Whenever this subject of iconic watches comes up, you can be sure the Patek Philippe Calatrava is all over the list. Yet it’s hard to pin down which Calatrava is the one to get. With over 100 references produced, I am still trying to identify The Perfect Patek Philippe Calatrava. Ref. 96 has a lot going for it other than “first”, with the perfect case, wonderful dials, and small seconds. Check out this white gold Ref. 96 from Robert Maron – it’s the best Ref. 96 I could find today!
On the subject of unusual Patek Philippe Calatrava references, may I present a very unusual sculpted model: Ref. 5090J from about 2000, also called the “Russian Watch” due to its limited production for that market. I found two examples of this unusual reference for sale, so I thought I would take a moment to talk about it.
This stainless tonneau is a genuine Patek Philippe Calatrava but Ref. 3574 is beyond rare. I bet most enthusiasts never even heard of this model!
Even watch enthusiasts might not have heard of the Jacques Etoile, let alone master watchmakers Horst and Klaus Jakob. But this quiet German brand has made many fine watches in the last 20 years. This limited-edition watch was released in 2005 to celebrate Horst Jakob’s 50 years as a watchmaker. It was one of 70 handmade by Horst, all of which use a classic A. Schild AS 1123 movement.
Dive watches have been in vogue for quite a while, and off-brand vintage divers are really getting hot right now. My Enicar super-compressor has gotten more notice than almost anything else I own, and the segment just keeps getting more interest. This Certina DS-2 is a steal, with bidding starting at just €200, since it’s a nice retro diver with real history and a wearable 37mm case.
Many male watch enthusiasts would love to give that special lady in their life a fine watch, even if they don’t share our enthusiasm. This Patek Philippe “Twenty~4” pushes all the right buttons on both side of the equation: A real Patek, with diamonds no less, in wearable form and affordable thanks to a quartz movement and steel case.
Today, Jaeger-LeCoultre Club watches are mostly unknown. They don’t get the respect of the in-house models from Le Sentier, but they’re fine watches for daily use. Auctionata estimates €800 for this “C 2+” watch, but I suspect they’ll have trouble reaching that unless someone doesn’t know the provenance of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Club.
Omega is a fine watchmaker, but many fans believe that their 1960’s Constellation chronometers are the height of their work. Yet these automatic watches remain affordable. Here we have an example of a late 1960’s Omega Constellation chronometer with an automatic date movement starting at just €300 at Auctionata’s January 14 auction.
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.