Editors Pick Guides Watches

The Best New Retro Watches

Just because a watchmaker hasn’t recreated a specific, obscure reference from the 1960s doesn’t mean that their watches can’ t have a hint of retro – or more throwback appeal than tie-died vinyl fair for that matter. Even timepieces released in the last decade can lend themselves to a throwback feel, whether that’s new dials, throwback design details or an appreciation of their own horological heritage. Here then are our favourite modern, retro timepieces right now, whether its sixties diving style, a reimagined racing icon or a dress watch worthy of a 1950s dinner party.

Vacheron Fifty-Six Self-Winding Sepia Brown

The Fifty-Six is already one of my favourite watches. The entry-level Vacheron takes a less-is-more approach you don’t often see from that end of the market, especially the old, old guard. Now though the distinctly urbane watch has a rose-tinted new look with a lovely sepia dial. Paired with rose gold, it’s warmer than an old leather chair by a roaring fireplace – and just as in need of a cigar.

Ref: 4600E/000R-B576   |   Case/dial: 40mm diameter, pink gold   |   Movement: In-house calibre 1326, automatic, 25 jewels   |   Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)   |   Power reserve: 48h   |   Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, calendar aperture, stop seconds device   |   Strap: Dark brown leather   |   Price: £18,100, more details at Vacheron Constantin.

Delma Continental Bi-Compax Chronograph Automatic

Delma Continental Bi-Compax Chronograph Automatic

Delma has been killing it recently, first with the Cayman and now with the Continental, swapping the ocean depths for the open road. A racing watch at heart in the same vein as early Heuer chronographs, it sports a unique seven-link bracelet mixing brushed and polished finishes and a solid range of dials – of which our favourite is certainly the panda-esque silver with black subdial version. Bi-colour optional, but encouraged.

Ref: 41701.702.6.061  |   Case/dial: 42mm diameter, stainless steel   |   Movement: Sellita SW510 Bicompax Chronopgrah, Delma custom rotor, automatic, 27 jewels   |   Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz)   |   Power reserve: 48h   |   Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph with 30-minute counter, date   |   Strap: Stainless steel mesh   |   Price: £2,350, more details at Delma.

Longines Legend Diver

The old favourite that is Longines know a thing or two about archive-inspired design, yet we’re not talking about one of their ultra-faithful re-issues here. Instead, this latest iteration of their 60s dual-crown diver has been given a very in vogue facelift with bronze, paired with a particularly lovely dark green dial. It’s not authentic – you won’t find a true 60s watch in bronze – but it’s damn good looking all the same.

Ref: L3.774.1.50.2  |   Case/dial: 42mm diameter, bronze with titanium case back   |   Movement: In-house calibre L888, automatic   |   Frequency: 25,200 vph (3.5 Hz)   |   Power reserve: 64h   |   Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds   |   Strap: Stainless steel mesh bracelet or brown leather   |   Price: £2,440, more details at Longines.

Fears Brunswick Salmon

Fears Brunswick Salmon

While I’ve had some debate over whether this watch should be called the copper or the salmon, Fears has nailed the 50s look with their beautiful galvanically coated rose gold and copper dial. Combined with the ever-appealing cushion case of the Brunswick and backed by a throwback manual-wind movement, it should very rightly put the British brand on the map in a big way.

Ref: BS23800A   |   Case/dial: 38mm diameter, 316L stainless steel   |   Movement:  Swiss made ETA 7001 movement, manual winding   |   Frequency: 21,600 vph (3 Hz)   |   Power reserve: 45h   |   Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds   |   Strap: Handmade Bristol leather   |   Price: £3,150, more details at Fears.

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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