It’s that time of the week again, folks. We’re bringing you a great roundup of pieces on Market Watch(ing), though a bit heavy in Rolex and Tudor. Hey, we just call ’em as we see ’em. As per usual, get your wallets ready and READ UP!

Neil’s Picks

Rolex 16760 GMT Master II “Fat Lady”

GMTs are held in high regard by*of most of the crew here at Wound For Life. Most of us own one, although they are all quite different. The one that holds a soft spot in my heart is one that doesn’t always get much recognition from the vintage crowd. That piece is*the very first GMT Master II, reference 16760. Affectionately known as the “Fat Lady” or “Sophia Loren”, the 16760 utilized a thicker case which was needed to house the Calibre 3085 movement. This movement was a turning point for Rolex because it allowed two independent time zones to be set with the hands, instead of rotating the bezel. It’s also the same movement found in the transitional 16550 Explorer II. Another leap forward for the Fat Lady was the inclusion of a sapphire crystal.
The example here is even more desirable because it is one of the early models with just “Oyster Perpetual” on the dial without the addition of the word “Date”. Collectors and dealers call it the “non date” dial, which can be confusing at first glance because there is most certainly a date function. It also has an open 6 and 9 date wheel and nicely aged tritium dial and matching hands, free from corrosion as far I can tell. A mostly scratch free bezel and thick case give me the impression it’s a really solid example. This one of my favorite transitional Rolex models, as it treads the fine line of vintage with a touch of modern. If there was ever a Fat Lady to pounce on, it’s this one (hey now!), because I don’t think it’ll be on the market too long.

Tudor Black Bay Blue

I generally try and stick with vintage watches but one that I can’t seem to get out of my head is the Black Bay from Tudor. The original Red version is an amazing watch, but once I saw the Blue in person, I knew that was the Black Bay for me. Tudor has really impressed me in recent years with their willingness to take chances and (almost) always succeeding. Build quality is what you’d expect from the Rolex family and although the movement is an ETA 2824, it’s still a very accurate workhorse. The styling is vintage inspired with the chapter ring dial, snowflake hands, and no crown guards but there is no faux patina, which it seems you either love or hate. The deep blue bezel looks great in pictures but truly has to be seen to be appreciated. It looks great on either the bracelet or Tudor’s absolutely peerless*fabric — not NATO — strap. One of the best parts about this watch is the price. The retail value was already reasonable for this amazing package but now there are some on the second hand markets like this one with prices you can’t pass up.

Dean’s Picks

If Iím curt with you, itís because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast, and I need you to guys to act fast if you wanna get a great watch out of this. So pretty please, with sugar on top, read the bleepin’ picks.
Tudor Day-Date Reference 7017/0

Pick number one is a fan favorite from the upcoming Antiquorum*auction. If*you’re*in NYC*this*coming weekend, I encourage you to go to the preview and see these watches in person. It’s always well worth the time. The watch I like is Lot 103, an eye catching blue-dialed*Tudor day date reference 7017/0. These watches are like more casual*cousins of the mighty Rolex President. You get the same iconic dial layout, but in incredibly wearable stainless steel, and in a slightly larger case. It’s one of the most*versatile*vintage watches out there and wears great at 37mm.*The example offered at the September 30th NYC Antiquorum auction comes with a complete set of boxes, papers and hangtags. The estimate is probably a little low at $1,000 – $2,000, but regardless, this watch will make someone very, very happy.*
Lot 103

Rolex Oyster Date Reference 1530

Quite frankly the rest of the catalog for the 9/30 Antiquorum auction is kinda bland. There is a preponderance of high-end modern watches, though I am not quite as bullish on that sector as some (sorry, watches aren’t investments, how easy we forget). I think the value in these auctions is found elsewhere, in smaller value pieces that might get overlooked. I’ve always been a sucker for the Rolex 1530. You know, the super rare (a few thousand examples at best) automatic Rolex housed in the wonderfully funky ’70s era Oysterquartz cases with integrated bracelets. Often times these dials will take on a sickly shade of*rheumy*yellowish patina which I find off-putting.
This example (Lot 161) appears to have aged*nicely and evenly to a golden hue. The trick with these watches is finding one at the right place. The rarity of the model often pushes the price up into the $8,000 – $9,000 range. This one is estimated at $4,500 – $6,500, so if you can snag it at the lower end of that spectrum, it could be a decent buy with the buyer’s premium on top.*
Lot 161

