When talking about sports watches, the era that is pretty hard to overplay is the 1960s. This golden epoch enlightened the watchmaking industry with some of the iconic watches whose aesthetics and design style are treasured to date. While some of the timepieces made their debut, others received essential upgrades on the existing designs.
Furthermore, the 1960s age is many a time labelled as the last decade of the golden age of mechanical watches. The fact is that mechanical timepieces were in the limelight before the invention of quartz time-tracking technology. So people across the world considered them as prime-requisite tools instead of collectables or luxury symbols.
Nevertheless, to pay homage to this very decade, Bob’s Watches recently presented the “Fresh Finds” auction event. Bob’s Watches is one of the largest pre-owned marketplaces for holy grails in the watch industry.
So here we will be spotlighting four scarce vintage watches from the 1960s that “Fresh Finds” auction is showcasing. The list includes three sporty Rolex watches and also, one of Omega. However, the event will probably wrap up on 4th August.
Rolex GMT-Master Reference 1675
Rolex unveiled the GMT-Master 1675 in 1959, offering a bigger case of 40mm diameter. Thanks to the crown guards fitted at the side of the watch’s case, it protected the winding crown better than before.
However, the significance of the reference 1675 lies in the fact that it characterised the standard design of the next generation GMT-Master watches. Rolex continued to produce the watch until 1980, making several updates and improvements.
For instance, the early iterations of the reference 1675 came with glossy gilt dials. But Rolex replaced these dial style with matte dials by the mid-1960s. However, the versions with matte dials flaunted square crown-guards and big 24-hour hands.
The specific GMT-Master Reference 1675 displaying in the auction has a “Swiss-Only” gilt dial with a small 24-hour hand. Also, an original “Pepsi” fat-font bezel encases the PCG case of the watch that dates to 1963 approximately.
What amplifies the watch’s appeal is the creamy, rich patina developed on the luminescent element on the dial. And a vintage Oyster bracelet with rivet-link completes the look.
Rolex Explorer Reference 1016
The Explorer Reference 1016 epitomises the symbolic and classic aesthetics that is still discernable in today’s Explorer watches. Many watch enthusiasts regard the reference 1016 as the quintessential version of the original sports timepiece of the brand.
The Rolex Explorer 1016 enjoyed its production until 1989. It offered different dial and bracelet options to choose for the collectors. Dating to nearly 1963, this specific iteration features a glossy gilt dial.
Interestingly, the dial flaunts an exclamation point marking as well as a chapter ring. However, the former feature refers to the watch’s radiation level that follows the standards of the new Atomic Energy Commission.
Keep note that only the earliest iterations of the Explorer 1016 feature the exclamation dials. While they are limited in numbers, the reference 1016 with exclamation dial is today incredibly desirable by vintage collectors. Furthermore, this specific watch presented at the auction comes fitted with a patented vintage rivet-link Oyster bracelet.
Rolex Submariner Reference 5512
Introduced in 1959, the Rolex Submariner 5512 flaunted a bigger 40mm case and crown-guards for the first time. Like the above sports watches, the reference 5512 also underwent several refinements during its production until 1978.
Rolex furnished the watch with a range of cases, bezels, dials and bracelets. While the very first examples featured glossy gilt dials with pointed crown guards, later iterations of Submariner 5512 sported square crown-guards and matte dials.
The auction “Fresh Finds” is showcasing a Submariner 5512 watch of approximately 1961. Encased in PCG case, the watch features a glossy gilt dial with both an exclamation point mark and a chapter ring. The exclamation sign is one of the unique characters that you will find only on Rolex sports timepieces from the 1960s.
What adds to the lure and eagerness among the vintage-lovers is the rivet-link circa-correct Oyster bracelet and the “Long 5” bezel fitted to this specific Submariner 5512. Furthermore, the bezel retains its luminescent pearl in perfect condition. Also, the radiating element on the hands and the dial shows rich patina.
Omega Speedmaster “Ed White” Reference 105.003
No doubt, the Omega Speedmaster is one of the most popular and coveted sports watches. The watch holds a significant position in the history of watchmaking, especially for its two impressive achievements. In 1965, it was the first watch to receive NASA certification. Later in 1969, the Speedmaster became the ever first watch to land on the moon.
So “Fresh Finds” brings to light the Speedmaster reference 105.003, dating back to 1965. Interestingly, this particular model was a personal favourite watch of the American astronaut Ed White. Thus, the timepiece earned the moniker “Ed White”.
Legend says that while executing the first American spacewalk during the Gemini 4 mission, Ed White was wearing a Speedmaster on his spacesuit. Nonetheless, the Speedmaster reference 105.003 on this auction comes with an original “DON” bezel.
Besides, the watch exhibits patina on the tritium dial and hands. With a circa-correct stretch Omega bracelet, this Speedmaster reference 105.003 portrays the 1960s golden epoch of mechanical watches perfectly.