For the last few years, the vintage watch market has been booming, pushing prices of desirable vintage watches well out of reach of many enthusiasts and collectors at large. We’ve seen things like Hodinkee’s “Bring A Loupe” and other vintage watch stories bringing more obscure vintage watches into the spotlight, and with that, desire and demand continues to climb. Rather than going down that same rabbit hole, there’s another facet of the watch industry that has an unrelenting supply of interesting offerings that doesn’t suffer from the same condition.
We’re talking about the pre-owned marketplace; a land filled with used and often discontinued watches that are generally trading hands a good ways below their original sticker price. Thanks to the growing network of reputable pre-owned dealers, there’s no shortage of watches on offer, and ample opportunities to snag interesting complications and generally rare offerings for a fraction of what they would have cost new some five to 20+ years ago. Kicking things off, we decided to look at what pre-owned watches with a connection to motorsport were presently available on the open market.
Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph
The Chopard Mille Miglia collection has been around for some time now, as the brand became the official timekeeper and watch sponsor of the famed Mille Miglia rally back in 1988. Unlike so many automotive partnerships with the watch world, this one in particular was born of a genuine passion for rallies. Chopard copresident Karl-Friedrich Scheufele was long enamored with the race, and finally the opportunity to get involved came in 1988. Scheuflele has driven in 30 Mille Miglia races since then, and all along the way has ensured that this watch series has remained in the brand’s core collection. From ’88 to ’97 these watches were only available to participants, but since then the range has grown extensively, including the piece we see here. 41mm in diameter, cased in steel with an engraved tachymeter scale bezel, the piece also features a commemorative caseback displaying the route of the 1,000 mile Italian rally. It is freshly serviced, and well priced at a modest $2,950.
Rolex Daytona Ref. 116523
With the Rolex 24h at Daytona less than a month behind us, it’s hard to talk motorsports watches without thinking of the mighty Rolex Daytona. Vintage variants of all shapes and sizes are continuing to spike in value, and the steel cased reference 116500LN with ceramic bezel is still trading hands well above its retail price (typically still north of $20k) these days with no signs of really slowing down. Sure, we could point you towards that easy-answer piece, but what still floors us is the pricing of some of the recent non-ceramic Daytonas like this one. This blue dialed two-tone steel and gold Daytona is from roughly 2007-2008, is powered by the in-house Rolex 4130 caliber, and yet somehow carries a sticker price of a very modest $14,495. Considering the steel cased Zenith Daytonas are already creeping up towards $20k, this isn’t a half bad deal. Granted two-tone isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but in this specific model we’re entirely on board.
TAG Heuer Autavia
Modern day TAG Heuer has been doing an excellent job of focusing its attention on the demand for vintage-inspired watches, and the latest iteration of the Autavia is a testament to that. Granted it’s a fair bit thicker than its vintage counterpart would ever have been, but beyond that it tips its hat to its predecessors beautifully. You might remember when this watch first came about, TAG Heuer actually polled watch enthusiasts as to which reference of Autavia they most wanted to see as a reissue. After over 50,000 votes were tallied, it was decided that the Autavia ref. 2446 Mark 3 would be the prime candidate, and this model features all of its key details–the reverse panda dial, three register configuration, and 12-h bezel. While a new-in-box model on leather strap can be had from TAG Heuer for $5,150, that same model on the pre-owned market is trading hands for under $4,000.
Girard-Perregaux S.J. Foudroyante Scuderia Ferrari Chronograph
Arguably we saved the absolute best for last in this list, or at least the most interesting and technically complex. What you’re looking at here is a self-winding rattrapante (or split-seconds) chronograph with a foudroyante subdial indication (displaying 1/8 of a second increments), cased in yellow gold. Part of the 10 year collaboration between Ferrari and Girard-Perregaux from 1994 to 2004. While many are conventional chronographs, often cased in titanium or steel, this piece is one of the few more complicated models that featured a gold casing. Based on the imagery its strap has clearly been replaced at some point, though it retains its original Girard-Perregaux gold deployant clasp. Priced at $24,950, this is a serious bargain considering the cost of any new split-seconds chronograph out there will be significantly higher.
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