an interactive roundup of interesting watches on the market
The unintentional theme this week is eBay vintage chronographs that I debated posting since they’re all on my radar. Typically speaking, whenever I might have time I will click through some listings and add anything that passes the initial eyeball and qualifications tests to the no-pun-intended watch list. I err on the side of adding too many, and play ball on those that I feel are sliding in below market value. Many end up fetching prices greater than what I’m willing to buy in at, but watching them also gives me a good gauge as to where things are ending up. The finishing prices that are higher than what I will bid at doesn’t mean they’re overpriced either, it just means for a reference that I’m not particularly hunting or seeking out, it would need to be more of a deal. Whereas if something was on my short list I would be more likely to be aggressive and maybe even pay more than current market value if it’s the right one. Now, back to the watches:
There are a ton of smaller branded 60’s and 70’s chronos with Valjoux 773x movements and the same or similar cases. A lot of these cases are plated or chromed, so it’s always exciting when the opportunity comes up to snatch one of these in an all stainless case. The dial in this one is also particularly good and a little more refined than most with applied indices and the “engine turned’ or concentric circle’d sub dials. The lume on the plots and the hands is intact and matching, yellowing to a nice patina. The Valjoux 7733 movement isn’t the sexiest, but it is a common and reliable workhorse that should be easy to service and replace parts on if needed, plus it doesn’t look (obviously) molested in anyway. At $213.50 at time of writing, it will be interesting to see if this flies a little lower with the chrome plated brethren or hits the $1200 range with the “poor-man’s Carreras” like those from Hamilton or Vantage.
Sticking with the Valjoux 7733 theme, this Yema chronograph is pure 70’s goodness. The dial has a little aging in spots, but is attractive overall and I love those sub register hands. Yema is more known for their marine oriented divers, regatta timers, and chronos, but the tachymeter/decimal track is pure auto racing to match the 70’s cushion/c-shape Monobloc case. The watch appears clean and in good condition all around. I’m not sure if the great big crown is original, but I do like it for winding duties. $340 at time of listing, if this one stays below $500 it’s a deal and below $700 or so would be fair.
This one is sitting at $450, but I’m fully anticipating it will take off. Even at $1000 I will say this thing is a steal. And I’m not really sure where to even start. You have a monopusher column wheel chronograph with date inside a case and dial that look near NOS. That silver sun burst dial is sublime and appears to be in perfect condition with loads of character with the minutes subdial and nicely balanced date window placement. The engraved caseback adds a nice bit of provenance and this is all in a 39mm case (with crown), this is sure to wear larger due to the oversized pusher, case shape, and nice strong dial. This watch is all kinds of cool, and I’m just hoping it goes unnoticed for some reason.
These mouthful of a name are on straight fire right now. Though it’s usually the earlier dial variants with the broad arrow hour hands, not these later dial variants. This one however, is a dial variant that I haven’t seen before, which isn’t too alarming since there were a lot of combinations, and it's in really nice condition, with arguably the most desirable of the three movements that were offered, the Valjoux 23. Now, I’m not surprised I haven’t seen this dial and hand combo before since these were also made under Croton’s brand and came in a bunch of different variations, and this particular variation might have been specific to South Africa, where the watch is located. The hands appear original to me, matching the lume on the dial perfectly, and this one does seem to have a bit more color overall with the regatta timer sub register. There’s a little bit of staining on this sub register, but the dial appears pretty honest otherwise. The case appears very sharp and the bezel in good condition. There’s a lot of good information in this Worn&Wound post here on the Croton variety and the Chronomaster's history. The more common broad arrow varieties have been fetching $1300-1700 or so lately, so it will be interesting to see where this less common variant falls in place. $620 at time listing, here.
I debated sharing this one because it's my favorite of all of these. Typically Lord Sheffield watches that I’ve seen are inexpensive with crude finishing that shared parts with many other smaller brands. This one is really no exception to parts sharing, other than it happened to share some really killer parts. This watch appears to borrow a 38mm second execution screw back Heuer Auatavia case, which also happened to be the same or extremely similar case to some of the Yema Chronographs. It’s tough to tell if the case has been polished, but I can see some side facets present, which keeps me in with promise at this point. The bezel drives home the Autavia step sister argument in the case department with a minutes bezel that appears to be original and in fairly good condition. The dial text and finishing is not on the same level as something like a Heuer, but Lord Sheffield was not necessarily going after the same market as Heuer either. Refinement or not, the text all appears original, and the tritium lumed indices and hands are a perfect match. Flipping the watch over, I fully expected a Valjoux 7730 series movement, but what do we have? A column wheel?! Yes, folks that’s what appears to be the venerable Valjoux 92 movement, the two-register variant of the V72, and one that’s shamefully satisfying to wind and operate. Price as or writing this is $212.50, and if it continues to stay even in earshot of this ballpark, I will be playing.
Not much goes unnoticed on eBay these days, but it’s always my goal to uncover the less obvious. If you have any suggestions of things you’d like to see, let me know!
All photos courtesy of their respective eBay listings, click through any photo or bold text to open listing.