Revivals: old designs and brand new delight

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Time2tic | ic_query_builder_black_24px 3 minute read |

Our contributor Time2tic shares his views on re-editions. And in the mean time he shares something we at Monochrome really like a lot as well… gorgeous photos of his Longines Legend Diver.

Watch brands either have designers working full time for them or regularly use the services of designers to come up with suggestions for the designs of new products for the next year(s). This is an established cycle just like in the fashion industry, although in the watchmaking industry, we don’t have seasonal collections, at least not yet.

The new models will be presented to press and public in Geneva or Basel at the start of the new year year , but passionate watch enthusiasts haunting internet forums and blogs, can enjoy sneak previews a few weeks or days before the official launch. Many new models come to market every year, in fact so many that it becomes very difficult for one human being to see them all even for a few seconds. The very newest models are pushing the already old “brand new” from last year…

In this race to the newer than new, there is an interesting opposite trend that first affected sport watches but also spreads to more classic models. To name a few from the past years; the Jeager-LeCoultre Tribute to Polaris, Vacheron Constantin American 1921, Jeager-Lecoultre Tribute to reverso 1931, the Omega PloProf, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, the Hamilton Pan Europ, Eterna-Matic Kon Tiki, Tudor Chronograph, Doxa Sub and quite a few more.

But what is the revival? The question may sound a bit trivial. A revival is a new model inspired on an old model the brand has produced in the past. In fact it is the design that is reproduced. The new watch usually carries the results of modern production methods: the movement is a modern caliber with the relevant features and characteristics that make the watch fully part of the 21st century. The glass is no longer mineral or plexi in most cases but super hard sapphire glass shaped just like the plexi glass that was on the vintage.

The size sometimes is re-adjusted to modern tastes, but several of these sporty watches were already very large when they were released for their time. Tritium is logically replaced by modern Super Luminova that is available is many colors, even colors that looks like aged tritium markers. This way it matches the way the vintage watch looks today after decades of very mild color alteration. Ceramic bezel insert replace the metal bezel insert used on the vintage. What is quite striking is that in all cases the look and feel of the vintage remains fully present in its modern ‘offspring’ and is a great part of the appeal. In most cases many design features are preserved. In some rare cases, it is difficult to differentiate the vintage from the modern one at a glance or on the wrist.

The Jeager LeCoultre Tribute to Polaris, and Tribute to Deep Sea as well as the Longines Legend Diver are part of the later category. Of course, these revival dive watches would play their role underwater just like the vintage did, but time has passed and recreational divers go underwater wearing dive computers equipped with screens as colorful as our smart phones, nowadays.

These revivals are a solution for collectors who want to enjoy a vintage look without the trouble of finding or maintaining a vintage watch that is in good working order. These modern re-issues will probably spent most of their time on the wrist of their owner, sitting at a desk in an office rather than at the back of a wooden boat getting ready for the next dive. Perfect timepieces for some desk-ding 🙂 Nevertheless, something magic always happens when one of these revivals meets the element it was designed to endure.

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