Hi, watch enthusiasts! My name is Matthias De Pauw, and every other week from now on, I’ll discuss 3 watches from the active Catawiki auctions.
I’m an active member of different watch groups on social media and I’m an admin of the biggest Facebook group from the Benelux: ‘Horlogefreaks’.
I’m mainly a vintage collector, so I’ll focus on vintage watches. You can read my interview on WahaWatches to find out how I got into watch collecting.
It’s not my intention to write extensive reviews because there are already plenty available online. I just want to highlight the watches that jump out to me as an experienced collector and share the reasons why.
Please remember to always do your own research. This is not an endorsement or advice in any way. You’re responsible for your own bidding.
Seiko Helmet ref. 6139-7100
My first pick is this Seiko Helmet ref. 6139-7100 nicknamed the ‘Darth Vader’ with the black dial. This particular one comes with the Seiko fishbone bracelet. An attractive bracelet that’s very comfortable to wear.
A white one with a similar ref. is offered in the same auction but that one is missing the original bracelet.
I actually owned 2-3 myself in the past, and they’re truly quality pieces. Typical 70s cases with a nice clean dial and hands that pop out. The watch features a day-date with a quickset (often in 2 languages, Japanese and English).
These watches are powered by a high-quality in-house column wheel movement (Seiko 6139). For some reason, Helmets didn’t go up in price as spectacularly as, let’s say, the Bullheads or Seiko’s Pilot chronographs.
Most of the times, these watches have a polished case. They wear higher on the wrist than a flat watch case so they scratch easily. That doesn’t have to be a problem if they did a proper job.
The hands are often replaced but this one still has the original faded hands.
There are a few things you need to pay attention to when buying a Seiko Helmet.
First of all, take a good look at the small chronograph minute dial at 6. Sometimes, this subdial doesn’t reset correctly with these old chronographs. That can be an expensive repair because Seiko parts aren’t easily found.
It’s not that big a problem if the main chronograph hand doesn’t reset correctly. Generally, this can be easily adjusted.
Second, take a look at the date quickset. This is a fragile part so make sure it works well.
Overall, it’s a very nice chronograph with an in-house movement and a typical 1970s design.
Movado Kingmatic Sub 285
This second piece takes me back to when I started collecting vintage watches. At that time, I was in love with classic looking vintage dress watches.
The first time I saw this watch (or a similar one), was 6 years ago. Man, I wanted this piece very bad but there was no way that I could afford it at the time. The watch just breathes class all the way. As a dress watch, there aren’t many pieces that can compete with this one!
This is the second or third time I see it, only once with this bracelet and that’s saying something.
The watch is solid 18k gold, the very rare bracelet included. The good thing about this bracelet is that you can see it’s a tight bracelet that won’t stretch over time (which is usually a problem with 18k gold bracelets). The clasp isn’t polished, which is clearly visible if you look at the Movado logo on the clasp. It’s still perfect!
This example is barely worn and it still has the original signed crown. The case is very sharp and the dial and the screw down case back are beautifully finished.
The movement is beautifully designed and looks to be clean.
If you compare this piece to the gold Omegas that you see pop up for sale ‘every day’, it certainly comes out very well! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge Omega fanatic but this isn’t something you see every day and certainly not it this condition.
The third and final piece is this Omega Chronostop full set from ca. 1970.
It’s rare to find a full set of a watch like this but unfortunately, the seller didn’t provide extra pictures of the box and papers.
It’s worth to mention that it’s a 41mm version of the Chronostop, which is a plus if you’re used to more modern watch sizes.
The case looks to be in unpolished condition. It’s very difficult to polish a case like this into perfection, especially with those curves and lines on the back. The dial is also in very good condition.
The watch comes on the original steel bracelet, which is always a plus.
In 1967, the Chronostop was included in Omega’s Genève collection. The watch was designed to be worn under the wrist as a driver’s watch. You could easily see what time it is with your hands on the steering wheel. Although the Chronostop is uncommon, it’s still one of the cheaper vintage Omega watches out there (like most of the Genève collection).
The watch is powered by an Omega cal. 920 (date version of the cal. 865). These movements were only used in the Chronostop. Too bad the seller didn’t include any pictures of the movement.
Unless I’m very much mistaken, this is the ST146.012. Exclusively made for the Italian market in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
It’s a very cool piece with a modern size to it and it’s certainly less common than the “regular” Chronostops.
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