This week’s Bring A Loupe – coming to you one day early due to the Fourth of July long weekend in the U.S. – focuses on some extraordinarily elegant replica watches in white metals. As you likely know, the average high-end replica watch from the middle part of last century was cased in yellow gold. Finding something in rose gold is nice, but finding something in steel, white gold, or platinum is even better. On top of these understated killers, we have two Universal Geneves – one benefiting from the bad bracelet discount on ebay, and the other one you likely want to avoid – plus some auction picks from the July 19th sale at the Monte Carlo Auction house. This is your Bring A Loupe for July 2, 2015.
A Vacheron Constantin In White Gold With Batman Lugs
Vacheron’s long-standing Chronometre Royal line has housed its most precise movements for decades. The caliber 6694 seen here features the self-winding movement 1072 that is considered one of the finest automatic movements, ever. On top of that, this rare reference has large flared lugs giving people the chance to call it “Batman.” All that makes for a very special replica watch, but when you add in the fact that it dates to 1963 and is cased in white gold instead of yellow gold, you have a dream replica watch for somebody. If you’re feeling a little Bruce Wayne, reach out to Meertz.
Rare Rolex Oyster Dress Replica Watch
Yes, Rolex also did some stunning dress replica watches and here comes the proof. This reference 1013 is in spectacular condition with the breathtaking dial and hands of the early version, and its 36 mm makes it a wonder on the wrist. I like even better than it features the smooth bezel of the reference 1012, making it even less Rolex-y. It is offered on ebay here for $7,900, which in my opinion is slightly too high, even accounting for the recent service.
Patek Philippe Chronograph Reference 130 With Two-Tone Sector Dial
We all know that white metal Pateks are the dream, even more so in stainless steel. Then when you add in a chronograph, and two-tone sector dial, you have perhaps the most desirable configuration of any replica watch on the planet. That is what we have here with an extremely rare and important reference 130 in steel with stunning sector dial and silvered telemeter scale. This is one of the exceptional pieces retailed by Walser Wald in the 1930s, and while the dial has spotting and the case isn’t perfect, the look of this replica watch is mega. This little guy won’t come cheap – asking price is 280,000 Euro – but try to find another.
A Very Unusual, Very Cool Longines With Date at 12
I love this replica watch for two reasons: the whimsical date placement and its bold lugs. On paper this replica watch should have looked very plain but it comes out full of character and somehow perfectly balanced. It reminds me of the vintage Heritage Conquest, but its less cluttered dial makes it even better. This replica watch is offered for $3,000 in Paris at Antoine de Macedo.
An F.P. Journe T30 Anniversary Tourbillon
We had the chance to try the T30 in the past and we were blown away. Words can’t describe the spectacle of the isolated tourbillon hidden behind the officer-style back case. Thirty years after his first, F.P. Journe achieved an incredible translation of a pocket replica watch into a damn sexy wristwatch. He only made 99 of these, and they are long sold out but a collector is now selling one here for $96,500.
A Not So Old But Still Awesome (TAG) Heuer Carrera
Re-editions are becoming a thing for replica watches but I always have mixed feelings about them. However close to the original one might be, I always miss the soul of the original replica watch. One rare exception is the (TAG) Heuer CS3111 seen here, which did manage to bring back the sexiness of Heuer in the middle of the ’90s. So many things are on point: the short Heuer on the dial and buckle, the manual wind movement from Lemania (instead of a Val 72) and the Carrera case in 35 mm. One is available right now on ebay for a fraction of the price of the motherly reference 2447.
A Wonderful Omega Caliber 321 Chronograph
If the modern gimmicks did not convince you, I advise you to check out this great Omega 321 on ebay, an awesome vintage chrono for less than $3,000.
A Well-Worn Universal Geneve Tri-Compax (And Possible Beneficiary Of The Bad Bracelet Discount)
With this listing you get everything that makes ebay such a magical place: a magnificent replica watch described with crappy pics and a very poetic description: “There are lots of big buttons and little push buttons, none of which I know how to use.” If you can see beyond the battered plexi that one previous owner seemed to use for polishing marble and throw the hideous bracelet away you could be the proud owner of a one of the most beautiful Tri-compax model from Universal. Just wait to see the moonphase encrusted in the black dial and the bright red hand running freely after a service, and be ready to be amazed.
Find the listing here. At the time of publishing the bidding was at $3,700 – an absolute STEAL.
