This week, Bring A Loupe presents you with a varied selection of vintage chronographs, from the ubiquitous Rolex Daytona, to some less well known, but still high quality manufacturers. You’ll discover a yachting chronograph from the French brand Yema, and a Wittnauer 242T that was once considered by NASA. We will also show you a very uncommon IWC Mark XII with totally different dial and case. This is your Bring A Loupe for June 10, 2016.
A Yema Yachtingraf Regate Jumbo, Quite A Special Chronograph
Unless you are French, you’ve probably never heard of the brand Yema. Yet, they used to produce some killer chronographs back in the day, with a focus on car and boat racing. We actually featured an early example of the Yachtingraf here, but the later one you see here stands out for two reasons: size and design. The 43mm case represents a considerable increase from the 39mm size of the “standard” edition, and you can’t miss the right countdown counter, which tells you right away that this is a regatta timer. Rather than offering just a colored register, Yema went all the way and extensively modified the chronograph caliber Valjoux 7733 to feature an indicator disk, so that you could be optimally prepared to have your boat go through the starting line after the five-minute countdown. You can find a detailed explanation of this chronograph’s functioning here.
A respected collector is offering his example on a forum here; he is considering offers above 3,000 Euros or around $3,400.
A Rolex “Big Red” Daytona Reference 6265
No need to introduce HODINKEE readers to the Rolex Daytona, it’s the iconic chronograph; vintage or modern, and collectors obsess over them like no other watch (even at HODINKEE). On the vintage front, they came in many different designs and references; I thought I was more attracted to the black bakelite bezel-pump pushers combination, but this reference 6265 makes me doubt once again. Somehow, the roughness of the screw-down pushers, and the steel bezel combine beautifully with the silver dial and its contrasting sub registers. Note that the “Big Red” nickname comes from the font size of that word, while on later dials the printing is smaller.
You can find this 1979 Daytona offered for $40,000 here.
A Wittnauer Professional Reference 242T, A Former Contender For The Moon
Wittnauer was among Omega’s competitors in the initial tests of the NASA in the mid-1960s; you obviously know that the Speedmaster won the contest, and became the Moonwatch (and is being worn in space to this day). Nonetheless, there is a lot to love with the Wittnauer Professional reference 242T, assumed to be the watch provided to NASA for the tests, although there is no certainty there yet. It comes with a 38mm case, a really attractive black dial and the chronograph movement Valjoux 72. Could you ask for more? Â The example here seems in decent shape, and it would look a lot nicer after a gentle polishing of the plexiglass crystal. I don’t know whether the signed beads of rice bracelet is original to the watch, but it gives it a great look.
This Wittnauer chronograph is listed on eBay here; at the time of publishing bidding was at $4,000, the starting point of the seller.
An IWC Mark XII Reference 3242, The Italian Limited Edition With Titanium Case
While this IWC is indeed a Mark XII, in several ways it is notably different from the standard version of the toolwatch, much to delight of some collectors who enjoy the lack of date in this variant (in line with the previous Mark XI that Arthur reviewed here). This reference 3242 “EF” was indeed launched as a 100-piece limited edition in 1998 for the Italian IWC distributor Emilio Fontana â hence the initials â and offers a titanium case, a totally different dark blue dial, and a yellow second hand. Emilio Fontana and his partner, Giorgio Lattada, sold their distributorship to the Richemont Group when it acquired IWC) It also comes with an ETA-based movement instead of the Jaeger-LeCoultre 844 caliber, a small price to pay for all its differences.
An Italian jeweler is offering this limited edition Mark XII for 4,000 Euros or around $4,500 here.
A Breitling Top Time With An Intriguing Reverse Panda Dial
The reference 2002 is a highly desirable version of the Top Time; it has a great looking “reverse panda” dial â and of course, the James Bond connection. Indeed, Q transformed this watch into a Geiger counter in the movie Thunderball. Â No Geiger counter here, but we do have a stainless steel monobloc case, meaning that it was built in one piece to increase water resistance, and the movement has to be extracted from the front. (The model used in the movie had a custom, one-off case made for it by VTC, and you can read more about it in our coverage of the Thunderball Top Time right here.) Unfortunately, the handset and indexes are a bit worrying, as they display a gold tone, while they should also be in steel. If this is not an illusion from the pictures, this implies that those parts came from another Breitling reference and were later mounted to increase this Top Time’s value, the reverse panda dial being much more valuable than its plain silver sibling.
So I would ask the eBay seller for better pictures here, and remain very careful.
An earlier version of this story described Emilio Fontana as an IWC retailer. Â Mr. Fontana was actually an IWC distributor, as a reader pointed out by email. Â