Gear: 3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

By Isaac Wingold
February 28, 2017

Rarity will always influence the collecting tendencies of those obsessed with vintage watches, because what fun is wearing what everyone else has on their wrist? With this in mind, I’ve made an effort to hunt down a few seldom-seen watches this week—any of these will ensure that you’ll be the only person in the room wearing one.

Oversized Telda Chronograph


Telda is a marque that I was first introduced to by way of a peculiar split seconds chronograph that surfaces for sale every now and then. As some will know, after a large reserve of NOS dials and Venus 185 movements were discovered by a watchmaker in the 1990s, a number of watches were birthed long after Telda’s demise. While they’re undoubtedly interesting watches, I tend to prefer examples of Telda’s own work, and that’s exactly what I’ve found to start off this week’s roundup.

Here we have one handsome looking chronograph, which looks to date back to the 1940s. In addition to the oversized, but not over-polished, Spillman case, this piece bears a beautiful tricolor dial featuring multiple scales and the always desirable Breguet style numerals. Despite showing signs of its age, the watch is still highly legible, as the patina has developed consistently throughout all areas of the dial.

Minerva Waterproof Chronograph


Continuing the early waterproof chronograph theme, we’ve got an absolutely stunning Minerva that’s been on my mind quite a bit over the past few days. It was the fat, syringe-shaped hands with richly-aged luminous compound that first caught my eye, but upon taking a closer look, I’ve identified a number of other tasteful details. Namely, the boldly stepped stainless steel bezel, and case lines so sharp you could cut your fingers on the edges.

Though the dial may appear to have a few flaws and blemishes, don’t worry, as these are just minor cracks that have developed within the crystal over time. I see the presence of this slightly cracked crystal as a good thing, as it indicates that the watch hasn’t been worked on a great deal in its life, which would suggest the originality of all its parts.

Tropical Lemania 15TL Chronograph


Ending on a high note, we have what is arguably one of the nicest vintage chronographs I’ve seen in a long while, coming from Barcelona’s Ancienne Vintage Gallery. This is a simple, two-register, 15TL-powered chronograph from Lemania, but you’ll notice that its dial has two of the most desirable traits that a vintage watch can have: gilt markings, and an evenly aged tropical portion.

While I will admit that the case is slightly more polished than I would ideally like, this piece is just too good, and to turn it down based upon the case alone would be a foolish move unless you know of a better example out there, in which case I ask that you send over the link!

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