Watches are synonymous with Switzerland, just think of all the brands that hail from Geneva, so surely searching for quality vintage timepieces should be easy pickings, no? Not quite. To be frank, there are many vintage watch shops in Geneva, this perhaps is partly because it is home to some of the worlds most renowned auction houses, who just so happen make quite the offering of vintage watches. That said, if you are looking for a watch shop that specialise in only vintage timepieces, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Roy & Sacha Davidoff.
Located on Rue Verdaine, in the old town area of Geneva, the Davidoff brothers mainly specialise in the trade of vintage watches made in the 1940s to 1980s, which are globally sourced. However, when you think of vintage dealers who mainly specialise in Omega and more specifically Speedmasters, nobody has a larger offering than these two gentlemen. They have collected vintage Omega wristwatches together for well over a decade and their passion seems to continue to grow for these vintage treasures. Last year, they had a Speedmaster event called The Ultimate Speedmaster Exhibition in association with the authors of the Speedmaster bible Moonwatch Only. Looking back at the book they made commemorating the event, it becomes clear these guys don’t mess around when it comes to Speedies. So naturally, when I popped by, they pulled out the big guns.
Tropical dial anything, demands a certain type of premium and it’s not hard to fathom why. We are accustomed to seeing tropical dial Submariners and what not. But something you perhaps see less of are tropical dial Speedmasters. However, when I visited the Davidoff brothers, they didn’t just have one or two of them but they were able to pull out an entire watch box full of them (as you can see from the image below) ranging from CK2998s to 145.022s. And within those sub categories of North/South tropical, South/North tropical and vignette tropical too. Seeing them altogether can only be likened to a feast of chocolate.
One of the pieces that perhaps stands out more from this offering is the CK2998-2 with Lollipop hand and ghost bezel. This watch was on loan to them and has since returned to its owner. These are probably my favourite CK2998s and the fact this one has a tropical dial makes it just a tad more desirable in my books.
ROLEX EXPLORER REF. 1016 RETAILED BY TIFFANY & CO.
As you can probably guess, the Davidoff brothers also stock timepieces other than Speedmasters. The Rolex Explorer reference 1016 is not a hard watch to find nowadays but in this condition, it is indeed becoming much harder than in previous years but as you already know, this is no ordinary Explorer. It was in fact retailed by Tiffany & Co., which naturally adds another element of rarity. While the Tiffany & Co. signed 1016 Explorers are not, perhaps, within the realms of extremely rare but there were only a very few that were stamped as such. The watch has been sold since my visit and is off to its lucky new owner.
ROLEX SEA-DWELLER ‘GREAT WHITE’
The Rolex Sea-Dweller is ‘the quintessential dive watch’ and the 1665 only typifies what it really means to be a tool watch. Around 1977, production on DRSD stopped but in its place, was a new generation of reference 1665. The new Sea-Dwellers were launched and no longer featured red lettering on the dial but this of course led to a new nickname, given by collectors as the ‘Great White’.
Often, we (I) hear the term unpolished thrown around, in fact go to any watch auction and you’ll hear the term thrown around on almost every other lot. That said, speaking to one of the world’s foremost Rolex dealers in Geneva a few weeks ago (Eric Ku), believes this term is perhaps misused. But in the case of this specific 1665 (no pun intended), I would perhaps go as far to say it is – I’ve never seen a case on a Sea-Dweller in this condition to be honest. Just look at those lugs…
TUDOR OYSTER PRINCE SUBMARINER ‘SNOWFLAKE’
Then there’s this trio of Submariner ‘Snowflakes.’ The Tudor Submariner perhaps possesses one of the most iconic designs around during the 70s; the infamous snowflake hand that adorned the reference 7016 and 9401/0. These models are well-known also because they were issued to the French Marine Nationale and as with MilSubs have become grails in the collector world. What you are looking at here are three of the most beautiful examples I’ve ever seen in person. Are they extremely difficult to find? Perhaps not but in this condition, absolutely!
The 9401/0 Tudor Submariners, unlike Rolex Submariner, came with a greater deal of dial and bezel combinations; blue or black, with either ‘snowflake’ hands and markers, or blue or black with more Rolex Submariner characteristics. The black dial variation you see in the image above is in beautiful condition and what’s more, it also includes its original Oyster ref. 9315/285 bracelet, with “Fliplock” folding clasp. This may sound like a trivial detail but things like this make all the difference to a collector, not to mention the warm patina that this piece has built up over the many years.
The blue dial variations, is much of the same again in regards to quality and condition but also in originality too. Again, finding a blue ‘snowflake’ Tudor Submariner in this condition is difficult to say the least and the alluring patina on this example only makes it that much more desirable. And like the black example above, this ‘snowflake’ also sports its original 7836/382 bracelet which has a classic folding clasp.
Then there’s the 9411/0, not too dissimilar to the two ‘snowflake’ Subs we’ve already looked at but of course this example includes a date window. Perhaps not to everybody’s liking but looking at this reference 9411/0 that has a non-cyclops domed plexi, you start to see where Tudor drew their inspirations from for the Pelagos. The reference 9411/0 is in awesome condition but also accompanied by its original box and papers, which is always an added bonus for any collector.
We would like to thank Roy & Sacha Davidoff for taking the time to meet with us and show us this phenomenal array of vintage watches. You may find them for sale, alongside other incredible pieces, online at db1983.com
Roy & Sacha Davidoff is located at:
16 Rue Verdaine, 1204 Geneva, Switzerland
You can also contact them via email too at firstname.lastname@example.org