex Datejust.
We offer you a selection comprised almost especially of chronographs this week. The models featured today are not the usual suspects from renowned brands such as Heuer or Breitling, although the Heuer Carrera 7753 and the Breitling 765 CP we’ve found share a lot with their most coveted siblings. Let’s firstly start with the replica Breitling watch.
For vintage enthusiasts, the name of Jean-Claude Killy is mostly connected with the fake Rolex Datocompax that he famously wore. However, one collector eventually discovered that the former French skier also wore a Breitling 765 CP (for Co-Pilot) when he won three gold medals at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. The 765 CP might remind you of the 1960s 765 AVI that we reviewed, with one main change to the bezel which went from stainless steel to anodized aluminium. Both rely on a modified Venus 178, which has a 15-minute chronograph counter rather than the regular 30-minute counter (therefore, the hand moves in 30-second increments)
The seller of this example is actually the very person who initially found out about the Killy connection. The condition looks outstanding, from the unpolished case (as can be seen from the intact bevels) to the spotless dial that keeps the original contrast of the reverse panda configuration. The caseback still shows deep engravings of the reference and serial numbers, dating the watch back to 1966, one year after the 765 CP was introduced.
Besides, the replica tag Heuer was another brand well-known for its panda and reverse panda dials, which offer a striking contrast between the white and black of the main dial and the sub-registers. The Heuer Carrera 7753 presents here a flawless reverse panda, underlined by the white minute ring. A successor of that replica watches in the late 1960s, the 7753 still lives in the shadows of the three-register reference 2447, but it does embody the stunning design of the Carrera line as well.
Its case is said to be unpolished, and it looks it, permitting you to truly enjoy the crisp faceted lugs of the 35mm case. The condition of the dial is truly astounding; it is very rare to see the printing so well preserved. And the lume from the hands and lume plots matches nicely, with a great patina. Finally, the manual-wound chronograph movement is said by the seller to perform well.
Watches with quartz movement can be pretty special. Not many mechanical watch fans can get behind battery-powered movements, but like it or hate it, quartz is a main part of watchmaking history and the Beta 21 is surely worth discussing. Longtime readers might remember a little thing Jack and I put together called “Quartz Week,” a series of stories dedicated to all things quartz. Quartz Week was not actually well-received, but it was necessarily educational. One story I wrote was a list of the most collectible Beta 21 watches, and one of those watches was the replica Rolex. I was fortunate enough to see one in the metal recently at Christie’s, because they have a white gold version coming up for auction in Geneva on Monday.
To begin with – the Beta 21 movement is amazing. While it is kind of a pain to actually maintain, it is a truly historical part of watchmaking that’s also just flat out fun. In case you don’t know what the Beta 21 is (no judgement), here is a brief history. The main goal was for the caliber to be as accurate as possible, but alas, the results were not as great as the CEH had hoped. The Beta 21 was implemented in a range of wristwatches from the Patek Philippe to the IWC Da Vinci to a few strange Piaget models. However, as far as I am concerned, the Beta 21 is all about the Rolex.
The one was first released in 1970, and one year after the Beta 21 was completed. It’s unclear exactly how many examples were made between 1970 and 1972, when the model was discontinued. As with many things concerning with vintage fake Rolex, it’s hard to know figures for certain since Rolex will neither admit nor refuse in most cases.
The watches are individually numbered and there are pieces known to exist with numbers over 1,000, but there are a few schools of thought as to how many total pieces exist and what the yellow gold/white gold split is like. One theory is that there were just over 700 examples made in yellow gold and just over 300 examples made in white gold. Another is that there are closer to 900 in yellow and 100 in white. In the end, some suggest that there are actually two batches of these watches, with 900 in yellow and 100 in which in each batch, with 2,000 existing in total. No matter how you cut it, it’s safe to say that a white gold is a rare sight.
The white gold you see is in new-old-stock condition. This is unusual for any watch, let alone a Beta 21 Rolex. It features a heavy white gold case with a fluted bezel and a tenacious bracelet with faceted links. The replica Rolex always seems to make the best bracelets, and this unusual one is no exception. This watch is estimated to sell for CHF (approximately the same in dollars), which is much higher than what we’ve seen these watches fetch in previous years. I chalk it up to the condition, rarity, the fact that it is a historical piece, and that it is accompanied by a 1986 service invoice and green hang-tag.
The market for these watches has also increased drastically over the past three to four years. As you can see, there is a huge discrepancy between the two, and the only conclusion I can draw from these results is that because the example at Sotheby’s from 2014 was a full-set, and two bidders must have wanted it desperately.
This fake has to be up there as one of my favorite Rolex. There is something so refreshing about the case and bracelet design, and while it isn’t the most attractive Rolex per se, I have to say its ugliness is part of its appeal. Also, I think that owning a watch that was Rolex’s first quartz watch and the brand’s first watch with a sapphire crystal makes it super cool. But, maybe that’s just me.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
To be honest, we’re very excited about this one. A quality Nautilus replica is a fantastic find any day of the week, but today we will take the 37.5mm in diameter as an example, which was made of solid white gold, giving it a subtle yet substantial feel on the wrist. In white gold it’s a touch more elegant than is its brother in steel. This example has been perfectly preserved, and comes with an extract from the Patek Philippe Archives.
