OK, I’ve left it late in January but I have two great vintage Omega divers on offer that deserve special mention. The first is that evergreen dive watch classic, the big and bold PloProf 600 meter.
With its massive 55mm wide x 44mm long asymmetrical case, idiosyncratic but purposeful crown left design and ingenious red bezel-lock button, the PloProf looks unlike any other watch. It was originally created for professional deep sea divers and the great Jacques Cousteau himself was known to favor it. And if you’ve got the wrist and bold temperament for this big blue behemoth you too can become a member of the storied PloProf club.
The second Omega diver I’ve got falls more into the cult classic category: A 1970 f300 120 meter Chronometer with the Accutron-derived tuning fork movement humming away under the hood.
This is a rare variation with non-integrated bracelet case, so unlike with most of these Omega tuning fork divers you can affix a conventional strap or bracelet, a big plus in my opinion. If not quite as big as the PloProf this all-steel f300 diver is a wonderfully robust 41mm wide and features a beautiful two-tone silver “bullseye” dial. Better yet, it’s just gone on sale.
This may be akin to Columbus discovering America and this information is likely duplicated in the pricey but hyper focused Ploprof book by John Wallis of Ploprof.com. But I believe there is enough confusion and misinformation in the collector community about what is period original to warrant this post and make it available to all…
So when one searches for “Ploprof dials” one gets directed to the same litany of 3 accepted variations:
The Type I:
(Photo from Ploprof.com)
The Type II:
(Photo from Ploprof.com)
And the Type III (with full depth rating, usually Luminova replacement):
Photo from the Watch-Setter
However there is most certainly at least one more variation from the period of original Ploprof production and I believe it has been conflated with the Type III (I have been guilty of this myself in the past). Here is a dial that most probably predates the currently accepted “Type III” (should we call it the Type 2.5 or…?) from a watch I once owned many moons ago:
As you can see clearly the luminous material is not shiny or puffy like the Luminova of the Type III but still granular like the earlier dials (Tritium? Who knows — Omega never marked the Ploprof with T for Tritium markings so its likely a proprietary blend for their super divers but probably at least somewhat radioactive).
Also the fonts of the dial are clearly different than what is currently called the Type III:
You can see how much more clean and elegant the printing is (much less serif), which to me strongly indicates earlier production than the replacement dials for discontinued models. In fact, it strongly indicates the Luminova replacement dials were based on this last version of original Ploprof dial iteration.
Now you may ask where this dial fits in for such a “short-lived” watch as the original Ploprof if we already have 2 confirmed period original versions from the early 70s — the Type I with “600”-only sandwiched between “Seamaster” and “Professional” and the Type II with “600”-only below the “Professional” and “Seamaster”. Continue reading
If you hang around with watch collectors for any length of time you are guaranteed to hear the word “Grail” mentioned and probably more than once. I don’t know who coined this term for a particularly desirable watch (maybe the late, great Chuck Maddox?) but it has come to be the word of choice for that certain timepiece which most captivates us at a given moment and inspires an obsessive quest to obtain it. Which is not to say that a particular Grail watch remains a constant. On the contrary, the more driven collectors (guilty as charged) will constantly shift their definition of Holy Grail and apply it to multiple watches, especially as their tastes evolve and they wade ever deeper into the seemingly bottomless waters of the watch world.
It might happen that a beginning collector getting into vintage starts out with a particularly handsome Omega dress watch as his Grail but finds himself being attracted to the legendary Speedmaster chronograph line. So, having acquired his lovely dress Omega, he shifts his Grail designation over to the yet-to-be-acquired Speedy Moonwatch. Then, having acquired a conventional Speedmaster, he may learn through research and participation in the various forums about earlier, scarcer versions that were being used at the beginning of the NASA space program and before the design was completely standardized. And so with his classic Moonwatch acquiring mere “daily driver” status, now a pre-Moon straight lug cal. 321 Speedy becomes his new Grail.
Likewise, a budding Military Watch collector may start out feeling very well satisfied with a Benrus Type I or II, no small achievement to be sure. But soon enough, through discussion with other enthusiasts, a hierarchy of MilWatches is revealed to him and he discovers that his well-loved Benrus Type, while highly regarded, is nowhere near the top of the pyramid. Continue reading
The word “rare” gets thrown around a lot when folks are pitching vintage watches. But this circa 1952 Omega Seamaster definitely fits the definition: Jumbo 36mm case (90% are 34mm during this era), rare reference that is extremely hard to find (2521), solid 18 karat pink gold with screwed water resistant case, and Chronometer-certified movement and original signed “waffle” dial (very uncommon for a 1950s Seamaster, as almost all the Chronometers for Omega during this era are in the Constellation line). Run these attributes through the Google and you won’t find many matches. In fact, I’ve yet to see another 2521 in pink gold. So not an inexpensive watch by any means. But, as the old saying goes, find me another.
