Remastering Nostalgia: The Finest Re-Interpretations Of Historically Significant Timepieces

Remastering Nostalgia: The Finest Re-Interpretations Of Historically Significant Timepieces

THM Desk
28 Feb 2024 |
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In an interview at the 2016 Canadian GP, 4-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel said, “Everyone is a Ferrari fan. Even if they say they're not, they are Ferrari fans.”

Why it makes the lead in my article is because I can attest the same for the affinity of vintage watches. Everyone loves vintage watches and wants to own one. This craze and cult-like hype isn’t just passion-driven, it is a great investment module as well. The pre-owned vintage watch market is projected to generate somewhere upwards of $35 billion in revenue in 2024. When compared to the 3-5% annual growth rate for the primary market, the vintage watch market is growing at 8-10%.

Capitalizing on this market value appreciation for vintage timepieces, we see quite a few reissue or re-edition examples featured on the brand portfolios of almost every Manufacture. If a watch has enjoyed mad popularity some decades ago, it is more likely to do so now, because the industry heavily hinges on history and tradition.
Prove me wrong: Rolex releasing a re-issue of the Paul Newman Daytona will attract a longer que (waiting list) than any other contemporary iteration of the same.
Well, if you approve of the above, why not get to the part where I share my picks of some amazing heritage reissues.

Piaget Polo 79
While contesting thoughts still persist that Piaget should’ve revived the ‘square’ version of the Polo as its 150th anniversary timepiece, the golden revival of this cult-classic made headlines all-over the industry. Piaget does know a thing about classic dress watch design and with the Genta-ish impact, the aesthetic will surely attract a perpetual hype.

The new Piaget Polo 79 with the Piaget caliber 1200P1 on left and the original 1979 Piaget Polo on the right

The Piaget Polo 79 offers an honest remake of the original from 1979. The new Polo is a faithful update that preserves a timeless design while offering significant movement upgrades. The high-quality opus with an automatic micro-rotor caliber does demand a high price though, but so does the pursuit of perfection.

TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper
TAG Heuer has had to undergo a bit of a rebirth to earn its pre 80s ‘Heuer’ reputation and the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper is a watch that many agree has gone someway to doing that. It is inspired by an old watch which was inspired by a nautical theme derived from the 1967 America’s Cup winning yacht, the Intrepid. The pleasing color palette speaks to the late 60s and early 70s affinity for blues, oranges and greens.

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Side by side: The original 1968 Heuer Skipper (l) and the 2023 reimagination of the Skipper (r)

With the TAG Heuer Carrera Skipper, you get all the good stuff going on with the 39mm Glassbox Carrera Chronographs like the 6 o’clock date window, 100 meters of water resistance and the tested mechanics of the caliber TH20-06, formerly called as the caliber Heuer 02, slightly modified to make it function as a regatta timer. The lettering ‘Skipper’ residing within the 9 o’clock sub dial instead at the 12 o’clock position, where the word ‘Carrera’ is given precedence might be a bit contentious, but other than that, this is a watch worth diving into.

The Omega 1957 Trilogy Limited Editions
It doesn’t happen very often that a watch brand releases a trio of timepieces across three different categories only for them to sustain an iconic status almost 70 years later. In 1957, Omega gave us the Seamaster 300, the Rail master and the Speedmaster. Very tool-ish and intended for professional use, these timepieces have sustained and flourished at a grand scale even after their countless iterations.

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Omega’s tribute to the trio with a release of special 60th Anniversary editions of the 1957 models

In 2017, Omega paid homage to these watches by releasing the 1957 Trilogy Limited Editions. Up for grabs separately or as a set of 3, the limited collection is true to the 1957 models and has been nothing short of a dream realized for watch fans.

Seiko Prospex SJE093 The 1965 Diver's Re-Creation
The ancestry of every modern dive watch from Seiko can directly be traced back to the original legend, the 62MAS ref. 6217-8001. I've had a longstanding love affair with the 62MAS recreations from Seiko, particularly the SPB143 reimagination. Alright, we’ve had plenty of these reimaginations or reinterpretations like the SLA017 or the SLA043, but none have been more faithful to the OG like the Prospex SJE093.

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The 1965 ref. 6217-8001 '62MAS' on left and its most faithful reimagination, the SJE093 on the right

While the design and dimensions are 1:1 with the original, technical specifications, particularly with the improved diving capacities and the movement upgrade to the new caliber 6L37 give the classic design a contemporary sense of practicality.

Vacheron Constantin Historiques Cornes de Vache 1955
When a high-ranking member of the watchmaking industry’s ‘Holy Trinity’ comes up with a rare watch, by rare I mean of only 36 pieces, this level of rarity commands a beyond world premium and often ends up with exclusive royalty. This rare example, the Vacheron 6087 was produced in 1955 as a peak expression of 1950s chronograph design.

The ultra-rare Vacheron 6087 (l) and its contemporary reissue, the Cornes de Vache 1955 (r)

The Cornes de Vache 1955 of 2015 resurrects the chief functional as well as form elements of the ref. 6087. As the modern interpretation of a past icon, the Cornes de Vache 1955 makes it better with the size perspective, a subtle refinement on the lug shapes and a now in-house caliber 1142 - based on the Richemont owned Lemania 2310. A timepiece with such a rich legacy leverage would do well just on regard of its heritage, but its rare convergence with high levels of traditional craft makes it - the perfect timepiece.

Inspired and Improved
A reissue or reinterpretation of a vintage legend offers an exacting identical to the original, but without the premium, servicing hassles, and often subtle or significant flaws associated with the latter. It is a more practical iteration of a vintage.

Hence, this keeping alive of the essence, emotions and heritage associated with a great watch from the past sustains the continuum of not only a tradition, but a soul.