Ranking of the most beautiful vintage nautical watches. Expert’s word


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He has lived among watches since childhood when his father Massimo was one of Milan’s most famous collectors. Today Federico Barracchia, who lives between Milan and Miami (where he sails regularly) Following in his father’s footsteps, he is a leading expert on watchmaking, authoring several books on the subject. We asked him what he thinks are the cult nautical watches in watchmaking history. He chose seven, for him they are the icons of nautical sports watches, you can find them on the internet (watch out for “duds”), but it is better to look for them on auction house sites.

They are beautiful, conceived almost all between the 1960s and 1970s, still unmatched today, often the subject of replication and “copying.”

1. Heuer Skipper 1970s
If you are passionate about racing, then the classic Heuer chronograph from the 1970s will be right at the top of your wish list. Built for use on the sea, the blue and orange color scheme provides crisp visibility at a glance, while the color-coded sub-dial counts down the 15 minutes to the start of a race. Today the worthy heir to the Skipper is the TAG Heuer Aquaracer. The 1975 model can be found in the $6,000 range.

2. Rolex Submariner 1991
The Rolex Submariner is one of the world’s most famous nautical watches, still in production today. You can then buy it brand new, but the stunning blue and gold 1991 version has a charm and style that is hard to imitate. It has a 40mm stainless steel case, mineral glass dial and is water resistant to 300 meters. The 1991 Rolex Submariner from $7 to $10,000.

3. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 1965
If you are looking for something different with a great story, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms watch is for you. Popular among divers, it has its origins in a special commission for military use. This, together with the luminous markers, dial and automatic movement makes this a very rare item. Approximately $2,000 to $3,000.

4. Breitling Navitimer 1960s.
Although initially developed with the Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, with its chronograph and navigation instruments, Breitling’s Navitimer was also widely used at sea. Introduced in 1954, this high-quality piece from the 1960s features a 40.5 mm 18-karat gold case, calfskin strap, and an impressive black and white dial with gold and black numbering. The 1960 model can be found at $6,500.

5. Aquastar Benthos 1960s/80s.
Although it may not be the most famous name in marine watchmaking, the Aquastar Benthos of the 1960s was until the 1980s, in various versions, the most coveted sailors’ watch. The massive stainless steel case is water resistant to a depth of 1,000 meters. Also famous are the versions displayed with colored dots on the dial the last 5 minutes before the start of the race. About 3,000.

6. Vulcain Cricket Nautical 1960s.
An underrated diver this Vulcain Cricket Nautical. It was introduced in 1961 as a full-fledged diving instrument, taking mechanical alarm functionality a step further with the addition of decompression tables built directly into the dial. It was designed with the help of diver Hannes Keller who, at the time, held the record for the deepest dive (222 meters). The 16 holes in the back of the case made the alarm audible even at these depths. Produced over 15 years in countless versions, including 70s-style “optical” colorations. It was relaunched in 2011. Prices range from $3,000 to $6,000.

7. Oris Watch Divers Original and Sixty Five

Oris Divers , was born fifty years ago and in the classic version remained in production until the late 1990s. Features a blue dial and retro-shaped indexes coated with Superluminova that give the dial a clear, easy-to-read appearance. Now it has been reissued in the Oris Sixty Five Divers version, which is not much different from the 1960s original except that the vintage models have a 36 diameter and the new ones are even larger, diameters 40 and 42. Today the replica Sixty Five Divers (pictured) is around $1,500.




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