Swatch is perhaps the most famous brand of Swiss watch (sorry, Rolex!) but they’re not known for luxury timepieces of high horology. No, Swatch is the brand that saved the Swiss industry, sold millions of watches, became a cultural touchpoint, and enabled the most powerful and profitable watch cartel the world has even known. That’s why this watch is so surprising!
Here’s a real puzzle: What do you make of a watch with a standard case and the word “Automatic” on the face yet a quartz movement inside? And what if the seller of that watch claimed it was a rare prototype with an unknown movement number yet included no photos of the inside of the watch? You’d be skeptical, right? So was I, but I believe this is the real deal: One of two known Omega prototype watch movements running at an amazing 4.2 MHz.
If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that I love to scour auction listings for under-described watches that are way more special than they appear. But folks like me also often note pieces that are incorrectly described, and one great example just caught my eye: The Omega Seamaster 176.005 Chronograph is often described as the “Jedi”, an incorrect name for this model and an unofficial one regardless. Let’s take a look.
Parmigiani Fleurier is not a company that ordinary people recognize, and even many watch enthusiasts are unfamiliar with them. But the company has produced some truly remarkable Haute Horology pieces and often prices them aggressively versus similar brands. This Kalpagraphe chronograph follows that trend, with an in-house 68 jewel (!) movement and eye-catching palladium case.
Though lacking the original box and papers, this Master Compressor Extreme World Chronograph is a platinum LE model, number 096 of 200. The scarcity of the model, combined with the historical importance of Calibre 752, and the platinum case should bring well over the $5,000 starting bid at Auctionata on March 10.
Here is a Lange Datograph Flyback, model 453.135. This was the very first Datograph model, cased in platinum, and featuring the then-new Calibre L951.1. The black Roman numeral dial catches the eye, but one should note the bracelet which suggests that this is one of the earliest Datographs produced.
A “gold watch” is an archetypal reward for years of meritorious service to a company. But how cool would it be if your company contracted with Patek Philippe to build a special set of 20 Calatrava watches? That’s exactly what General Motors Overseas Operations did in 1954, and these watches are a unique collectible today!
At this risk of this becoming “Grail Seiko” rather than “Grail Watch”, please allow me to present two wonderful and very rare watches for your consideration. Both are gaudy gold watches, both are relatively modern, and both are probably overpriced except in the eyes of a true Seiko fanatic. But one is an homage to Seiko tradition while the other was the first attempt by the company to take on the Swiss!
It is difficult for a watch enthusiast on a budget to enter the world of complicated watches. Adding anything more than time and date quickly ratchets up the price beyond what most people can afford. This is especially true of chiming watches – good luck finding a mechanical Repeater or Sonnerie priced less than a car! But Reveil (or alarm) watches are the exception: These can often be found on a budget. Today we will look at a few that are up for auction and decide which (if any) is a buy.
Although not a well-known brand today, Universal Genève were leaders in the chronograph market in the 1940’s. And one sign of that success was the Aero-Compax, a full-featured pilot’s watch complete with chronograph and dual-time (GMT) complications. It’s no wonder that companies like Zenith and Girard-Perregaux chose Universal to build their chronographs back then!