The vintage redux trend in watches is mainly a celebration of the golden age of watch design, roughly from the mid ‘50s to the early ‘70s. You can spot them by their minimalist dials, domed crystals, retro fonts, sector dials, long tapered indexes, slim cases, and simple functions. Over the past two years, watchmakers have started doing more of what they have always done, which is to identify golden-oldies from their past and reintroduce them with technical updates and better warranties. Because now so many of them are limited, the remakes stand a chance of becoming as collectible as the originals. Perhaps even more so.
The great thing about neo-vintage compared to original vintage is that everything is newer and better. Materials and movements have vastly improved since the ‘60s, and if you were to compare a modern reproduction with an original design, even one that has never been worn, it would be a superior timepiece in every way—unless you count provenance as an important value factor, and some collectors do, in which case it has to be a very impressive provenance. Paul Newman’s 1968 Daytona, despite selling for $17.7-million at a Phillips auction last fall, contains an average movement, a Plexiglas crystal and a not very watertight case by today’s standards. Here are a few neo-vintage pieces that combine the best of both worlds.