Watching spotting in West Palm Beach with Wind Vintage

From a Paul Newman Daytona to an Apple Watch, and everything in between

By: Charlie Dunne

Last week was an exciting deviation from the past year of quarantine. On March 15, I traveled to West Palm Beach to attend a small gathering for the presentation Collecting Time: How to Begin Collecting Wristwatches, Pitfalls to Avoid & The Future of the Market by Eric Wind of Wind Vintage. The event was organized by The Coudert Institute, a non-profit in the Palm Beach area. Established in 2001, the institute strives to represent the world's diversity: 

“[The Institute] welcomes and embraces diversity in membership, and speakers…as it is only through the lens of our unique and varied experiences that we may hope to glimpse the wisdom we need in order to make meaningful change in the world.” 

The event began in the outdoor venue where attendees were able to meet and admire a curated selection of watches. The courtyard was made up of a diverse group of seasoned collectors, young enthusiasts, and normal civilians. 

Wind was sporting a Heuer Camaro. However, it was not your average example. After noticing the dial, I learned that it was a special Camaro that had been presented to Charles Kemp Kirkbride II, the winner at the 1967 American Road Racing Championship (more on that in an upcoming article). Wind’s better half, Christine, was making the rounds rocking a pristine yellow gold Presidential Rolex. “It’s such a stunning watch from the early 70s,” she commented as I was caught admiring it.

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Those that have watched Wind’s Oscar-winning 2019 HSNY lecture got a bit of a refresher on the must-knows of watch collecting, including the determinants of value. However, he spiced things up by mixing in some fun facts about independent watchmaking (including that Philippe Dufour and he are practically besties). He also touched on the significant watchmaking contributions that came out of the Valle de Joux throughout the winters in the 1800s.

Attendees were also able to hear from two local collectors. One spoke from three decades worth of experience and emphasized his mindfulness of liquidity when buying. His tastes in collecting have evolved over the years from professional Rolex in steel, complicated Patek Philippe, to eventually a more eclectic interest in A. Lange & Sohne. Nowadays he is very interested in Grand Seiko, particularly their limited edition models. While speaking about how the scene has changed over the years, he issued some advice from the perspective of a seasoned collector to those getting into the hobby. “Because there is so much money in many of these vintage watches, the technology to create fake bezels, dials, and even cases has become incredibly advanced. You need to be careful if you’re collecting even if you have experience...This is why having people like Eric in our community is a special thing.”  

The second collector emphasized that his busy lifestyle with family, pets, and work obviously takes precedence over his obsession with watches. “The peace of mind Eric brings to the table is invaluable.” He would go on to explain his biggest regrets as a collector are passing on watches Wind had suggested “When he tells you to buy something, listen. That way you don’t end up kicking yourself later on.” 

However, the collector also touched on the importance of consultancy. “Eric plays the role as my daily therapist when he isn’t my watch advisor. He’s had to talk me off the edge of certain timepieces I shouldn’t be purchasing or consoling me after I’ve had to sell them at a loss.” The two were introduced through a mutual friend who happens to be the founder of a large watch media site. “I drove down to a watch event...he happened to be wearing a Double Red Seadweller. [That watch] would go on to be my first vintage timepiece and it will always be the most meaningful watch to me”.

After the presentation, I decided to make the rounds to meet some of the attendees. Here’s our watch spotting at the event. In part 2, we’ll get an exclusive peek at the legendary inventory of Wind Vintage. 

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Omega Seamaster 300 (ref. 165.024)

I was quite happy to reunite with my friend Jon Hochman of Delray Watch and founder of Qoventry. Jon was sporting his Omega Seamaster 300 ref. 165.024. “The extract from the Omega Archives dates this one to August 5, 1969,” Jon said. The Seamaster 300 was Omega’s first big, bold dive watch — measuring 42mm with lyre lugs, lume-packed sword hands, and a bakelite bezel you can read from a mile away. It’s also got ties to the military, having been commissioned by the British Royal Navy.

Cartier Compressor

I finally had the pleasure of meeting John P., co-founder of Delray Watch. I was humbled when I heard him ask “Is that Clubhouse Charlie?”. We immediately became friends when he told me I was spending too much time on social media. I was ecstatic to notice he was wearing a Cartier compressor case I had heard him describe in a video earlier this month. I was quite enamored with it, so much in fact, that I inquired if he would be willing to share some information about it.

“This Cartier-branded watch is housed in an EPSA case using a Glycine compressor design. The case, winding mass, and dial are signed Cartier instead of Glycine. Technically, this is a vintage Cartier sport watch, which certainly is atypical for the brand at the time.” 

EPSA is one of the prolific casemakers that specialized in manufacturing water-resistant models. Most notable are the Compressor and Super Compressor models like the Longines Skin Diver, Polaris, Enicar Ultradive, and various other Sherpas. While there are so many watches out there with cases by EPSA, I cannot recall seeing one associated with or retailed by Cartier. 

“I enjoy this watch because it marks an interesting period of time in horological history. Watchmaking during this time was inherently more collaborative and transparent, though by default, not necessarily intention. Brands, including old-world houses like Cartier, would co-brand or have their name put on contract manufacture pieces when the production of the watch fell short of their manufacturing capabilities. Further, it was common to have the same or almost the same watch design with different brand names in the market. Today this would be considered blasphemy.”

