For Your Reference
I’ve given a brief history of the Rolex Air-King before, but today we’re going in-depth on the longest-running model in the Air-King’s history: the Air-King Reference 5500. Manufactured for over 30 years, the Ref. 5500 is one of the longest-running models in the history of Rolex. Introduced in 1957 and remaining in production until it was replaced by the Reference 14000 in 1989, it’s truly an iconic Rolex model.
The Ref. 5500 is a continuation of the Air-King name that Rolex first introduced with the Reference 4925 in the 1940s alongside names like Air-Giant, Air-Lion and Air-Tiger that flamed out. Rolex had originally introduced the Air-King as a variation of the Oyster Perpetual, intended to honor RAF pilots who served during World War II.
While this particular Air-King may not drive the passion of collectors like some more popular Rolex models, there is still plenty here for a budding enthusiast to sink his or her teeth into. And, since the Air-King continues to fly under the radar, even the most rare of Air-Kings can typically be had at an affordable price. Read More
With vintage Rolex prices continuing to skyrocket and showing no signs of slowing down, collectors have been looking for other places to invest their money. Most notably, this has meant an increased recognition of the importance of historic brands like Movado or Universal Geneve as collectors have come to appreciate the impact these companies had on the entire watch industry. But, it has also meant collectors are increasingly looking toward more modern Rolex references for the “next big thing.” Words like “transitional” and “neo-vintage” have become almost as common in collector parlance as “exotic” and “tropical” dial descriptions for the watches of a previous generation. But what do these terms actually mean, and what does a collector need to know if he or she is venturing into “transitional” Rolex?
I recently looked back at John Mayer’s 2014 article “5 Best Vintage Rolex Picks for under $8,000”. Consider this article something of a 2019 update of those recommendations, as most of John’s picks from 2014 will today set you back well over $8,000. Read More
Just for Fun
Back in March, the prodigal son returned. John Mayer returned to the Hodinkee universe, joining Ben Clymer for Talking Watches 2 to show off some 20 watches (mostly Rolex Daytonas) from his collection. See our analysis on how much each piece is worth here.
The video was a follow up to the first-ever Talking Watches, which John Mayer joined Hodinkee for way back in 2013. Like many others, this simple eight-minute video has had a profound impact on my life (some may consider this statement depressing). I was a senior in college when this video was released, still thought John Mayer dropped bangers, and had always had a passing interest in watches. But this video made me feel like it was okay to go deep. And so I did. Read More
It’s nearly fall auction season time, when the big auction houses will trot out their Daytonas, Pateks, and other expensive lots one last time. It’s set to be a big season: Phillips is leading the way with a thematic auction featuring Jack Nicklaus’ Rolex Day-Date and Marlon Brando’s GMT-Master. Phillips also recently opened its new boutique store, Phillips Perpetual in London. On opening day, Phillips said it had 40 timepieces and over £3 million worth of inventory. Big news for the biggest watch auctioneer.
But, before the bigger auctions of the season, Sotheby’s is hosting an online auction with bidding ending on September 10. There are over 100 lots on offer, mostly in the mid-priced to downright affordable range, so it’s an opportunity to pick up a new fall watch. New season, new watch, I always say. Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting lots. Read More
Every month, London’s Watches of Knightsbridge hosts an online auction. Typically the lots are nothing too expensive; just good honest watches from a trustworthy house. This August’s online auction features about 50 lots, ranging from a Rolex GMT-Master 16750 Pepsi on the high end to a few little dress watches from Longines and Omega on the low end. It’s a great way to start paying attention to auctions (perhaps even picking something up) without being scared away by blow-out-your brains prices.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best lots from Watches of Knightsbridge’s August online auction. We’ve got a couple Rolexes and the world’s first wristwatch without a crown. Read More
Fellows, a UK-based auction house, is hosting its Watch Sale on August 13, featuring some 400 lots. With that many timepieces up for sale, there’s a lot to sort through, so here are a few of the lots to pay attention to. There will be live and online bidding, if you’re not local to Birmingham, but looking to drop some pounds. Read More
UK-based Wilsons Auctions is holding an auction on August 14 to auction off over £2.3 million of goods seized from a London-based drug dealer. In addition to some red bottoms, a villa in Spain, and other things people rap about, there are a handful of watches up for auction.
Since authorities seized this property and it’s now government property, everything is being sold without a reserve price. Wilsons is in the business of “asset realization” for public sector clients, meaning it manages everything from asset collection to valuation and sale, returning the proceeds to its government clients.
Those interested will be able to bid in person or online. With that, let’s take a look at a few of the watches you can get your hands on. Read More
Just for Fun
Nowadays most Rolex models have a 6-digit reference number, beginning with a “1” (or more recently, “2”). The next three digits represent the model number (usually also starting with a “1”, though newer models now use “2”). After that, the reference number lets you know the bezel type, bracelet type, followed by letters to indicate bezel color (if necessary). Read More
Christie’s is collaborating with The Keystone to present “The Keystone Collection”, an online auction with over 200 offerings. The Keystone is a Beverly Hills based dealer focused on rare and vintage watches, typically featuring a nice mix of modern and vintage watches across all price points. The collection offered here exemplifies that, with highlights including a rare Patek Philippe Reference 725 perpetual calendar pocket watch signed Tiffany & Co., a Rolex Reference 16758 GMT-Master ‘SARU’, and an A. Lange & Sohne, limited edition pink gold Lange 1 tourbillon.
