3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now
The theme of this week’s roundup is important movements, featuring three stunning chronographs from Heuer, Rolex, and LeCoultre. In two, you’ll find some of the very first self-winding chronograph movements, and inside the third is a tried and tested workhorse, trusted by countless watch manufacturers throughout history. Let’s take a look.
Heuer Monaco Ref. 1133G
To start things off, we’ve got a great looking example of one of the most iconic wristwatch designs of all time. The watch I speak of is of course Heuer’s legendary Monaco, and the one in question today is surely one to take note of. Its dial is perfect, its case is sharp, and rather conveniently, its self-winding Cal. 11 chronograph movement has just been serviced.
While some tend to prefer the more well known, Steve McQueen-associated Ref. 1133B, this is my personal Monaco of choice—the Ref. 1133G. I find that since the Monaco is already such a bold, universally recognized design, the grey dial affords the watch a smidgen of understatement that can’t be achieved with the bold blue dial usually associated with the Monaco.
LeCoultre Valjoux 72 Chronograph
Next up, we’ve got a LeCoultre chronograph from the 1960s, which was presumably made for the American market. I’ve always liked this model, as the symmetrical placement of the “MILES PER HOUR” is rather aesthetically pleasing. Like many other chronographs of its time, this piece is powered by the venerable Valjoux 72, which you’ll notice is protected from interfering forces by an antimagnetic dust cap on this piece.
For its age, the one in question is pretty clean, but there are a few little things you’ll want to take note of. Namely, there are a couple of missing luminous plots, along with some slight smudging on the sub-dial markers. Those things aside, this is a nice, honest example, and arguably one of the cleaner vintage chronograph designs of the 1960s.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 16520
Your last vintage chronograph for the week comes from a Beverly Hills-based dealer, who has listed quite the minty example of a Ref. 16520 Daytona for sale. For those not familiar with the Daytona’s lineage, this reference precedes the in-house caliber-bearing 116520 of more recent years, and instead features a modified version of Zenith’s El Primero movement at its core.
Unlike the Ref. 116520, the basic steel Ref. 16520’s are known to have been produced in far more variants, using a number of different typefaces over the years. Because of this and the introduction of the new ceramic Daytonas, vintage watch collectors are now starting to pay more attention to this reference, and all of the nuanced details that may set one example apart from the rest.