There has been no bigger trend in watches these last few years than that of the “homage watch.” What we’re talking about here are modern watches explicitly designed to recall a particular model or family from a brand’s past. As vintage watches have gained popularity, contemporary watchmakers are looking to capture lightning a second time, building new collections on their former all-stars. When done right, the results can be incredible – though with everybody trying their hand at this strategy, there are a lot of homage watches to sort through. Here are five new examples of the trend that have our editors excited right now.
Cara Barrett – Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition
One watch that slipped through the cracks at Baselworld this year was the Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster, and Omega created two vintage-inspired examples to celebrate. Each has a 38mm steel case, a domed crystal, and a METAS-certified movement. In the metal, these watches are incredibly elegant and do a great job of being modern interpretations of a vintage classic. Generally speaking, Omega produces far more sporty watches under the Seamaster collection so it is refreshing to see such a beautiful, vintage-inspired timepiece.
$6,700 (small seconds), $6,150 (center seconds); omegawatches.com
Jon Bues – Mido Multifort Datometer
This limited edition of 1,918 pieces, designed to mark Mido’s centenary this year, isn’t just one of the best-looking vintage homages of this year, but also one of the most attractively priced, at just $1,350. Aesthetically, this 40mm automatic timepiece with pointer date definitely gets the early-20th-century look right, even with its larger case size. The case itself is also fairly slim at 11.85mm, which means that it really does wear like a dress watch. Oh, and the movement inside is one of very best affordable calibers currently being offered by the Swatch Group, a modified ETA automatic with a full 80 hours of power reserve. If I have one cavil, it’s that the Multifort Datometer watch features a gold PVD case. It would have loved to have seen a simple steel version of this watch for the same price or a hair less.
Jack Forster – Seiko 1968 Automatic Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition Ref. SLA025
One of the great things about vintage watch re-editions, is that they give watch brands an opportunity to look at much-loved classics and to go one better by offering similar aesthetics, but with updated materials and mechanics. Vintage watches can be absolutely wonderful, but generally speaking, suffer a bit in comparison with modern watches when it comes to durability and reliability. One of my favorite updates this year came from Seiko, which did a re-issue of the 6159-7001: the SLA025. The 6159-7001 is a relatively rare watch (it was manufacture for only two years, 1968-69) and the new model has all the idiosyncratic, form-follows-function appeal of the original, but with an updated movement, and many small tweaks to the basic design. A burly tool watch that radiates readiness to stand up to anything you and the deep blue sea can throw at it.
James Stacey – Longines Military Watch
If you’re going all in on the new vintage look, few brands did it better than Longines at Baselworld this past year (or really, over the past several years). Their new Longines Military Watch has a lovely and old school 38.5mm steel case that wraps around a beautiful faux-aged dial replete with fake age spots and its classic blued steel hands are powered by a Longines automatic L888 movement (based on the ETA A31). It’s a new watch that definitely looks old, it’s beautiful, and at CHF 2000, I wouldn’t call it cheap but it definitely offers a strong value and the Military Watch manages to out-charm much of the competition.
CHF 2,000; longines.com
Stephen Pulvirent – Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Heritage watches have been a big part of Tudor’s offering for years, so another great one should come as no surprise. However, I’ve got to admit that the Black Bay Fifty-Eight kind of came out of nowhere for me. The watch pays tribute to the original Tudor Big Crown Submariner (from 1958, hence the name) and takes on a slimmer, smaller profile than any of the existing Black Bay divers. It’s just 39mm across and a hair under 12mm thick, meaning it wears almost exactly like an old, crown-guard-free Sub from the 60s. At the very least, it’s the closest thing you’re going to find in a modern watch. The bevels on the lugs and the gilt finishing really make this watch for me (though I know that last bit is a little controversial), and the BB58 has both warmth and charm for days.