Let’s start this week with a big name: the Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, easily one of the most coveted in vintage watches. The one we have is not only in nice condition, but comes full set directly from the original owner, according to the auction catalog. So we can expect some heated action in a Chicago auction room next week. We have also rounded up a phenomenal Eberhard Scientigraf, and a blue Universal Genève Compax, among other picks. This is your Bring A Loupe for April 21, 2017.
Eberhard Scientigraf Reference 11538, With Anti-Magnetic Properties
The Scientigraf got more than an honorable mention in Phil’s love letter to Eberhard, and for good reason. It is a true tool watch, with winning looks thanks to its smooth bezel and Explorer-type dial. Launched in the early 1960s, the Scientigraf was a real competitor to the Rolex Milgauss, the IWC Ingenieur, and the Omega Railmaster when it came to anti-magnetic properties. This ability was proudly engraved on the caseback (antimagnetic resistance was stated by Eberhard as 900-1000 gauss) as was the fact that it uses an automatic movement.
This 38mm watch comes here with its original extendable bracelet, signed Eberhard on the clasp. This handset is absolutely correct for the reference (including the lollipop second hand), while the signed crown seems consistent with the shape shown in the original catalog. Furthermore, the watch comes with its original guarantee, which is probably how the seller dates it back to 1964.
An Italian dealer offers this very nice Eberard Scientigraf for €25,000 (approximately $26,815 at time of publishing).
Rolex ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona, With The Whole Shebang
The "Paul Newman" dial is such an iconic feature that it has its very own Reference Points article. There you can find some info on the transitional reference 6262 – with pump pushers, it very much looks like the reference 6239, except that it relies on a more recent evolution of the Valjoux 72, the caliber Valjoux 727. It was only produced in 1970-1971, which is consistent with the 2.5M serial number of this example (the listing dates it to 1968, which is tad too early for such a serial number).
However, there is much more to this chronograph than Rolex geek points: as mentioned in this article from Watchpatina (where the photos also originated) it comes with a fascinating provenance and accessories. It is described as "full set," meaning that the original box and papers are included, although the guarantee was almost left blank, without any matching serial number and only the 6239 reference, which is an issue in establishing full correctness of such a set. The true kicker is that it is said to come from the original owner, who consigned to with an auction house after he realized that the watch he had bought and quickly put aside in the 1970s was actually very valuable, especially since he did not get much use from it over the past 40+ years. And this Daytona’s overall condition fully reflects that, with not much stretch to the expandable bracelet, and a thick case.
Universal Genève Compax Reference 885107, With Striking Blue Dial
The peculiar blue dial of the Compax reference 885107 is often nicknamed "Exotic," much like its even bluer sibling, the reference 885108. In looks, those are definitely not your traditional Universal Genève Compax, as they were made later in the 1960s, and come with the Valjoux 72, instead of an in-house chronograph caliber. Their striking design makes them no less desirable, alongside the more monochromatic "Nina Rindt."
The handset here matches the style of the Rindt, although you might have expected a red seconds hand, which more commonly seen. That said, another example with the exact same all-black configuration has been previously spotted, which seems to validate the possibility of multiple handset variations. The blurry pictures of the listing seem to show some aging marks on the dial, some bruised lume plots, and some yellowing of the formerly white seconds hand. Lastly, the signature on the crown does not seem correct.
Bidding for this Universal Genève Compax listed on Ebay was still below $5,000 at the time of publication.
LeCoultre Memovox Reference 2404
The Memovox is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s masterful take on the alarm complication – it first appeared with a hand-wound movement, and then later with automatic calibers such as the massively popular caliber 825, with its date window. And the Memovox can be found with the LeCoultre branding, since Jaeger-LeCoultre also offered watches under this moniker, mostly for the US market (and those were often at a lower price point).
In that context, the VXN import mark on the caliber 814 makes total sense, and so does the "Cased and Timed in USA" engraving on the caseback. Its smaller case size was aimed to further differentiate it from the "regular" Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox which was 37mm in diameter. Yet, the reference 2404 deserves some attention, especially since it is more often sized at 34mm than at the 33mm mentioned in the listing. The sun-ray alarm disc works really well with the cream dial (both showing light aging signs), while the alarm is said to buzz nicely. Lastly, both of the crowns are nicely signed with the "LC" monograms, something you don’t see very often.
The dealer HQ Milton has this interesting LeCoultre Memovox reference 2404 listed for $2,250.