the sub register - the compelling case against Baselworld

With the whole watch world focused on Basel World this week, I've got some good old vintage watches to make you forget bad date window placement and 44 mm cases.  And I don't think anything is more the antitheses than this one:

Universal Geneve Ultra-Thin

 so, so good with some well fitted and classically styled attire.  Photo courtesy of FS listing, click through for more info.

so, so good with some well fitted and classically styled attire.  Photo courtesy of FS listing, click through for more info.

In what could serve as the definition of something that is classy, refined, and cool, this is the perfect vintage dress watch.  These super thin UG's from the late 50's and early 60's wear so well, and have such a charming, reserved level of wrist presence with the skinny bezels and super thin cases.  Everything on this watch has just enough presence with so much restraint with the coin-edged bezel, sleek crown, and elongated hour markers.  The dial has a little wear on it, but that adds to the charm in this case.  Add to the fact that it is from a well respected collector that champions originality (easily authenticated by his second example), and is only asking $650... this is one of those watches that photos never really capture the charm that it will have on the wrist each time you look down. Available on OmegaForums here.


 Nice compressor case and big fat, nicely patinated lume plots.  Photo from FS listing, click through for more info.

Nice compressor case and big fat, nicely patinated lume plots.  Photo from FS listing, click through for more info.

Nearly every watch brand these days in pulling inspiration from their original icons of the 1960's.  Oris is one that has been doing it quite successfully with the Heritage Divers 65 and the Divers 65.  Here's a chance to snag one that inspired the latter for well under $1k.  It does state that it needs a service, but you should factor that into any vintage purchase that doesn't have the service records to substantiate otherwise anyways.  Given the favorable exchange rate these days, even with the service, you should keep it in the three digit range pretty easily.  I love the big lume markers and full lume hands that when paired with the EPSA Compressor case with correct crosshatch crown, clearly states the diving intentions of this one.  The bezel, case, and dial look good and honest overall, but I would want to maybe see another picture of the hands in different light to see if they have been relumed.  The look slightly more green than the dial plots, which may not be incorrect, but would warrant a little more investigation so you know what you're getting into.  This one is sure to wear larger than it's 36 mm case size due to the huge compressor crown and chunky bezel.  Add it all together and it's just a really nice example of a pure tool watch that was made for diving, at a reasonable price.  500EUR asking price over on ChronoTrader here.


 I don't think I'd mind being in the "poor man's" club with cool watches like this.  Photo from FS listing, click through for more details.

I don't think I'd mind being in the "poor man's" club with cool watches like this.  Photo from FS listing, click through for more details.

In what appears to be in the same configuration as the Desotos Poor Man's Camaro previously reference here, this Niaster offers a low cost to entry into the wonderful handwinding world of the Valjoux 72 movement... for those that also appreciate a healthy dose of patina.  I have never heard of Niaster, but given that it's basically in the exact same configuration as the Desotos, which I have seen other examples of, this seems to just be another case of a lot of overlap that took place in the 1960's, when "in-house" wasn't really a thing since one manufacturer made cases, another made dials, there was a movement manufacturer, etc.  In this instance, you have a Heuer Camaro case in really nice condition as indicated by the sunburst-brushed top surfaces, seams or corners present on the chamfered edges, and honest caseback.  I want to almost go out on a limb here and say that I might prefer these dials to the Camaros because the tachy scale incorporated into the rehaut (the edge of the dial that transitions the dial to the crystal), the long applied indices, super pointy hour and minute hands, and that awesome red lollipop chrono sweep hand.  The applied indices and hands might lack a little bit of shaping and refinement seen on the Heuers, but there are a lot of cool details to be had here.  The inverse panda dial is a little worse for the wear, but for those that like to stretch the term tropical, it might be one for you.  I would definitely want to see movement pics and a close up to the dial and make sure that it's not water damage and the movement isn't rusted out.  Provided that checks out, this does present a nice opportunity to those that like this sort of tropical patina, in a nice Camaro case, with all of the other buzz words: reverse panda dial, Valjoux 72, lollipop, tropical, etc., considering the strong shift in prices Camaros have been seeing lately.  Asking 1750EUR on ChronoTrader here.


And a Buyer Beware...

I always feel (a little bit) bad when calling attention to someone trying to sell a watch and potentially blowing up their sale, but with 4 pages of bumps and claiming that the dial is original, maybe I shouldn't.  This is what would be another great example of the great thin Universal Geneve's of the 1960's, but it has been poorly redialed.  I believe this is the watch it is stated to be, it's just not original, which kills the value, conductibility, and appeal to most in the watch community.  The movement, case, and applied logo and indices are all most likely original, but I'm nearly certain the crown is not, I'm definitely certain the text is not, and either is the seconds hand.  The font is heavy, not consistent, and I'm not even sure it's straight or aligned.  I believe the "SWISS" or "SWISS MADE" text might also be absent from the bottom.  When looking at vintage watches from the late 1950's and onward, dial printing only kept getting better, so you just don't see these kind of inconsistencies in the type or printing on an original dial.  Sorry to the seller, I have no issues with you selling something that's not original, but at least claim ignorance that you're not sure rather than stating an untruth.  

 Photo from FS listing. My apologies to the seller, but this is just not even close to being an original dial.  To someone where that isn't important, this watch is down to $300 asking, click through for more info and to purchase.  

Photo from FS listing. My apologies to the seller, but this is just not even close to being an original dial.  To someone where that isn't important, this watch is down to $300 asking, click through for more info and to purchase.  

For reference, my slightly later variant of this watch:

 Notice the difference in the crispness of the text, the serifs of the font, and the consistency and alignment?  

Notice the difference in the crispness of the text, the serifs of the font, and the consistency and alignment?  

As always, be sure to follow along and participate on Twitter, where I try and tweet links to other watches that catch my attention but don't make it into this posting.  You can also tag me on Instagram @meticulist or use the hashtag #thesubregister.