Hidden Gems | 60’s Sport Watches

This is Hidden Gems, a feature I do periodically on interesting watches that are available to buy. I’ll try to make sure all watches listed are still currently for sale, and I’m also going to try to stick to a loose theme. The theme this week? 1960’s sports watches. Though a case could be made for left of center sports watches as well.

There is just something about 1960’s sports watches and the ’60s in general. The watches of that era have a certain romanticism attached to them. They’re rugged, purpose-built, and at the same time thoughtfully designed and fashionable. James Bond, Paul Newman, and Marlon Brando are all style icons of the 60s, rugged men able to pull off refined good looks, but usually not switching watches. Their wrists shelved watches that were meant to be worn. Here are some watches from an iconic era that can make you fill a little closer to your inner Don Draper.

1960s Zodiac Aerospace GMT (Ref. 752-934)

Zodiac Aerospace GMT Ref. 752-934 image from Craft and Tailored

The modern version of this watch sells out very quickly and for just a few hundred more you can have the original. Zodiac watches absolutely ooze style. They use color combinations that other brands wouldn’t dare. Here you have a versatile vintage black and grey bakelite bezel, a GMT color combo I wish was used much more often, but you still get the funky Zodiac pop of a red GMT hand and turquoise triangle at 12 on the bezel. This piece is in remarkably good condition considering its age. It has just the right amount of patina but appears to be all original including the JB Champion bracelet. For my money, this is about as good as it gets for 60s’ GMT watches and that includes the Rolex 1675. $1950 from Craft and Tailored.

1967 Vintage Rolex Milgauss 1019

Rolex Milgauss 1019 image from HQ Milton

The Milgauss has been one of my favorite Rolex models since I was a kid. I loved the lightning seconds hand and cool colors. It’s easily the most fun Rolex and doesn’t take itself to seriously. In a family of bankers and lawyers, it’s the artist of the Rolex children. This reference is really when it comes into its own, it’s the first reference with a smooth bezel and you can really see how the current model could be derived from this design. Even here this model is working to stand out with the big red MILGAUSS on the dial and the red-tipped second’s hand. But it’s not as loud as its modern counterpart. Just different enough, this example is in amazing condition. The rivet bracelet is maybe the tightest I’ve ever seen and while it has been polished it still looks sharp. The watch built for scientists and engineers is truly the thinking mans’ Rolex. $26,950 at HQ Milton.

1969 Bulova Accutron Astronaut

Bulova Accutron Astronaut image from Unwind in Time

When thinking of watches that embody the spirit of the 1960s’ the Bulova Accutron has to be towards the top of the list. They were purpose-built, technologically innovative, and modernly designed. Even the name “Astronaut” ties into the space mania that was going on at the time. This watch has a unique look like most Bulova’s of the era and also has some serious military roots. Issued by the CIA to A-12 pilots, one of the most advanced aircraft ever built at the time, they needed an equally advanced watch. The Accutron movement was tough and accurate under the stressful conditions one experiences flying at 2,000 mph at 90,000 feet. Something tells me it will handle whatever you have to throw at it just fine. $1495 at Unwind in Time.