Apple Watch

I’ve always found the Apple Watch to be quite interesting, particularly after learning that one of my favorite authors, Dominique Flechon, had been sought out to consult on the product by Apple. In fact, the tech juggernaut involved a number of people in the watch industry to make the product a success (Marc Newson, Grégory Gardinetti, and Will Andrewes to name a few). My new friend, Matt, was sharing with me that he is getting interested in watches, but just hasn’t taken the plunge yet. However, he did mention that he and his brother had inherited a vintage Hamilton, although his brother had grabbed it before he could coordinate joint ownership. I wished him the best of luck with his sibling and gave him a quick list of some must-reads on the Lancaster brand’s history, listed below.1

Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’

Next up, we’ve got what I called the “Rolex couple” at the event: both husband and wife wearing a Rolex, and quite different ones at that. One modern, one vintage; one diver, one chronograph; one green; one...not.

First up, the wife of the duo was celebrating St. Patrick’s Day a bit early with her Rolex Submariner ‘Hulk’. This was the first time I had seen a Hulk in person, and now I’m beginning to understand the appeal. The angle at which the dial caught my attention it was a very dark, yet discernible green, which swiftly changed to a brighter, vibrant verdancy with the slightest bit of light catching it. While I’ve never personally gone down the modern Rolex rabbit hole, the colors on this Sub have made me think twice.

Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona

The best part of meeting the “Rolex couple” was how down to earth they were, gracious and kind in entertaining my interest and letting me take photos of their watches. I chatted with this collector about how his interest in watches was sparked by James Bond.

Meanwhile, he sported a rare ref. 6241 on his wrist, with the original black acrylic bezel, pump pushers, and unmistakable exotic “Paul Newman” dial. Produced for only a few years in the 1960s, it’s estimated that as little as 3,000 examples of this particular reference were produced by Rolex. 

Michael Kors Chronograph

I made friends with two ladies in attendance, one of whom was wearing a Michael Kors model MK5128 (I’ve actually got Michael Kors references on lock before Rolex). Upon noticing the applied numeral 4, I instantly recalled a friend’s Vulcain Cricket with similar numerals. It’s quite interesting how the smallest detail can make you obsessed. Needless to say, this is my favorite Michael Kors watch now! 

Cartier Demoiselle

Does it get more classic than Cartier? While some might point to the Tank as the most iconic of Cartier’s collection of icons, the Demoiselle is no less important, in my opinion. With a lineage dating back nearly as long as the Tank, it was re-released in the 1980s and immediately became a modern classic. The Demoiselle is a more petite twist on the Santos-Dumont, and the small size, comfortable bracelet, and traditional Cartier design choices like Roman numerals and square case make it a classic in its own right. Here, it’s perfectly at home on this lady’s wrist. 

Rolex Day-Date 'Ammonite’

One gentleman whom I chatted with was particularly interested at the sight of my Vulcain Cricket. Naturally, a friendship formed on the spot when he stated he had just scored an awesome Wittnauer Alarm Watch. A few moments later, I inquired what was on his wrist, later recalling I’d seen it a few days prior on Instagram:

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“200 million years old!” he said. It was a yellow gold Rolex Day-Date with a rare “Ammonite” dial. Of course, the dial is the star here: it’s crafted out of extinct ammonite, a type of marine animal that lived millions of years ago. Since then, their fossils have solidified into rock, often appearing quite beautiful.

Vintage Art Deco Longines

As the event was kicking off, I noticed a father and son arrive. Since we were early, we got to know each other a bit before things began. The father was quite excited to talk watches and I got to admire his vintage Longines. The lugs have a great pronounced presence when looking at the profile of the watch. I’m inclined to date the watch to the early 40s.

It reminded me of how spectacular the time-only rectangular examples from this era were. A very art deco case with the diamond dial to take it up a notch. With a bit of online browsing, I also believe the bracelet is original to the watch — I’ve seen a few other examples with the same pairing.

Bulova Accutron “Woody”

One of the most interesting timepieces that caught my eye was a spectacular Bulova Accutron “Woody” from the mid 70s. The wearer, Anthony, was one of the youngest in attendance. He mentioned he was just getting interested in watches. “With a watch like this,” I replied, “you’re destined for greatness!” This Accutron is easily the funkiest example I have come across. In addition, it’s adorned with a wooden bezel and bracelet to match. The father and son graciously told me about its sentimental value, which elevated the watch to a whole other level.

“The watch belonged to my father,” Anthony’s father, Joe, commented. He would go on to explain that after his father’s passing, he felt it would be only right for his son to wear it. “Why is that?” you might be wondering. Well because it turns out Anthony’s grandfather was also named Anthony. And on top of that, the caseback featured a brilliant engraving.

Upon seeing the case back engraving commemorating “15 years of dedicated service” dated to 1974, my jaw dropped. Then after commenting how great the case back was, Anthony followed up by pointing out the engraving on the case’s profile recognizing his grandfather’s 25th anniversary at Time Telemarketing Inc. The bracelet is a mesh style that features wood accents to complement the bezel. In addition to it being a flat-out fantastic Accutron, the amazing family heirloom made this one of the most special timepieces I have come across in awhile.

Acknowledgments: We’d like to thank Coudert Institute for showing us such a warm welcome to the Palm Beach area and providing an opportunity to enjoy the company of others. Membership in the Coudert Institute is, and will always remain, open to anyone who wishes to join. To learn more, visit their website.

Also, a special thanks to Kelly of Coastal Click Photography for generously sharing your photography. If you’re in the South Florida area, reach out to her for any of your photography needs!

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Rescapement is a weekly newsletter about watches, mostly vintage. Subscribe now to get it delivered to your inbox every Sunday. Follow us on IG too.

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‘The Watch Of The Future’ By René Rondeau; ‘Hamilton Wristwatches: A Collector's Guide’ by René Rondeau; ‘Time for America: Hamilton Watch 1892 - 1992’ by Donald J. Sauers; ‘Hamilton Wristwatches: A Reference Guide’ by Bruce Shawkey