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Vintage Style Aviator Watches

This look has been around for a good while now. Don’t quote me on this but I think Panerai might have been first off the blocks with this style but Bell & Ross have jumped in smartly too. Where these have led others have followed and why not? It is an attractive style that is very easy to market that definitely appeals to the Biggles in all of us.

The Bell & Ross Vintage Heritage 123 shown above is the first of four that I want to show you here. This model currently retails at £1950 and arguably is the least value for money of the 4 shown here. However, that does not stop it  being the most desirable. Simple style and a simple ETA 2824 movement but look at the attention to detail. The colour of the date matches the antique colouring on the rest of the dial. The curved domed saphire glass finish is a work of art in itself. The modest by today’s standards 41mm case size. All these features give it a consistency that matches its vintage style aspirations beautifully.

The result of all this was that I fell in love with this watch the minute I put it on my wrist. A real winner. An expensive winner but winner nonetheless.

Next to look at is the modestly priced (£124.99) Timex Intelligent Quartz Chronograph. the Timex IQ watch features a black dial with quartz flyback chronograph movement, date window at 2.30, a second time zone and an indiglo night light to improve visibility in low light conditions. Set within a 43mm black steel case and secured by a tan leather strap with pin and buckle. And water resistant to 100 metres.

A very good looking watch at a jolly fine price with quartz accuracy. My first ever watch was a Timex back in about 1965 and another is long overdue. I hope to add this to my collection shortly.

The Steinhart comes in at 820 Euro but this is a fine price for a well made watch powered by a Valjoux 7750 movement. Lifted straight from their website…

This pilot watch Nav. B-Chrono II black DLC is another chronograph made by STEINHART with the tried and tested ETA VALJOUX 7750 elabore automatic movement.The series of Nav.B-watches II is completed by this watch with its beautifully crafted stainless steel case with black DLC coating, with matt finish and the large historical diamond crown.The Nav.B-Chrono II black DLC makes every watch enthusiast’s heart beat faster. The domed sapphire glass with double anti-reflecting coating on the interior side and the dial with vintage “old radium” hands make this pilot watch so special. The design of the dial should be particularly pointed out. All Arabic numerals are fully readable on the dial and the two sub-dials on 6 and on 9 were used twice.A comparable pilot watch with such an excellent price/performance ratio will be hard to find. A must-have for every lover of pilot watches!

This says all you need to know. Yes I would love one but the sheer value of the Timex just trumps it while the understated quiet styling of The Bell & Ross – a clear winner keeps this one in third place.

Finally we have the Christopher Ward C8 Vintage in black. I have long been a big fan of Christopher Ward and the C8 especially. They have other versions of the C8 which I love too. However, for me the C8 Vintage  has a few flaws I cannot ignore. First the strap is way too big! Yes I have small wrists and this is a big watch at 44mm but Hamilton’s Big Pilot at 46mm fits my wrist straight out of the box and in truth I have never tried a watch on yet that will not adjust to fit. But this one wont!  All the other Christopher Ward watches fit but not this one. This one needs an extra hole adding to the strap and for me that is just not good enough on a £415.00 watch. Secondly, the date on the date wheel is white. I am sorry but having seen the Bell & Ross I just can’t live with that. Thirdly, the hands are edged in black which makes them seem thinner. Look again at the other three models and notice that they are different. It is all in the detail. This is a great watch that its owners will love and rightly so, but for me it is the C8 I want to like the most but is probably a poor third to the white and the black faced non vintage versions of the watch.

Four great Vintage watches at 4 price points from just over a £100 to just shy of £2000! If only money grew on trees!

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Timex IQ Flyback Chronograph – Watch Collection No 16

The Vintage Watch

The Timex T Series™ Racing collection traditionally takes its design cues from a racing motif. The design platform has evolved but continues to deliver a bold and masculine design motif. The Timex T-Series™Fly-back Chronograph with Intelligent Quartz™ technology advances the design aesthetic of this collection and features a fly-back chronograph movement and second time zone. The model I have wanted for such a long time and finally have here is the T2N700 version with a black face and case and a beige vintage leather strap. A cross then between an automobile racing chronograph and a vintage aviator!

In truth the watch got off to a false start with the first releases having an incorrectly printed face and the numerals off the bottom hand running 1, 3, 6, 8, 9 instead of 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 as they should. I had to wait a while for this to be corrected and  the new batch released for sale. I finally saw an example of the correct face on the Christopher Ward Forum so immediately went hunting on the Internet. First Class came up trumps with a great price and I was able to phone them to check on the face design before placing my order. I ordered it on Saturday and the watch arrived Wednesday after the Easter Bank Holiday Monday so first class service guys!

I have already written about my fondness for this vintage look when I looked at this watch along with a Bell & Ross 123 Vintage Heritage, A Christopher Ward C8 Vintage and a Steinhart Vintage Chrono. To put this in perspective, the Timex comes in at around £124, a third of the price of a CWL C8 and a lot lot less than the almost £2000 Bell & Ross. So having it on the wrist what do I think? Well at over £100 many would regard it as an expensive watch and in that market it doesn’t disappoint, good quality, good looks and great featues and I am nothing short of delighted with it.

However, is the quality up there with The Steinharts or the Christopher Wards or the Bell & Ross? Simply put – no. The pushers are a tad cheap looking, The glass is mineral not crystal, the strap is chunky and acceptable but not in the same class as a Bell and Ross or a Christopher Ward. That said the strap does fit my wrist straight out of the box, which is more than can be said for a Christopher Ward C8 which comes on standard straps which are just frankly too big! The movement is quartz and not an automatic but to me that means the cheaper movement allows more investment in the glass and case and strap and from that view point the quality isn’t there.

Put simply you do get what you pay for but as with most goods the more you pay the less you get for your extra money. To explain, the Christopher Ward at 4 times the price is not 4 times better, but being great value is perhaps three times better. The Steinhart at 8 times the price is also only 3 times better and the Bell & Ross at 16 times the price is probably only 5 times better. An  arbitrary scale plucked from the top of my head but you get the idea. The less you pay the more you get for your money but none of us chooses the cheapest every time and especially not if you are a watch geek!

In summary for the money I can’t fault it at all and it will get a lot of wrist time!


  • IQ™ Fly-back chronograph movement
  • INDIGLO® night-light
  • Second time zone
  • Date feature
  • Stainless steel case
  • Genuine leather strap
  • 100 meter water resistance
  • Case size: 43mm
  • Lug size: 20mm
  • Mineral glass