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EdgyGuyJide

Bring a Loupe A Patek Philippe Ref. 3939H Minute Repeater Tourbillon, A Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002, And A Rolex Ref. 6518 Rite Time

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The year is yet again coming to a close, and watch-wise it’s undoubtedly been a fruitful one. We’ve seen a literal treasure trove of exciting vintage pieces come to market, and command equally exciting numbers, helping paint a broader picture of just exactly what was available back in the golden era of watchmaking, and what now remains. What’s in store for 2019 is anyone’s guess, but if the last few days of 2018 are any indication of what’s ahead, we’re in for a good one. 

Patek Philippe Ref. 3939H Minute Repeater Tourbillon

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In the automotive world, you’ll often hear the term “sleeper” used to describe a wolf in sheep’s clothing of sorts on the road. LS swaps, debadging, tuning a station wagon — you know how it goes. You’ve probably heard it used to describe watches, as well, and this is arguably the one piece most deserving of such a title. Without further ado, the ultimate sleeper watch – Patek’s awe-inspiring Ref. 3939H. 

First introduced by the legendary manufacturer in 1993, this discrete tourbillon and minute repeater equipped timepiece (yes, both) was produced in all three variants of gold, and one year later in platinum. Having said that, 3939H production is estimated to have been under 300 total pieces, making rarity a major factor in its already considerable desirability.

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It only measures 34mm across, which is admittedly small for modern tastes, but that’s part of the appeal, in my opinion. The smaller footprint effectively makes this immensely complicated work of art go unnoticed on the wrist, which can’t be said of many minute repeating tourbillons from a top tier manufacture. If you’ve got nothing to prove to the masses, don’t necessarily need to show all your cards, and have the capital to back it up, I’d indulge in what’s perhaps one of the ultimate references to leave the Patek Philippe factory.

Stephen Hallock of TickTocking has this piece currently listed for $305,000. 

Breitling Top Time Ref. 2002

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Here’s a watch I frankly don’t understand. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m a fan, and a big one at that, with a few of these having gone through my own collection over the years. So what is it I don’t get, you ask? It's this: how haven't these become far more expensive? Allow me to explain. 

Certain pieces from Breitling have grown to become awfully collectible in the past couple of years, though curiously, the more subdued, classic chronograph designs are still accessible. They’ve got the same never-going-out-of-style aesthetics we’ve come to adore in watches like Heuer’s Carrera and earlier examples of the famed Rolex Daytona, and no slouch of a caliber on the inside, but still the market seemingly isn’t hooked. 

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What’s more, is it’s technically even a Bond watch, in that Sean Connery himself wore a version featuring a modified stainless steel case while filming Thunderball. With all this in mind, I’d advise getting in on the ground floor while you still can. If there’s a watch due for more focused scholarship and interest, I’d argue the Top Time is more than deserving. 

Miami’s Menta Watches has this example of the Ref. 2002 currently listed for $3,500. 

Rolex Ref. 6518 Rite Time

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The sports offerings from Rolex are at this point beyond ubiquitous in both the world of watches and pop culture as a whole. Taking a stroll through Instagram will confirm this,; you'll bombarded by the seemingly endless stream of Subs and Daytonas posted on the regular. While I myself love such watches, and am wearing one at this very moment, I thought we’d end the year on a more unique note, with something you truly don’t see everyday.

At first glance, it’s nothing more than your run of the mill Oysterdate, but break out the loupe and you’ll open up a world of awesome. This is what’s known as a “Rite Time,” which was produced with the coveted honeycomb dial in small numbers during the 1950s, and given the resurgence of interest in 34 mm Oysters, we thought we’d shed some light on this obscure model from the Wilsdorf back catalogue. 

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I’ve always been particularly attracted to the unique case architecture this reference has, with its straighter lugs and more defined edges, and the unconventionally shaped indices only intensity the attraction. For the collector that doesn’t want what’s on the next guy’s wrist, this is your watch. 

Matt Forehand of Rusty Crowns is selling this example of this rare Rolex model for $14,500.

Mido Multichrono

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For those deeply immersed in the world of vintage watch collecting, the name Mido should bring to mind a range of exciting and perhaps slightly quirky timepieces to mind. I’ve always been somewhat obsessed with the bright and colorful decompression scale dial that was briefly fitted onto the Powerwind Diver 1000, though it’s the chronographs from Mido that really hit the spot. My introduction to their chronograph production came by way of the Multi-Center Chronographs that were rather popular just a couple of years ago, but lately my center of focus has been the more conventional, two-register Multichrono, after spotting a rather nice example on Ebay this past week. 

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While the dial is admittedly a tad rough around the edges, all the original scales and details are more than visible, and certainly more than compelling. Its Borgel case — complete with those ornate pushers we oh so love — is beyond sharp (literally), and looks almost as if you could cut yourself on its edges. If you’re still not convinced of its beauty, pop the caseback and feast your eyes on the Minerva cal. 13-20. It’s certainly easy on the eyes, and also stands in horological history as one of the earliest wristwatch chronograph calibers produced. 

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An Ebay seller based out of Sydney, Australia has this Mido up for auction, with the current bid at Approximately $1,230 at the time of publishing.

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