Gear: 3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

By Isaac Wingold
March 15, 2017

To be perfectly honest, I’ve been off my game this week. Chasing down toys of the four-wheeled variety has started to cut into my precious watch hunting time, but luckily the market is always full of surprises. I’m sure you’ll take a liking to each of these eye-catching timepieces that caught me off guard, and now make up this week’s selection. Let’s get to it.

Hamilton Pan Europ


Starting off strong, we’ve got an exceptional example of Hamilton’s red, white, and blue Pan Europ chronograph. Before you ask, this is not the reissue of recent years, but the real deal which dates back to the 1970s. Having said that, it does look the part of a new piece, as every luminous plot is present, the dial is spotless, and the case is sharp as can be. Aside from the lone paint chip on the chronograph hand, you’re looking at a close to perfect watch.

As the lefty-oriented crown and pusher placement of this piece would suggest, the Pan Europ makes use of the Cal. 11 Chronomatic movement, which the seller has clearly photographed for you to review. Notice the correctly signed Hamilton bridge, which pairs nicely with the signed case, dial, crown, and buckle. This is what a clean and complete watch looks like.

Vintage LeJour Chronograph


In addition to the Wakmann Triple Date, one other vintage chronograph that I use to gauge the state of the market is the Valjoux-powered LeJour. In the grand scheme of vintage chronograph collecting, these are relatively accessible pieces, though both are still not impervious to the progression of the market, as their gradually rising prices would indicate.

On one of my late night adventures through the never-ending rabbit holes of eBay, I came across a particularly pleasing example of the aforementioned wristwatch, complete with a clean dial, and a large lollipop chronograph hand. For the money, it’s hard to argue with one of these, as their styling and build quality is comparable to many significantly higher-priced watches.

Zenith El Primero Ref. A386 MK I


Your last vintage chronograph of the week is a good one. A really good one.

What you’re looking at is the very first variant of one of the first El Primero’s to be produced by Zenith. As you also may know, the El Primero movement was one of the first automatic chronographs of all time, truly making this a watch of firsts in several respects.

I’ve always considered this piece a marvel of sports chronograph design, as the unlikely marriage of muted blue, grey, and dark silver subdials works oh so well. The example in question is being offered in stunning, all original condition, and the presence of its Zenith-branded Gay Frères ladder bracelet is certainly appreciated.


Join the Conversation
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Petrolicious Newsletter