These four watches share something very suprising in common with me. We were all born in the same year and no, before you ask, i'm not only 21. Leaving aside the tough paper round I clearly had, what it obvious to anyone who cares to look, is the fact that some faces defy age. Mrs Watch Collector would be the first to agree of course, but whereas I wear my years of hard labour in a face that can best be described as 'lived in', these masterpieces of mid 20th century engineering are perhaps amongst the finest example of timeless design. Not just of watches in my opinion, but anything made in the early 1960's. There are a few cars that exemplify timeless beauty. Some buildings and furniture offer the same aesthetic appeal. And one look in my wardrobe will tell you everything you need to know about the quality on offer from 1960's fashion. But, and it's quite a big but in my view, show my something else from that period of time that looks still so contemporary. I bet you can't. In fact I know you can't. You could put these watches on today and I guarantee people would say "new watch?".
It's as though Mr Rolex and Mr Omega (I know I know) completed their Subs, GMT's, Speedies and Railmasters and took one look at them and thought "yep, they'll never be bettered" You know what? I think they were right too. They've been copied, parodied, tweaked and relaunched but, in my view and the view of a great many people who know watches better than me, they really have never been bettered.
That's not to say Rolex and Omega aren't always trying to find improvement. in the same way Mrs Watch Collector is constantly on at me to lose weight and exercise more, it's important to try and find improvements where you can. But sometimes, just sometimes, you have to stand back and say this is one occasion where the word 'timeless' really does apply.
I actually had to dig these pieces out again to check I wasn't mistaken when I looked at their age. I honestly thought if I'd told you this Rolex Submariner Gilt Swiss was 57 years old you wouldn't believe me. And I can only speculate that this Omega Speedmaster 2998 must have been blasted into space and left in a time capsule, so immaculately preserved is it's case and legendary Cal 321 movement. Just stunning, all of them. And as appealing to the modern buyer as they would have been when I was taking my first tentative steps.
For me, they encapsulate the thrill of owning a vintage watch that not only tells you the time perfectly still, but embodies a time itself. These are the watches that should be the cornerstone of any collection. Im looking at them now sat on my study desk wondering what the next 50 years of history will look like them. Perhaps by then I'll have shifted that last stone as well!