Vintage watches have been having a moment. Well, maybe that’s putting it lightly — the market for them has boomed in recent years. Values are increasing and the stories behind old-school watches from the 20th century are dominating the headspaces of enthusiasts. While brand new reissue watches are not necessarily a response to this phenomena — reissued watches are something watchmakers have done for decades — its fair to say that recently we’ve been seeing increasing efforts to make reissues that are more accurate to the original watches they represent. These seven recent examples go to show just how watchmakers are perfecting the vintage reissue.
The Marlin is Timex’s first hand-winding watch in decades and an ode to an earlier era when the brand was known for its afofrdable but durable mechanical timepieces. Rather than just popping in a hand-cranker and calling it a day, the brand went all-out in making the watch a super-accurate recreation of the original. That means you get a domed crystal, a handsome sunray dial, a textured leather strap and a 34mm case diameter. That’s a partciularly bold move in an era when the average mens watch is closer to 40mm, but it seems to be working out as the new Marlin has quickly become a cult hit.
Water resistance: 30m
Hamilton Khaki Field Mechanical
Hamilton’s new entry-level field watch isn’t just an accesibly priced way to get into mechanical watches, it’s a solid tribute to the old mil-spec watches the brand made during the 1960s through the 1980s. The case is a bit bigger than that of the original, but it’s still very compact, at least when compared to today’s timepieces. More importantly, the dial design is practically a shot-for-shot remake of the MIL-W-46374’s dial, save for some branding.
Movement: ETA 2801-2 hand-winding
Water resistance: 50m
Bulova Devil Diver
Though its a bit bigger than the original, the rest of the Bulova Devil Diver reissue is so well executed that we’re willing to look the other way. The applied dial indicies and logo, for instance, are spot-on retro elements, while even the bracelet has a sort of lightweight, jangly feel to it much more common in older watches. What’s more, Buova’s watches mostly carry quartz movements these days, so to see an automatic inside is nice.
Movement: Miyota automatic
Water resistance: 666ft
Mido Commander Shade
For its 100th anniversary, Mido pulled inspiration fomr a particular groovy Commander reference from the 1970s. The mesh bracelet, gradient dial and applied dial elements are all suitable for the era it pays tribute for, as is the 37mm case diameter. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but its love-it-or-hate-it looks are precicely what makes it stand out.
Movement: ETA 3836-2 automatic
Water resistance: 50m
Yema Superman Heritage
Today, Yema is mostly only known by collectors for its reasonably-priced vintage pieces, but the French watchmaker is still putting out watches today. This summer, it released an incredibly impressive reissue: a remake of the Superman, its first dive watch. The Superman takes the look and shape of ’70s Superman reference and is faithful in both size and design; you can even spec it with a more period-correct mineral crystal, if you wish.
Movement: ETA 2824-2 automatic
Water resistance: 990ft
Longines Military Watch
This WWII RAF-inspired reissue was a pleasant surprise at ths year’s Baselworld, and while Longines didn’t specifiy which watch served as inspiration, it looks a helluvah lot like the Longines 6B/159. While it’s a bit bigger than waht you’d expect from a WWII pilot’s watch at 38.5mm and rocks an automatic movement (the 6B/159 is hand-wound), the watch certainly looks legitimately vintage at a galnce thanks to a convincing patina-speckled dial. According to Longines, each dial is done a bit differently, so no two examples are the same.
Movement: Longines L888 automatic (ETA A31 base)
Water resistance: 50m
Hamilton Intra-Matic Auto Chrono
In 2017, Hamilton introduced the Intra-Matic 68, a limited edition reverse-panda chronograph that took inspiration from Hamitlon chronographs of the 1960s. If there was a complaint with that watch, it was that the 42mm case was a bit too large to be a truly vintage-sinpired homage. Hmailton has rectified that with the Auto Chrono, a mainstream edition with a 40mm case. What’s more, the watch now features the black-on-white panda dial colorway, arguably the more desirable black-and-white design.
Movement: Hamilton H-31 automatic
Water resistance: 100m
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight
Tudor’s update to the popular Black Bay made a great reissue even better. The case was downsized both in diameter and thickness, making it much closer to the size and feel of an original Tudor Sub. Details like the gilt printing set against a handsome black dial are other great touches, too.
Movement: Tudor MT5402 automatic
Water resistance: 200m
Seiko Prospex SLA025J1
This is pretty much a perfect recreation of the 6159-7001, a high-beat diver from 1968. The watch features the original’s “monobloc” case construction — there’s no caseback, as the movement is added through the front of the watch — and the black and gold design is pretty much ripped straight from the original. The exterior is certainly stunning, as is the in-house, high-frequency automatic used within.
Movement: Seiko 8L55 automatic
Water resistance: 300m
Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition
Today, the Seamaster is billed as a tool watch, but its origins were decidedly dressier. Launched in 1948, it was one of the brand’s most signifcant post-war creations and thus a fitting insipration for a reissue 70 years later. The watch features the same case and dial designs as the original (both a small seconds and central seconds version are available), and at 38mm its vintage-feeling while appealing to modern tastes.