Gear: 3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

By Isaac Wingold
March 29, 2017

If you were keeping up with the Petrolicious Instagram feed over the weekend, you surely saw the shots from Saturday’s A. Lange & Söhne Drive Tastefully Rally from Malibu to Santa Barbara, California. While going through the full set of photos the other day, I took notice of how good a Lange 1 looked against the backdrop of a Porsche 356. Given some thought as to why the two seemed to pair so well, I came to the conclusion that it’s simply because both are tastefully designed and just downright good looking. So, this week, here’s a selection of three more watches that too reflect taste and discernment.

Omega De Ville Ref. 145.018


The first of this week’s picks comes from what appears to be an Omega collector based out of Illinois. It’s an Omega De Ville Chronograph Ref. 145.018, and as the open caseback shot indicates, it makes use of the same Lemania-based Cal. 861 movement that you’ll find in many a Speedmaster. I’ve always liked the case shape of this reference, and this happens to be a particularly beautiful example, as it has a rare metallic bluish-grey dial.

Condition wise, it isn’t perfect: the outer edges of the subdials seem to have corroded over time, and if you look towards the bottom of the dial, you’ll notice that the luminous marker dots at five and seven o’clock are missing. With that said, I still think it’s definitely worth taking a look at, since the reference is relatively uncommon, and the dial variant even more so.

Clebar Chronograph Ref. 1198


A wonderfully crafted workhorse of a vintage chronograph doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank entirely, and here’s proof. This is a Clebar, which you may know as the brand that Heuer once produced Carrera-esque pieces for, but this is a much earlier watch dating back to the 1950s.

For a 35mm watch, its dial is packed densely with details, like the telemeter and tachymeter scales that surround the hour track, finished in bright red and blue. Also of note is the stainless steel case, which I don’t think has ever been touched by a polishing wheel. All in all, a decent deal of a watch if you ask me. 

Universal Geneve Compax Ref. 22704/1 


Your last vintage chronograph for the week again comes from eBay, where someone has listed a true top grade example of an oversized Ref. 22704/1 Universal Geneve Compax for sale. Like the aforementioned Clebar, this watch is also powered by the Valjoux 72, but when sandwiched between this dial and caseback, it’s referred to as UG’s “Cal. 130.”

This might be the best example I’ve ever seen of the reference, for two main reasons: one, the dial looks ridiculously clean, and two, the case looks to have never been polished. All of the lines are perfectly defined, and not washed away like so many overly polished watches trading on the market today. Given that there’s still quite a bit of time left on this auction, it’ll be interesting to see what it ends up bringing in.

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