Vintage Watches A 1971 Audemars Piguet Automatic In White Gold, A 1960s Glycine Airman, And A 1964 Rolex Datejust In Yellow Gold

This Week's Vintage Watches

Another use of the word hobnail, outside of watches, is in shoes, particularly leather-soled boots. Dating all the way back to Roman caligae and most often seen in WWI style trench boots (if ever), today short metal nails are pounded into the sole of a shoe or boot for additional traction. Although Esquire declared "the return of hobnail boots" in 2011, the comeback never did catch on, possibly on account of the tap dance-esque interaction between a shoe full of nails and modern flooring or cement. This 18k white gold Audemars Piguet has the perfect amount of hobnail finish just on the bezel and it doesn't even make an annoying noise when you walk.

On the opposite end of the spectrum from an integrated-bracelet hobnail-finished AP is a watch like Glycine's Airman or an Omega Seamaster 300. Those two are more likely to be found on the wrist of a man wearing hobnail boots in the field, the drop for this week does show the range of the vintage world. As always, read on for our three favorites and why, or check out the full collection in the slideshow and in the Vintage Watches section of the Shop.

1971 Audemars Piguet Automatic Ref. 5272 In 18k White Gold

Hand up. I do not own a dress watch. Sure, there are watches I go to when wearing a suit, thinner and smaller cases. But I'll wear those same watches with jeans and a tee-shirt just as easily. In my head, I don't see this thin, integrated bracelet, white gold Audemars Piguet as a dress watch.

The hobnail-textured bezel and bracelet might argue against me but this is all part of the fun with watches, no one can tell you how to wear them. I am just as comfortable wearing this AP with a tuxedo (sorry, Jack Forster. I'm wearing a watch with a tux) as I am strapping it on to go to the grocery store. The design is elegant yet not flashy, sophisticated yet not something I could only imagine a chic grandpa wearing. This AP is just doing it for me.

1970s Audemars Piguet Automatic Ref. 5272 In 18k White Gold


Taking the caseback off of this watch reveals the beauty of AP's ultra-thin caliber 2120, one of the most legendary movements ever created by the manufacturer. Just four years before our watch left the brand's doors, in 1967, the AP 2120 was first produced, and at the time, it was the thinnest full rotor movement in the world. In its most pure, no-complications form, like we have here, the movement itself is 2.45mm thick. That innovation and high-level watchmaking translated beautifully into this finished product with a case that is wrist-huggingly slim and overly comfortable. Get all of the details, from hobnail to the nuts and bolts, on this AP ref. 5272 right here in the Shop.

1960s Glycine Airman

The Glycine Airman is a super cool watch that you don't see too often. The watch debuted in 1953 (same year as the Rolex Submariner!) and it was the choice for many soldiers during the Korean and Vietnam wars. The watch has been associated with helicopter pilots, specifically. This model was one of the earliest with a GMT function which would have been useful for soldiers abroad. As many of you know by now, watches related to the military intrigue me, especially ones that don't have household names like Rolex and Omega (to be clear, I LOVE those too). The Airman features a 24-hour dial and is capable of tracking two time zones with the rotating 24-hour bezel. Glycine was quite innovative with the design of this watch. The hacking seconds is one of my favorite features; the seconds hand never stops on its own, but when the crown is pulled out a tiny little needle pops up from a hole at the 24-hour mark and stops the hand. This would have been useful for synchronizing watches. Many times this little wire would break, but this example has retained it and when looking at this detail under a loupe it's pretty satisfying. Another neat thing Glycine did when designing this model was the little locking mechanism for the bezel. The watch has an additional crown around four o'clock that when screwed in prevents the bezel from moving. Glycine did this so the bezel couldn't move under different conditions and it would remain accurate for the second time zone. Imagine if one was using that second time zone for something important and it got rotated - it could be life-or-death in some situations, eek. In addition to these details, the cross-hatch-style crown is another nice little touch - reminiscent of many other compressor-style cased watches. 

1960s Glycine Airman


Glycine made this watch with 20mm lugs which is a delight when choosing what strap to put on and since so many other great sporty watches are 20mm it's a perfect watch to share straps with. Personally, I use the same few straps for a bunch of different watches – makes life easy. I love how the aged green one looks in this example, above. The cream stitching matches with the lume color nicely and the green just looks so good. A little military-esque vibe perfect for the fall.

All in all, the Airman is a great watch for someone who is looking for something a little different. The 24-hour time dial at first might be tough to adjust to, but after a couple of days it becomes second nature. I always find it fascinating reading these 24-hour dials that only rotate once per day. Check out the full listing here!

1964 Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 In 18k Yellow Gold

Gold or not to gold – that is the question. Gold watches (the color metal yellow and pink varieties) always create a divide between people who only go for gold pieces or absolutely avoid gold altogether. I have been the latter for many years. Strangely enough, preferences change, just like flavors you used to hate as a child becoming a must when you're an adult. For some reason, I've started to appreciate the beauty of a gold watch in the last few years.

1964 Rolex Datejust Ref. 1601 In 18k Yellow Gold


A vintage gold watch I feel is an easier entry into the world of gold watches. It tends to glow in this beautiful softer and warmer way because of the patina which has developed over time. And this Datejust ref. 1601 is the epitome of a welcoming vintage gold piece. At first glance, it's easy to mistake it for a Day-Date ref. 1803, especially because of the all-gold appearance with the fluted bezel. But upon a closer inspection, it has a more streamlined appearance without the calendar window at the top. And a Datejust in 18k gold is far rarer than a Day-Date. This one has a classic sunburst champagne dial and is fitted with my favorite alpha hands. Alpha hands are not a popular hand style today and that's why I love them; a little fancier and a little more vintage. For this gold Datejust, it makes it more approachable on a strap than full gold bracelet, which can be a bit too much (and too heavy at the same time). This is when you can add your personality with your strap choice. It's all in the details and it's this understated glamour that I'm drawn to.