My lucky run of quality vintage watches for August just keeps on coming up aces with this gorgeous circa 1950s Movado “Sport.” This watch was part of a jeweler’s deadstock that he inherited when he purchased the business and it is in near pristine condition. It features a stunning original eggshell silver dial with elegant partial Arabic numerals and closed minute track.
The beautifully designed 3-piece snap back all-steel case shows no signs of polish and the brushed and polished surfaces are pristine with razor sharp lugs. The outer caseback is marked for Stainless Steel and even has the original retailer’s price sticker on the back! This Sport is rather pleasingly over-engineered with an anti-magnetic dust cover protecting the movement. Can you imagine what a watch of this obvious build quality would go for if it said Patek on the dial instead of Movado?
Powering this vintage Sport is Movado’s high grade in-house Caliber 125 manual wind movement with 15 jewels and a nice oversized balance for greater accuracy. This is just an exceptionally well preserved watch with classic mid-20th century looks from one of the great houses of Switzerland. It all adds up to an uncommon opportunity to buy a time capsule sort of piece from 50+ years ago that you just can’t find every day. But if you act quickly you can make it yours and wear it everyday!
I promised more watch goodies for August and here’s another honey: a late 1940s Longines Special in all-steel “Sei Tacche” case. “Sei Tacche” is an Italian term that refers to the 6 notches for opening the screwed back just as “Tre Tacche”refers to water resistant Longines cases with only 3 notches. Both are highly coveted case styles for Longines watches.
Better yet though, in my opinion, is the drop dead gorgeous gloss black military style dial with wonderfully patinated Radium numerals, minute track and nicely delineated engine turned subsidiary seconds at “6.” Though I know of no military pedigree it is easy to imagine this dial was designed with sale to the armed forces in mind or at least certainly with the memory of Longines’ excellent WWII-era watches still echoing just a few short years later.
For in fact, I’ve already had written confirmation from Longines that this watch dates from 1948 and was originally sold in Sweden. It also features one of the great movements of that immediate post-War ear, the estimable in-house caliber 27M, no doubt a direct evolution of Longines’ vaunted 12L series.
Though not a big watch at around 33.5mm this Special is just that — true to its military forebears and an absolutely beautiful statement on the wrist with a primo engine under the hood. It’s got all the makings of a prime collectible. And one you can actually wear on a daily basis.
As a souvenir from my recent holiday in Sweden I managed to take home this brilliantly well-preserved vintage Omega Constellation from the early 1960s. While its classic gold-capped “dog leg” or “grasshopper”-lugged case in unpolished condition is awfully nice, the real star of the the show is the amazingly flawless and Mint original non-luminous dial.
The dials of this era were prone to spotting or “pimpling” as they aged, which is certainly not the end of the world in vintage watch. But to find an example that has made it through its 50+ years without this defect is pretty remarkable.
Additionally, Omega’s movements by this point in their history are really some of the best mass-produced calibers in horology history. The 24-jewel, Adjusted to 5 Positions & Temperature, Chronometer-rated cal. 551 under the hood of this reference 167.005 Constellation is certainly no exception.
All in all, a special piece for the discerning collector at a fair price befitting its outstanding overall quality. Better jump on it quickly!
Over the last few years I’ve found it interesting that while men’s hats (hats – not ballcaps) have made a bit of a comeback, there are still very few people who make or wear really exceptional ones. There are a ton of cheap, stingy brimmed fedoras and trilby’s out there, but none of them are really any good. Most are made in the spirit of the fashion world, ie- disposable 10 minutes from now, and cost way too much for what they are. This is in pretty stark contrast to men’s suits, where there are now many really good tailors making some pretty fantastic clothes. But hats, alas, remain a comparative wasteland. But in the midst of the tumbleweeds, one man in New York State is making really exceptional custom made hats on a daily basis. That man is Gary White.
Above: Hat by Gary White in “dark moss” beaver felt with 3 point diamond crown with a Homburg roll on the brim. Side view.
Mr. White runs “The Custom Hatter” from a small studio in Buffalo, NY. His shop is packed with tools of his trade that reach back 100 years or more. He has sought out and acquired vintage and antique wooden forms and machinery that allow him to create any authentic hat shape or style that you could dream up or find. I appreciate his work for two reasons. The first is his adherence to tradition and not falling into line with easy fads. The second is the craftsmanship and quality of the hats themselves. They’re made from very high quality felts pressed from one or more furs. The hat making process itself is carried out by Mr. White to the customers specific desires, although he offers guidance and advice if wanted. Using a rare old machine he blocks (shapes) the hat before going on to finish the crown shape with the correct form to match the customers desires, selected from a huge collection that Mr. White has acquired over the years. The final steps involve shaping and finishing the brim before hand sewing in the lining and putting on the ribbon. Basically Mr. White is providing the equivalent of Savile Row tailoring skills for the hat making industry. You can see an overview of his hat making process here.