Swiss watches are among the most famous and sought after timepieces in the world and while many manufacturers are located in Switzerland only two base themselves in Geneva.
Patek Philippe and Rolex have been making watches in this city for 184 and 118 years respectively.
We are going to look at 12 of the best vintage Geneva watches to complete your look and hope to find just the right one for your wrist.
Vintage Rolex Watches
OUR TOP PICK
The world was introduced to the Rolex Oyster Perpetual collection in the 1950s. It was well received as, although it could be worn everyday it was considered durable but stylish.
The automatic movement meant that the watch didn’t need to be manually wound, and this model has a caliber 1030 movement.
The case is waterproof and has a smooth bezel. A large crown makes adjustments easy and quick.
This particular model was made in the year 1959 and features an acrylic crystal. The black dial is topped with Radium hands and lume plots which display a pleasant patina.
This is due to natural exposure and is characteristic of vintage watches.
This Rolex day-date vintage watch was produced in 1957 and was made to replace an earlier model, the 6511.
This new timepiece was intended to be a more efficient working day type watch with a useful day and date display on the watch dial.
It is a Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) certified self-winding timepiece.
The watch has a bubble style case and fluted bezel, both of which are synonymous with vintage day-date dress watches. It has an acrylic crystal.
The dial set has slim, tapered hands and gold hour markers, the latter meaning that the watch will continue to appreciate in value after purchase. These are replacements for the original lume plots.
A vintage Rolex with ‘Pepsi’ bezel in the distinctive colors of that beverage maker is certainly a unique watch.
This GMT-Master model was produced in 1966 and was Rolex’s signature pilot’s watch when the collection was first produced in the 1950s.
The watch has a stainless steel case and the crystal is made from acrylic which due to its nature is more prone to wear and scratches.
The glossy black dial has a good patina and nicely aged lume, with the 12 o’clock plot being slightly darker than the others.
This model of GMT was the first to use crown guards and one of the last to use glossy dials, afterward Rolex chose matte for its dials.
This is a beautiful example of a vintage Rolex watch that has a timeless quality. It was produced around 1993-94 and is in very good condition.
As a vintage Cellini it offers a more luxurious look than modern versions of the same model.
This watch has an all gold finish and a bracelet that is made from ostrich leather with an 18k gold Rolex clasp.
The case is 33 cm round and is also in 18k gold with curved end link while the crystal is top quality sapphire.
The watch has a stunning champagne Jubilee dial with gold hour plots and hands and a smooth bezel. It is powered by quartz movement.
To make a statement choose this Rolex President day-date vintage watch from 1967. With a case and bracelet in the same color it will match almost any outfit that you choose to wear.
The case is made from 18k yellow gold. It has a bark finish bezel which is replicated on the central link of the triple link bracelet, making this model instantly recognizable.
Closure is via a concealed folding crown clasp. The dual aperture dial is a champagne Pie Pan style with Tritium lume plots and hands.
The watch has an acrylic crystal and a caliber 1556 self-winding movement. A slim crown on the side of the case is subtle yet functional.
The Rolex Submariner was one of the longest continually made watches by the manufacturer, having been in production from 1962 until 1989.
This 5513 reference from 1970 is a great example of the model with its fat font bezel commonly called the “kissing 40” by collectors as the 4 and 0 in the bezel are touching.
The case is stainless steel and the bezel has remained a good black color.
On the ‘meter first’ dial the depth to which the watch can be worn is presented first in meters and then in feet.
This was later changed to feet first when Rolex apparently wanted to boost sales in the US.
This vintage Rolex Explorer 1016 was produced in 1967 and is known as the ‘Tropical Dial’.
The model was first introduced by the watch manufacturer in 1959 and remained in production until 1989.
The watch’s case is made from stainless steel, and it originally had a glossy black dial which over the years has transformed into a chocolate brown color.
This makes it a collectible item and where the title ‘tropical dial’ comes from.
It has a smooth bezel and an aged gilt dial with light cream colored hour markers.
The lume on the hands has been corrected so that they match the lume on the dial. The watch has an Oyster rivet bracelet.
This is a stunning example of the Rolex Daytona 16518. It has an 18k yellow gold case with a tachymeter bezel and a scratch resistant, top quality sapphire crystal.
The dial is white which makes the 18k gold Arabic hour markers stand out beautifully.
At three o’clock it has a 30 minute counter, at six o’clock it has a small second hand, and there is a 12 hour counter at 9 o’clock. It has automatic 4030 movement.
The bracelet is a brown leather strap with an 18k yellow gold Fliplock clasp.
This is a very elegant and refined timepiece that is set apart from the other more robust Daytona watches.
This Rolex Sea-Dweller 16660 is an impressive vintage watch produced in 1988 with a stainless steel case and unidirectional rotatable bezel. It is affectionately known as the ‘triple six’.
The dial is black with a Luminova display and has a high quality, scratch resistant sapphire crystal.
A stainless steel Oyster link bracelet has a folding Fliplock clasp with an extension link. It can be worn to a depth of 4,000 feet and has a higher beat movement than some of its predecessors.
This example has modern white gold-trimmed indices on the dial while others may have painted indices. The watch has a helium escape valve that is larger than in previous models.
Patek Philippe Vintage Watches
Patek Philippe is the second Geneva based watch manufacturer that offers wonderful vintage timepieces.
This vintage 1432J art deco watch is dated from 1944 and has a classic look that would look great with any outfit.
The slim, square case is made from 18k gold and features tear drop lugs which hold in place the crocodile leather strap. The strap can be swapped out for a different color.
The silver colored dial has gold hour markers and Roman numerals at the 12, 3 and 9 positions.
The slim hands are also gold, and it has a good sized crown for manual winding. A bubble crystal protects the dial.
A beautiful vintage watch from Patek Philippe, this 1577R will look good with anything. The rectangular case is made from 18k rose gold and measures 39 mm by 25 mm.
The watch was made in 1949 and is fitted with a 9"-90 caliber movement.
Featuring an Opaline white dial it has painted Roman numerals as well as raised rose gold plots and slim, tapered hands.
The bracelet is a robust leather which can be swapped for a different color if preferred.
This is considered a unisex watch and can be worn by men or women. Changing the strap makes this an easy option.
If you want a vintage watch that is unusual this ‘exploding numbers’ watch from Geneva watchmaker Patek Philippe is ideal.
This is a definite conversation starter, and you are unlikely to come across anyone wearing the same watch.
This is a rare watch and since it was produced in 1910 that’s not surprising. It is also the earliest example of the ‘exploding numbers’ dial and the second largest of this style made by Patek Philippe.
The watch is 18k gold with a silver dial and black markings. The hands are blued steel. Inside there is 15 jewel movement with wolf tooth winding.
We hope you have enjoyed our guide to the best vintage Geneva watches and that it has proven helpful to you in your search for a vintage watch to complete your look.
- What Do Beauty Marks Mean? - April 24, 2023
- 10 Best Vintage Movado Watches To Enhance Your Style - April 24, 2023
- 8 Best Vintage Longines Watches To Enhance Your Style - April 24, 2023