Oldies But Goodies: Six More Rare and Discontinued Watches of the Yesteryear

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Previously, we have covered a dozen discontinued and rare watches in two separate articles previously. This week, following the review article of another incredible timepiece from the past, we thought that it might be a good time to revisit this series again.

This week, we will be looking at another six of such magnificent timepieces once again. Similar to the past articles, we do not have any specific criteria to narrow down our options. Instead, we will be selecting the watches based on their merits, such as quality, horological value, as well as aesthetics. Naturally, they must be discontinued from regular production as well.

Now, what have we selected this time round? Let us find out!

IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater Ref. IW5242-02

We begin the article with the timepiece that has inspired us to revisit this topic. Cue the wonderful IWC Portugieser Minute Repeater Ref. IW5242-02.

IWC is known for producing some rather stunning pieces over the years, and the Ref. IW5242-02 is one of such timepieces. The 43mm timepiece, which is the second generation of the Portugieser Minute Repeater range, features its signature (yet distinctive) minimalist design, with applique numerals and railway-style minute and seconds track. Powering the timepiece is the 54-jewel Caliber 95290, which was inspired by the original Caliber 95 movement that was fitted to the brand’s pocket watches in the 1930s. The finishing is exemplary, with numerous sharp angles on the bridges that are notably more difficult to execute.

There are only 250 examples produced, with production ended in 2009. The watch is true to its DNA, but with modern touches that ensures it operates seamlessly in today’s age. There is just something about IWC Portugiesers, and the Minute Repeater is perhaps one of the most incredible timepieces from the venerable collection.

Vianney Halter Classic

For those who are into independent watchmaking, Vianney Halter is definitely a name that is familiar to many.

The Classic, launched in 2000, is perhaps one of the timepieces that best captures the essence of Vianney himself, as well as his eccentric ideas. Drawing its inspiration from potholes and Jules Verne, the Classic has an interesting steampunk case design that is coupled with a pair of unusual cantilevered lugs. The studded crown, in addition, was a rather interesting sight to behold as well.

As for the movement, the Classic is powered by a highly-modified Lemania 8810, the Classic is well-finished with a great attention to detail. The winding rotor is another noteworthy point, where an eccentric weight is mounted on the periphery of a sapphire glass rotor. This enables the movement to be viewed without any form of obstruction.

There are a total of 270 pieces of the Classic produced, which includes the latest Anniversary edition that were only available in stainless steel. The 36mm is an intriguing piece, with brilliant hand-finished touches that showcases the skills and talents of Vianney. It is truly a special watch, and frankly, we do not think that there are many watchmakers out there who have the guts to produce something that is as bold and original as the Classic (or the Antiqua).

Wempe Chronometerwerke Tonneau

Next up, we have an under-the-radar candidate that is relatively not as well-known in this part of the world: Wempe Chronometerwerke Tonneau.

For the uninitiated, Wempe is a giant German watch retailer. The Chronometerwerke Tonneau, remarkably, is one of the watches that is produced by the retailer, under its Chronometerwerke line. This particular model features a tonneau case, with sensuous curves all around. The watch is then paired with a relatively simple-looking dial, with Arabic numerals and a sub-seconds dial at the 6 o’clock position.

The watch uses the NOMOS Theta movement, with excellent finishing throughout. It even includes gold chatons and a hand-engraved balance cock, which are features that are noticeably present only in the high-end of watchmaking. All these at its original price point of €3,950 (approximately S$5,870) is an incredible steal – and one that we will not hesitate to purchase, if it wasn’t for the fact that the model has been since discontinued. Talk about great value.

Parmigiani Ionica

Continuing with the theme of tonneau-shaped watches, we have the phenomenal Parmigiani Ionica.

There is just something romantic about old Parmigiani timepieces, and the Ionica epitomises what we really like about these timepieces. This particular timepiece is exceptional in every aspect – from the case, dial, to the movement. The highlight here, at least in the picture, is perhaps the stunning and largely uncommon double coin-edge bezel. Coupled with the Breguet-styled numerals and engine-turned dial, the Ionica is definitely charming in its own rights.

Turn the watch around, and the PF110 movement looks as good as the front. The hand-wound 8-days movement is beautifully laid out, with many sharp inward angles on the bridges that can only be executed by hands. It is as beautiful as it can get, with a similarly remarkable set of specifications to boot as well. This watch is certainly the one to beat, even though it has been more than two decades since its debut in 1999.

Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon

Grönefeld Parallax Tourbillon.

The regular readers of Deployant should not be unfamiliar with Grönefeld, the eponymous independent watchmaker that is helmed by twin brothers Tim and Bart.

Perhaps, for the newer readers, the Parallax Tourbillon is a timepiece that is slightly less familiar. The watch, which won Tourbillon Watch Prize in Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève 2014 (GPHG), is one of Grönefeld’s earliest works, and it has been discontinued since all 46 examples have been accounted for (Grönefeld’s policy is that they will produce a fixed amount of watches, and they will discontinue the line once the initial quota has been filled).

We like the Parallax Tourbillon for two reasons: its simple avant-garde design, and its technical ingenuity. The design of the face of the watch is contemporary, with a strong hint of symmetry. The “flying” tourbillon – in addition – is a treat as well, especially as it runs in parallel with the central seconds hand (hence the nomenclature). It also features practical functions, such as the push down crown (which reduces wear and tear on the fragile stem) and the cage stop-finger. More information on these innovative creations can be found in our review of the watch here.

Grönefeld has always impressed us, and the Parallax Tourbillon is the timepiece that has set the strong foundations for the brand. The combination of contemporary design and traditional watchmaking is compelling, and we definitely love what the Parallax Tourbillon has to offer.

Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Platinum 2

We round the article up with a powerhouse: Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Platinum 2.

The Reverso Platinum 2 is a timepiece that has more than what meets the eye, in typical Reverso fashion. On the front-end, the Reverso Platinum 2 features the usual Art Deco-inspired design cues, with an additional power reserve indicator. Only the keen eyed would be able to spot the “Tourbillon” label on the sub-seconds dial – which reveals the big hint. Yes, this particular Reverso has a tourbillon, hidden on the reverse side of the case.

Fitted with the Caliber 848, the 18ct solid white gold movement houses an old-school tourbillon, with a myriad of beautiful finishing techniques throughout. We do enjoy how the movement is laid out, with maximum attention given to the tourbillon and the nicely polished tourbillon bridge.

Given its limited production run of 500 pieces, the Reverso Platinum 2 is definitely a rare piece. We really like the execution of this watch, and trust us, there are definitely days where one will be tempted to flip the case over and wear the Reverso with the tourbillon and movement basking in full glory.

Concluding Thoughts

Once again, we believe we have covered some excellent watches from the past. There are certainly many treasures out there, and we have to admit that had time-travelling existed, we would have gone back in time and gotten some of these watches while they are still available.

At this current juncture, there are still some treasures out there that are still priced rather reasonably. We believe that the prices of the Wempe Chronometerwerke Tonneau and Parmigiani Ionica are still relatively reasonable, and they are certainly more interesting as compared to some of the highly-demanded timepieces with astronomical secondary market values.

So, what are your thoughts on our selection today? What are some of the timepieces that deserve a spot on the list as well? Let us know in the comments section below.


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