Gear: 3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

3 Vintage Driving Watches You Can Buy Right Now

By Isaac Wingold
May 3, 2017

I love the hunt, almost more so than the watches themselves. There’s just something so intoxicating about tracking down the impossible time and time again, not to mention the interesting places and characters you’ll encounter along the way. With sites like eBay, the search is all the more exciting in that I don’t know what exactly it is I’m hunting for as I scroll through the countless listings of vintage chronographs on a daily basis. Sometimes your efforts yield little, and other times you hit it big, making each late-night scour all the more anticipated throughout the day. This week, the results were rather fruitful, as you’ll soon see for yourself.

Omega Cal. 321 Chronograph


What you’re looking at here is an early chronograph by Omega—likely dating back to the 1950s. It makes use of the watchmaker’s famed Cal. 321 column wheel chronograph, which you might recognize as the movement found inside many an early Speedmaster. Cased in yellow gold with a silver dial, the watch doesn’t exactly give off a sporty vibe, but I couldn’t help but include it in this week’s roundup, as it’s just so incredibly clean. Look at it!

Two additional details of note include the period-correct buckle that’s currently mounted on the leather strap—a great addition to any vintage watch—and what appears to be an importation hallmark on the watch’s 18k gold caseback. I’d love to get this one under a loupe and see just where it was originally delivered to way back when.

Wittnauer Ref. 3256/228T Exotic Dial


Those that are unaware of what they have often photograph their watches hastily, making for a less than appealing listing, at least visually. Alas, this is the case here, but don’t let the sub-par photography discourage you, as this Wittnauer is a piece to take note of. I can show you upwards of twenty relatively mundane, Landeron-equipped Wittnauer’s listed for sale right now, but few feature a dial as stunning as the exotic variant seen on this example of the Ref. 3256/228T.

With all of its blue and red accents, the light-grey-dialed watch is afforded a jovial aesthetic that offers a refreshing alternative to today’s world of uber-alpha, oversized, blacked-out timepieces. Currently, the watch is mounted on an ornate sterling silver, Native American bracelet inlaid with turquoise and coral. I’m not so sure that’s a look I could pull off, but if you’ve got the cojones and style to give it a go, more power to you!

Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446 Second Execution


To end things off, we’ve got something pretty ridiculous. This isn’t just any old watch, but a second-execution example of Heuer’s legendary Ref. 2446 Autavia—a piece that’s quickly becoming one of the most desirable vintage chronographs on the market. The sheer number of details on this piece’s stunningly clean dial never fails to amaze me, making it one of my favorite variants of the Ref. 2446.

Some may gawk at the 911-sized price tag that accompanies this one, but funnily enough, both this and a late air-cooled P-car are probably equally wise investments. Don’t believe me? Check in on the market in a year and we’ll talk.

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