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4 Vintage Watches Fresh-to-Market to be Auctioned at Bob’s Watches

Paul Altieri

It is a high honor for us here at Bob’s Watches to help write the next chapter in the fascinating history of a fresh-to-market vintage watch auction.  That is why we are thrilled to kick off our first auction of the year with four extraordinary vintage watches, each of which was entrusted to us by the families of the original owners to find their next perfect owner.  Read on to discover more about these history-rich watches before they hit the Bob’s Watches private auction block on March 8, 2024.

Vintage Omega Speedmaster 145.022-69ST

Vintage Omega Speedmaster 145.022 with Black Dial

Our list starts strong with the highly revered Omega Speedmaster watch, the first wristwatch to go to the Moon.  The iconic chronograph, the official watch of NASA, has roots deeply planted in space exploration and was famously along for the ride as the Apollo 11 crew became the first humans to step foot on the Moon in 1969.  While reference 145.022 has been to space, it has never touched down on the Moon.  Still, it is a widely celebrated edition of the beloved Omega “Moon Watch” because so many editions came to market during its impressive 20-year production run. It is a fascinating watch to study and collect.

The example we are offering here has a beautiful “Tropical” dial.  Once a sharp jet-black color, the dial has since aged to a nice, even brown hue, a color we’ve seen on other similar era 145.022s. The lume has also aged to an attractive buttery yellow color that compliments the dial nicely. 

Early examples of the vintage Omega Speedmaster 145.022-69 we are auctioning also featured what is commonly referred to as a “Dot Over 90” or “DON” bezel, named so because the dot accompanying the 90-marker on the Tachymeter bezel is above 90.  Like the dial, the bezel on this featured Omega has aged uniquely, from black to a nice, dark grey color. 

Vintage Rolex Explorer 1016

Vintage Rolex Explorer 1016

Since day one, the adventurous mountaineer’s watch has embraced a practical, ready-for-anything aesthetic featuring a time-only, three-hand dial and smooth bezel. Reference 1016 enjoyed an incredibly long production run spanning decades and is one of the most recognizable vintage Rolex watches on the secondary market. The vintage Rolex 1016 in our Fresh Finds auction is no exception. It introduced the series to a new generation of 15xx movements, first featuring caliber 1560 and then 1570, which is the engine driving our auction Explorer 1016.

Rolex initially furnished the Explorer 1016 with glossy gilt dials and later matte dials with white printing. The watch-collecting community has since categorized the latter into Marks I – 5.  Our example, coming directly from the wife of the original owner is circa 1972, has the Mark I matte dial with a “Frog Foot” Rolex coronet. This watch is in overall great shape and comes complete with its box and double-punched papers. It even comes with a little seasons greetings card showing it was originally a Christmas gift!

Vintage Rolex Submariner 5513 Maxi Dial

Vintage Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513 Maxi Dial

Rolex released ref. 5513 in the early 1960s, overlapping production with predecessor ref. 5512.  Ref. 5512 would eventually earn a chronometer rating, while ref. 5513 would remain the nearly identical but non-chronometer-rated version, hence the two lines of text at 6 o’clock.  It was an incredibly popular iteration of the Submariner because of its slightly more affordable price point at the time, compared to its chronometer-rated counterpart, and continued production until well into the 1980s. Rolex produced many iterations of ref. 5513 during that time, first featuring glossy dials and then later switching to matte dials around 1966.

The example of the vintage Rolex 5513 Submariner we will be auctioning sports a desirable matte black Maxi Mark IV dial. Rolex produced these “Maxi” dials from around 1978 through 1984. The watch is in overall great, honest condition and the lume has aged to a super attractive custard color. 

Even more fascinating is the backstory of this outstanding vintage Rolex Submariner, which was gifted to the original owner by his wife for their wedding.  Flipping the watch over, we see a lovely, personalized engraving, “To Lee Love Always Ruth 1-30-82,” to mark the occasion. Passionate collectors will be delighted to learn she chose the Submariner because her husband was a diver – a match made in heaven.

Vintage Rolex GMT Master 1675 “Root Beer”

Vintage Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675 “Root Beer”

The GMT Master came to market in the 1950s, an incredibly revolutionary time for Rolex.  Reference 1675 is the second iteration of the famed pilot’s watch, which Rolex produced for many years, and in different metal finishes and dial and bezel colorways.  The steel and yellow gold model, like the vintage two-tone Rolex 1675 GMT-Master featured in our upcoming auction, is available with either a black dial and bezel or in brown hues, which has since been dubbed the “Rolex Root Beer.” We call our example the “Grape Soda GMT” because of the unique appearance of the dial.

The tropical nipple dial, which was originally brown, has faded over time to a unique purple color throughout. The lume has faded to a pale cream color on the hour markers and hands. Additionally, the top part of the bezel, which was originally brown, has since faded completely and now has a distinctive bluish tint, while the bottom half has faded to a striking butterscotch color.  It is truly remarkable how this Rolex Root Beer has aged through the years – hallmarks of a beloved, lifelong companion. This watch also comes directly from the family of the original owner and in addition to the unique dial and bezel; it comes complete with its box, punched papers, and receipt! 

We are proud to present this outstanding fresh-to-market vintage auction series to our customers. Register now for a chance to bid.

Paul Altieri
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