Touching the past: six modern “retro” watches and the historic pieces that inspired them | Monitoring time

Touching the past: six modern “retro” watches and the historic pieces that inspired them |  Monitoring time

When retro-inspired watches are modeled after specific predecessors, fans of mechanical timekeeping can “catch” the design history. In this article from the WatchTime archives, we take a look at six watches that spark a nostalgia for the past.


Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox - Front

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox (above) and the original Memovox Polaris from 1968 (below)

JLC Memovox 1968

A sporty and stylish wristwatch is a good choice to wear on a trendy beach. And the alarm function ensures that a night owl won’t forget their evening appointment. The alarm also worked underwater on the original watch, created by Jaeger-LeCoultre in 1965. A sporty design variant (left) debuted three years later. It inspired the new model arriving in 2018. Stainless steel, 42 mm, manufacturing Caliber 956, automatic, limited series of 1,000 watches, $12,600.


Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 46

The Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 46 (above) and the original Navitimer from 1952 (below)

Breitling Navitimer 1952

The Navitimer enjoys cult status not only among pilots, but also among their land-based counterparts. Introduced in 1952, this watch also represents an era when increased air traffic revolutionized travel. Many new versions without a slide rule on the bezel and even without a stopwatch function debuted in 2018. But variants of classic models with both functions, like the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 46 (shown), are still available for Breitling fans. They differ from the original Navitimer mainly due to their larger size and contrasting color subdials. Stainless steel, 46 mm, manufacturing Caliber B01, automatic, chronometer, $8,215.


Rolex GMT-Master II Oystersteel - soldier

Rolex GMT-Master II in Oystersteel (above) and the original Rolex GMT-Master from 1955 (below)

Rolex GMT-Master 1955

Thanks to an additional 24-hour hand and its corresponding rotating bezel, this Rolex model is the epitome of a travel watch. The main hour hand was not separately adjustable until the debut of the GMT-Master II in 1982. The two hour hands were inseparable when the original model was created in 1955, meaning that if the wearer wanted For his watch to tell the time in a second zone, he had to turn the rotating bezel until it matched the overtime hour hand. Nicknamed “Pepsi”, the coveted steel version with its blue and red bezel made its comeback in 2018. Stainless steel, ceramic bezel, 40 mm, manufacture caliber 3285, automatic, chronometer, $9,250.


IWC Portugieser manual wind eight days 150

The IWC Portugieser hand-wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” (above) and the original Portugieser from 1939 (below)

Vintage IWC Portugieser

Elegance across generations: IWC celebrated a milestone anniversary in 2018 with the latest version of this icon. The new Portugieser Hand-Wound Eight Days Edition “150 Years” was inspired by the large, simple steel watches that IWC delivered to Portuguese importers in 1939. The elegant 41.5mm case surrounded various dial options. Rose gold, 43 mm, manufacturing Caliber 59215 with power reserve display on the back, manual winding, $18,800.


Seiko Automatic Divers SLA025

Seiko Automatic Diver’s Re-Creation Limited Edition (Ref. SLA025, above) and the original 1968 model (below)

Seiko Divers - 1968 original

Fifty years after the launch of its first diver’s watch equipped with a high-frequency caliber, the Japanese manufacturer pays homage to the timepiece with the release of the reference SLA025. THE manufacturing The caliber performs 36,000 half-oscillations per hour. The fast movement and water resistance up to 300 meters are as exciting as the new design: it is almost identical to the style of the original. Hardened stainless steel, 44.8 mm, manufacturing Caliber 8L55, automatic, limited edition of 1,500 watches, $5,400.


Tudor Pelagos

The Tudor Pelagos (above) and the 1969 Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner (below)

Tudor Oyster Prince Submariner - 1969

The style of this instrument for professional divers dates directly back to the Oyster Prince Submariner of 1969. This model featured for the first time the so-called “snowflake” hands with their eye-catching rectangles, which ensured that the hour hand would not be not confused with that of hours. the minute hand. Meanwhile, the steady progression of the luminous rectangle on the seconds hand instantly reassured the diver that his watch was still ticking in the dark depths. The Pelagos remains waterproof to 500 meters, is equipped with a helium valve and allows divers to choose between a rubber strap and a titanium bracelet. Titanium, ceramic bezel, 42 mm, manufacturing Caliber MT5612, automatic, chronometer, $4,400.