This week we have a diverse selection of vintage watches, not organized around any particular theme; rather, each has some striking feature that makes it stand out. There is a Mido Multi-Centerchrono, rarely seen in its stainless steel/pink gold configuration, and also a Cartier Tank Arrondie, a best-seller in the 1970s. There is also a military Heuer Autavia reference 73463 plus a full-set Rolex GMT-Master reference 1675. This is your Bring A Loupe for February 10, 2017.
A 1970s Cartier Tank Arrondie
Can a Cartier watch be called a Tank if it is not strictly rectangular? Since 1936 and the Tank Asymétrique, Cartier has answered with a definite “yes,” with the Tank Arrondie (“rounded”) being one of the countless iterations born from the original pioneering shape. The Arrondie name says it all, describing the disappearance of the corners, which definitely gives a different look to the Tank. It remains very much a dress watch, benefiting from a slim profile, the cabochon crown, and the iconic Roman numerals. At the time of its launch in the 1970s, this model was marketed as a men’s watch, although its dimensions (23mm x 29mm) make it a great proposition for both genders today.
Interestingly, the Tank Arrondie is often described as being launched in 1977, a date that seems unlikely if we trust the photograph below. Indeed, the actor Alain Delon and the film producer Jean-Pierre Melville appear to be proudly showing their personal Tank Arrondie watches on the set of the movie Un Flic, which was shot in 1972. Whenever it was unveiled, the yellow gold Tank Arrondie you see here seems to be in great condition, with no obvious defects to the dial, and it comes with its original signed deployant buckle too.
The Italian dealer Watchout offers this Cartier Tank Arrondie for €4,500 (approximately $4,785 at time of publishing), slightly above what those watches usually trade for.
A Mido Multi-Centerchrono In Steel And Rose Gold
The Mido Multi-Centerchrono is an unusual piece for many reasons. The first obviously relates to its central chronograph configuration: if it were not for the two pushers this Mido would look like a regular time-only watch, or, as the original ads put it, “Here is the only chronograph that looks like a handsome watch.” The watch does not have conventional chronograph registers – instead, the thin steel hand tracks the seconds for the chronograph complication, while the red one records the elapsed minutes. This ingenious system allowed by the Mido caliber 1300 offers an outstanding legibility, despite the watch’s modest 35mm diameter. The waterproof case is actually the second distinguishing feature of this Mido. It was manufactured by the famous casemaker François Borgel (later Taubert Frères), also known for its work on Patek’s first waterproof chronograph, the reference 1463, which offers the very same sunburst pushers.
The example here comes with an unusual steel case, with an elegant rose gold caping on its upper layer, matching the salmon color of the dial. The hand set is absolutely correct for this reference, and so are the pushers. The watch is said to have come from Cuba, an intriguing provenance. The stainless steel caseback is worth a last look, as its deep engravings are evidence that there has been no previous polishing (which would also have damaged the rose gold capping, or made a re-plating necessary). It also boasts being made out of “Rustless Steel” on the inside of the caseback.
Cosimo Watches just listed this this Mido Multi-Centerchrono for €7,000 (approximately $7,440 at time of publishing).
A Heuer Autavia 73463 For The Israel Defense Force
A lot of the value in military watches comes from the engravings, often located on the caseback, which indicate the genuine military origin. The “M” followed by a number on the back of this watch indicates that it was issued by the Israel Defense Force, which ordered several models from Heuer, among those this reference 73463 (which is quite a rare bird). The placement of the winding crown on the right side of the case underlines that the chronograph movement was not an in-house automatic caliber, but rather the trusted Valjoux 7734, which also allowed for the date placement at six o’clock.
The seller mentions the work done on the hands, which were cleaned and re-lumed. Such an intervention is often seen as a no-go on vintage watches, but it is often necessary on military pieces, which had much rougher lives than their civilian counterparts. The seller also emphasizes that all other parts are fully original, starting with the faded bezel and the patinated dial. He also points out that the case was left in the condition in which it was found, which it is quite exemplary for a military-issued watch. The reference number between the lugs reads 73663 instead of 73463 but this is an anomaly that has been observed many times by seasoned Heuer collectors.
The owner is considering offers above €13,000 (approximately $13,820 at time of publishing) for this rare military Heuer Autavia 73463.
A Rolex GMT-Master 1675 With Box And Papers
This GMT-Master is a true full set, with the original box and papers and even its original hang tag! Its matte dial is described as a Mark 1, the first variant introduced after the gilt dial was abandoned in 1966. The 1.9 million serial number visible on the chronometer papers (and engraved between the lower lugs) indicates production in 1968, which means this dial – with its characteristic “long E,” so-called thanks to the even length of each of the horizontal bars of that letter – is period correct.
The tritium lume has taken on a very nice patina on both the dial and the handset, while the case still shows good bevels on its lugs. The C&I Oyster bracelet is described as original, and it shows a bit of stretch, but nothing unusual from a 50-year-old piece. The Pepsi bezel remains in great condition, with bright colors and just a hint in shine left. Looking at this watch, it is easy to understand why the reference 1675 was included in the Rolex catalog for more than 20 years.
Iconic Watch Company is offering this full-set Rolex GMT-Master 1675 at $15,800.
A Zodiac Zodia-Chron Hermetic, With Brushed Dial And Silvered Rehaut
Zodiac might not be the first brand to come to mind when thinking about vintage chronographs, but the Zodia-Chron Hermetic might change that for you. Within Zodiac’s offerings, the Sea Wolf is still better known, but the Hermetic chronograph can count on its killer looks to catch up. The combination of a brushed dial with a silvered track around the edge is stunning, and its fixed tachymeter bezel bears comparison with the contemporary Omega Speedmaster or Rolex Daytona without blushing (note that this Zodiac actually shares the chronograph caliber Valjoux 72 with the Rolex too).
This Zodiac comes in a large 37mm case, here in outstanding condition with well-defined lugs. The white sub-registers show no imperfections, and the same can be said about the dial as a whole. The crown is signed with the Zodiac emblem, and the deep engravings on the caseback prove once again that the case was very likely never polished.
You can find this this Zodiac Zodia-Chron Hermetic on Chronotrader for €3,400 (approximately $3,615 at time of publishing).