This week, no chronographs. Instead, our focus today is on tool watches that really changed how a three-hand watch is perceived. We start with an IWC Ingenieur ref. 866, which offered antimagnetic protection to its movement. Next we have the GMT-Master, which brought a completely new take on travel watches; today, we have a version from the 1980s, the reference 16760 with its “Fat Lady”nickname. You will also get a sporty, chic Vacheron Constantin 222, and a resilient Breitling TransOcean in yellow gold.This is your Bring A Loupe for August 4, 2017.
An IWC Ingenieur Reference 866AD, With Sigma Dial
Also described as the reference 1808, this IWC Ingenieur 866AD boasts the same 80,000 A/m amagnetic properties as the first generation of the model, which was released in the mid-1950s and produced until the late 1960s. The biggest difference from the first generationlies in its case diameter, reaching now a large 37mm from the 36.5mm of the original model.
You might remember this example from the first Geneva auction led by Phillips; it comes with its original bracelet, and has a stunning silver dial. Interestingly, its serial number (present on the inner and outer sides of the caseback) dates this Ingenieur back to 1971, making it one of the earliest use of Sigma marks, which had only been patented in August 1971. The in-house automatic caliber 8541B is said by the seller to work well, and seems very clean.
Watches With Patina offers this IWC Ingenieur 866 for $10,200
A Rolex GMT-Master II Reference 16760, With Full Set
The Rolex reference 16760 was the very first GMT-Master II, which finally allowed the user to independently adjust the GMT hand by one-hour increments. It was produced alongside the “simple” GMT-Master reference 16750, which offered a quick-set date. The reference 16760 often gets the less tactful “Fat Lady” nickname, after its thicker case, coming from an Explorer 2, while the previous GMT-Master had a slimmer profile. Interestingly, this GMT-Master II was only offered with the red and black bezel, also called a “coke” bezel by vintage collectors.
The reference 16760 also introduced the sapphire watch crystal into the GMT-Master family, and much like the contemporary reference 16750, it abandoned the painted indexes for white gold surrounded ones in 1984. This explains why such a modern dial configuration can be found on the present example, which dates back to 1986. But what’s really special about this particular watch is the condition of the case; the sharp chamfers and thick lugs indicate an unpolished condition. All the papers, booklets and books that you would expect from a full set are there; quite an amazing sight.
LunarOyster priced this full set Rolex GMT-Master II “Fat Lady” for $12,000.
A Vacheron Constantin 222 Reference 46004
The Vacheron Constantin 222 was an anniversary piece released in 1977 to celebratethe 222th anniversary of the manufacture. It clearly shares some common DNA with the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus, but does not share the same father while the latter two were famously designed by Grald Genta, the 222 comes from the hands of the then-young designer Jorg Hysek, also known for the eponymous brand he eventually started.
The Vacheron Constantin 222 came in many different versions not only in different metal combinations, but also case shapes, as evidenced by the 31mm square example here. It still presents the same integrated bracelet as the more common round 222,but shows visible screws at its corners, that reminds us of the Royal Oak. Its movement is also a show-stopper an ultra-thin automatic caliber coming from the the 2.45mm-thickJaeger-LeCoultre caliber 920 that JLC never used for itself (but also sold to Patek and AP, as the Patek caliber 28-255 and the Vacheron caliber 1120). The movement remains to this day, the thinnest full rotor automatic movement ever made.
You can find this square Vacheron Constantin 222 on Ebay for a starting price of $9,999 with no bids so far.
A Breitling TransOcean Chronometre, In Yellow Gold
Launched in 1958, the TransOcean was prominently featured in Breitling advertising from the start, alongside the iconic Navitimer. This watch was indeed a big deal for the brand, almost intended as a flagship model for its multiple capabilities. It was indeed waterproof, shock protected, antimagnetic, and chronometer-certified. This explains why it was described as a watch of value to be prized or even “Die Traumuhr” (“the dreamwatch” in German).
The most prestigious version was undoubtedly the 18k gold model we see here, with a date complication a much more elevated model than its stainless steel or gold plated siblings. In itself, a solid gold cased tool watch is always an interesting statement. The “Genve” mention on the dial also testifies to the brand positioning at the time; Breitling had moved its headquarters to the most well known Swiss city for added prestige. The watch is also notable for featuring the “twin-jet” symbol on its waterproof caseback, a logo that would eventually appear on Navitimer dials in the mid-1960s.
Beyer Vintage listed this yellow gold Breitling TransOcean Chronometre for 8,800CHF, or around $9,000, which seems a strong ask even for an original yellow gold TransOcean.