Non Rolex – James Dowling Vintage Watches From James Dowling Fri, 18 May 2018 10:55:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 017 Seiko ‘Grandfather Tuna’ 6159-7010 from April 1976 Mon, 05 Feb 2018 19:04:23 +0000 Made for only a short time between 1975/78, the 6159-7010 was Seiko’s answer to the problem of helium ingression into watches during saturation dive decompression. Although only produced for less than 3 years, the design has remained a major part of Seiko’s product line and versions of it are still made today over 40 years later, the popularity of these later versions has fuelled the collectability of the original. Rolex and other brands sought to alleviate the helium gas problem by building helium escape valves into their watches. Seiko took a much more difficult route and chose to build a watch which was completely impervious to helium, so if the gas couldn’t get in….it didn’t need to get out.

Seiko accomplished this by using a one piece titanium case and newly designed gaskets which protected the case/crystal interface. The bezel had quite definite clicks at each of the 60 minutes, it rotated in both directions but was protected from accidental rotation by the external ‘shroud’ which covered over 50% of the bezel. The shroud was also made of titanium but has a matt black ceramic coating, it is held in place by 4 steel allen screws, which add to the industrial/tool appearance of the watch.

The matt black dial is designed with legibility in mind above all else; the tritium indices are huge and surrounded by painted white circles to make them even more visible. There is a large inverted triangle at 12 and large tritium dots for the remainder, the 6 & 9 indices and the 12 have white lines radiating inwards from their edge, giving a sniper scope look & there is a date window at 3.

The movement is the 6159B, which is a high beat (36,000bph) automatic calibre with 25 jewels and is essentially a 61GS movement without the fine finishing and with stronger components needed to drive the larger hands. It has both hacking and quick set facilities and has proved to be an exceptionally robust movement.

Dial is 9+%, case is 95% whilst the movement is 95%.
Diameter 50.5mm; Lug to Lug 52.5mm; Height 18.8mm., it takes a 22mm strap and a new rubber strap is fitted.


£3.000.00 (approx $4,250.00 US)

013 Vulcain Cricket 18k red gold alarm watch from the 1950s, numbered 480354 Mon, 05 Feb 2018 18:54:17 +0000 This is a stunning 18k red gold version of the first mass production wrist alarm, the Vulcain “Cricket”; whose 1947 introduction presaged that of the more well known Memovox by a full three years.

The Vulcain uses their own calibre 120 with 17 jewels and two winding barrels, one for the time works and one for the alarm, unlike the Memovox, they are both wound by the same crown, pressing the button above the crown moves the winding & setting from one barrel to the other.

The dial is cream coloured with outer gradations for the alarm, with each hour divided into 10 minute segments, inside this are the applied hour markers with the quarter hours denoted by applied roman numerals, whilst all the remainder are applied red gold dots. The hands are diamond shaped pink gold, whilst the alarm hand is polished steel with a black arrowhead tip, the seconds hand is blued steel.

The simple round case has downturned lugs and a double back which has perforations to let out the sound.

The case is in 95% condition, as is the movement whilst the dial is 95+%.

The watch measures 34mm diameter, 42mm lug to lug and 12.5mm high, it takes a 18mm strap and a new brown reptile style strap is fitted.

£2,500.00 (approx $3,600.00 US)

011 RXW California Dial Zeromaster New Old Stock Mon, 05 Feb 2018 18:46:51 +0000  

This is a brand new 15 year old RXW Homage of the California Dial Rolex Zerograph from the late 1930s

It is complete with both boxes, still has the stickers on the front and the back of the case and has never been on a wrist.

Ken Trading of Ginza Tokyo Japan created a series of homage watches to collectable Rolex watches towards the end of the last century and at the start of this one, in the early 2000s he made a homage to the Panerai but used the patented crown locking device, so Richemont (the owners of Panerai their patents and trademarks) went after him in the Japanese courts, he lost the case and was no longer able to make watches using the crown locking device. Shortly after, the company ceased making any watches. The Zeromaster is by far the most rare and desirable of all the watches, as only 100 were made and they were never available other than through his shop in the Ginza, Tokyo.

