Gear: 3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

By Isaac Wingold
April 26, 2017

From time to time, I find myself sifting through the comments section of this very column to see what our valued readers have to say. As of late, I’ve noticed a resounding demand for more accessibly priced pieces, and with gas prices going up again, I thought I’d assemble a range of relatively affordable pieces for this week’s selection. Here’s three pieces of proof that a great watch need not break the bank.

Tissot Ref. 808A


My first pick of the week comes from eBay, where an individual based out of Oregan has listed a sharp-looking, early Tissot chronograph. Those familiar with vintage Tissot will recognize that this is an example of the 36mm Ref. 808A, which is powered by Lemania’s manually wound Cal. 1281. Over time, this example’s dial has developed a creamy patina, which would work rather nicely with a brown strap.

Another aspect of this piece to note is the engraved caseback, which reads “Love Bronnie. 6-5-66,” leading me to believe this watch was originally given as a gift. If you’re reading this, good on you, Bronnie! Although some may prefer a sterile, untouched caseback, I tend to like finding engraved pieces, as inscriptions often afford a watch an extra touch of character, and some insight into the previous owner, and thus the history of the watch itself.

LeJour Fat Arrow


What you’re looking at is a LeJour, and a stunning one at that. This Valjoux 7733-powered piece comes from Justin Vrakas of Watch Steez, and upon seeing it on his Instagram page the other day, I knew I had to make mention of it in the roundup this week. In chronograph collecting circles, this piece is referred to as a “Fat Arrow,” and if you take a look at its hands I’m sure you’ll quickly see why.

Speaking of hands, here’s another piece of watch collector lingo that I’ll impart: when chronograph hands feature a rather large, circular luminous marker to track the elapsed seconds, collectors often refer to it as a “lollipop” hand. Maybe part of the 101 class to the experienced collectors out there, but who knows who’s just starting out and looking to get up to speed. 

Sterile Chronograph


Your last vintage chronograph for the week comes from Watchuseek–one of the many online watch forums—where a New Yorker is offering a humble, sterile chronograph for sale. For the uninitiated, “sterile,” in this case means that the dial bears no text and no brand name, simply the standard dial markings and scales. This piece has also just recently been serviced, so you needn’t worry too much about dodgy accuracy and reliability.

While the oversized 37mm case is indeed chrome-plated, it has held up decently well over the years, and the base metal has only exposed itself minimally. Still, it’s hard to complain about a serviced vintage chronograph at this seller’s asking price, especially one with such an attractive two-tone, multi-scale dial as this. 

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Noel Olson
Noel Olson
4 years ago

Does it still on right now? I want to buy one but I don’t know if it was on or not hill climb racing

4 years ago

So it was a great thing for us to get the google chrome online.

Sam N
6 years ago

Agree with wing nut. Look forward to your posts. Cool pieces.

6 years ago

Mr. Wingold, just so you know……as much as I enjoy the weekly film submissions from Petrolicious I follow your reviews with equal enthusiasm and really look forward to reading your comments. Keep up the good work. However, you have cost me a bit of money! Due to your reviews and sincere love for watches I found myself indulging in the purchase of not 1 but 2 driving watches. A Seiko Sportura Honda racing F1 and more recently a BRM G 45 T Red. I love them both and feel naked if not wearing one of them when behind the wheel of my car.

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