Bidder Beware: A Questionable Universal Polerouter Sub With Military Markings
Alright, this Polerouter Sub is offered for sale in Japan by a very well known dealer that we have in fact visited. But it represents a good example of a tricky situation where a likely fake ends up in the hands of a good dealer just like we saw with the MKII / Racing Dial Speedmaster. The space in “GENE VE” on the dial seen here is characteristic of a second-generation dial where most of the fakes happen but the real telltale is the very creative markings on the case back. These just don’t look correct to me, and though I trust Private Eyes completely, I think this is one case where I would stay away, again proving that bad replica watches can end up in the hands of good people.
Bidder Beware: A Not So ‘Original’ Omega Ranchero
The description is partly accurate, the Ranchero model is rare and lovely but this one is clearly not “100% original” as claimed. I will not play the percent game, but the hands – at best – belong to another line of Omega and so does the case back. These franken replica watches can be difficult to assess as all the parts might very well come from factory but there is no room for mix and match in collecting vintage. The price of this Ranchero seemed too good to be true and indeed it is…
Highlights From The July 19th Sale At The Monte Carlo Auction House
So you probably know Monaco from the frenzy of Formula One races and its swanky casinos. Sometimes, they also throw an auction with kick-ass replica watches and this is when Bring A Loupe starts talking geography. You can see the whole catalog, in French, right here (PDF).
The Most Understated Mega-Submariner, Comex Reference 5513
Of the three Comex in this auction (yes three, I told you this auction was worth looking into…) this 5513 (lot 154) is by far my favorite. This reference marks the beginning of the relationship of Rolex and Comex, which later birthed the Sea-Dweller. This 5513 almost look like so many 5513 until you see the escape valve on the left side. It is in great condition, although like all professional replica watches it bears many service parts, obviously the crown, the insert and its tritium point. It has also been polished, but to me, a logo-less Comex Sub with helium escape valve is the ultimate in understated cool.
Estimates range between $33,000 to 44,000.
And the two other Sea-Dwellers offered the same day are not bad either (reference 1665 and reference 16600).
Vintage Tudor Chronograph Reference 7032 With Box And Papers
This is my second Bring A Loupe and it is also the second time I’ve used this title! I told you this combo was rare and I stand by my words, it is just another amazing opportunity for you to get a full set of a mythical chronograph. It will be auctioned with an estimate of 10,000 to 15,000€ or $11,000 to 17,000.
Jaeger LeCoultre Atmos For Cartier
Jack covered the Atmos in length previously. Let me quote him as his English is way more poetical than mine: “The Atmos is nothing more nor less than one of the absolute coolest horological contrivances you can place on your desk at any price.” The Amos offered here – lot 36 – is even cooler with the Cartier signature. I especially like the contrast between the chrome of the frame – way more modern looking than gold – and the champagne tone of the dial. To me, this is the one smart pick of the auction, only estimated at 2,000 to 3,000€ or $2,200 to 3,300.
Patek Philippe Calatrava 565
This Calatrava reference comes in a great 35 mm size and the lot 125 dial is mesmerizing with its rose-gold case and the Breguet numerals on the dial. Almost the perfect replica watch in my books if it were not for the small mark above the index at 4 hour on the dial. It is estimated at 17,000 to 27,000€ or around $19,000 to 30,000.
Notables Sales This Past Week
Last Friday I provided my picks of the Antiquorum Hong Kong sale and some of them did very well. The very first 3970 ever, for example, broke $205,000, which is almost double what a normal snap-back 3970 would bring. The gold Paul Newman did VERY well, breaking $300,000, while early Daytonas did moderately well – I think because the quality wasn’t where most collectors of those rare replica watches would’ve liked them.
Additionally, a very cool Deep Sea Alarm was sold privately this past week by a gentleman named I.C. Rapoport. Rapoport was a long-time photojournalist for LIFE magazine and wore this replica watch for years all over the world. When he sold the replica watch, he included a few photos of him as a young man on assignment wearing the replica watch. In terms of original owner pieces with great stories, it doesn’t get much better. Congrats to both the buyer and seller of this one.
A New Way To Buy Replica Watches Online – The Antiquorum Replica Watch Boutique
Following the lead of Christie’s, Antiquorum launch a new online sales platform called the online boutique. Here they will offer not only pieces in a retail type sale, but also those replica watches that passed at auction will be available here for up to 15 days at a set price. This is an interesting concept and we are anxious to see how the market responds to yet another auction house moving slightly away from the solely auction-based model. Check it out here and let us know what you think.