The line above could easily explain the current market for vintage chronographs. As I sat down on the couch with, fittingly, a glass of champagne this was pure happenstance as we had a friend in town — I normally prefer my bubbly to consist of malted hops and barley one evening in mid-May, I decided to tune into the Phillips Stop-Start-Reset auction featuring 88 vintage stainless steel chronographs. After a heavy run-up, the piece seemed to putter out and then, the Heuer suddenly picked up steam and cracked 30, CHF and then — it just kept goin g. In fact, it went all the way to 75, CHF with commission. An example of a Heuer Andretti photo credit: watchfred.
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The line above could easily explain the current market for vintage chronographs. As I sat down on the couch with, fittingly, a glass of champagne this was pure happenstance as we had a friend in town — I normally prefer my bubbly to consist of malted hops and barley one evening in mid-May, I decided to tune into the Phillips Stop-Start-Reset auction featuring 88 vintage stainless steel chronographs.
After a heavy run-up, the piece seemed to putter out and then, the Heuer suddenly picked up steam and cracked 30, CHF and then — it just kept goin g. In fact, it went all the way to 75, CHF with commission.
An example of a Heuer Andretti photo credit: watchfred. So, in taking a look at just these two examples, what the hell happened here? Shenanigans, tulips, egos, or a mix of everything perhaps? How dare that crew from Phillips give hope to all out there with faded vintage chronographs on stylish, handcrafted straps!
Auctions, in my opinion, are a good market barometer. And when it comes to drama, what we are seeing by looking at past results is that no one really puts on a show quite like Phillips. Seemingly, the company knows how to hype and promote an auction like few others and their focus on specific subjects seems to be working very well.
Take, for instance, the Phillips Datejust auction. At the end of the event, I had very fleeting thoughts of having struck oil with my small collection, but I ultimately took the sale of most of these pieces with a pinch of salt. Now, before you go heaving your chronographs into a wheelbarrow in trade for a measly loaf of bread, please consider something.
In fact, there are some notable Heuer sellers out there who obtain these types of pieces on a regular basis and they are normally gone within a day of posting.
It had the wrong crown and was quite well worn. So where does this leave us? First, a step backwards… It was pretty clear to me back in December that interest in this subsection of watches — vintage chronographs — was in full bloom when I received an interview request on the topic. Granted, a secondary purpose of the article may have been some pre-hype for the auctions that took place over the past month, but I at least consider the questions asked as fair and balanced. Plus, I think that the auctions were a reaction to a growing trend versus trying to force feed something to people where real interest did not lie.
Will this Wittnauer T become a top tier piece? Who knows? What will happen going forward? Have we lost our minds and can we soon expect that things will return to a state of normalcy? Will it be Breitling, Enicar, or others? Some may be holding with the thought that prices will continue to climb, but I actually believe most, like myself, enjoy wearing them. Do I predict this? A lovely, still inexpensive, Gallet Multichron When I started these vintage market updates, I previously gave specific recommendations on where to turn for opportunities.
Now, when I look back on these suggestions, it seems I was correct. I could list buckets of vintage chronographs — some rare — that are valuable that I have little to no interest in, but that should mean nothing to you if you like them. To me, part of the thrill is the hunt and while I get this thrill less and less in crowded and expensive fishing waters, I still enjoy netting a great catch every so often.
First, the cam lever Valjoux 77xx movements still present great opportunities. Chrome-plated and all, this Vulcain is a beauty. The key is simply to find a chrome case in good shape and then buy without fear.
Honestly, are you really going to wear your vintage chronograph every single day? Are you going to sweat profusely in it, perform clutch swaps in your International Harvester with it on, or lay down kitchen tile whilst donning it? Landeron-based pieces. A Breitling Navitimer — still one of the better deals out there. I hope you enjoyed this brief commentary on the current market for vintage chronographs.
For more auction watching, be sure to check out the upcoming Watches of Knightsbridge auction on July 2nd. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry.
He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30, feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became Speedy Tuesday.
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Landeron caliber 248 movement – specifications and photo
For auction is a rare Pronto Super Waterproof Landeron manual winding 38mm stainless steel manual winding orange and peach dial accents. Exceptional and unique case on this vintage diver chronograph, amazing angled lugs, great steel rotating diver bezel with enameled numbers. The dial is the real show however, matte black with outer tachymeter, chunky batons with a gorgeous patina to the tritium lume, white subdials with orange and peach accents. Colorful and gorgeous this is a rare and special piece. We strongly urge our clients to contact us with any questions or concerns. We are quick to respond, agreeable, and easy. We require payment within 96 hours 4 days for all auctions and listings.
PRONTO VINTAGE DIVER CHRONOGRAPH LANDERON 248 38MM ORANGE DIAL 1960s STAINLESS
BWC Landeron 248 Chronograph
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