A few months back, we did a feature on six rare and discontinued watches that we fancy. It was not easy putting together the list, considering the array of impressive watches that have caught our attention over the years.
This week, we thought that we wanted to relook at this topic again. There are simply too many magnificent watches that were produced in the past, with interesting touches and designs that have shaped the horological scene in one way or another. We feel that they deserve much more attention than what they are currently getting.
Similarly, there are no specific criteria that we are looking at. We will be mainly selecting watches based on a mixture of quality, horological value, as well as aesthetics. As the title suggests, these should be watches that are rare and of course, discontinued, as well.
So, what are some of the pieces that have caught our fancy? Let us find out!
Sinn EZM 1
We begin the article with a fairly interesting piece from Sinn: The EZM 1.
Originally designed for the elite ZUZ unit in the armed forces within the German Customs Investigation Bureau, the Einsatzzeitmesser (or EZM, for short) is a practical timepiece that is robust and highly legible in all lighting conditions. It is also a tad unique with the crown and actuators on the left-side, as well as a chronograph layout that utilises the whole as a 60-minutes counter. It may sound strange on paper, but the EZM 1 is a clean watch that actually looks pretty good in its own right.
The 40mm watch features a full titanium case, and it weighs a mere 61 grams without a strap or bracelet. Other notable touches include the tritium markers on the dial, as well as the Lemania 5100 movement which is rarely seen in watches these days.
Sinn has not too long ago released a remake of the EZM 1, which is known as the EZM 1.1. The latter is still a nice watch, but nothing really beats the original iteration. The EZM 1 is an incredible piece, with an equally interesting history to boot. It is already a cult classic, and it can only go higher from here.
Newer collectors may not be familiar with the Speake-Marin name, but those who have been collecting watches long enough will fondly remember the eponymous brand, built by Peter Speake-Marin himself.
The Piccadilly is perhaps one of our favourite collections from brand, since it was the first series production wristwatch that was produced by the independent watchmaker in 2003. Featuring the signature “Piccadilly” case, the Piccadilly derives its signature look from the rounded case, with a pair of straight extended lugs that have screws at the end of the latter. Other interesting touches include the enamel dial, diamond-shaped crown, and the “Foundation-style” hands in the example above.
Picadilly is the kind of timepiece that captures the ethos of Peter Speake-Marin’s watches. They are minor quirks and interesting bits around the watch, but it all works perfectly well in the whole grand scheme of things. This is the kind of watch that you will never be bored with.
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5119R-001
The Calatrava is one of the quintessential collections of Patek Philippe, and the Ref. 5119 is the timepiece that best represents the value of the brand.
Whilst it is a three-hand dress watch, the Calatrava Ref. 5119 is pretty much what you will want in a dress watch – slim, elegant, and well-finished. This particular model is also fitted with the special “Clous de Paris” hobnail bezel, which adds an additional dimension to an otherwise simple-looking timepiece.
Powering the Ref. 5119 is the Calibre 215 PS, a manual-winding movement that is a mere 2.55mm thick. The 130-part movement has a power reserve of 44 hours, and it beats the prestigious Patek Philippe Seal. We actually love the construction of the movement, which reminds us of the pocket watch movements of old.
The 36mm Ref. 5119 is a classic, no doubt about that. While it may be seemingly more suitable for the old world, there is undeniably something special about this watch indeed.
IWC 3751 Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Rattrapante
IWC is an interesting brand with a great collection of watches in its archives. The 39mm 3751 Da Vinci Perpetual Calendar Chronograph Rattrapante is one such timepiece.
The Da Vinci collection is an intriguing one, and it is pretty overlooked amongst the models from the Schaffhausen-based manufacturer. One reason can be attributed to its design, which is a little unusual from the usual. For this specific reference, the watch features the controversial hinged lugs – which is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. However, we do agree that there is some charm to it, which makes it rather compelling.
Another noteworthy point is the movement, which is derived from the humble Valjoux 7750 ebauche. It is incredible what IWC has achieved from this movement, and this watch is a testament to the brand and its engineers’ prowess (which includes the now-famous Richard Habring, of Habring2).
Overall, this IWC is a brilliant piece – and one that is pretty special indeed. A statement piece for sure.
Roger Dubuis Sympathie Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Bi-retrograde
Early Roger Dubuis watches are pretty special objects. The Sympathie, however, is perhaps what we will consider as magical.
The Sympathie is an interesting collection, identified easily with its bold design. The watches in the collection are fitted with a stunning angular case, with beautiful curves and angles that are pretty much unlike any other watches that we have seen (even up till today). In addition, what is also incredible is the sapphire crystal, which also follows the shape of the case. In fact, Roger Dubuis has to eventually do away with that, due to the high cost and difficulty in cutting the sapphire crystal.
For this particular piece, the complications are pretty impressive as well. As suggested by its namesake, the watch features the perpetual calendar, chronograph, as well as the retrograde function for the day and date display. These were all based on the time-tested Lemania 2310, which is pretty well-finished with all haute horlogerie elements well executed.
If one is looking for something special, look no further. This is a sublime piece, and one that perhaps we will never see again in the future.
MB&F HM3 Frog
We round up the article with a classic from MB&F. Introducing the Horological Machine 3 “Frog”.
There is just something about MB&F’s watches. It is polarising, and controversial amongst collectors for sure. But it is remarkable how much the brand had achieved within the relatively short history, with the kind of boldness that many brands do not even dare to come close to doing.
The HM3 is one of the most iconic pieces from the independent watch manufacturer. We like how the brand had incorporated an unusual case shape, paired with a pair of “eyes” that houses the minute and hour rotating domes. This particular version, in collaboration with Sarpaneva, also features a moonphase indicator which adds on to the appeal of this watch.
There are many incredible watches from MB&F, but the HM3 is what got me personally interested in the brand during my early days of exploring the watch scene. It is a classic for sure, and many collectors will certainly agree.
It was a joy writing this article, as we reminisce about some of the greatest timepieces that have graced the scene in the past few decades.
These watches are certainly sublime, and it seems as though there is this element of boldness and creativity that is lacking a little in the last few years or so. Perhaps brands are taking the “safer” route, with strategies that are time-tested and proven. But where is the fun in that, for collectors?
We absolutely love the pieces that we have covered today. The Sinn is an interesting one, while pieces such as the HM3 and Sympathie Chronograph Perpetual Calendar Bi-retrograde showcase what the industry can achieve if the stakeholders decide to take risks and do something different from the rest. And again, these are just the tip of the iceberg. There are definitely a lot more timepieces that can help to supplement this point.
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!