Category: Brands

Collector Guide – Vacheron Constantin Reference 4217 Time-Only Center-Seconds Calatrava-style Dress Watch (1940s -1970s) – Complete Information on an Undervalued Classic

Vacheron Constantin Reference 4217

The reference 4217 is effectively a second generation descendant of early Calatrava-style wrist watches from Vacheron Constantin. The first generation began to appear in the 1930s as the company began to work with Jaeger LeCoultre base movements in order to serially produce more modern wrist watches for a changing market. Those earlier references that predate the 4217 include the 2871 and a few models that are not clearly specified by reference numbers. The 4217 began production sometime in the early to mid 1940s.

Hands-On – Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver 42mm GMT Left-Hand Drive (LHD) – The Watch That Proves Zodiac is Back

Zodiac Super Sea Wolf Pro-Diver 42mm GMT LHD Black DLC

What this watch represents to me is a kind of proof that Zodiac is not f’ing around. They’re serious, and they’re making serious dive watches for really competitive prices, and they’re also styled after and reminiscent of one of the most important dive watches in history. I can’t see why Zodiac shouldn’t be fully absolved of whatever sins they may or may not have committed to so greatly offend the horological intelligentsia.

Hands-On – Bremont Fury 40mm Pilot’s Watch

Bremont Fury 40mm Pilot's Watch

The movements in the Fury models I tested ran well within COSC specifications (-4 to +6 sec/day). Bremont tests in-house using its own H1 chronometer protocols, which differ from COSC in that the movements are tested inside the watch they’ll ship in. This is conceivably a better standard, as the actual context of the movement is being tested as well, not to mention there’s no need for regulation after installation into the case as there is with COSC. The crown and setting of the watch felt as good as you would hope for in the price point. This is definitely a quality timepiece.

Hands-On – 1978 Patek Philippe Nautilus Reference 3700-01A – One Owner, Unpolished

Patek Nautilus ref. 3700-01A 1978

Like many watches from Patek Philippe (and countless other brands), the original models from the 20th century are just so much mellower and understated than their modern counterparts, but I didn’t expect to have such a strong feeling of understatement and class from a Nautilus – perhaps because the trends have elevated this model to a thing of bling. What this tells me is that even during the disco years, Patek was driven by the same understatement that gave us the Calatrava and countless other gorgeous studies in classic design over the 20th century.

Hands-On – Patek Philippe Calatrava 5226G

Patek Philippe 5526G Calatrava

The 5226G draws on current trends that look to the past (e.g. aged lume, military minimalism) as a way to be current (big trend there) while also paying tribute to its own storied legacy (e.g. the Calatrava Ref 96 Nightwatchman, which sold for 322,000CHF in 2016) with an irreverent tendency toward pastiche – meaning, throwing various elements together – (e.g. numerals and hands from the wonderful 5172G chronograph and the even more wonderful 5320G perpetual calendar, hobnailing from the 6119X Calatravas and other older references, and a lug style reminiscent of the 3448 perpetual calendar, especially in white gold).

Podcast Field Reports E9 – Bremont’s Authenticity Soars in an Old Plane

Bremont Supernova 40mm Integrated Bracelet Watch

Allen went to the UK for the launch of Bremont’s first serially produced watches with their in-house movement, but what Allen got was a ride in an old plane that showed him the unique authenticity at the center of the brand set on reviving British industrial watchmaking.

Curating the Collection – A Rolex Oyster Date Reference 6494 Captures My Heart

Rolex 6494 Bubbleback

The Rolex Oysterdate 6494 comes in a 34mm Oyster case which is 11mm thick with a modest lug-to-lug measurement of 43mm. The lugs are 19mm across. The 6494 came with a variety of dials, but most were variations on white paint, black lacquer, or honeycomb engraved models also in white or cream. All Rolex 6494s sport a roulette date wheel: black for odd numbers and red for the evens. Hands are dauphine with a blued second hand.

Hands-On – Hemel x Mathey-Tissot TypeXX Pilot’s Chronograph

Hemel MaseyTissot TypeXX 2022-16

When I learned of Hemel Watches collaborating with Mathey-Tissot to produce a small run of TypeXX chronographs, I was greatly interested. This collaboration felt genuine to me because Hemel had long based much of its catalog on the historically significant Type20 and TypeXX chronographs, which were originally French mil-spec units for pilots.