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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I graduated high school in 1985. My dad got me a two tone gold and black seiko quartz sports watch for graduation. I never wore it and lost it some time ago.

My birth year is 1967, hello 50 year milestone, but not the most exciting design year from what I can tell, unless you prefer gold Bulova Caravelles. So on a whim I checked eBay recently to see what cool used watch I could find from 1985 instead. Yes, plenty of Rolex, some Speedmasters, Seiko divers, and LOTS of colorful Swatches. I forgot how cheap plastic was so 'in' back then.

Can you help me identify some nice watches from that year?


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Howdy and welcome. I would suggest your best strategy would be to continue to look through ebay, but also to search the Watch Recon site and put "1985" into the search feature. This will likely bring up many more watches from many more reliable sellers and will also expose you to the variety of what is out there. By the way, I remember those colorful plastic watches and had a neon yellow dial, bezel and band combination at the time. I thought it was great! Not so much now, though.
 

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In 1985 the round G- shock DW5400 debuted:



It made made just from 1985 to 1986, in 1987 the new 5700 with 691 module debuted, so if you get one you can be almost completely sure it's a 1985 model.

Another option is to look for a Seiko Arnie with a 5 as first digit of the serial number.
 

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So I graduated high school in 1985. My dad got me a two tone gold and black seiko quartz sports watch for graduation. I never wore it and lost it some time ago.

My birth year is 1967, hello 50 year milestone, but not the most exciting design year from what I can tell, unless you prefer gold Bulova Caravelles. So on a whim I checked eBay recently to see what cool used watch I could find from 1985 instead. Yes, plenty of Rolex, some Speedmasters, Seiko divers, and LOTS of colorful Swatches. I forgot how cheap plastic was so 'in' back then.

Can you help me identify some nice watches from that year?
We could be bruthahs from a different muthah! Have you read "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline? When I read that book it felt like it was written by someone who knew me in hIGh Skuul or undergrad and had written it specifically for me. It's kind of like "The Matrix" meets "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" and it is full of 80's pop culture. Rush's side one of "2112". one of my favorite albums, serves as the centerpiece of the climax of the novel. If you haven't read it then check it out as the movie is coming out next year. If it doesn't make a good movie then it would make an awesome video game.

In regards to the milestone here are a few recently released books that you might want to check out.
Pink Font Visual arts Illustration Book



I tend to gravitate towards watches that have a 1967 association especially since hIGh Skuul didn't mean that much to me compared to undergrad or later. For the same milestone I ordered the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Vostok Amphibia in bronze. I look forward to watching it quickly age and patina naturally as I do.
Analog watch Watch Wrist Watch accessory Fashion accessory

There may be a few of these still available and they are surprisingly affordable at $385.00. There is a long thread on these over on the Russian Watches forum. Initially it looked like all 200 sold out within 7 minutes but now it looks like they are still slowly trickling out a few more. You can order one here:
https://meranom.com/en/amfibia/amphibia-1967/vostok-watch-amphibia-1967-196500.html

Two hundred stainless steel versions are to be released later in the year.

I've got my eye on a 50th Anniversary Doxa Sub 300 which is another watch so ugly that it's beautiful:
https://www.revolution.watch/bottom-time-doxa-50th-anniversary-sub-300-professional/?old-article

I'm also still a little tempted by the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 as it may more closely compliment the new Balfour official Ohio State University signet ring that my wife bought me for Xmas.
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-longines-heritage-diver-1967

I don't have any suggestions for 1985 watches but I'll keep an eye out on this thread to see what everyone else comes up with.
 
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Watches from 1967 will be small. That predates the 70's chunky look.

This one is from 1967 or 1968:



It's bigger than those Bulovas, which tended to be 33mm or less, but not by much, at 35mm. And plain steel will be harder to find for an everyday watch (as styles like the above were considered back then), as opposed to gold-filled like this one.

This one is also from about that time, and it looks great in pictures:



But in real life, it's small--35.5 mm. For a sport watch with a rotating bezel, that looks really small on my very large wrist, and by the fashions of today. If your wrist is very small (or if you don't care about it) you can probably wear it. The Rolex Submariner or GMT of the day (the ones that had rotating bezels) were 38mm--about as big as anything available. Heuer's Carrera chronograph was 36mm.

So, now to 1985. Here's the problem: The Swiss industry was just climbing out of disaster, and not many companies were offering quality watches. Most good watches in those days were quartz.

Many of the well-known companies were making watches. A Heuer chronograph with a Lemania 5100 would be from the middle 80's (during the time when Piaget owned controlling interest in Heuer, before TAG). Rolex, of course, made mechanical watches during that time. And Omega came out with the first Speedmaster Professional Moonphase watch in 1985, which you can read about here. Bring your checkbook.