Isaac’s Picks

Patek Philippe Reference 544

Last month I spent some time traveling around Italy, and happened to stumble into a vintage watch shop in Capri that had some genuinely unique and thoughtfully curated inventory. Among the pieces I saw was a spectacular looking Calatrava from Patek Phillipe. This example of the Ref. 544 really got me thinking, and I’ve been constantly looking at them online ever since. Visually, the 544 has a bunch of interesting touches that we don’t see in many watches (both vintage and modern), including the hooded lugs and two-tone case manufactured out of pink gold and steel. In most cases, two-tone isnít a good thing, but here, itís a very, very good thing. Just look at that!
Recently, a stellar example of a 544 dating back to 1945 popped up on European Watch Companyís website, and itís what youíd want if looking for one. The case hasnít been over-polished, and the dial is clean with minimal oxidization on the applied numerals — which is an indication of this exampleís honest nature. Just install a nice honey brown strap with a little bit of pebbling, and youíll be good to go.

Rolex “Polar Explorer” Reference 6298

Many in the past have referred to Rolexís Explorer as a tool watch in its purest form, and I must say that Iíd have to agree. Itís a no-nonsense piece, in which legibility and durability were the main factors that shaped the design, and itís got some serious history behind it as well. Now, while we often see 1016ís all around us, we rarely see the earliest references, similar to the one Sir Edmund Hillary so famously wore.
What youíve got here is a terrific looking ďPolar ExplorerĒ Ref. 6298, from the good people over at Fourtane in Carmel. While the dialís stark white appearance is still maintained, the lume isnít exactly perfect. However, finding any example of one of these to begin with is much more difficult than finding a mint example of a more common reference. The whole look is perfectly finished by that beautiful, bubbly, ďOvettoneĒ caseback, a detail Iíve always loved.
Inquire for Price

Shane’s Picks

TAG Heuer Carrera Re-Issue CS3110

That’s right, I just picked a TAG Heuer; not something you would expect from me. The Carrera 1964 Re-Issue is arguably their best release since “TAG” was added to the company name, and it ironically is missing “TAG” on the dial. Launched in the mid-90s, the CS3110 is an incredibly faithful re-issue of the reference 2447D Carrera from 1963 (yep, they messed up the year in the official name). I actually owned a couple of these watches a few years ago in an attempt to flip them for some profit, and now I wish I held onto them. At the time, they could be had for $1,100 to $1,500 without a whole lot of trouble. Now, they’re trading above $2,000 somewhat consistently.
The example I’ve found is on eBay with a starting price of $1,800, and no bids. I think it’s a good grab at $2,000 or below. If you want a vintage watch without the vintage baggage, I’m not sure it gets much better. It looks almost identical to the earliest Carreras, it’s 36mm, and it’s powered by the Lemania 1873 (aka, the Omega Caliber 861). Don’t make the same mistake I did — get one and hold onto it.
Bid Now

Hamilton Chrono-Matic Fontainebleau

After that slight — but awesome — modern deviation, we’re back to vintage. This is an odd one, the Hamilton Chrono-Matic Fontainebleau. Produced in the early ’70s with one of the first automatic chronograph movements on the market, the Fontainebleau is a real eye-catcher. It’s almost as if Hamilton had some ’60s panda dials left over and figured out a way to use them a decade later. I think they’re cool as hell. The dimensions are obviously strange, but the 47mm diameter is still wearable because the height is more or less standard. You might just want to wear this one a little further from your hand.
You’ll find this example on WUS, and it appears to be in good shape for its age. I see some nice finishing on the case in addition to some normal wear. The panda dial looks great, and I actually like the look of the non-OEM mesh strap. Most importantly, the seller says this watch was serviced a few months ago. The Chrono-Matic movement isn’t exactly known for its reliability, so the service is a big plus for me. At $1,800, this example seems to be on the money, but it never hurts to negotiate.

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