Re-Wind: Collecting Future Vintage Watches With Tim: Vacheron, Breitling, IWC, Zenith

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Due to a blizzard, tonight’s luxury watch programming is a highlight from Monday’s “Mailbag” discussion of how to buy watches that are future collectibles and potential vintage watch bargains… all before these watches are “discovered” by mainstream watch buyers. Tim responds to a viewer’s question about how to collect vintage watches without exposing oneself to the counterfeits, frankenwatches, and artificially inflated prices of the vintage watch marketplace. Tim’s solution is to thing ahead of the pack and identify collectible luxury watches that are yet to be recognized, counterfeited, and overpriced by the mainstream vintage watch sellers. Our first selection is the Zenith Rainbow Diver. Also known as the Zenith Elite Rainbow Diver, the 1998-2001 model is most collectible in its “Mango Dial” iteration. This rare Zenith watch is entering its second decade, likely production amounted to only a few hundred units, and the vintage tritium dials with mango orange bases offer immense personality. This is one vintage dive watch that won’t break the bank, but don’t hesitate; vintage watch buyers won’t overlook this Zenith forever. The Breitling Navitimer Spatiographe reference 36030/36330 is a modern pilot’s watch from a brand best known for innovating in that genre. But unlike most vintage Breitling watch innovations, which typically hail from the middle of the 20th century, this Breitling Navitimer features a modern mechanical refinement: the caliber 36 automatic countdown chronograph. An ingenious mechanism invented by Breitling watchmakers, the Navitimer Spatiographe’s countdown chronograph counts down from ten minutes in 30-second steps. At 41.5mm, this 1997-2002 Navitimer Spatiographe is traditionally sized and versatile enough to wear with anything from a pilot’s flight suit to a gentleman’s business suit. IWC of Schaffhausen Switzerland is no stranger to the sports watch segment, but in 1988, IWC surpassed itself with the antimagnetic IWC Ingenieur 3508, also known as the 500,000 A/M. As one of the first attempts to build a truly amagnetic watch, the IWC Ingenieur 3508 and its derivatives employed the unique ETA 2892-based IWC automatic caliber 35790 with a balance, anchor, and escape wheel of amagnetic alloys and a hairspring crafted from niobium-zirconium alloy. The hairspring’s production process resulted in a high rejection rate, so experts estimate total IWC Ingenieur 3508 500,000 A/M production at some point between 1,450 and 2,750 pieces spread over the years from 1988 to 1992. Also water resistant to 120 meters, the antimagnetic IWC Ingenieur 3508 500,000 A/M is one of the toughest 34mm watches ever made. Vacheron Constantin is no stranger to the highest echelon of luxury watch maisons, but the 1996-2003 Vacheron Constantin Overseas generation one chronometer represented a rarity for oldest continuously operating Swiss watch brand: a sports watch. Although based on the design of Jorg Hysek’s 1977 Vacheron Constantin 222, the 1996 Overseas was distinctly its own watch. 37mm references 42040 and 42042 were poems in stainless steel that also happened to be water resistant to 120 meters and powered by chronometer-grade modified calibers from Girard-Perregaux. This founding generation of Vacheron Constantin’s Overseas exhibited the most traditional dimensions, exquisite case and bracelet finish, and most elegant proportions of the entire Vacheron Overseas family past or present. Inside the case, Vacheron Constantin modified the Girard-Perregaux caliber 3100 to become the handsome and COSC chronometer-certified calibers 1310 and 1311 (upgraded winding, tougher construction). These rare Vacheron Constantins were offered with stunning dial options including blue dials, salmon dials, black dials, silver dials, military dials; this production included many tritium dials prior to the 2001 model year. With the oldest Vacheron Constantin Overseas generation one watches now 22 years old, these hand-finished high horology sports watches are ripe for the picking for connoisseurs who buy watches before the lemmings of the me-too vintage watch scene. Finally, in order to keep it light, we muse on the connection between James Bond, the Rolex Submariner, and one of Agent 007’s greatest box-office triumphs: 1965’s “Thunderball.”

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Simon Holt says:

missed you guys – hope all is well 🙂

Tom Ace says:

Nice vid. IWC 3508 Ingenieur or the JLC Master Moon? All advice appreciated

peter paul says:

Hi Tim, your shows are getting better and better. I especially enjoy the ones you did with Brian. Keep this up!

golfbuddy1969 says:

Great question and great recommendations.

ryvr madduck says:

I will stick with Rolex, great video

Greg Mieg says:

Overseas oxidised copper dials and the military dials are winners

scott satren says:

Thanks Tim I even love watching your reruns, I wanted to commit on last nights great show but my computer crashed. I loved the Omega Emirates, didn’t know anything about it, I also liked the Zenith Classic Cars but like you chrono’s just don’t make a ton of sense to me. I have always liked the De ville Rettrapante & don’t understand why it doesn’t get much appreciation which brings me to my question & truthfully your opinion is the only one that I value & trust. As you, I really respect Jaeger Le Coultre & the Reverso is really historic but its just too small for me, with that said I really like the Squadra so what am I missing, why don’t the collector’s get it, not many out there, do you think people will realize it someday? It’s so unique & I am trying to figure out why I shouldn’t break my Rolex monopoly with this one. I’d really appreciate your true thoughts on this as I know its not on your short list. Thanks Tim.

Ariaditya Pramestu says:

I enjoyed this very much Tim.. Great one. Do videos about future vintage watches more often, please Tim.

Steven D Wilson says:

Another great vid Tim. My favourite watch channel!!!!

Edward Lui says:

Can you add a few GMT and chronograph suggestions?

jason starek says:

That rainbow is a steal at $2,500!

Other future classics/collectibles I’d offer up:
1) Brietling Top Time
2) IWC Portuguese hand-wound
3) Tudor BB 79220 (ETA)
4) Panerai PAM190
5) Sinn Navitimer
6) Montblanc Rieussec
7) Zenith ELP orig 1969

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