Monochrome Watches
An online magazine dedicated to fine watches

5 Cool Finds – An iconic IWC, a underrated Rolex, a rare Omega, a stylish Zenith and a luxurious Cartier

| By Ilias Giannopoulos | 11 min read |

To follow up with the series we started last week, with our first 5 Cool Finds article, we continue this week with the second instalment of our market finds, in collaboration with auctioneer Catawiki. Once again, the story is simple. Instead of focusing on vintage watches, we prefer to look at what we, here at Monochrome-Watches love and know, and we think will be the coming trend: Youngtimers – and with from time to time an exception to the rule, when a vintage watch deserves to be listed. Here is our expert Ilias’ selection of 5 pieces, including an iconic IWC, a refined Zenith and – we told you – a very pleasant and underrated vintage Rolex.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra “Goodplanet”

When OMEGA’s partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation was announced in 2011, it began an empowering collaboration that has since covered the world’s surface. The Biel-based company from that point onward finances the important job the foundation does by promoting and helping in the production of extraordinary documentaries like Planet Ocean and Terra, a film that will be launched this year, highlighting the fragile relationship between humans and animals.

Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra GoodPlanet Titanium - Catawiki 5 Cool Finds - 2

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The other way Omega is helping the foundation is by creating special limited editions of watches that have a theme related with the GoodPlanet foundation. These limited editions have unique color combinations and materials that are not frequently used in the regular production watches. That makes them quite interesting especially for someone that likes something out of the ordinary. Therefore, this specific watch is perhaps a great conversation piece, with collectible attributes.

The watch in question belongs to the Seamaster family and being an Aqua Terra means that it is simultaneously a rugged wristwatch but also has a classy and understated appeal. The Aqua Terra “GoodPlanet” is built from robust grade 5 titanium, and stands out for its use of the ocean’s colour. This specific feature is found on the applied blued indexes, OMEGA logo, and facetted blued hands, all placed upon a lacquered white dial. Unlike other Aqua Terra models, this watch does not feature the typical teak design on their dial, making it again rather unique and understated.

This Seamaster Aqua Terra GoodPlanet has a diameter of 38.5mm and places its date window at 3 o’clock. It is driven by OMEGA’s Master Co-Axial Calibre 8500, which features 26 jewels, runs at 25,200 vph (3.5Hz) and boasts a 60-hour power reserve. The antimagnetic properties of the Master Co-Axial series ensure a resistance of 15,000 gauss. In regards to water resistance, we are looking at 150m. The movement is visible through a sapphire crystal caseback. This reverse side also features engravings that include the unique “GOODPLANET FOUNDATION” in varnished blue. The watch comes with a polished-brushed grade 5 titanium bracelet. A good opportunity to both enjoy a modern piece of tool watch and to show a unique style for an interesting price, as low estimate is at €4.900. This modern Seamaster, made for a good cause, can be found here.

Vintage Rolex Prince – Circa 1930

It is true that Rolex is a household name when we are talking about Swiss watches. It is a company that has surpassed brand awareness around the globe. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows Rolex. The company is principally best known about its tool sport watches that created to serve a purpose in the days when mechanical watches used for their intended purpose. Models like the Explorer, the Submariner, the GMT Master and the Milgauss and later the Daytona. Every single one a legend in its respective category among other models from competitive brands.

However, the company has produced in parallel some models that are extremely cool, very well designed and constructed, but that live in obscurity. The specific watch we are presenting is one of them – The Rolex Prince. This model is astonishingly unknown; because the Prince, in fact, precedes any other existing Rolex model –introduced all the way back in 1928.

The Prince was a rectangular wristwatch, using a rectangular 15-jewel manual wind movement timed to 6 positions, made by Aegler, which supplied Rolex at the time. It was designed to allow the use of a large mainspring barrel that provided a more than 2-day power reserve. These watches also pre-date the general use of center seconds in wristwatches, having very large seconds sub-dial.