Well-popular replica Omega Seamaster Chronostop
A simplified chronograph movement powers this unusual chronograph. You press the lone pusher to start the seconds hand moving, and then hold it down again in order to record the time (releasing it sets it back to zero). This quirky movement complements a nice stepped dial with an outer tachymeter scale and an inner chapter ring with indications for fifths of a second.
Top Quality Rolex submariner Phillips world record
The former record-holding watch couldn’t be much more different from this one. It’s the classic “Big Crown” (as made famous by James Bond), but in incredible condition and with an extremely tropical brown dial with four lines of text at six o’clock. It’s sort of the perfect storm when you consider all these stuffs which usually make vintage fake rolex watches collectable. It’s rare to start with, it’s in great condition, and it’s an extra-rare variant, not to mention that it has that awesome chocolate dial. Looking at this watch, it’s totally understandable why it would be the most expensive Submariner on the planet
Christies rolex submariner 1970s prototype
This is one of only three white gold Rolex Submariner prototypes from the early 1970s. This white gold prototype might be the most expensive Submariner ever, but it’s absolutely not the coolest. Does that even matter? Does the fact that this watch is barely recognizable as a Submariner at all make it more interesting or less interesting? Are we going to see ever-escalating prices for unique replica watches as the world’s biggest collector look for new thrills?
Possibly the most unexpected, most unassuming, and most beautiful watch on sale this weekend was this stainless steel time-only wristwatch with teardrop lugs. Made in 1947, it was sold two years later to Bittmann, a well-known Swiss jeweler based in the little alpine town of St. Moritz, to whom the Swiss manufacture sold several complicated wristwatches. I could tell you that a few people on our team were eyeing this watch before the sale, and apparently we weren’t the only ones.
Christie’s Lot 135 – A Square Full Calendar Watch
The very next lot was another rare replica Audemars Piguet that sold for even more. A full calendar in a precious white metal case with movable lugs, this is one of the sophisticated wristwatches Bittmann received from Audemars Piguet in the 1920s. It’s also one of Audemars Piguet’s first full calendar wristwatches, and one of the first full calendar wristwatches full stop.
This fake Audemars Piguet‘s museum has four of the nine known models (the only reason why it didn’t go after this watch itself), so the sale of this special example represented a rare chance for collectors to acquire one of the finest triple calendar watches of the 20th century. And that fact wasn’t lost on them.
Phillips Lot 198Triple Calendar
One watch we always knew would do well is this yellow gold item provided by Phillips. Audemars Piguet made only 20 of these triple calendars, more than half of which are currently MIA. Isn’t it just beautiful? There’s so much open space on the dial, the typography is crisp and clean, and the indications are all really easy to read. It’s amazing, but not in a fussy way.
As a whole, these three replica watches sold for more than all of the Royal Oaks (nine in total, 10 if you count Offshores) from the Christie’s and Phillips sales combined.
Hublot replica takes matching your watch to your suit to the next level with the Classic Fusion Italia Independent,Aside from Big Bangs, Hublot is likely best known for their abundant, and occasionally surprising, partnerships. One of the most interesting, from a design and technique perspective, is Hublot’s relationship between Italia Independent and their famous frontman – Lapo Elkann.
If you pay even the slightest a little attention to the world of men’s style, you’re possibly all too aware of Elkann. If you’re not down on the difference between spritz and sprezzatura, Elkann – grandson of billionaire industrialist and sartorial icon Gianni Agnelli – is a staple of the style and society pages. He’s the founder and driving force behind Italia Independent as well, which is best known for producing high-fashion eyewear, but is a fully-fledged design agency in its own right too.
It is not surprising to say that Hublot’s Italia Independent collaboration focuses on unusual materials. While we’ve previously seen Texalium-infused timepieces, this time around they’ve chose to play with more traditional textures – the classic cloth of fine tailoring.
The full collection includes six different Classic Fusion replica watches, each incorporating a different woollen cloth – tartan, Prince-of-Wales check or houndstooth – on the dial and strap. It’s a bold look, but one entirely in keeping with both Hublot’s ‘art of fusion’ philosophy and Elkann’s fashion focus. The fabrics themselves have been sourced from Rubinacci, a well-known family-run tailor that has been dressing the rich, famous and royal (including Elkann’s relatives) for three generations. Luca Rubinacci chose these particular cloths with Elkann’s sporty-but-elegant style in mind, and Hublot adapted the raw, fibrous material into watch components, a feat of material transformation that shouldn’t be underestimated.
We were particularly drawn to the King Gold chronograph in houndstooth (or pieds-de-poule in French). The texture of the fabric is apparent, but not as attention-grabbing as the tartan or Prince-of-Wales versions. The contrast between the black and white wool, rich gold of the case and blue details is especially pleasing. The real wonder though is the dial itself – that the fake Hublot has succeeded to transform the soft folds and fibres of the wool into a precisely machined dial is astounding, and results in a texturally rich watch that’s refreshingly fun to wear. Though is it too much to pair it with a houndstooth jacket?