You can't wear white jeans anymore but I do have a killer white dialed chrono from the 1940's you can rock year round. Diving straight in, this is the sub register.
First up is an early and less common white dial Benrus Sky Chief. Much has been said about the more common and slightly smaller 35mm black dial versions, here and here, but this white dial certainly has a lot going for it. I am not one to turn my nose up at a 35mm watch, but this white dial variant is a more modern and broadly appealing 37-38 mm case diameter, without crown, with well-proportioned lugs to match. The white dials also featured a coin edged rotating bezel that has a faint red internal arrow (that you can just see above 11 o’clock) used for marking time, that the black dial variants did not receive, further adding to the white dial’s tool watch credibility. The Valjoux 71 movement is slightly less famous than its younger V72 brother, but still a very solid and satisfying workhorse in its own right. The movement looks very clean and honest for a watch of this age, though a service would be advised as always. The movement screws look free of bastardization, the snap back caseback free of service indications, and the case seal pretty clean as well. Overall, this watch appears to be in really good shape for being over 70’s years old. The spotty patina on the dial isn’t for everyone but it does look honest and even, to my eye. The only real detractor would be engraved caseback, but this is minor to me, as it doesn’t have someone’s name and it kind of adds to its authenticity. I think this will be a good buy under $2500, and would be really happy with a purchase price under $2k. Auction ends on Friday morning, here.
I’m going to kill two birds with one stone on this next one with two Zodiac Aerospace GMT’s. Both appear correct and honest, and could potentially be had for $500 or less. The first, and lower priced one has a bezel that seems a little suspect, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s the oddly angled pictures, the lack of paint fill, or what seems to be an attempt to refill the paint fill. The bezel on the second one is correct, with the signature green arrow at the top. Both have heavily crazed crystals that should be replaced, but an acrylic crystal shouldn’t be too hard to come by on either. Correct signed crowns on both also add to the appeal of the charming and functional watch with GMT complication. You’ll see clean examples of these at dealers for over $1200, so these seems pretty reasonable when you factor in a $30 acrylic crystal and a service as needed. Pictures courtesy of the FS posts on eBay, click through the images or here and here for more info.
This one is a bit of a gamble, but might be worth the inquiry since it has automatically relisted, without any bids, at the same price twice now. There isn’t a make an offer or buy it now, but it never hurts to send the seller a message. Based on the description the seller definitely knows what he has, hence the ambitiously high starting price. The watch is accurately described as an early Heuer Carrera 3647D. This watch is most likely made in 1965, based on the 60xxx serial number and early dial. These early dials did not have the “T” above the SWISS to indicate the use of tritium lume, and had a metallic pie pan for the decimal track that was later removed to increase legibility, where the tracks were just printed directly on the dials. The large, non-signed crown is also correct for this period, so I do believe it to be original, though not without some visible aging. The watch definitely has some miles on it, with a patinated dial, hands, and chapter ring, and some oxidation present around the indices. This is why I feel the $6k asking price is on the strong side. The case, with the ever important and Carrera defining downturned lugs does appear to be good and crisp condition, with little to no evidence of polishing. One trick I learned to look for on these from none other than Mr. Eric Wind is to make sure the caseback still has straight brushing, as this was the original finish on the notched casebacks. The movement looks good overall, though a service would be recommended. I would price this one fairly around $5000 give or take, with anything under that working in you favor. It definitely shows some miles, but with a cleaned up case, some love, and better photos, I think there’s still a great watch in there. Available on eBay here.
And now for something completely different; we have a modern, time only, manual wind, bargain. I have made the claim that Nomos might be the only current watch manufacturer that I like and would wear any and every watch in their lineup. Everything they make is so damn good: timeless good looks, modern charm, understatedly cool, in house movements, and great proportions and size. This 36mm Club with Nomos' first in-house hand wind movement, wears larger than its size indicates due to the elongated lugs, the clean dial with thin bezel, and large crown, and has stop seconds setting and over 40 hour power reserve. This watch is definitely one of their more sporty offerings, but is a great everyday and extremely versatile piece. And for $750, it's hard not to like it.
Back to to the vintage chronograph theme, here are two watches I almost pulled the trigger on this week. Both are nearly unheard of oddballs with lots of charm for little money.
I've never heard of Villard before, but this is a cool watch. Very cool font, funk hands, tons of color - I don't know (and it would be tough to be certain) if the hands are original and correct, but they sure fit the bill, and at less than $200, I'm okay with that. The standard for its time Valjoux 7733 manual wind movement will be easy to service and is a reliable workhorse. The only real detractor of this watch is the chromed / plated case, which turns many off, but this one is in pretty good shape with no real bad signs of cracking or flaking. Personally, I thought this watch below $200 was a good buy, and I snuck a bid in during dinner at $152, but then fumbled around missing it.
A Swiss made 3-register chronograph with Valjoux 7750 movement for less than $250? Yes, please! I have also never Ebro, but an unmolested blue dial with attractive tritium lume and a funky dial gets my attention, especially when it might even be on its original bracelet. The TV screen case is crisp and appears to be in good shape, and those oversize pushers look the business for giving that Tachymeter scale a workout. I only just wish this auction hadn't ended while I was trying to get dinner on the table...