We continue with our rather popular “Oldies But Goodies” series, where we bring back some of the finest and rarest watches from the yesteryear.
As usual, we have no specific criteria for the selection today. Rather, we will be looking at some of the more significant and interesting watches that have since been discontinued. Of course, these watches should minimally have certain horological value, or they are icons within the watch collecting circles.
So, what have we selected today? Let us find out!
A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Kalenderwoche
We begin the article with an interesting variant of the well-loved A. Lange & Söhne 1815: The 1815 Kalenderwoche.
Introduced in 2006, the timepiece – which is limited to 50 pieces in platinum, yellow gold, and pink gold – is a special timepiece that was produced to commemorate the 150th Anniversary of the legendary Munich retailer Huber. The watch is as German as it gets, especially with the week indicator where it is pretty much used only by German people predominantly in business context.
The 38.4mm is an extraordinary piece, and one that is rather unusual indeed. We absolutely love such gems, and there is certainly something charming about a timepiece that tells more than just time.
IWC Portofino Moonphase Ref. 5251
There is just something special about older IWC watches, and the Portofino Moonphase Ref. 5251 is a fine example of that.
Also known as the “Spiegelei” (or Fried Egg, in English), the 5251 is an iconic timepiece from the Schaffhausen-based watch manufacturer. This is also a rather special piece, as it was the result of Kurt Klaus’s idea to incorporate the legendary Calibre 9521 (a pocket watch movement) into a wristwatch. The end product is an elegant, but large (46mm), dress watch that is pretty much unlike any others.
We understand from various sources that only 350 pieces of the Spiegelei were made. This is certainly a rare watch, and if the opportunity ever arises for one to own the timepiece, we will be hard pressed to find a reason to reject it.
MB&F Horological Machine 2
There is always something whimsical about MB&F and its watches, and the Horological Machine 2 (“HM2”) is an interesting timepiece that had helped the brand to set its foundation in the late noughties.
Launched in 2008, the HM2 is a collaboration between Jean-Marc Wiederrecht, Maximilien Di Blasi, and Patrick Lété. The watch features an oversized rectangular case, coupled with a pair of circles that houses two retrograde indicators and a moonphase display. The inspiration behind the watch came from the meccano sets from Max’s childhood, which explains the 100-part case that features an intriguing modular construction.
While it may not be the most complicated timepiece in the repertoire, there is something special about the HM2. After all, this – together with the HM1 – had set the stage for the brand, and the success of MB&F can be traced back to this particular period, at the peak of the 2008 Financial Crisis, no less.
Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges
Girard-Perregaux is a brand with a rich history, and the Vintage 1945 Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges is one of the icons for the legendary watch manufacturer.
The timepiece can trace its roots back to 1887, when Constant Girard’s Tourbillon with Three Golden Bridges won the first prize in the Universal Exhibition in Paris. The entire movement of the watch is built within three bridges, which are aligned parallel to each other – and incidentally aligning the barrel, gear train, and tourbillon along the same axis. There is something harmonious and poetic about its construction, and this is certainly well-captured by the sensuous Vintage 1945 case – which sets the foundation for this 70th Anniversary timepiece.
While GP has seen a resurgence in interest to the brand, most notably attributed to the popular Laureato collection, there are still a number of hidden gems that are worth a look. This magnificent GP is an example of that.
Jaeger-LeCoultre Gyrotourbillon I
When Jaeger-LeCoultre launched the Gyrotourbillon I in 2004, it had cemented the manufacturer’s status as the ultimate watchmaker’s watchmaker.
While the brand had produced many stunning timepieces over the years, nothing came close to the Gyrotourbillon I when it made its debut. This timepiece is a showcase of the technical prowess of the maison, with the complications not limited to a perpetual calendar, retrograde date display, Equation of Time, an eight-day power reserve, as well as a power reserve indicator. Together with the fine finishing techniques present, the Gyrotourbillon I is a magnificent piece that is as impressive as it looks.
JLC had since introduced several Gyrotourbillon watches, as well as other incredible timepieces in the form of its Hybris Mechanica collection. The Gyrotourbillon I, however, is where it all started, and that is something that makes it stand out from the rest.
Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Ref. 5016
Rounding up the article, we have the exquisite Patek Philippe Minute Repeater Ref. 5016.
The 5016 is one of the most iconic wristwatches from Patek Philippe, and at one point in time, it was the most complicated timepiece that the Geneva-based manufacturer had ever produced. After all, the 37mm timepiece features a tourbillon, minute repeater, and retrograde perpetual calendar. It is definitely incredible, considering that the watch first made its debut in 1993.
Even by today’s standards, the 5016 is an impressive watch. Besides the technical side of things, the timepiece is also extremely well-finished – with all the components featuring a variety of haute horlogerie finishing techniques. This is truly a grail watch, and perhaps, one of the most beautiful timepieces that Patek Philippe had ever made.
Today’s selection features an eclectic mix of timepieces. However, each of them is special in its own rights, with a few of them being iconic watches that need no further introduction.
The IWC Ref. 5251, notably, is one of our favourites today. Here, we have a rather interesting and unusual timepiece – with a 46mm case, no less. However, the execution is near perfect, and it looks so aesthetically pleasing. That typography is worth a special mention too (IWC, can you consider bringing this typography back, please?).
Finally, we hope that you have enjoyed this week’s piece. There are definitely more gems to uncover, and we will certainly explore more installments to cover these timepieces. Do let us know your thoughts, as well as some of the watches that we should consider in this list as well. Till the next article, ciao!