But the watch of the moment, if there was one, was the Ebel Sport Classic Chronograph, which revived the Zenith El Primero movement. At that time, Zenith was not making watches with their own movements, and they were barely hanging on. In 1982, Ebel bought the stock of finished ebauches that Zenith had produced but never sold back in the 70's, and used those. Ebel's success with those encouraged Zenith to ramp up production, and they first made a batch with a mix of old and new tooling, in 1986, under the caliber 40.0, and then updated their tooling completely to bring out the caliber 400 in 1987. Also, Ebel came out with their 1911 series in 1986, changing to a link-style bracelet for what they simply called the "chronograph". Here's an example from 1986 (with Zenith caliber 40.0):



It's officially 38mm, but this case wears larger.

In 1985, the Sport Classic Chronograph looked just like the above, but had a wave bracelet. Here's a picture of Don Johnson, as Sonny Crockett, wearing a gold one:

Magazine Album cover Forehead Poster Font

And a closeup, which I borrowed from another post:

Watch Fashion accessory Watch accessory Jewellery Wrist

Here's a picture of the Ebel caliber 134, aka Zenith caliber 3019PHC, as the movement would have been designated from that old-stock batch still used in 1985:

Analog watch Watch Watch accessory Fashion accessory Close-up
(picture from here.)

Dating these to exactly 1985 will require accompanying paperwork, such as a warranty card or bill of sale.

In steel or (especially) two-tone, these are not terribly expensive (around $2K, give or take, and depending on condition), considering the Zenith movement. But those that have the wave bracelet from prior to 1986 are more rare--Ebel was constrained by the size of that batch they got from Zenith. There were only a few thousand made in all metals. They made more after the 1911 bracelet started, and after Zenith had restarted production.

Rick "THE watch of the 80's" Denney
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
We could be bruthahs from a different muthah! Have you read "Ready Player One" by Ernest Cline? When I read that book it felt like it was written by someone who knew me in hIGh Skuul or undergrad and had written it specifically for me. It's kind of like "The Matrix" meets "Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory" and it is full of 80's pop culture. Rush's side one of "2112". one of my favorite albums, serves as the centerpiece of the climax of the novel. If you haven't read it then check it out as the movie is coming out next year. If it doesn't make a good movie then it would make an awesome video game.

In regards to the milestone here are a few recently released books that you might want to check out.
View attachment 12402055

View attachment 12402057

I tend to gravitate towards watches that have a 1967 association especially since hIGh Skuul didn't mean that much to me compared to undergrad or later. For the same milestone I ordered the 50th Anniversary Edition of the Vostok Amphibia in bronze. I look forward to watching it quickly age and patina naturally as I do.
View attachment 12402061

There may be a few of these still available and they are surprisingly affordable at $385.00. There is a long thread on these over on the Russian Watches forum. Initially it looked like all 200 sold out within 7 minutes but now it looks like they are still slowly trickling out a few more. You can order one here:
https://meranom.com/en/amfibia/amphibia-1967/vostok-watch-amphibia-1967-196500.html

Two hundred stainless steel versions are to be released later in the year.

I've got my eye on a 50th Anniversary Doxa Sub 300 which is another watch so ugly that it's beautiful:
https://www.revolution.watch/bottom-time-doxa-50th-anniversary-sub-300-professional/?old-article

I'm also still a little tempted by the Longines Heritage Diver 1967 as it may more closely compliment the new Balfour official Ohio State University signet ring that my wife bought me for Xmas.
https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/the-longines-heritage-diver-1967

I don't have any suggestions for 1985 watches but I'll keep an eye out on this thread to see what everyone else comes up with.
Thanks for the book ideas too!


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Watches from 1967 will be small. That predates the 70's chunky look.

This one is from 1967 or 1968:



It's bigger than those Bulovas, which tended to be 33mm or less, but not by much, at 35mm. And plain steel will be harder to find for an everyday watch (as styles like the above were considered back then), as opposed to gold-filled like this one.

This one is also from about that time, and it looks great in pictures:



But in real life, it's small--35.5 mm. For a sport watch with a rotating bezel, that looks really small on my very large wrist, and by the fashions of today. If your wrist is very small (or if you don't care about it) you can probably wear it. The Rolex Submariner or GMT of the day (the ones that had rotating bezels) were 38mm--about as big as anything available. Heuer's Carrera chronograph was 36mm.

So, now to 1985. Here's the problem: The Swiss industry was just climbing out of disaster, and not many companies were offering quality watches. Most good watches in those days were quartz.

