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1970s Bucherer Chronograph (Ref. 651)

The Bucherer name dates all-the-way back to 1888, and while the brand is best known as a major global retailer of luxury watches and jewelry, Bucherer also has a long history of producing timepieces under its own name.

Some truly interesting designs have been brought to life as Bucherer watches over the years, many of which remain great values and an ideal point-of-entry for killer vintage watches that pack tons of vibe, style, and function. In the latest installment of our video series Under the Radar, Craft + Tailored’s very own captain of cash-friendly collectibles, Tyler Vanes, takes a look at a standout 1970s Bucherer Chronograph reference 651 and explains why its unusual Art Deco-style dial makes it an excellent alternative for someone who wants that Paul Newman Daytona vibe at a drastically more budget-friendly price.

Just like many vintage watches, the the party piece of the the Bucherer Chronograph ref. 651 is its dial, which features a unique configuration with a two-register layout that has its chronograph counters placed at the 9 o’clock and 12 o’clock locations, plus a date window at 3 o’clock and a tachymeter scale surrounding the periphery of the dial. The unusual layout almost looks like the face of the watch has been inverted, while its striking blue sub-dials contrast against its vertically-brushed silver surface that has aged to a tropical light tan color. The blue sub-dials feature the same Art Deco design as Rolex’s famous Paul Newman Daytona, and this is because the dial itself is actually manufactured by Singer, who is the same company that made the legendary Paul Newman dial for Rolex, along with a wide variety of other dials for a number of bands throughout the industry. Additionally, while you get much of the same iconic Art Deco styling that has made the Rolex Daytona a legend within vintage collecting circles, the unique dail layout and colorway of the Bucherer Chronograph ref. 651 give it its own identity that is entirely unique to itself.

While the dial of the watch is undeniably its most noteworthy feature, its unique case and robust movement also add a lot of value to the overall package. The tonneau-shaped 36mm stainless steel case features 18mm lugs and prominent radial brushing on its top surface for a distinctly 1970s aesthetic, and the watch is powered by a manual-wind Lemania/Valjoux 7765 – which directly connects it to one of the most important movement manufacturers of the 20th century..

The one feature that makes a Paul Newman Daytona extraordinary relative to otherwise identical Daytona models is its dial, however, that particular “exotic” dial design will set you back a minimum of six figures when it appears on a vintage Rolex chronograph. This Bucherer doesn’t just come from the same period, it offers much of the same overall aesthetic and checks a lot of the other same boxes a hallowed grail piece like the Newman does for a small fraction of the price of any Rolex Daytona, let alone a Newman. It’s exactly the kind of funky ‘70s chrono that daily-wear dreams are made of.

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