7 Vintage-Inspired and Retro-Look Watches from Baselworld 2017

This year marks the 90th anniversary of Charles Lindbergh’s historic non-stop transatlantic flight in the “Spirit of St. Louis” — a historical event timed by Longines. In celebration, the Swiss brand is offering a modern version of its Lindbergh Hour Angle watch, designed for Longines by Lindbergh himself in 1931, in a 90-piece limited edition. The first Hour Angle watch with a titanium case, it measures a large 47.5 mm in diameter for easy reading in a cockpit, and its rotating black PVD bezel allows the wearer to adjust for the daily variations in the equation of time. An additional rotating, galvanic black disk in the center of dial can synchronize the seconds with a radio time signal. The brushed silver dial displays the time on a railtrack minute circle with painted black Roman numerals, and features a 180° scale for calculating the longitude. The watch can thus be used to indicate the hour angle in degrees and in minutes of arc, as well displaying the current time in hours, minutes and seconds. Equipped with the proprietary, self-winding Caliber L699 and mounted on a rugged brown leather strap, the Hour Angle is priced at $5,015. Click here for more background and info.

Longines Hour Angle 90th Anniversary - reclining
Longines Hour Angle 90th Anniversary

One hundred years ago, Oris converted a pocketwatch into a large wristwatch for pilots, a model that was lost to history until researchers into the brand’s archives discovered it and decided to re-produce it for a modern audience as the Oris Big Crown 1917. With a 40-mm diameter stepped steel case; thin, wire-inspired lugs; and large onion-shaped crown that gives it its “Big Crown” moniker, the watch channel the distinctive look of the historical piece. The dial’s well-balanced elements include a railroad-track outer minute ring, vintage-inspired “Old Radium” filled Arabic numerals, blued steel cathedral hands, and a period-appropriate vintage Oris logo. Another vintage logo — the “Poinçon de Maître,” once the personal stamp of quality used by the Oris brand — is engraved on the solid caseback. Inside the case ticks the Oris Caliber 732 (based on the Selitta SW 200-1), which has an unusual 2 o’clock pin-lever mechanism that allows the wearer to hold down the pin and then turn the crown to adjust the time — a functionality included in the original model from 1917. The watch will be limited to 1,917 pieces, and will retail for around $2,400. (Click here for more on the watch and its history.)

Oris Big Crown 1917 - angle
Oris Big Crown 1917

The Rado Hyperchrome Captain Cook collection — consisting of two 37-mm models in steel (one men’s, one ladies’) and one 45-mm model in titanium — is the brand’s “retro revival” of a sporty watch series it offered in the 1960s. Named after the famed 18th-century Britisher explorer Captain James Cook, the watches are distinguished by their arrow-shaped hands, large, blocky hour indices, and rotating bezel with a high-tech ceramic insert (the use of ceramic being a hallmark of the Rado brand). The 37-mm gents’ version pictured below (Ref. 763.0500.3.130) has a polished stainless steel case with a solid steel caseback stamped with three seahorses and the watch’s limited edition number out of 1,962 pieces. The brown vintage-style leather strap, with simple steel pin buckle, echoes the color of the dial, whose indices and hands are treated with a “vintage look:” colored Super-LumiNova. Powering the watch’s functions (including a red-colored date indication in a window at 3 o’clock) is the automatic ETA Caliber C07.611. Prices range from $1,900 to $2,400.

Rado Captain Cook
Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook

The Tissot Heritage 1948, as one might glean from its name, takes its cues from a watch produced by Tissot in 1948 that now resides in the brand’s museum. The original timepiece is representative of an era in which Tissot manufactured numerous chronograph wristwatches for — as the brand’s advertising touted — “engineers, technicians, doctors and sports men.” The modern watch, in a 39.5-mm stainless steel case, retains much of its predecessor’s vintage elements as well as some updated ones. Retained from the historical piece are the two chronograph pushers, the minute track around the dial, the leaf-style hands and stud details, and the distinctively shaped lugs. Modern touches include the tricompax dial design, the applied Roman numeral XII at 12 o’clock, and the date display at 4:30. The watch, which bears a historical Tissot logo on the dial and contains the automatic ETA 2894-2 movement, comes on either a brown or black leather strap (price: $1,400) or on a steel Milanese bracelet with jewelry clasp ($1,450).

Tissot Heritage 1948 - front-back
Tissot Heritage 1948

Tomorrow: We look at some notable divers’ watches from Baselworld 2016.




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