Highlights from Menta Watches: Universal Geneve, Zenith & Wittnauer

Nina Rindt with husband Jochen Rindt.

Nina Rindt with husband Jochen Rindt.

Now is a great time for those fans of vintage watches. Whether you're looking for vintage Rolex, a new daily beater Seiko or something in between there is a site out there for you. At the time of writing Menta Watches have only been online for just over six weeks but already have received some serious praise regarding their inventory. Not long after going live a gorgeous Jaeger LeCoultre Memovox with a Lapis Lazuli dial was featured on Hodinkee by Louis Westphalen (Which is shockingly still available by the way so go check it out!). What is refreshing about Menta Watches is that they aren't afraid to have a little fun with vintage watches with so far two opportunities to win some stunning pieces. Previously it was a 70s Waltham automatic diver and now it's a Universal Geneve Polerouter. You couldn't really ask for much more could you?! Below are some of my highlights from their current selection.

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When I first saw this piece I did several double takes. A UG Nina Rindt for only $2500. I thought there had to be a 0 missing off the end of that price tag! Alas for any bargain hunters out there this isn't the original Nina Rindt, but a later release that looks very similar (Hence the Jr.). Launched only a few years before U.G. fell off the face off the earth it features a movement with more pedigree than you could ever need, the Lemania 1873.

The same Lemania 1873 that was the base for the Omega Cal. 861 that went to the Moon and back. Not bad ey? The Jr. isn't the classic older sibling however it's a 1/10th of the price for a watch that features a great movement, a good solid design and comes complete with box and papers. I don't think you can go very wrong with that.

The Universal Geneve Compax "Nina Rindt Jr." is $2500

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Now it's no secret that I love seventies designs and this Universal Geneve Unisonic might as well be wearing flares and sporting a gold medallion nestled in some chest hair. That cushion case with the two dial dial is simply gorgeous. The label New Old stock (NOS) gets thrown around a lot when it comes to vintage watches but I think this one truly deserves it. The finishing on the case would show any scratch and from the photographs it looks like there isn't a blemish on it. 

Universal Geneve was the first  manufacturer to utilize a micro-rotor in it's watches and this piece has one of the later examples. Originally used in the classic Gerald Genta Polerouter, it was brought across more U.G. lines throughout the years, including the Unisonic you see here. 

The Universal Geneve Unisonic is currently $950

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Wow. What more can you say about this piece really other than wow. You want a classic sized watch? Then you've got a nice 36mm case size. You want perfect dial symmetry? There might as well be a mirror running down the middle of this watch. Horological heritage? How about the fact this piece uses the last manual winding chronograph movement Zenith produced after the release of the El Primero? I don't know whether that the dial was original a matt black and time was worked some serious wonders or whether it was always this deep grey but frankly I don't care. I'm in love. 

For those that are wondering, the three dashes on the 45 minute register represent the blocks of 3 minutes that telephone companies used to charge calls by. This design feature can be found on watches from this era and those inspired by it, like the Breitling Transocean Chronograph

The Zenith Bi-Compax Chronograph is currently $3900

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Wittnauer Automatic Two-Tone

I think I'm only about two more posts away from being known as that guy who loves Wittnauer just a little too much. Perhaps that's true but I feel that as a whole Wittnauer are remarkably under-appreciated for the quality that they brought to a watch. This military inspired piece is a perfect example of brilliant design; a dial that is crisp and clean yet efficient in it's function. The only change I would make would be an applied Wittnauer logo just above their name but you can't have everything.

This piece was sold on their site just a few days ago to a new lucky owner but I loved the piece so much I had to feature it anyway.