What’s old is new again. Trends come and go, and come back again. And this is also true for watchmaking. As the trend for vintage-inspired watches doesn’t seem to stop consolidating, brands continue to dig into their archives to find inspiration and breathe new life into past glories. Here are 5 of the best vintage reissues presented recently, from a high-end original watch inspired by the roaring 1920s to an all-time classic racing chronograph with a legendary movement.
Hanhart 417 ES Reissue Pilot’s Chronograph
The Hanhart 417 ES reissue brings back a pilot chronograph designed for the German armed forces in the 1950s and based on three criteria: robustness, reliability and readability. This legendary bi-compax chronograph comes in a slightly modernized version. The case now measures 42mm (vs 39mm for the original) and includes a thick, domed sapphire crystal, short lugs and a fluted rotating bezel with its signature red marking. The watch relies on the Sellita SW 510 (a clone on the tried-and-tested 7750 Valjoux), in a hand-wound version for both historical relevance and thinness. Last but not least, the watch is worn on a cool bund calf leather strap. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts – 42mm steel case – 100m water-resistant – hand-wound Sellita SW-510 M chronograph – calfskin ‘bund’ strap with steel pin buckle – EUR 1,790
Longines Silver Arrow
With its Heritage Collection, Longines has long demonstrated its expertise in bringing back to life some of the brand’s past glories. The 2021 Silver Arrow is a re-issue of a model from the 1950s. The 38.50mm steel watch features a rather large bezel that sits low into the case and faceted lugs. The silver-white domed dial features a slightly grained texture and distinctive applied indexes. Inside the case is the brand’s calibre L888.5, an automatic movement based on an ETA 2892 ébauche with multiple upgrades including a silicon balance spring and a beefed-up 72-hour power reserve. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts – 38.5mm steel case – 30m water-resistant – automatic L888.5 (base ETA A31.L11) – calfskin strap with steel pin buckle – EUR 1,950
Seiko Prospex 1959 Alpinist Re-creation SJE085
Originally presented in 1959, the Alpinist was a watch specifically developed for “Yama-Otoko,” a Japanese word for mountaineer. The 2021 re-creation is a faithful take on the model. The compact steel case is 36.6mm in diameter, it features thin faceted lugs and a box-shaped sapphire crystal that mimics the look of the original plexiglass. The watch is powered by the calibre 6L35, a modern automatic movement beating at 4 Hz and offering 45 hours of power reserve. It comes on a brown 2-part calf leather strap with original jagged stitching and underneath a grey leather protective cuff band. More details in our review here.
Quick facts – 36.6mm steel case – 100m water-resistant – automatic 6L35 calibre – calfskin strap with steel pin buckle – EUR 3,000 – limited edition of 1,959 pieces
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 40mm White Gold
The American 1921 belongs to Vacheron Constantin’s acclaimed Historiques family sharing the limelight with other golden oldies like the Cornes de Vache 1955, the Triple Calendrier 1942 and the Ultra-Fine 1955. This unapologetically elegant cushion-shaped case with a diagonal crown now comes in a 40mm white gold diameter with a slim height of 8.06mm (there is also a 36.5mm diameter for smaller wrists). The grained silver-toned dial features black Breguet-style Arabic numerals paired with a railroad minutes track. The movement is the in-house manual-winding calibre 4400 AS whose superb decoration is visible through the see-through caseback. More details in our hands-on article here.
Quick facts – 40mm white gold case – 30m water-resistant – hand-wound calibre 4400 AS (Geneva Hallmark) – Serapian calfskin strap with gold pin buckle – EUR 36,100
Zenith Chronomaster Original
With the 2021 Chronomaster Original, the revamped 38mm El primero and worthy successor of the Zenith A386 (the most iconic of the trilogy of watches presented in 1969 to feature the El Primero automatic chronograph) is here with vintage styling. The design of the Zenith Chronomaster Original is directly modelled after the A386, with its round bezel-less case, its faceted lugs, its classic pump-style pushers and a raised sapphire crystal. With its compact dimensions, it has presence, comfort and feels perfectly proportioned. As for the dial, the classic silver dial with tri-colour (blue, anthracite and grey) sub-dials is unmistakably the most iconic option. The model is powered by the calibre 3600, a movement that renews the technical values that have forged the legend behind the El Primero. Taking full advantage of the 5Hz frequency of the El Primero (that beats at a rate of 10 vibrations per second), the central chronograph hand makes one turn in 10 seconds. That’s six times the speed of a normal chronograph hand. More details in our introducing article here.
Quick facts – 38mm steel case – 50m water-resistant – automatic El Primero 3600 integrated HF chronograph with column wheel and horizontal coupling – calfskin strap with steel triple folding clasp – from EUR 8,300