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Three obscure watches from legendary brands

When it comes to the vintage watch market, tracking down the chart-topping models from historical watchmaking houses is easy. We all know what a vintage Rolex Daytona or a Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar look like by now, but there are so many other models out there that these revered brands pushed into the market back in the day.

Our goal this week is to hunt for something a little different for our readers — timepieces that, while still quite collectible, are just a little outside the lines of the usual headline-grabbing auction highlights.

Rolex Gold Jump Hour Railway Prince

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A hand-wound watch with a jumping hours complication in an art deco–inspired stepped rectangular case does not exactly scream Rolex, but that is exactly the charm of the Railway Prince (ref. 1571).

The piece dates back to the early 1930s — the same time period that gave rise to the Oyster Perpetual, which explains why the piece never rose to the same levels of fame as some of its siblings of the same era. (1stdibs.com)

Patek Philippe Yellow Gold Flame Lugs Calatrava

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Though the Calatrava is far from being a lesser-known entry in Patek Philippe's catalogue, this particular "flame lugs" case design is far from common.

Looking somewhat similar to the iconic Vacheron Constantin Cornes de Vache (though with significantly more sculptural details), this Calatrava comes with its own extract from the archives dating its sale to March of 1953. If you are hunting for a slightly alternative take on a classic vintage dress watch, this is a perfect option to consider. (watchcentre.com)

IWC Aquatimer Vintage Stainless Steel Gents ref. 816-A

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A closer examination reveals that this Aquatimer actually dates to the 1970s and not the '60s as listed. However, it is one of the cleanest examples using a cushion-style case that we have seen in quite some time.

Its luminous indices have developed a particularly even patina, and though the case has certainly seen some polishing over the years, it appears to be devoid of any significant dings. While the original '60s Aquatimers have been steadily climbing in value, models like this one are still a solid buy, as more pieces from the '70s (and even the '80s) are beginning to appreciate. (xupes.com)

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