On The Square

Six Great Dress Watches Coming Up for Sale at Antiquorum

By Aaron Rich

May 06,2015 | 17:00 EDT

A few days ago we looked at some fantastic vintage watches coming up in this Sunday’s Antiquorum auction of Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces, and now we’ll take a look at some great dressier pieces from that sale. Generally speaking a dress watch is something you can wear to the office or when you dress up in a suit, naturally. In practice, this normally means the watch has a gold case and might only tell time and have a rather conservative design if it has any other functions.

Left: Lot 18 OMEGA REF. 14355 SC GRAND LUXE CONSTELLATION YELLOW GOLD Omega, "Chronomètre Officially Certified, Constellation," No. 14921630, case No. 11402490, Ref. 14355 SC. Made circa 1954.
Middle: Lot 106 ROLEX REF. 1646 PRINCE IMPERIAL OBSERVATORY RARE BLACK DIAL YELLOW GOLD Rolex, "Prince Imperial", No. 1003236, Ref. 1646. Made circa 1940.
Right: Lot 285 CORUM DUAL TIME ZONES PEACOCK FEATHER DIAL YELLOW GOLD Corum, Swiss, case No. 177483, Ref. No. 16411. Made in the 1980s.

Gold watches are in these days and this watch has a big gold look. The Grand Luxe model always had gilt dial and generally came on a gold bracelet (as opposed to normal civilian Constellations that had silvered or black dials with straps). The watch looks like it was made for a millionaire and you’ll feel like wearing one of the most expensive watch. While the later-added bracelet is something to note on this piece, it shouldn’t turn you off as it could probably be removed without much worry if you don’t like it.

What could be dressier than a pocket watch? Though the fashion for these has fallen dramatically in the past 60 years now that three-piece suits are not as common as they used to be, they are still very fashion-forward. Any hipster will tell you that what is old is new again (including waistcoats!). Moreover, this watch has an elegant look with a killer Prince-style black dial where the seconds and the time are separate. Because of this design, these watches were very popular with doctors who could easily see the second hand while they read a pulse.

I love dual time zone watches because they’re totally practical for anyone who does any traveling. The concept is very simple and analogue where you set your home time on one side and set the time for the city you’re in on the other side. This way you can easily keep track of what your family’s relative schedule—and be sure not to call them at 3am. Making this watch even cooler is the peacock-feather dial. It’s pretty ‘80s, but the really cool side of the decade—not the sad, urban decay side. And who doesn’t like to peacock around with a cool watch?

On the left: Lot 288 CHOPARD LARGE YELLOW GOLD AUTOMATIC Chopard, Genève, Automatic, case No. 152355, Ref. 97511. Made circa 1980.
On the right: Lot 292 OMEGA DELUXE FLIGHTMASTER FIRST GENERATION ONLY 200 PIECES MADE YELLOW GOLD Omega, "Fightmaster", No. 31631019, Ref. 145.013 / BA 345.801. Made in 200 examples in 1971.

I feel like Chopard doesn’t get enough credit from watch guys, probably because it’s a Parisian fine jewelry house and dudes feel like their watches are sometimes feminine or design after-thoughts. While they’ve certainly made some groan-worthy pieces over the years, something like this watch is a totally great design and something you’ll probably never see again. The Florentine finish to the case alone is something that dates it to the ‘70s/’80s, but a beautiful craft that is also in need of rescue. I love bulky watches like this—it’s a big gold brick—but it’s a great look and a really under-appreciated watch.

This is another Omega with that “Luxe” word in the name. This Flightmaster—one of the coolest and most under-appreciated sport watches made by any company in the ‘70s—is very unusual to find in gold and has a totally great, chunky look. There’s no apologizing allowed when you wear this watch—you’re wearing a giant gold bracelet watch that might be too big to wear under shirt cuffs. But that’s awesome and something we should embrace more!

Lot 113 ROLEX ADVERTISING 16mm.FILM FOR THE DATEJUST AND THE SUBMARINER Rolex promotional advertising movie on Super 11 film. Made circa 1965.
This is a very cool thing that I’ve never seen before, and something that really will only make sense to Rolex aficionados. Yes, you’re getting a 16mm film for two Rolex commercials—have fun projecting it for your friends!—but you’re also getting a DVD transfer of it, as well as a letter from Rolex saying they’re TV ads that “can easily be processed by your local TV station.” Take a minute to watch the video on the listing. You get guys in a boardroom, navy guys, and radio engineers wearing Datejusts. Then you get a diver on a yacht (be careful about dropping the watch in a bucket of water moments before you go in the drink) and in the ocean wearing a Submariner and rotating the bezel to measure his oxygen. It’s so cool!


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