The Prince is a very elegant dress watch, clearly Art Deco influenced as most watches of that era were. This specific watch we are presenting has a two-tone yellowed dial with black Arabic numerals and black inner minute track with five-minute markers.   We can observe as well pointed hands with a subsidiary dial below 6 for constant seconds, and a polished curved rectangular gold case with snap on back. It is fitted with a brown crocodile leather strap and comes with a Rolex box.

Yes, its dimensions are 22mm x 34mm, therefore some might say that it is a small watch and yes others might say that this is not a Submariner or a Daytona. What all do miss is the undeniable charm of this specific specimen combined with the Rolex name and the immaculate build quality that usually goes with it. If someone wants an out of the ordinary cool Rolex without the hefty price tag that is usually attached to vintage Rolexes, please look no further, you have here an exotic model from a mainstream brand – Listed here. – Estimate: €9.500 – €12.500

IWC Portuguese Rattrapante Chronograph

This specific IWC chronograph with a rattrapante complication is an extremely cool watch for three major reasons. First and foremost, it comes from a company that has a tradition for building high quality watches. Secondly because of its history and thirdly because of the man behind its movement. But let’s take things right from the start.

IWC Portuguese Rattrapante Chronograph - Catawiki 5 Cool Finds - 1

International Watch Company also known as IWC is a Swiss watch manufacturer located in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, and founded by the American watchmaker Florentine Aristo Jones in 1868. IWC is notable for being a company that throughout its history constructed extremely well made watches (Ingenieur, Ocean 2000, Mark, etc) and that is the reason that its motto is Probus Scafusia, meaning “good, solid craftsmanship from Schaffhausen”.

The history of this specific line of models is quite fascinating. In the late 1930s, two Portuguese businessmen ordered wristwatches with the precision of marine chronometers from IWC. At the time, the only way of providing the requested accuracy was by using a big pocket watch calibre. When the first “large wristwatch” left the factory, it was technically and aesthetically ahead of its time and by the early 1980s, only a few hundreds of them had been produced. It was not until 1993 that the timepiece – now known as the Portuguese – was to celebrate a triumphant comeback, introduced yet again by the company for its 125th anniversary. From that point onward, this specific line was essential for IWC.

Richard Habring is a talented watchmaker who, at that time, worked at IWC and developed their rattrapante mechanism. This type of complication is extremely demanding. It has two central second hands and, unlike a standard chronograph, can thereby time multiple simultaneous events, like two people competing in a race. In our case a special push-piece located at 10 o’ clock make it possible for the rattrapante hand to be repeatedly stopped (so that split-times can be read) and then instantly brought into renewed synchrony with the main chronograph hand. What makes this movement so special is that Mr. Habring created a module that could be assembled onto all existing chrono-movements at IWC – without any modification by shaping the parts, just to put together and to set easily. Quite revolutionary!

The Portuguese offered here has a 40mm diameter while the hands, numerals and totalizers are harmoniously integrated into the clear-cut dial. Its mechanical heart beats at 28,000 vph and its hand wound using as a basis a Valjoux 7760 reworked extensively by the company with the added rattrapante revolutionary module. The watch has a new crystal fitted and also comes with a dark brown crocodile skin leather strap. It is hardly worn, like new, with box, instructions and original guarantee.

Owning this watch is like owning a part of history, and add to that the opportunity to enjoy one of THE major complication possible, a rattrapante chronograph, for an estimate of €6.500 – €8.500. This icon is listed here.

Zenith Elite Captain

If you asked someone to suggest to you a decent size classy dress watch with a proper and historic Swiss brand name, that has an in-house movement and it is priced logically, he would laugh out loud probably. The answer is that this watch does not exist and if in the market for such a model be prepared to spent a lot of money. WRONG. The Zenith Elite Captain ticks all these boxes and that is why we highly recommend it.

