Vintage watches have, interestingly enough, proved resilient in spite of market conditions, even thriving in the face of economic downturns.
Watch brands are quick to act on this appetite for classic, vintage watches, looking into their archives for pieces with fascinating stories and timeless designs, and bringing them back to the market with a refreshed, more contemporary feel while staying true to the design that’s made them such cherished pieces.
Here, we round up five revived classics from Audemars Piguet, Breitling, Omega, Tudor and IWC, which tug at our nostalgic inclinations.
Audemars Piguet [Re]master01
Audemars Piguet looks to one of its renowned chronograph watches from 1943 and brings us the [Re]master01, a piece while faithful to its original introduces just enough tweaks for practicality and to give it a somewhat contemporary feel. The [Re]master01 keeps to the first version’s overall Art-Deco style, keeping its chamfered crown, round case, olive-shaped pushers and teardrops lugs, but was made bigger at 40mm and its chronograph counters rearranged for improved legibility. Turn the watch over and its sapphire crystal case back – another new feature – shows off its movement with its 22-karat pink gold oscillating weight that matches the bezel – in all its glory.
Breitling Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule
Breitling’s Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule collection pays homage to the live-and-let-live surfer lifestyle of the ‘50s and ‘60s, as well the incredible music, cars, and the upbeat vibe of that permeated that era. The Superocean Heritage ’57 has two dial options: a classic black dial that comes with a black vintage-inspired leather strap and a pin or folding buckle, and a blue dial fitted with a brown vintage-inspired leather strap. Among the distinctive features of the watch is its bidirectional concave stainless-steel bezel that has a scratch- and shock-resistant ceramic bezel ring, and a luminescent dot at 12 o’clock. And at the heart of these watches is an in-house movement that guarantees 42 hours of autonomy.
IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire
The design of IWC’s Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Spitfire is inspired by the functional design of the Mark 11, a navigation watch produced by the brand for the Royal Air Force in 1948, and worn by many of active pilots and navigators at the time. It is arguably one of the most important watches in history. IWC re-imagines this historic piece for its latest Spitfire line, one of which this Perpetual Calendar Spitfire that’s limited to 250 pieces. It comes with a bronze case – which over time develops a special patina that gives it a nice distressed appearance – an olive green dial, gold-plated hands and brown calf leather strap, and is equipped with an in-house calibre with a 7-day power reserve.
Omega 321-powered Moonwatch
Omega has recreated the Calibre 321, the movement that was inside the famous Moonwatch the Apollo 11 astronauts were wearing over 50 years ago as they made their first steps on the moon. We see this historic movement in this year’s Speedmaster Moonwatch 321 Stainless Steel, which comes with a 39.70 mm case in stainless steel that was inspired by a 3rd generation Speedmaster worn by American astronauts on their first space walk in 1965. Its black ceramic bezel comes with a tachymeter scale in white enamel, and features the iconic “Dot over Ninety”, while the black step dial is matched with the straight away recognisable Moonwatch hands, and of course, the vintage Omega logo.
Tudor Black Bay P01
Tudor’s new Black Bay P01 offers a fresh take on a 1960s prototype of a US-Navy watch. At the time, the US government specification for an issued watch required a 12-hour graduated rotatable bezel, which was used as a navigation tool as well as a monitor for elapsed time during a dive. The Black Bay P01 keeps this design element, incorporating it in a contemporary aesthetic and designed not only for a specific sporting activity and instead for various ones. Case in point, the decision to use hybrid leather and a rubber strap makes it well suited not only for diving but virtually all sports and under any climate conditions.
This story first appeared on Prestige Online Hong Kong.