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The Keystone featured on How To Spend It

Posted by Max Abbott on

Vintage style is big news in watches. Two of the most significant launches this year hark back to the 1960s: the beloved Tag Autavia chronograph, and Omega’s three 60th anniversary re-editions. But for some, only the original article will do. One such is Justin Gruenberg, the son of an antique jewellery dealer, who set out to take old-school watch retailing online and founded The Keystone in 2014 with his former classmate Max Abbott.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Ref. 5402
Audemars Piguet late-1970s “First Series” Royal Oak, $45,000

The site has a truly varied selection that will appeal to both first-time buyers and hardcore connoisseurs, taking in beloved “greatest hits” and super-rare finds from a range of brands and decades. Rolex and Patek Philippe, two of the most coveted names in the vintage sphere, are particularly well represented. For example, a cherished Rolex Submariner ($11,000) – the line that James Bond helped make famous – from 1977 comes in a classic black dial on steel, while a 1984 Rolex GMT-Master ($19,500) is imprinted with Tiffany & Co on its black dial. Top-end Patek Philippes, meanwhile, include a c2007 rose gold perpetual calendar chronograph (Ref 5970R; $145,000) with a moonphase, day, date and month display, and an unusual Calatrava (Ref 3558; $35,000) from 1971 with a champagne dial on a cool, punctuated gold bracelet.

Vintage Rolex Submariner Ref. 5513
Rolex Submariner, $11,000
Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 3558
Patek Philippe Calatrava, $35,000

Other current standouts include an Audemars Piguet late-1970s “First Series” Royal Oak ($45,000) in gold, which will likely be snapped up swiftly, and a c1975 Omega Albatros Chrono-Quartz ($2,750) with its conspicuous 47mm rectangular case and tapered steel bracelet.

The Keystone also offers superb ladies’ designs, such as an iconic Cartier Baignoire S ($55,000) in rose gold with diamonds on a satin strap, or a Piaget 1970s gold octagonal design ($16,500) with a striking tiger’s eye dial and articulated gold bracelet. Plus, a diamond- and ruby-dialled Rolex Day-Date ($36,500) showcases how the Swiss maker excelled in jewellery watches too.

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