Christie’s “The Keystone Collection” Auction runs from July 30 until August 13. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights. Read More
Sure, Watches of Knightsbridge has its monthly online auctions, which often have some nice watches in their own right. But a few times a year, they offer a larger platform, hosting a live auction in their native London. The next live auction is July 20’s Fine, Rare, and Collectible Timepieces, featuring 217 lots. There are three Rolex Submariners on the catalog cover, which might hint at the general theme of this auction. Let’s take a look at a few of the best watches up for auction. Read More
Antiquorum is hosting a live auction in Monaco on July 16, with online bidding taking place beforehand. There are 342 lots, mostly wristwatches. There are vintage and modern timepieces at every price point, so let’s dig in. Read More
Just for Fun
Way back in 2012, John Mayer wrote an article for a young Hodinkee titled “The Five Best Buys in Vintage Rolex for $8,000 or Less”. It was a fine article with a lovely premise: you don’t need to be rich like John Mayer to own a desirable vintage watch from the Crown.
Well, 2012 was a much simpler time. John Mayer’s collection has grown up, as has the vintage watch industry as a whole. Let’s take a look back at John’s list: if you had invested in his portfolio of five vintage Rolexes, how would you have made out over the ensuing seven years? Read More
As I previously wrote, this blog’s goal for the rest of 2019 is to cover more watch auctions. The good, the bad, the ugly — whatever may come. Lucky for us, there’s a great online auction from Christie’s going on from now until June 25. With 232 lots, there’s a lot to get to, so let’s dig right in. Read More
It’s that time of year. Far and away, our most popular article of 2018 was The Best Everyday Watches of 2018. Turns out a lot of people are searching for the best everyday watch, the best go-anywhere-do-anything (GADA) watch, or the watch to make the perfect one-watch collection (yes, you can have a one-watch collection. That’s a hill I’ll die on).
With the 2019 trade shows (meh as they were) in the rearview mirror, it’s time to update the list for 2019. In 2018, I looked at the best watches that you could still buy new. For 2019, we’re changing the rules. I’m going to look at the best vintage, pre-owned, and new everyday watches out there.
A reminder: there are no real requirements for an everyday watch besides general durability and comfort. We’re talking about watches that can be dressed up or dressed down. Watches that look as good with a suit as they do alongside a t-shirt and jeans. Lume and water resistance are nice, but not necessary. An everyday wearer can come on a bracelet or strap, as long as it sits comfortably on the wrist. And while we’re willing to pay good money for a watch we’re going to be wearing every day, we can’t spend so much that we feel we have to baby it through every door jamb.
First, up, the best everyday watches you can buy new. I’ve broken them down into three categories: (1) the Under $2,000 Club, (2) the Microbrands, and (3) the Classics. Read More
The approaching of May means the approaching of the spring auction season in Geneva. Christie’s, Phillips, and Sotheby’s are all hosting equally exciting auctions between May 12-14. Today, I’m taking a look at the lots coming up at the Christie’s sale. Christie’s has a bunch of exciting watches on the high end: Daytonas and Pateks of course, but also this a watch owned by Andy Warhol (more on that below), as well as an online-only auction with a bunch of accessibly-priced vintage timepieces. I’m going to highlight a few of my favorites from each auction. So let’s dig through all the “fine and rare” superlatives these auction houses love to shower upon their lots and see what’s actually worth a look. Read More
This week, eBay is auctioning off (click to check it out) a group of luxury watches in its “Time to Treat Yourself” auction. There are 51 watches total, ranging from Oris to five-figure timepieces from Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet. Frankly, I see a lot of nice watches on eBay every day (and a lot more duds), and it’s unclear why some of the watches were included in this promoted auction. But, there are a few headliners in the auction worth pointing out. Read More
Are you an investment banker, lawyer, consultant, or young professional looking to make the right impression with your bosses and clients? There’s no better way to do it than having the right watch on your wrist. In professional, hierarchical settings, it’s important for young professionals to have the “right” watch. This means your watch can make a statement, but you can’t be flexing on your boss. It can signal to other watch enthusiasts that you’re into watches, but you probably shouldn’t be wearing around your (or your boss’s) grail yet. Read More
Just for Fun
Say what you want, but sometimes Hodinkee just gets it right. Its first Talking Watches featuring John Mayer, from 2013, has probably gotten more people into watches than any other piece of content on the internet. They finally released a follow up, Talking Watches 2 with John Mayer, and it’s just as good. Sure, he discussed the IWC Big Pilot once in between, but that just wasn’t quite the same.
For this second Talking Watches, Mayer brought out some heavy hitters. His Rolex Daytona collection is likely second to none, and the other vintage and concept pieces he shows off tell the tale of a man deep into it in every way. Read More
What Rolex did Andy Cohen and John Mayer buy together? Read More
Building a collection with one watch for every complication. Read More