01/26/2024
 4 minutes

Three Timepieces that Redefined My Collection in 2023

By Kristian Haagen
2-1

It is the dawn of the new year, and while I’m tempted to spill the beans on my horological conquests-to-be, let’s hit the brakes and rewind to the timepieces that swaggered into my collection in 2023. 

Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 from 1961

The first watch I’d like to mention is the last one I bought in 2023: a wonderful and excellent condition Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 with a stunning tropical dial.

Number 1: Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675
Number 1: Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675

This superb timepiece is from 1961, two years after the launch of this reference. The rivet bracelet is from 1966, but still a correct reference for this watch.

Admittedly, it had been sitting in the window of my favorite local vintage dealer, Franz Jaeger & Me, for quite a while, but I had politely ignored it as it was out of my budget.

However, after having it opened and realizing it still had the original Butterfly rotor, I was hooked and knew that I needed to find the money for this important looker. Trades were made – I threw in a new Rolex Air-King and a Rolex Sea-Dweller ref. 116600 – and I came out OK.

I’ve worn the watch a lot since I bought it in September 2023, and it almost completes my GMT-Master collection.

Rolex Daytona ref. 16520 “Patrizzi”

Mentioning another Rolex may sound boring to some, but my second great buy from 2023 was a stunning and fully serviced Rolex Daytona ref. 16520.

Boring as it may sound, this watch is anything but. Not only is it a five-digit Daytona with the famed Caliber 4030 (a Zenith-produced El Primero movement), but it is also known as a “Patrizzi” Daytona. This means the rings around the subdials have gone from white to a sexy creamy brown. Rolexes with oddities have long been coveted and highly collectible, as Rolex watches are conservative and rarely deviate from perfection.

When a dial changes from its original color over time, as this Daytona does, bidding is solid at auctions and enthusiasts and collectors eagerly converge to seize a share of this rare occurrence. I have wanted a Patrizzi Daytona for many years, but this purchase was rather spontaneous as I was offered it unsolicited and just knew I had to have it. I decided to purchase this watch within a few minutes, and thus made what was essentially an impulse buy.

Number 2 is another Rolex: the Daytona ref. 16520 "Patrizzi"
Number 2 is another Rolex: the Daytona ref. 16520 “Patrizzi”

Embarking on a 500-kilometer journey in my trusty SUV, negotiations ensued, a few trades were orchestrated, and ultimately I found myself heading back with the prized Patrizzi Daytona on my wrist – only to retrace the kilometers once again.

The watch was fully serviced when I bought it in February 2023 but comes without a box and certificate. This missing detail pleases my better half, as other watch boxes occupy a significant amount of space in our home, rent-free.

Cartier Tank Américaine in white gold

The Internet was my friend in the short days and darkness of January 2023. A beacon among online horological havens was Chrono24, where I stumbled upon a timepiece that had silently captivated my attention for quite some time. The object of my affection? The exquisite Tank Cintrée.

However, the popularity of this gem, which was originally introduced by Cartier in 1923, had inflated its second-hand prices to a level that soared beyond the realms of authorized retail.

Faced with this dilemma, I sought a more budget-friendly alternative. Fortunately, a French retailer was offering a Tank Américaine ref. 1741 in white gold.

According to the date of the advert, it had been for sale for almost a year and after a short and amicable negotiation, the deal was sealed and payment made.

Number 3: Cartier Tank Americaine
Last but not least, number 3: Cartier Tank Américaine

Dress watches are a rare breed in my collection, but a Cartier Tank transcends the genre, becoming not merely a dress watch but a pivotal piece from the illustrious Parisian Maison. Whether you own a Louis Tank or a Tank Must, the significance of the distinctive shape and the namesake resonates, making the Cartier Tank an indispensable addition to any discerning collection.

Like many other watches with a strap, I have opted for a NATO-strap that looks great on the Tank Américaine. Some may say I am destroying the elegance of the watch. And right they are, which is the whole idea. I am dressing the dress watch down, so to say.

With Christmas behind us, I have a New Year’s resolution that I hope I can keep throughout 2024: no more Sea-Dwellers! Even though I really like and collect references 1665, 16660, and 16600 (both T- and L-dials), I would rather explore other possibilities, as mentioned earlier. However, it is a bit premature to unveil any potential purchases for 2024 at this point. Instead, I’d like to wish you a joyous and prosperous New Year, and may the upcoming months be filled with success, happiness, and exciting horological discoveries.


About the Author

Kristian Haagen

I've been collecting watches since I was about 20 years old. I like vintage watches most; they often come with a fascinating history or a cool provenance. Provenance makes a watch far more interesting than any brand-new watch.

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