I make no apologies for saying these might be two of the most significant watches to come across my desk in recent times. Whilst I can wax lyrical with the very best of them and I'm not shy of a dramatic turn of phrase, there are occasions when I'm rendered a little speechless.
The first moment was when I opened the box of this Rolex Sub 5513 dating from 1984. I checked my notes again. Then checked the watch again. Surely there was some mistake, because the watch before me looked nothing like a 36 year old watch. It was literally unworn. This isn't a 'good as new' watch, this is literally a watch that has been effortlessly transported from 1984 to the modern day. Complete with manufacturers stickers and with only a thorough service in 2019 to show for its years. (A service that left all the dials and hands untouched by the way).
Having found my breath and my verbal mojo I think it's safe to say this might be a once in a lifetime find for me. Needless to say the watch runs perfectly and I'm a little envious of the person who buys this watch and becomes the first person to wear it meaningfully. This Mk4 Matt dial submariner would be the perfect centrepiece for any collection. One of the greatest dive watches ever made and one of the finest examples I've ever come across.
And talking of great dive watches, this brings me to the second of this week's 'once in a lifetime examples'. (Can you have two once in a lifetime examples in the same week? Well I'm going to!)
If you were making a list of the greatest dive watches ever made, no doubt the above Rolex would make everyone's lists, along with the usual suspects of Omega etc. But anyone with an ounce of knowledge of the history of Dive watches would place a Blancpain on that venerable list. And if you really know your dive watches (and I think you do) then you'd quite possibly put the Blancpain Bathyscaphe 1st release at the very top of that lofty list. This is quite possibly one of the rarest and least appreciated important dive watches in history. And I've got one! (for now at least)
This beautiful Blancpain Bathyscaphe 1st release is one of the rarest dive watches you can find. The Bathyscaphe was manufactured for only a short period and, in fact, for only the first year with an automatic movement, as with this example, making these one of the scarcest Blancpain dive watches available. Yet, strangely, they remain currently something of a secret although I can safely guarantee that is changing now and prices are sure to go in only one direction.
The 34mm stainless steel case is in very good original condition with great case definition and the original Bakelite bezel has survived remarkably over the last 60 odd years.The dial is finished in a gunmetal grey and finished with steel baton markers and hands and the whole piece is remarkably wearable even today. If you want a watch that tells a story as equally well as it tells the time then this could be the investment for you.
Even as I write these words with these two exceptional watches sat on my desk I can feel the pang of pain I will feel when I finally sell them. I was a collector before I was a dealer and it's these two watches that remind me where that passion came from originally.