The Keystone featured on How To Spend It

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 late-1970s “First Series” Royal Oak, $45,000
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.

Rolex Submariner, $11,000
Rolex Submariner, $11,000
Patek Philippe Calatrava, $35,000
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.

August 16, 2017 by Max Abbott
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