The watch has the ultra high gloss so called ‘mirror’ dial with heavy Luminova indices in the mixed Roman/Arabic style which was invented by Rolex, but which has become known as the ‘California’ dial, the blued steel hands also have heavy application of Luminova, with gilt and red print. Even the independently adjustable 24 hour hand is an homage to the “small arrow” hand seen on gloss dial GMT Masters from the 1950s. There is a discreet date window at 6

The movement is the famed ETA 2893 which has both quick set date change and independently adjustable 24hour hand; it has 21 jewels and beats at 21,800. The movement is protected by a soft iron movement cover, external ring and dial plate making it resistant to 80,000am or 1,000 Gauss.

The case is made from highly amagnetic 316L stainless steel and has a bi directional rotating bezel whose design is heavily influenced by the bezel on the famed 1937 Zerograph, one of the rarest of all vintage Rolex watches. This bezel is marked for the 24 hour timezones and is to be used in conjunction with the 24 hour hand. It is waterproof to 100m or 330 ft. It has a domed acrylic crystal and perfect bevels on all four lugs.

Dial is 95+%, as are both case & movement
Diameter 39.5mm; Lug to Lug 46.5mm; Height 14mm., it takes a 20mm strap and the original fliplock Oyster style bracelet is fitted.


£2,500.00 (approx $3,600.00 US)

010 Unusual late 1960s blue dial diver’s watch, signed Thermidor Wed, 31 Jan 2018 17:03:13 +0000 With a brand name like Thermidor, you would assume that this watch was French (it’s the name of one of the months in the Short lived Revolutionary calendar) but the model name “Super Submarino”, sounds more Spanish or Italian. It uses the same case and movement as the more popular Squale & Jenny Carribean watches. In fact it is a Spanish distributor’s brand name for watches made by Sandoz, who were the actual maufacturers for most of the other brands who used this case.

The movement is the ETA 2452, which was ETA’s first automatic; it has 21 jewels, bidirectional winding and incabloc shock protection. Interestingly most of this information is found on the dial, as the movement is completely unsigned and bears no descriptive text whatsoever, other than the ETA sign & the calibre number.

The case is in excellent condition, the edges are crisp and it has not been overpolished, the unsigned non screw down crown is protected by internal gaskets. Speaking of gaskets, the main one is not on the caseback, but rather in an annular ring inside the main case body and the back screws down on to it. This is a much more secure system than the norm as it prevents the gasket from distorting as it is held in place on 3 sides at all times. The blue Bakelite bezel rotates in both directions; the insert has Arabic quarter hour indices and individual minute markers for the first 20 minutes

The metallic blue dial has a sunburst finish with applied steel parallel bar indices for the quarter hours and tritium squares for the remainder, the polished steel index hands have large tritium inserts, as does the arrow tipped sweep seconds hand.

The case is 90% the dial & movement are both 95+%.

Diameter 39mm; Lug to Lug 46.6mm; Height 11.5mm., and the watch is supplied on a black NATO style band

£1,000.00 (approx. $1,450.00 US)

009 Certina DS-2 Super PH1000m dive watch from the early 1970s Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:36:01 +0000 Prior to the return of Panerai to the market, I think that the Certina dive watches were the most “butch” watch that money could buy. Standing a massive 17.5mm proud of your wrist, this wasn’t a watch which discreetly slid under a shirt cuff. Originally used by the US Navy during the first Tektite experiments, this is a very serious diving watch.

The case is huge at 45mm wide (not including crown) x 48mm long x a massive 17.5mm thick stainless steel case with volcano-style bezel in good vintage condition with only minor scuffs and some very small nicks to the finish.

The dial is pretty much perfect, matt black with applied luminous-filled bar & square indices with orange markers at their tips and a steel framed date window. The dial still has all its original luminous material, which is still briefly light reactive. Original hands with original aged luminous on the sword hour and oversized parallel orange minute hand, and white painted sweep seconds hand with luminous rectangle at the tip. The original ultra thick flat high-pressure mineral crystal is in perfect condition without the usual scratches or dings.

