Seeing as we're already well into the month of August, I couldn't think of a better time to go all in on a watch to ease those end of summer blues. Conveniently, the month of August is shaping up to be an awfully good one with respect to vintage watch finds, making your options both attractive and plentiful. In this week's round-up, we've got an eclectic mix of seldom seen timepieces in outstanding condition, including the rare and creatively named Zodiac Zodia-Chron, along with a minty Monodatic from Universal Geneve, and a gilt dial chronograph by Marvin. With an eye for cleanliness, we've also included a stunningly spotless Oyster Perpetual, and one of the nicest RCAF chronograph that you ever did see. Now that I've got you on the hook, it's time to reel things in.*
Marvin Gilt Chronograph

A quick eBay search of the term "vintage Marvin watch" is admittedly bound to yield a hefty helping of odds and ends that I'd bet most reading this site wouldn't consider worthy of their wrist. With that said, don't let the 'bay cloud your judgement, as there's more to Marvin than meets the eye on the digital equivalent of a flea market. In their heyday, Marvin was not only known for the production of fine chronographs and alarm-equipped timepieces, but also for their precision-tuned competition chronometers, many of which made use of the revered Peseux 260. If youíll humur me for just a second, I'd like to share a top shelf Marvin with you, that any serious collector would be pleased to call their own.*
You're looking at a considerably early chronograph by Marvin, which you'll notice is fitted with a stunning gilt dial, that remains glossy and reflective. I donít know about you, but the contrasting tones of text which read "MARVIN" and "SHOCK-ABSORBER" really do it for me, for reasons beyond my knowledge. Also fitted is what appears to be a Valjoux Cal. 71, which other pieces from Marvin were known to use. I'm guessing the company traded hands at some point, but if you reference pieces of this era, you'll find quality all around you.*
Now to address the minuscule elephant in the room. Yes, this watch measures 32 mm across, but I personally wouldn't let that dissuade you. Call me crazy, but I take the stance that not all watch purchases are necessarily destined for wear, and instead enjoy simply appreciating some pieces as they are. I'd liken it to buying a truly special car on which you don't necessarily want to be racking up a lot of miles, but perhaps that's a different animal. On the contrary, I still think this would be a great deal of fun to wear, given how much detail is packed into the confines of the case.*
If you want in on the Marvin game, head on over to eBay, where youíll find this piece is listed for sale by a seller based in Miami. The asking price is $2,995, though you also have the option to make an offer.*
Zodiac Zodia-Chron

Should you have read "32 mm" and loudly exclaimed "NEXT," you're in luck, as this next piece is quite special. As for handling those around you that overheard your loud exclamation of vintage watch related disapproval, I think some explaining is in order. The watch we're about to dissect is a bit of an aesthetic hodgepodge, introduced by Zodiac in attempt to broaden their horizons. On paper, you might have your doubts, though in the metal, this piece just works. And yes, it measures 37 mm across, so fear not, my fellow large-wristed readers.*
This is a Zodiac Zodia-Chron, which in addition to being one of the least creatively named watches of the last century, is also one of the most attractively designed. While it may sound trivial to some, the seldom seen combination of a silver dial chronograph, with silver registers and a matte black bezel is stellar in this literal case. Don't get me wrong, chronographs with black and silver detailing aren't exactly revolutionary, but personally not aware of another watch executed exactly like so. In short, it's a unique configuration, and while simple, it hits hard.*
Zodiac originally introduced this piece in an attempt to capture the market for driver's chronographs, which was becoming increasingly large at the time. This notion is surely supported by the marketing materials Zodiac put out to spread the word, along with the documents originally included with the purchase of the watch itself. Though this particular example is being sold without any accompanying goodies, I'd say the current condition of the Valjoux 72-powered chronograph makes up for that and then some.*
A seller based out of the UK's port town of Folkestone has this piece listed on eBay, where they're looking for roughly $7,250. Find more details here.*
1960 Rolex Oyster Perpetual Ref. 1003

