What is neo-vintage?
Watches have often been divided into vintage and modern. One offering sophistication, class and a story portrayed by the sheen of patina, while the other, offers something new and innovative, showcasing a technological feat of how far the horological industry has come. However, a new category has emerged which is neither vintage nor modern, Neo-Vintage. It can be acknowledged in a similar fashion to the ‘modern classic’ category of luxury cars, such as your Lamborghini Gallardo’s and Ferrari F430’s, and acts as the perfect middle ground for all your nostalgic needs. The brand that takes this market by storm is Rolex, and with more attention to the vintage markets by watch enthusiasts, here are three picks to consider when buying Neo-Vintage.
ROLEX GMT-Master ‘Pepsi’ 16710BLRO
This Rolex really epitomises the vintage aesthetic of older Rolex models. The ‘pepsi’ model has been one of the longest standing inclusions within the Rolex line-up since its introduction of the original GMTs in the 1950’s. This model coming into the collection from 2001 has been more sought after compared to the new ceramic models as it offers a more nimble and slim case to its latest iteration, although remaining at 40mm. The bezel inserts in its famous blue and red colours, which tend to show slight wear and fading due to its pre-ceramic material, giving an ‘aged’ effect that is otherwise not possible with the new ceramic bezel inserts. It is fitted with the original Oyster link and clasp and is still wearable to 100m underwater.
Depending on the year and condition this watch can be picked up for anywhere between £9000 - £15,000.
ROLEX 116520 PRE-CERAMIC DAYTONA
Undoubtedly, the Rolex Daytona is one of the most famous collections of the brand. This watch launched in 2000 marking an important occasion for the Daytona collection, as it features the first in-house movement by Rolex, Calibre 4130. This movement featured a 60% reduction in parts compared to its previous calibre and improved battery reserve from 50 to 72 hours. The stainless steel can be located all over the watch and on the sub-dials which is somewhat a fresher and cleaner look than the new Daytona models. It is iconic in its own way, and has a much classier, sportier look than the new models (at least in our opinion), as well as being even more versatile due to the bezel being pre-ceramic, meaning it looks smart under the cuff or as a dress watch.
Among watch-enthusiasts, the Steel Daytona is a figure of a luxury watch icon and has not changed a lot over the years it was in production, meaning it truly is a watch that you take it as it is, and with knowing the history behind Rolexes most famous chronograph, this neo-vintage watch is now a piece that is not overlooked by Rolex collectors simply because of the gravity it holds. While its functions do not outweigh the ridiculously intelligent Sky-Dweller or even the new Datejust 41’s we see today, the symbolic meaning of this watch alone is enough to spark interest in avid collectors and the noveau riche alike. This watch can be picked up for £23,000 to £29,000 on the secondary market, again depending on dial variation, condition, and year.
ROLEX 16610LV SUBMARINER KERMIT
The Rolex Submariner is, similar to the Daytona a symbol of Rolex watches and lineage. Released in 2004 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Rolex Submariner, the watch features a black ‘MAXI’ dial and has slightly larger hour markers and hands than the standard 16610 Submariner. The Green bezel insert, famously named after the muppet Kermit, has a beautiful glossy sheen that is lost in its new ceramic 126610LV. It is 40mm which makes for a suitable size for wrists as small as 13.5cm in circumference and is fitted on the 93250-Oyster bracelet which is both comfortable and iconic as far as Submariners go. For Submariner lovers, it offered something different from the classic black, something fun and exuberant. At only 13mm thick it slips under the cuff with ease, so the green does not have to be always on display, meaning the watch can be dressed up or down.
The winding on the Calibre 3135 movement is buttery smooth and the watch still has 300m of water resistance, so if anything, it is more wearable than any of its latest editions as it will fetch for more attention due to the colour being more pronounced than the ceramic version.
This watch can be found anywhere between £14,000 to £17,000 and is generally a strong watch in terms of value retention, as it has been the more sought after neo-vintage Rolex around.