Top 5 Vintage Inspired Watches
As some of you may have noticed, the watch industry has been following a certain trend over the past few years. Many manufacturers are now producing modern interpretations of their most iconic timepieces. While there are re-issues that don’t do their horological ancestors justice, there are those that properly pay tribute to their glorious past. So without any further ado, these are my personal top 5 picks for the best vintage-inspired watches.
1. TAG Heuer Carrera 1964 re-edition
The Heuer Carrera is probably one of the most iconic chronographs of the 1960’s. Unlike, most reissues nowadays, they decided to retain the 36mm case size that was once featured on genuine vintage Heuer Carrera’s back in the 60’s which really helps give the watch a vintage appeal and charm. The watch in the photo above is the reference CS3110, which is my personal favorite among the Carrera re-editions. It comes in a stainless steel case with a silver dial and light blue accents. It’s powered by the Lemania 1873 manual wind chronograph movement, which was actually the base of model of what came to be Omega’s iconic 861 Cal. movement which was of course featured in the brand’s most iconic chronograph as well, the Omega Speedmaster.
2. Omega Speedmaster First Omega in Space
The Omega Speedmaster undoubtedly is one of the most iconic watches of all time. It has a legendary history rooted in space exploration, although it was initially designed as a racing watch. The First Omega in Space (FOIS, for short) is a modern take on the Speedmaster reference that was worn by astronaut Walter Schirra when he boarded the Sigma 8 spacecraft to fly the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. The FOIS is powered by the Omega Cal. 1861 manual wind chronograph movement and comes in a 39mm steel case with classic Speedmaster styling with three chronograph subdials and a tachymetric scale on the bezel used to measure speed. Unlike the Moonwatch, the FOIS features alpha hands for all three general timekeeping hands (hours, minutes, and seconds subdial at 9 o’clock) and uses white lance hands for the chronograph functions (the central chronograph hand, minutes counter at 3 o’clock, and the hours counter at 6 o’clock). Although the configuration of the hands are not accurate to those seen in the original Speedmaster reference CK2998 from which this was based on, the subtle contrast between the chronograph hands and timekeeping hands really help in making sense of what the function of each subdial is.
3. Tudor Heritage Black Bay Red
Tudor has seen a huge increase in total watch sales ever since it reintroduced itself to the U.S. market a few years back; the increase in revenue was brought about by the Tudor Heritage Black Bay. Although it is not a re-issue, it draws its styling cues from the Tudor Submariner reference 7922 with the oversized unprotected crown. It also incorporates the large and very legible snowflake hour hand from the reference 7021; that along with the printed gold text, gilt hands, and instantly recognizable burgundy aluminum bezel really makes this watch a future class in my opinion. The Heritage Black Bay is powered either by its own in-house MT602 movement or by the very reliable and economical ETA 2824-2. It comes on a stainless steel bracelet and a fabric strap with a buckle resembling the Tudor shield logo. Despite all the design cues it incorporated from vintage Subs, the case size is larger than the vintage divers it draws its roots from, now measuring at 42mm wide. This makes the watch appeal to a much wider and modern audience, which can really help Tudor climb out of the shadows of its big brother Rolex.
4. Oris Divers Sixty Five
Oris is well known for making very robust utilitarian and modern looking dive watches such as those from the Aquis collection. On the other hand, the Divers Sixty Five is very much inspired by Oris divers from the 1960’s, hence its name. The watch is powered by the Oris 733 cal. movement which is based on the robust Sellita SW 200-1 automatic movement. The watch comes in a 40mm stainless steel case with a highly domed sapphire crystal, which emulates the warm glow of traditional acrylic watch crystals. The glossy black dial features a date aperture symmetrically at 6 o’clock which really makes this watches well balanced in terms of proportions. The watch also comes on either a khaki fabric strap, a stainless steel bracelet, or a very cool tropic rubber strap. Perhaps the most striking feature of this watch is the 12, 3 , 6 & 9 hour markers painted with a variant of superluminova that resembles patina that may have developed on the watch throughout the passage of time. This really makes the watch not only look good, but it also helps it function better as a dive watch.
5. Jaeger-LeCoultre Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931
The Reverso is probably on the most iconic dress watches of all time. It has become a symbol of elegance and sophistication ever since its inception in 1931. The Grande Reverso Ultra Thin Tribute to 1931 is powered by the Jaeger-LeCoultre Calibre 822 manual wind movement and comes with a beautiful genuine Alligator leather strap. The watch adopts the dial configuration from the original 1931 model with it having only two timekeeping hands, which makes for a clean and laidback look while still being very elegant. Being a Reverso, the watch can essentially be “reversed”, revealing a clean stainless steel caseback in order to protect the face of the watch from damage, as it was intended to be worn by polo players during their matches in the early 30’s. The watch measures at 46.8mm x 27.4mm, which is a lot larger than the 1931 model, but it is thinner at only 7.3mm thick. I think this makes the Reverso not only appeal to a guy with small wrists, but it also caters to the modern watch collector who normal wears something around 40mm and is planning to get a luxury dress watch.