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Throwback Sundays: Six Recommendations for Vintage Reissues, from Our Archives (Part 2)

Old is gold.
by Robin Lim on August 25, 2019
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The idea of watch manufacturers drawing inspirations from its past collection isn’t exactly a new thing. In fact, three years ago, we did a Throwback Sundays article on vintage reissues that we recommend our readers to consider.

Three years later, and the trend still continues. In the last few years since we have written the article, we have seen more and more vintage reissues that were released to the public. It seems like everyone simply likes them.

In this week’s article, we will be introducing six more vintage reissues (or inspired) watches that we think are worth a place in your watch collection. Without any further ado, let’s find out what we have selected for this week’s column!

Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm

First up, we have a watch that we have waxed lyrical since it was launched last year: Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm.

This Hamilton watch was based on the historical military timepieces that were issued to the ground troops in the past. The aesthetics relied heavily upon those mil-spec watches, and Hamilton had went one step ahead by fitting the watch with faux cream luminescence – in the name of enhancing and re-creating the vintage facade of the watch.

The watch is fitted with the ETA 2801-2 ébauche – a manual winding and dateless version of the renowned ETA 2824-2. It is a rudimentary timepiece, with a power reserve of around 42 hours. The Khaki Field Mechanical 38mm is priced at S$690, and it is probably one of the most affordable manual-winding Swiss-made timepiece. It is sized appropriately, with an interesting story behind it. This is a fun piece that is great for casual wear.

Rado Tradition Golden Horse Limited Edition

Rado has been rather strong in its Tradition collection, but the new Golden Horse Limited Edition is certainly a timepiece that you’d want to sit up and pay attention to.

Launched earlier this year, the Golden Horse Limited Edition pays tribute to the original collection that was launched in 1957. The watch, interestingly, was one of the more uncommon watches that features a stainless steel case in the past. It had proved to be very popular subsequently – as a fashion statement, no less.

Sized at 38mm, the timepiece features a rather attractive red sunburst gradient dial. It remains rather faithful to the original timepiece, especially with the small attention to details (such as the Golden Horse emblem and fonts). Priced at S$2,410, the Golden Horse Limited Edition offers collectors something different with an uncommon red dial – again, a fashion statement in its own right in today’s age.

Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033

Imagine wearing on of Seiko’s most iconic diver’s watch, but it is now fitted with an undecorated but high-grade Grand Seiko movement (the same one in the legendary MM300). The new Seiko Prospex 1970 Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition SLA033 is simply that.

The watch, which was launched in the first quarter this year, is a recreation of the “Turtle”, or simply known to the geeks as the Ref 6105. It is not just that – the tool watch is also treated to the famous Zaratsu finishing, which takes the watch up a notch from its original status as a mere diver’s watch.

Limited to a production of 2,500 pieces, the 45mm SLA033 is a reliable timepiece that ticks all the right boxes. It has a power reserve of around 50 hours and a depth rating of 200m, which are more than sufficient for a typical collector. It is priced at €4,350 (approximately S$6,782). 

Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition

The Navitimer is an icon in its own right. It is one of the most recognisable watches in the industry, and one that is often synonymous with planes and good-looking pilots.

In this year’s Baselworld, Breitling launched a remake of the Reference 806 – the original Navitimer that graced the wrists of pilots in the 1950s. It was this particular model that first adopted the “Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association” (AOPA) emblem on its dial – as seen by the winged logo on the dial of this timepiece. It is a faithful recreation, with great attention paid to even the tiniest detail on both the case and dial.

The homage piece now features some modern touches to it, in particular the movement. It is now fitted with Breitling’s in-house Calibre B09, a hand-wound COSC-certified movement that was developed specially for historical re-creations. The 39-jewel calibre beats at 28,800 vph, and it has a power reserve of around 70 hours.

Priced at S$11,750, the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition is a special timepiece that certainly captures the heart of many aviation enthusiasts. Breitling will only produce 1959 pieces of this timepiece, and each will be individually numbered and engraved on the caseback.

Glashütte Original SeaQ

The launch of the SeaQ is certainly a landmark occasion for Glashütte Original. This is not just the launch of a new timepiece, but more importantly, it signals the inception of a new collection: the “Spezialist”.

The SeaQ is based on one of the many high-precision instrument watches that the brand (which, notably, is a collection of multiple brands before they come together in the 1990s as G.O.) had produced in the past. This piece is a faithful recreation of the Spezimatic Diver, in which little details such as the “25 Rubis” and “Shockproof” are included in the modern version as well. Also noteworthy is the use of faux patina for the luminescence of the watch.

It is hard to find fault with the 39.5mm watch. It is produced to the highest standard (it is both DIN and ISO tested), with finishing that is typical of the fine German watchmaker. The watch is available either as a normal production model, or the SeaQ 1969 which is limited to a production run of 69 pieces. Both are priced at €8,500 (approximately S$13,253), and it is comes with three different strap options each (rubber, metal bracelet, and nylon mesh strap).

Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921

We wrap up the article with one of our favourite classic remakes from Vacheron Constantin. Cue the Historiques American 1921.

The Historiques collection, which was launched in 2005, is one of the flagship collections from the Geneva-based watch manufacturer. One of the successes behind the collection is the wonderful catalogue that the brand had amassed over the last 264 year (and counting) – which features many beautiful creations over the year. The American 1921 – which was based on two difference references (from 1919 and 1921) – is one of the many.

Fitted with an unusual 40mm cushion case, the American 1921 features a 45 degree tilted dial that was originally meant for drivers. This was explicitly done to allow driver’s to tell time while their hands are on the wheels. It is also additionally fitted with a stunning in-house Calibre 4400 AS. The finishing of the watch, needless to say, is close to perfection.

The watch is available in rose gold, and it is priced at S$51,800. It is a premium over the other three-hand watches from Vacheron Constantin, but we reckon this is one of the finest watches that the brand had created in this class.

Concluding Thoughts

We are big fans of vintage reissues, but on two conditions. First, the watches must be well-made. The next one, and more importantly, is the fact that the watches should have a huge significance in the history books of the brand. Great looks are definitely a welcoming bonus as well.

One comment, however, is that manufacturers must have a balance within their collections. The introduction of too many reissues – although financially lucrative – might potentially dilute the brand’s equity. It is important to produce a fair number of new designs and vintage reissues, and the skewing towards the latter might not be sustainable for the firm in the long run.

So, what are your thoughts on vintage reissues? What are some of your favourites from the various manufacturers that have launched these watches in the past few years? Let us know in the comments section below!

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