1973 Rolex Day-Date

As the insatiable appetite for Rolex continues, and production constraints limit availability, the simple economics of demand and supply means there’s a constant upward pressure on prices. This is evident in both the cost of second-hand examples, and the increasingly frequent price hikes at retail. This also means that previously out of favour models have gone along for the ride, as collectors seek out options without long waiting lists. The take-away from all of this is that if you’re buying new, there’s no bargains and no hope of asking for a discount. 

This is where a bit of pre-owned digging can reap rewards. Skip the obvious choices like steel sports watches, and take a look at some precious metal vintage pieces. This Day-Date from the early 70s, with its solid gold construction, signature President bracelet and champagne dial recently sold on the platform for £8,450. How does that compare that to a new example? A brand new Day-Date with the same specification is over £30,000! Yes, the bracelet has some stretch and there’s some general wear and tear, but for all intents and purposes, it fills the same role and has a remarkably similar aesthetic. What’s more, this old ref. 1603 has character and vintage charm that a new example couldn’t hope to match. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £8,450


1963 Rolex GMT-Master 'Pepsi'

While we’re on the topic of vintage, check out this GMT-Master from 1963. With the ubiquity that comes with high production numbers and an instantly recognisable brand, these old examples offer the opportunity for collectors to own something with a unique personality.  

The distinctiveness of a vintage ref. 1675 GMT-Master lies in the evolving hue of its bezel, influenced by exposure to sunlight and other environmental factors. Collectors affectionately assign nicknames to these varying hues, and among them is the "fuchsia" GMT, as we see here. This nickname arises from the vibrant red of the bezel transforming into a stunning fuchsia over time. The colour transition is attributed to the makeup of the paint, and because Rolex used different suppliers over the years, only a limited number have this distinctive trait. With Rolex switching to fade-resistant ceramic on contemporary models, these examples mark a golden age for The Crown's sports watches. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £20,250


2006 Patek Philippe Nautilus

The Nautilus has enjoyed incredible success in recent years thanks to collectors’ obsession with angular integrated bracelet sports watches from the 70s. The 5711 is the reference that’s enjoyed the most attention, being at the apex of the recent sports watch hysteria. Like any model line in the spotlight, collectors like to dive into the brand’s back catalogue in search of rare gems and quirky releases. 

This ref. 3710/1A is one such example. Debuting in 1998, it was the first Nautilus to feature a complication other than a date. An asymmetrically positioned power reserve under 12 o’clock indicates the remaining juice in the tank of the calibre 330 SC movement. The incorporation of Roman numeral hour markers ensures that this is a Nautilus dial like no other. The 3710/1A also marked the return of the “Jumbo” case proportions for the first time since the original 3700, as Patek attempted to re-introduce these bolder dimensions to collectors. Recently sold on Watch Collecting for £43,500


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