By Rebecca Doulton
Retro, classic, old-school - whatever you want to call it - vintage-style watches that look like they were born anywhere between the 1950s and 1970s are dead cool.
Recently, we have seen a real revival of them thanks to Piaget with its groovy stone dials and imaginative cases. But there has also been a return to those classic watches you might have seen on your grandfather's wrist or, for a more contemporary reference, on one of the male characters in the hit TV series Mad Men. I am referring to the antithesis of the watches with thousands of functions on the dial that populated the watch world a few years ago. These watches are classic dress watches - slim-cased timepieces with classy dials, lean indices and hands, and just the right amount of information a human being can digest without requiring a PhD in astronomy.
Omega watches has always featured smart dress watches with this profile in its De Ville collection and this year introduced the Globemaster, a 39mm men's watch with the iconic pie-pan dial made famous by the Omega Constellation models in 1952 and the fluted dial of a Vintage Constellation watch of 1968. They might look like oldies but these vintage-style watches are the recipient of Omega's latest technology and have earned the title of Master Chronometer. This new watch certification - known as METAS - takes testing beyond the standard COSC chronometer tests and subjects the watch to magnetic fields of 15,000 gauss.
Presented in stainless steel, two-tone gold and steel combinations, and Omega's Sedna gold, the sub-brushed blue dial - an on-trend colour at Baselworld 2015 - features the applied indices and date window at 6 o'clock, with luminescent hour, minute and seconds hands. The Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8900/8901 powering these vintage-style watches can be viewed from the caseback.
Zenith watches also opted for a vintage look for its new Elite 6150 model. Running on an ultra-thin calibre and a mere 3.93mm thick, these vintage-style watches feature a robust 100-hour power reserve. The sleek silver-cambered dial with its baton hour markers and graceful 42mm case, with a thickness of just 10mm, is destined to become another Zenith icon alongside its sporty brother El Primero. In the same vein, Zenith watches El Primero Chronograph Classic shows how a chronograph can double up as a dapper gentlemen's dress watch in this handsome 42mm rose gold or stainless steel case, beating at the same high frequency as its intrepid brother.