Many of the well-known companies were making watches. A Heuer chronograph with a Lemania 5100 would be from the middle 80's (during the time when Piaget owned controlling interest in Heuer, before TAG). Rolex, of course, made mechanical watches during that time. And Omega came out with the first Speedmaster Professional Moonphase watch in 1985, which you can read about here. Bring your checkbook.

But the watch of the moment, if there was one, was the Ebel Sport Classic Chronograph, which revived the Zenith El Primero movement. At that time, Zenith was not making watches with their own movements, and they were barely hanging on. In 1982, Ebel bought the stock of finished ebauches that Zenith had produced but never sold back in the 70's, and used those. Ebel's success with those encouraged Zenith to ramp up production, and they first made a batch with a mix of old and new tooling, in 1986, under the caliber 40.0, and then updated their tooling completely to bring out the caliber 400 in 1987. Also, Ebel came out with their 1911 series in 1986, changing to a link-style bracelet for what they simply called the "chronograph". Here's an example from 1986 (with Zenith caliber 40.0):



It's officially 38mm, but this case wears larger.

In 1985, the Sport Classic Chronograph looked just like the above, but had a wave bracelet. Here's a picture of Don Johnson, as Sonny Crockett, wearing a gold one:

View attachment 12402195

And a closeup, which I borrowed from another post:

View attachment 12402193

Here's a picture of the Ebel caliber 134, aka Zenith caliber 3019PHC, as the movement would have been designated from that old-stock batch still used in 1985:

View attachment 12402197
(picture from here.)

Dating these to exactly 1985 will require accompanying paperwork, such as a warranty card or bill of sale.

In steel or (especially) two-tone, these are not terribly expensive (around $2K, give or take, and depending on condition), considering the Zenith movement. But those that have the wave bracelet from prior to 1986 are more rare--Ebel was constrained by the size of that batch they got from Zenith. There were only a few thousand made in all metals. They made more after the 1911 bracelet started, and after Zenith had restarted production.

Rick "THE watch of the 80's" Denney
Of course Don Johnson!!


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I second the recommendation for Ready Player One. An absolute joy to read. Avoid his next book, Armada, though. That one was kind of a stinker.

As far as watches go, you could find a Hamilton from 1985 made in the month you graduated. If you like field watches, that is.

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So I graduated high school in 1985. My dad got me a two tone gold and black seiko quartz sports watch for graduation. I never wore it and lost it some time ago.

My birth year is 1967, hello 50 year milestone, but not the most exciting design year from what I can tell, unless you prefer gold Bulova Caravelles. So on a whim I checked eBay recently to see what cool used watch I could find from 1985 instead. Yes, plenty of Rolex, some Speedmasters, Seiko divers, and LOTS of colorful Swatches. I forgot how cheap plastic was so 'in' back then.

Can you help me identify some nice watches from that year?


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Congrats on hitting 50. I am the same age as you. Depressing isn't it?

I would think the watch Marty McFly wore in Back to the Future:

Watch Digital clock Product Analog watch Technology

Cool Camera operator Photography Cameras & optics Music artist

Or maybe a Tissot Rock Watch. I remember those being pretty nifty in 1985:

Watch Watch accessory Analog watch Fashion accessory Strap
 

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A major factor is your budget. My pick we are near the same age and I loved Magnum P.I's Rolex GMT so much I bought a 1982 GMT-Master with a black bezel. On the cheaper side the Seiko 6309-7049 worn by Ed Harris in the Abyss is a classic dive watch that I personally really like.
 

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I'm a 1985er and have been thinking about a birthyear 16660 or 1645 or even 5513 as my first Rolex.

But then I get thinking - is that production year? Or when it was purchased?

Then I realize that targeting a birth year piece might not be the best prioritization of factors. To each their own.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
That Magnum PI Rolex was great! If I could only have the Ferrari and mustache to go with it. I do have modern watches and some retro looking pieces in my collection. And will probably end up just getting something I really like to wear. Thought I would get the forum's opinion on those years in case there was something I overlooked. Thanks!


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I'm born in 1985 and was looking at several birth year watches however I decided to ditch the idea and go with modern watches...

Was interested in 5513 and speedy pro from that particular year...haven't had a chance to do the research on Seiko divers from that year...
 

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A great big Thank You to both Rick Denney and Simey for excellent posts. Rick, I now want an Ebel with the wave bracelet so that I can rock it like Crockett. Simey, I want both of those watches now, damnit!
 
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Transitional sub 168000 with the case switching to 904l steel and the Rolex GMT Master 16550
 
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