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1960s Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph Ref. 95-704-541

When most people think of Movado these days, they likely think of the cheap minimalist pieces hawked at the jewelry counter at Macy’s. However, most serious watch collectors know this brand had a storied past, a rich heritage, and produced some incredibly special wristwatches as early as the 1930s.

In fact, Movado was one of the industry’s leading manufacturers of dive watches by the early 1960s. During this era, Movado created models that directly competed against legendary brands like Rolex, Omega,and Blancpain, and among all of Movado’s great divers, the Super Sub-Sea models are considered some of the most desirable vintage Movado watches ever made. In our latest episode of What Is On My Wrist, Craft + Tailored’s CEO Cameron Barr descends deep into the details of a remarkably well-preserved 1960s Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph ref. 95-704-541 and explains the unique history of this standout model, and why it’s considered one of the most desirable vintage Movado watches ever made! 

Movado’s sports and tool watches from this era represent a fantastic time in the brand’s history, and you really don’t see them all that often, and when you do, they’re rarely in pristine condition like this example. You’d be forgiven for thinking the Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph ref. 95-704-541 is a Zenith ref. A277 at first glance, and they share many similarities given that the two brands were working closely together during this period under the same parent company. In fact, a number of models released by both brands were essentially the same watch, but with each one’s own aesthetic twists on the same core design. That said, Zenith was the more popular brand at the time, which allowed Movado to make the Super Sub-Sea Chronograph a funkier, more adventurous design. This also makes the Movado a significantly less common watch.

What really sets the Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph apart is its unique handset, which features a “canoe paddle” central hour hand paired with squiggly “snake” shaped hands for both the elapsed hour and minute counter chronograph registers. Additionally, the Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph reference 95-704-541 was one of the first watches to be powered by the brand’s manual-wind Cal. M95 chronograph movement, which was developed by Piaget and holds the distinction of being the very first modular chronograph movement ever created. Beyond that, despite having a case that measures a fairly standard 40mm, the lug width of the watch comes in at 22mm, which gives it a unique purpose-built appearance unlike most other watches that were produced during this era.

While the Movado Super Sub-Sea Chronograph ref. 95-704-54 itself is quite rare and is one of the most desirable and expensive vintage Movado watches currently available, this particular example is in absolutely mind-blowing overall condition, with a stainless steel case that appears to be entirely unpolished, a sharp bezel with an insert that still retains its a deep black color, and perfectly matching early tritium lume on its hands and gloss black “reverse panda” dial, which has developed a rich warm golden brown color that perfectly compliments the warm hues of its gilt printing. All things considered, this is one of the most exceptional vintage Movado watches out there, and it is arguably the cleanest example of the reference 95-704-54 that we’ve ever come across.

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