I've always considered the Ref. 1601 and similar Datejusts to be one of the ultimate bargains in vintage watch collecting, and for good reason. It's one hell of a watch, chock full of iconic style and rugged reliability, but as previously mentioned, it's an absolute deal considering the prices they currently trade at. Having said that, the true "better deal" is perhaps found by going just a few years and pages prior in the back catalogue. This brings us to our next pick of the week, which as you can probably already tell is a terrific example of the Ref. 1003 Oyster Perpetual. Curb your drooling for one second while we break down what makes this one special.
As you might've already caught wind of in the heading, this example dates back to 1960, during an ineffably tasteful period of Rolex dial production. Despite having rather bold indices, and dauphine-shaped luminous hands, the watch retains a quiet elegance that I'd ultimately attribute to the fact that its dial is silver. Speaking of its dial, the aesthetic-making role of the dial's text shouldnít go unmentioned. The slightly less stylized nature of the dial text on Oyster Perpetuals and Datejusts of this era really allowed the rest of the watch to shine, directing your attention towards this piece's laundry list of unique facets instead.*
This really represents one of the most tastefully configured Oyster Perpetuals one could walk into a store and buy way back when, and that with not only an engine turned bezel, but a blued steel seconds hands which traces the dial at every waking moment of the day. If you weren't a hardcore collector, and simply wanted one nice vintage watch, this is undoubtedly the direction I'd point you in. With styling as versatile and timeless as such, you could seriously make this a one watch collection, and one to be proud of at that.*
A collector named Kevin OíDell has this piece listed on Instagram, where heís trying to get $2,650 for it. How this hasnít already sold Iím not sure, but I have a feeling itíll be sold very soon.
Birks Chronograph for RCAF

Maybe I'm an exception to the rule, but I'd argue that Canadians don't have the same nationalistic pride as our neighbors to the south. Despite this, I always get a kick out of finding a Canadian watch, as with a history of so few luxury retailers in the country, its usually pretty easy to figure out where a watch was purchased, and where it's been over the years. While browsing the inventory of a notable dealer and friend, I was delighted to come across a timepiece of northern provenance, that warrants a little history lesson if I do say so myself.*
Back in the 60s, a number of watch manufacturers were tasked with producing single button chronographs for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). That number was five, and those five were Breitling, Lemania, Omega, Rodania, and Birks. Though there's something undeniably cool about a military issued Breitling or Omega, Iíd make a case that the Birks variant is the most interesting of the bunch. For those who donít have the distinct pleasure of suffering through our winters, Birks is a long-established luxury retailer here in Canada, and to have a RCAF watch made under the watchful eye of a Canadian firm is pretty cool if you ask me.
While it is indeed a military watch, you'll notice that the caseback is free of any inscriptions. Though there's no concrete, definite consensus as to why all remaining examples have these sterile casebacks, many believe the watches were "civilianized" after military service by way of polishing and re-brushing after decommissioning, after which they'd be resold by Birks. The idea of walking into a store and buying a "brand new," military issued watch is equal parts nonsensical and beautiful, which I think you'll have to agree with.*
Trusted dealer and friend of the site Eric Wind has this watch listed for sale for $4,500, which is more than reasonable considering past sales of RCAF chronographs. Additional photos and details can be found on Eric's site.*
1960 Universal Geneve Monodatic Ref. 100101

To cap things off this week, we've got yet another timepiece that's as clean as it is rare, but unlike all of the aforementioned watches, this piece has been cased in 18k pink gold. No, I'm not about to hit you with another iced-out showstopper, but instead a tasteful and refined piece that'll go largely unnoticed by the masses. We're talking about a Universal Geneve, and while it's not exactly one of the brand's flagship references, there's a whole lot to like here. *
Although Universal Geneve's Monodatic is arguably one of the less sought after models in UG collecting circles, the present condition of this example ought to inspire further consideration. First off, weíve got the dial, which is clean as the day is long. Then there's the case, which has fancy style lugs, and although polished, it remains thick. If not convinced, note the hallmark on the side of the case, which is still visible. There's only one single part that I have doubts concerning originality, and thatís the crown which mightíve been replaced, though that's no reason to pass up a piece in such otherwise great condition. I'd personally try and not let that bother you, though period correct crowns can be tracked down if desired. *
All in all, I think this piece would make just as excellent an addition to any serious Universal Geneve collection as it would to that of a budding collector. This is just one of those watches you don't see everyday, and especially not in this condition, definitely making it an enticing proposition. I'll definitely be watching to see how this auction unfolds over the next week.*
An eBay seller based out of the impossibly vibrant Mexico City has this piece listed in an auction thatíll come to a close in just under a weekís time. At the time of publishing, the high bid stands at $1125.


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