time-keeper



A CURATED SELECTION OF TEN VINTAGE CHRONOGRAPHS

VINTAGE WATCHES

Español
February 2018


A CURATED SELECTION OF TEN VINTAGE CHRONOGRAPHS

The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s were the apogee of the chronograph. These ten chronographs, selected from hundreds of models, demonstrate the technical vitality and creative liberty of these years, which continue to thrill collectors today.

Zodiac – Zodia-Chron (1953)
Zodiac – Zodia-Chron (1953)
For many years, Zodiac was considered a watchmaker that never failed to push back the limits of design. The Astrographic and Olympos might demonstrate this, but the brand’s boldness is not limited to three hands, and the Zodia-Chron perfectly embodies its creativity. Launched in 1953, this luxury chronograph appeared on the market one year before the Rolex Cosmograph Pre Daytona models were released. This chronograph has it all: the Valjoux 72 (the Rolls Royce of chronograph movements), a tachymetric bezel rather similar to that of a Speedmaster, and a sublime brushed dial with infinite undertones and subtle red touches on the markers. Difficult to capture in a photograph, this rare, elegant piece features a design with a nearly perfect balance so characteristic of the time.

Mathey-Tissot ( 1970)
Mathey-Tissot ( 1970)
With its Supercompressor case, its Singer dial that has browned with age, its minute counter with regatta markers and a bright red direct-drive seconds hand in the same hue as the markers, this Mathey-Tissot chronograph is flawless. The 40 mm watch is of a considerable size for the time, bringing it a certain modern touch. This magnificent piece is driven by the faithful, robust and handsome Valjoux 72 calibre.

Universal Genève Space Compax ( 1969)
Universal Genève Space Compax ( 1969)
Universal and its chronographs require no introduction: they are renowned and sought-after by collectors, but this rare – and, to say the least, original – example deserves special attention. Its case becomes deliberately thicker around the push-pieces, much like the case of its cousin, the Polerouter Sub; its screw-in crown and rubber push-pieces betray its diving capacities. In fact, with a water resistance of up to 200 metres, this Universal is one of the last "tool watches" produced by the Geneva-based watchmaker, which began producing practically all its watches in quartz shortly afterwards. As if that weren’t enough to set it apart, the art deco 12 hour marker adds a funky little touch that makes this watch truly lovable.

Seiko 7A28-703 Synchrotimer (1983)
Seiko 7A28-703 Synchrotimer (1983)
Some people call this timepiece the Poor Man’s Speedmaster. I wouldn’t go so far, but it is undeniable that the 7A28-703 Seiko Synchrotimer chronograph has its own special identity. First of all, it is necessary to point out that this chronograph has a quartz movement... But not just any quartz movement: it is a mechanical/ quartz combination with an independent motor for each subcounter and 15 jewels on the mechanical part. The electronic portion offers a reliability and precision far beyond the performances of a strictly mechanical movement. The built-in strap and gold-tone part of the tachymeter bring it a unique, very ’80s look. In fact, this watch has a special pedigree, since another version of the 7A28 was worn by Roger Moore in the James Bond film A View to a Kill.

Citizen Record Master (1967)
Citizen Record Master (1967)
A lot of people are familiar with the Citizen Bullhead chronograph, but few know that the Japanese brand also produced a handwound and column-wheel mechanical chronograph. Its limited production and late launch, in 1967, only brought it only modest success. Nevertheless, this chronograph has real charm. Its streamlined aesthetic, mechanical simplicity, rudimentary display (devoid of a minute counter), lovely steel strap and reasonable price all make it a unique, truly desirable object.

Wakmann Triple Date Chronograph - ref. 72.1309.70 ( 1960)
Wakmann Triple Date Chronograph - ref. 72.1309.70 ( 1960)
Wakmann Watch Company is an American brand founded in 1946 that became famous through its partnership with Breitling, for which the company retailed “Wakmann” brand watches designed for the American market. The Triple Date Chronograph is surely the brand’s most successful model. Equipped with the Valjoux 730 (a more high-performance version of the Valjoux 72 at 21600 vph), it features not only a chronograph but also displays the date, day and month, making it the perfect tool for daily use. Despite all these complications, the magnificent “panda” dial remains balanced and understated.

Mido Multi Centerchrono ( 1940)
Mido Multi Centerchrono ( 1940)
Once you get into the production and history of the brand Mido, you will be amazed by the variety of products and their unique aesthetic, characterised by a surprising orange patina. The Multi Centerchrono, developed in the midst of WWII, offers a striking design and a higher legibility compared to a two-counter chronograph. In fact, the minute counter is located in the white area surrounding the dial, and the red direct-drive hand indicates passing minutes. With its modest 34.5 mm diameter, the Mido is characteristic of pieces from the 1940s which symbolise the golden age of watchmaking design. Equipped with the 1300 calibre based on the Valjoux 23, this Mido is not just another pretty face; it is noble and reliable. Beautiful inside and out!

Angelus Medical chronograph ( 1965)
Angelus Medical chronograph ( 1965)
No need to be a doctor to appreciate this timepiece by Angelus. The brand, renowned for its manufacture calibres, brings us a truly functional tool in an aesthetically appealing form. Designed to calculate patients’ heart rates, the chronograph can be used to time either respiration or pulse. A particularly surprising detail: the plexiglas crystal features a cyclops that covers the base 10 pulsation section of the dial. This piece, equipped with a modified version of the Valjoux 22, is particularly rare, especially with the two-push-piece configuration.

Longines Conquest 1972 Olympico
Longines Conquest 1972 Olympico
For Longines, the Conquest ref. 8614 is the quintessence of 1970s watchmaking design. It was designed for the Games of the XX Olympiad in Munich, held in 1972, which became unfortunately memorable because they were interrupted by a terrible tragedy. The watch is driven by an in-house manufacture single-pushpiece chronograph. Its rudimentary simplicity reflects its utilitarian profile, bringing it a unique charm. The dial makes me smile, personally, since the single counter at 3 o’clock brings to mind a monocle and I can’t help but think of Mr Monopoly.

Seiko 5718 Olympic Chronograph (1964)
Seiko 5718 Olympic Chronograph (1964)
Produced for the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, the reference 5718 is surely the rarest chronograph – if not the rarest timepiece – ever produced by the Japanese watchmaker. Its cousins, the 5717 and 5718, were also designed for the Olympics, but they are more rudimentary, since they do not feature a minute counter or the incredible manual counter. The manual counter, which is activated by the left-hand push-pieces, was probably designed to count runners crossing the finish line. By activating the upper push-piece, you progress along the numbers 0 to 9 in the counter to the right, while the lower push-piece activates the counter to the left. The minute counter also includes a seconds hand. The column-wheel movement that drives this exceptional piece was manufactured by Seiko exclusively for this model. Its scale-design strap brings a unique harmony and truly Japanese soul to the chronograph.