NOW ON SALE! Rare Vintage Omega ref. 2521 18k Pink Gold JUMBO Seamaster Chronometer — Click here for the Timezone Showcase ad with complete description and many more high res pictures. SOLD
MFL is proud to present links to tomvox1’s ads for vintage watches. These are sales posts you might otherwise have to search the web for or miss entirely before they are already sold. These watches are eclectic, cover a wide range of price points and offer the discerning gentleman the opportunity to acquire quality vintage timepieces that are guaranteed to be authentic and add penache & elan to a man’s wrist & wardrobe. Most of all, they are backed by one of the world’s foremost collectors and always certain to be accurately and lovingly described down to the last detail. Simply put, you can buy a watch from some other random seller on the Internet with a lot of vague claims and small pictures or you can buy a tomvox1 watch and know exactly what you’re getting before you make the leap.
Vintage 1961 Omega Gold Cap Constellation w/semi-Arabics Pie Pan Dial, cal. 551 — Click here for complete Timezone Sales Corner ad: SOLD
Rare Vintage 1950s Solid Gold LeCoultre Calendar Disc in SQUARE Case — Click here for complete Timezone Sales Corner: SOLD
BIG SALE! Vintage 1920s Solid 14k White Gold Hamilton TONNEAU w/Beautiful Dial — Click here for complete Timezone Sales Corner ad: SOLD
MFL is proud to present links to tomvox1’s ads for vintage watches. These are sales posts you might otherwise have to search the web for or miss entirely before they are sold. These watches are eclectic, cover a wide range of price points and offer the discerning gentleman the opportunity to acquire quality vintage timepieces that are guaranteed to be authentic and add penache & elan to a man’s wrist & wardrobe. Most of all, they are backed by one of the world’s foremost collectors and always certain to be accurately and lovingly described down to the last detail. Simply put, you can buy a watch from some other random seller on the Internet with a lot of vague claims and small pictures or you can buy a tomvox1 watch and know exactly what you’re getting before you make the leap.
Vintage Rolex ref. 1655 Explorer II Straight Hand Freccione — Click here for complete Vintage Rolex Market ad: SOLD
Vintage Rolex ref. 3696 Pink Gold/SS Tropical Bubbleback w/BLACK Dial — Click here for complete Vintage Rolex Market ad: SOLD
Vintage 1950s Omega cal. 355 Bumper Automatic Calendar w/ TÜRLER Dial — Click here for complete Timezone Sales Corner ad: SOLD
The great Swiss watch manufacturer Omega took the polar opposite approach to archrival Rolex’s conservatism during the turbulent 1960s and 70s. If Rolex was almost entirely unwilling to deviate from their main design concepts and stayed restrained in the face of the funky fashions sweeping the watch world, Omega was ready and willing to try a little bit of everything to capture the spirit of the times and the dollars, francs, pounds and yen of the trendsetters of that era. As characteristic of the 1970s as boot cut jeans and polyester leisure suits, Omega’s chunky and near Pop-art chronographs of this period make a retro statement like few other watches. They’re not to everybody’s taste to be sure but for those that enjoy wearing these colorful beasts there’s great fun to be had by taking a time trip to the past.
Jumping off from their enormously successful Speedmaster Professional (aka “The Moonwatch”), Omega decided to let their design team smoke a little of the good stuff and have some fun creating a new range of Speedmaster and Seamaster chronographs incorporating newly developed case shapes and calibers. At first designs like the Speedmaster Mark II & III had the traditional black dials/white hands like their predecessor but soon a veritable rainbow of colors was busting out all over. The newly launched manual wind caliber 861 and new automatic chrono caliber 1040, both Lemania-based, seemed to lend themselves to inventive case shapes and color schemes, as Omega chased fashion trends with massive tonneau cases and dispensed with conventional lugs altogether.
Omega cal. 861 housed in “Anakin” case
Of course, as a proud supplier to NASA, Omega were also intent on expanding on their “Professional” line to be maximally useful to the aeronautic industry. Continue reading
There are a lot of hobbies out there and a lot of collectibles. So how is it that one guy chooses comic books or baseball cards or Impressionist paintings and another guy chooses watches? Well, I can only speak for myself and my own obsession with wristwatches but I wouldn’t be surprised if all of those interests had a common source rooted in our childhood.
For me, the watch enchantment started when I was a kid and my dad and I would take long drives up to his house in Western New York (Upstate, as we always called it, the term Upstaters love to hate). Now this was a long drive in an old red Volvo so it took a bit over 5 hours on a good day. My parents being separated, these road trips had a special magic for me, to spend so much alone time with my dad while he steadily drove northward away from the City. And aside from our talking and catching up, he would invariably hand me his Omega chronograph, which I believe he had got working as an ad man on the brand’s account. It took me some years to remember it correctly but I finally realized it was this one:
A Speedmaster Professional Mark II with exotic “Racing” dial. Continue reading