The original thick ratcheting bidirectional rotating volcano-shaped elapsed time bezel is tight and clean with sharp, well defined knurling. The original black acrylic inlay shows wear and numerous marks from use–Very Good to Excellent original condition–but all numbers are intact and its sunken luminous “12” triangle is intact and has acquired a handsome patina.

The movement is the classic in house Certina 25-651, which has 28 jewels and beats at 19,800 bph. The watch bears the name DS, meaning Double Security, because the entire movment is protected from external shocks by a synthetic rubber ring which isolates it from the case, as well as the normal Incabloc system. Please note the date function on this watch is no longer working.

Dial is 95+%, case is 85% whilst the movement is 90+%.
Diameter 42mm; Lug to Lug 47.5mm; Height 17.5mm., it takes a 20mm strap and a new Certina signed blue Isofrane dive strap is fitted.


£2,500.00 (approx $3,600.00 US)

008 Breitling Chronomatic, model number 2111 dating from the mid 1970s. Wed, 31 Jan 2018 16:27:58 +0000 Breitling Chronomatic, model 2111, case number 1329029

The dial is high gloss dark grey with applied faceted steel hour batons for the indices, which have tritium blocks at their periphery. Like all cal 12 versions it has a date window at the 6 position and does not have a continuous seconds hand. It has a 12 hour counter at the 9 position and a 30 minute counter at the 3 position. Both the sweep seconds hand and the 30 min counter hand are bright orange for immediate visibility, whilst the hour & minute hands are also large emergency orange batons with luminous inserts. The dial is most unusual in that it has both tachymeter and pulsations marks on the outer track.

The movement is the famed Breitling/Heuer-Leonidas/Hamilton-Buren calibre 12, the world’s first automatic chronograph. The movement has 17 jewels, Incabloc shock protection, and a fine regulation for the regulator. It is powered by a micro-rotor and was the first modular chronograph movement, where the chronograph mechanism was on a separate plate to the time module, which simplified servicing greatly. Like all calibre 12 powered watches this one has the winding crown at the 9 position.

About ten years after Breitling went bankrupt in the mid 1970s a large number of New Old Stock Breitlings appeared on the secondary market, my gut feeling is that this was one of them. The condition of the case, dial & movement is phenomenal for a 40 year old watch.

The dial is 95%+, whilst the case & movement are also both 95%+.
It measures 38mm diam, 41mm lug to lug and 14mm high it takes a 20 mm strap and a new black leather one with original Breitling steel buckle is fitted.


006 BRITISH ARMY ISSUED HAMILTON W10 MILITARY WATCH Falklands Conflict Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:08:13 +0000  


Made by Hamilton Switzerland (now part of the Swatch Group), not the original US company; these watches were standard issue to all three British armed forces, the only difference between the watches issued is the case back engraving, which shows that this one was an Army watch. Its issue date is 1973, so it is likely to have seen action in the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The case is an unusual one piece case in a tonneau shape, the movement is removed through the glass opening at the front, after the split winding stem is removed. The movement itself is a Hamilton cal 649 (actually an ETA 2750) with 17 jewels, with incabloc shock protection & a hacking seconds facility.

The rear of the case has full British military markings, including the issue number, the marks are:

the MOD broad arrow




The watch measures 32.5mm Diam, 41mm lug to lug and is 10mm high; it takes an 18mm strap and has fixed strap bars, the watch runs well and keeps time, and it has been serviced.


005 Unusual Eterna Czech military watch from the mid 1930s Tue, 30 Jan 2018 15:03:35 +0000 Interesting Eterna Military Wrist Watch made for the Czechoslovak Military prior to WWII  and has the most unusual case construction I have ever seen. There are 4 distinct parts to the case, a movement holder/case back, a central case body with lugs, the glass and a securing ring which locks the case back and body together.