Zenith Elite Captain - Catawiki 5 Cool Finds - 1

Zenith SA is a luxury Swiss watch manufacture started in 1865 by Georges Favre-Jacot at the age of 22, in Le Locle in the canton of Neuchatel. Zenith was purchased by LVMH in November 1999, becoming one of several brands in their watch and jewelry division and is a company that has a long reputation for the quality and precision of their watches. It is after all one of the Swiss watch manufacturers that still produce their own movements in-house. Unequivocally almost everyone refers to Zenith as the creator of the first automatic chronograph calibre in history, the El-Primero in 1969. However, staying just there is very unfair for a company that has created and produced a variety of fabulous watches and calibers throughout it history.

This specific model is one of those extremely cool non-chrono El-Primero Zenith watches. The automatic Elite 670 movement, with a central second hand and a date, powers the watch. With about 50 hours of power reserve, this automatic winding movement operates at 4 Hz and has been produced since 1994, proving consistently its reputation of a highly reliable and accurate movement. Measuring around 25.6 mm in diameter and only 3.465 mm in thickness, the movement is compact enough to enable Zenith’s engineers and designers to design the Elite Captain case from stainless steel that measures 40mm in diameter and only 8 mm in height, which makes the watch look good even on every wrist.

The movement and the watch as a whole exhibits a solid level of decoration, sitting for a more dressy piece–yet still one that can be worn casually. It has an immaculate silver sunburst pattern dial with gold-plated hour and minute hands and a date window at 6 o’ clock. It comes with box and papers. Plain and simple, the Elite Captain is almost an ideal dressy watch from a very important Swiss company sporting a great in-house mechanical movement and represents extreme value for money – and it can be yours by looking at this auction. Estimate €3.600 – €4.800.

Cartier Santos 100XL Chronograph

Cartier is a mythical name not only for the creation of fine jewelry but also for the creation of extremely fine watches, a fact that most of us seem to forget. It is not an exaggeration to state that it was Cartier with the model Santos that created a trend in favor of the wristwatch. Something that today we take for granted.

Cartier Santos 100XL Chronograph Pink Gold - Catawiki 5 Cool Finds - 1

The original Cartier Santos was reportedly designed and created by Louis Cartier himself in 1904 for his friend and pioneer, Brazilian aviator Alberto Santos-Dumont. After a successful flight, Alberto proceeded to celebrate royally at Maxim’s restaurant in Paris. Maybe it was between toasts of champagne that Alberto complained to his friend Louis Cartier about the difficulty of checking his pocket watch while flying. He needed to keep his hands on the plane’s controls, but instead had to fumble for the pocket watch. Louis Cartier listened and Eureka! – An idea was born, which was to become the Santos-Dumont wristwatch – the first pilot watch. The Santos has been a major piece in the Cartier collection for a long time and in 2004 Cartier released their Santos 100 line, which included larger Santos models.

The Santos 100 Chronograph is a large watch on purpose for those active people that want all the charm of the original with a more contemporary size. The square case measures 43mm and is slightly curved on both sides, which makes it fit effortlessly on the wrist. The Santos 100 chronograph case is in rose-gold and amorphous diamond-like carbon (ADLC). This coating is supposed to be an improvement on DLC with properties such as being highly scratch-resistant and being less prone to fingerprint marks. On this specific model this coating is used on the pushers for the chronograph and the stylish square dial outline as well as the deployment clasp for the high quality “toile de voile” strap which is made of a thick black nylon with a leather-doubling interior.

The dial has the signature Cartier Roman numerals offering the classic design with rose-gold recessed markers on a black dial. It has a classic three subdial arrangement for the chronograph sub dials and a date window at 4 o’ clock. The design is matched with a protected heptagonal crown in rose-gold with a faceted sapphire crystal.

Cartier Santos 100XL Chronograph Pink Gold - Catawiki 5 Cool Finds - 2

In all, the 100 XL chronograph exudes quality and fine craftsmanship by using high-quality materials in recreating a pumped up sportier version of one of the most iconic watches of all time. It is a great choice for someone who wants style and functionality with the mythical Cartier name. This great watch is listed here and estimate at €17.500 – €23.500.

To see more watch auctions, keep an eye on Catawiki. Every week a few new auctions start and mainly the “men’s luxury watches auction” comprises the most interesting lots.

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