It's always a little more fun when I can put these together with a bit of a theme, and the watches that caught my eye this week all follow a bit of a risky one: they're a bit of a gamble. I almost titled this one, "Take a chance (on me)," a la Monopoly, but I really do want to stress that with any of these, the buyer really must do their due diligence and make sure the watch checks out. So, if you're feeling like a gamble, maybe one of these will pay out.
I nearly hit the make an offer button on this one because hot damn this dial is killer! I love the matte chalkboard black / slate grey dial with the huge, puffy, deeply patinated lume plots. The super sharp text, Bakelite/acrylic bezel, and seemingly thick case, just round out the package. Normally speaking here, I would start Googling anything I could on "Benrus Sea Lord" "Benrus 7092", etc., while starting to ask some questions about the time keeping and/or just shoot over a low offer to get the conversation started. *I definitely did find other Benrus Sea Lords, that appear to substantiate this one being legit, including this one from reputable dealer Menta Watches. However, being that the seller is clearly a watch guy, yet pleads ignorance on a few items, I would definitely want some more finite answers as to what, "a slight realignment of the hands" "previous servicing" and "keeping good time" means. Provided those check out though, the rest of the watch at least looks like it's original and correct, with no obvious red flags, and it's priced fairly reasonably considering the Benrus Ultra Deep super compressors from the same era are commanding well over $2k these days. Asking $795 and accepting offers here.
*I asked the seller these questions to which he responded the alignment of the hands comment was from the listing he purchased from, and he understood it to be a basic movement servicing, and would get back to me on the timing. Not a ton of help there, so the gamble remains a risk vs reward.
I have not one, but two unusual and sketchy vintage Benrus Divers! This one can really go either way: the horrible pictures, lack of description, and high buy it now price with a reserve as well are likely to scare off a lot of buyers. However, I think the seller knows more about watches than they let onto, so either they're deliberately withholding details or they just need to be asked. In either case, asking should bring out those answers. The Benrus Ultra Deep is most commonly found as a dual crown super compressor. However, this one is in what appears to be a very sharp skin diver style case. The hands are very similar to those on the super compressor models and the patina matches the dial, which appears crisp and unmolested, leading me to believe that this one just might be legit. I again cannot stress enough that I would definitely do some searching to find another one before hitting the purchase button, *(after a quick Google Image search, it does appear that this watch does exist, though the crown may be incorrect) but this one might clean up to be really great with a new crystal. As mentioned, the skin diver style case is very sharp, and the signed case back appears original as well, reading, "Benrus Ultra-Deep Pressure Tested 20 Atmos - 666ft." This one also has that acrylic/Bakelite style bezel, though in a bit worse condition, and I really love that it also does not have a date. If the reserve on this one is not ridiculously inflated, this could be a great score. Be sure to factor in a new crystal and a service, to the price Currently sitting at $195 here.
This next one really isn't sketchy in its provenance or authenticity, but more in the gamble of how much work it will need. I love these early Excelsior Park / Gallet chronographs with the EP4 movement, which is said to be even more satisfying to wind and operate than the Valjoux 72/92 counterparts. (This alone has made me really want an EP/Gallet with one of these movements in it for years). Anyhow, the watch looks well worn and a bit dirty overall, but savable. The tricky part comes in the actual parts, which can be difficult to source on these less common movements. Hopefully all the parts are there and functioning and it just needs a deep cleaning and some TLC, but there in lies the risk. The watch itself is beautiful, with the characteristic very clean, very legible, layout with big sub registers and blued steel hands. The numerals on these early EP's and Gallets are what always get me though, just look at the hook 7, open 4's and 6's, the fonts and texts are so great. The flat pushers and crown appear correct for an early variant like this, and the 35.5 mm case is sharp and should wear well with the large dial and long lugs. Currently sitting at $280 and ending tonight on eBay here.
And one more just for fun, not really a gamble on quality or authenticity, but a literal gamble with large sums of money. This rare bird is currently sitting at $17,600 with 10 bids and the reserve still not met, in absolutely stunning condition. Considering these were made in the early 1970's, I have to imagine this has to be one of the best examples / best condition of a Solunagraph. Heuer made these tide tracking chronographs for both Abercrombie & Fitch and Orvis back in those days, specifically when customers of those brands were actually using the watches to track the tides for hunting/fishing. This one, powered by a Valjoux 72 movement in the compressor Autavia case appears to be 100% original and correct down the Heuer "Sun" buckle. The condition speaks for itself, and it's fair to say only a few of these come to market a year, and typically none in this condition, which is why it's somewhat surprising to see it pop up on eBay. Based on the username and location, I have a guess as to who the seller is, and a rare and certainly uncommon watch in this condition would not be unlikely, which should make you feel more comfortable about shelling out 20 large or more. Because the seller is presumably well known in the collecting community, you would expect this to change hands privately, be posted for sale on a forum to avoid fees, or even hit a top auction house to drum up more bids, so it will certainly be interesting to see where this one ends up.
Until next time, remember to do you homework, and happy hunting! If you come across anything cool, have any questions, or just want to talk watches, please feel free to email me at meticulist.net (at) g mail.com or contact me here.