The original black dial is signed Eterna and it has heavy luminous numerals, steel skeleton hands with luminous infill and sunken subsidiary seconds dial at the 6 position. The unusual Stainless Steel 3 piece Case has a separate movement holder/caseback and downward facing faceted lugs

The case back is engraved with the inscription, “MAJETEK VOJENSKE SPRAVY”  (which means “Property of Military Affairs”) and the issue number 100343.

The movement is the Eterna Cal. 520 rhodium plated 15 Jewels Movement, with an oversize compensated balance; like most movements of this period, the balance is not shock protected.

The case & dial are both 90% whilst the movement is 95%.

The watch measures 36mm Diam, 43mm lug to lug and is 8.5mm high; it takes a 19mm strap and a heavy sueded dark brown leather strap is fitted to the watch.


£950.00 (approx. $1,375.00 US)

004 Early Silver Tiffany wristwatch with enamel dial dating to 1916 Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:55:36 +0000 In 1843 Auguste Agassiz founded Longines and for a while he ran two brands, with Agassiz being the more upscale and so it was Agassiz rather than Longines who Tiffany chose. Please note that the case and movement numbers match and, on removing the dial, the same number is its rear, this was also common practice for Longines pieces of this era. Tiffany pocket watches were almost invariably powered either by movements from Patek Philippe or from Agassiz, but their wristwatches are extremely rare
This is a very early snap back & front man’s wristwatch in silver, with wire lugs dating from 1916 It bears the case number 213272  and the upper case letter T (most likely standing for the retailer Tiffany & Co. The rear of the caseback has a personalised engraving with two large florid initials G & J and the legend “New York 1916”. The watch still has its large original gilt winding crown.

The original white enamel (porcelain) dial has is sunk for the small seconds and has full Arabic luminous numbers, blued steel luminous skeleton style hands. The original radium on the dial and hands has been safely removed and a modern ‘luminova’ type luminous compound has replaced it. The dial has the retailer’s name above the centre post and Switzerland below it.

Thin three-quarter plate keyless movement, jewelled to the centre with 16 Jewels and 6 Adjustments; note that the centre jewel is held in a screwed chaton. It has a club-tooth lever escapement with steel escape. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil and no shock protection for the balance staff. The movement is finished with Geneva stripes and exquisitely angled edges to the plates. The movement carries the same number as the case; this was also common for Longines watches of this period.

The watch has been recently serviced, runs & keeps good time (bearing in mind it is over 100 years old, so do not expect quartz accuracy).

The movement is 95%, whilst the case & dial are both 95+%.

Width 34mm; Lug to Lug 39.5mm; Height 11.5mm. It takes a 16mm strap and a new light brown Hirsch leather one has been fitted.

£1,500.00 (approx. $2,150.00 US))


003 Australian Air Force Hamilton Pilot’s watch; Vietnam era Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:48:15 +0000 RAAF Hamilton

Hamilton FAPD 5101 navigation wrist watch was issued to USAF navigators during the Vietnam war and shortly after, they are quite rare and very desirable. But this isn’t one of them; this is the much more rare Australian Air Force issue version

The movement is a Hamilton cal 684 (which is actually an ETA 2391) with 17 jewels; it is jeweled to the center wheel and has a direct drive sweep seconds hand.

The movement is protected from magnetic influences by a Faraday cage comprising a soft iron movement ring, removable movement cover and an extra thick dial.

The dial is matt black with small luminous inverted triangle marking each of the 12 hour positions, position The dial also has full Arabic numbers in white. The dial is unsigned, apart from a tiny “Swiss” below the outer minute track. The hands are white painted skeleton leaf shaped with needle points and heavy tritium infill; obviously after all this time the luminous no longer functions.

The case has an unusual construction with an annular recess in the case body into which the gasket fits, rather than the more common method of placing the gasket on the case back. The inside of the case back is signed “Hamilton Watch Co Swiss Made”; the case back is signed with Austrailan Air Force issue marks. The watch has fixed bars.

The case is 95+%, whilst the dial and the movement are both 99%.

The watch measures 37mm Diam, 46mm lug to lug, it is 13mm high and takes an 18 mm strap and a new NATO (G10) strap is fitted.

£4,000.00 (approx. $5,750.00US)