Watches of Knightsbridge, March 19 2016
Sold for: £1,888
There are some seriously interesting, attractive and remarkably affordable vintage watches on the market if you’re willing to veer away from the more obvious dial names. How about this groovy Wakmann triple calendar chronograph, for example, that was snapped up by a new owner for a premium-inclusive £1,888?
For those who have never heard of Wakmann, it’s a historical brand that has been going since the early 1940s when it was established in New York by Russian émigré Icko Wakmann. The business thrived and, by 1947, it was listed on the US stock exchange, forming an alliance with Breitling in the same year and landing major government contracts for the supply of military watches and specialist timing equipment.
These days, Wakmann continues to sell Swiss-made watches at reasonable prices, including a range of aviation-inspired pieces with mechanical movements that cost less than $1,000.
For my money, however, the vintage designs are considerably more appealing, with the chronograph, pictured above, being typical of Wakmann’s output during the 1970s, when it took advantage of the growing trend for sports-orientated watches. Powered by a Valjoux Calibre 723 movement contained in a 39mm steel case, these watches are, to my mind, as attractive as any comparable Heuer, Omega or Rolex – yet that less prestigious dial name means they remain good value for money.
The Watches of Knightsbridge sale also included another example
of the same model that appeared to be in equally good condition, which sold for an even more tempting £1,400.
In summary: With chronograph watches from the 1970s becoming increasingly collectable, models such as Wakmann’s triple calendar are unlikely to remain quite so cheap for long. If you decide to hunt one down, be sure to go for the best condition example possible; there are still plenty of good ones about, and those in rough condition are not worth restoring.