“Finders Keepers” is all about showing you a side of watch dealers you rarely see: the watches they aren’t trying to sell you. Those special timepieces they’ve come across that have a sentimental value far exceeding their market value.
A lot of people chimed in with their two cents about what Jonathan should do with his life post-college. But Jonathan had his own ideas… “I was passionate about buying and selling watches… it made me happy and I could make a living at it.” And so what started out as a part-time business in college turned out to be his calling.
For almost nine years, Jonathan has been fully committed to being a vintage watch dealer, based out of his hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. But like many watch dealers today, his storefront is his Instagram account @johnswatchescom. If you scroll his IG feed, you’ll find overwhelming evidence of him being a caffeine junkie and you’ll discover some of the most honest, classic vintage sports watches – all looking for a new home. All except for the Heuer Autavia Ref. 2446 GMT – that one’s NOT FOR SALE. But don’t worry, if you want any other Heuer, you’ve come to the right place. After all, Heuer is Jonathan’s specialty.
So why a Heuer focus? Well besides the obvious – the company’s rich history, its ties to auto racing – Jonathan points out “They [Heuer] were ahead of their time when they created the Autavia. You can wear one today and it looks like a modern watch – even though it’s vintage. They’re a substantial watch, they’re colorful, they’re made very well. And when I first got into them they weren’t all that expensive. I saw that they were a value: a stopwatch and a watch in one – a device tell time, to time anything…”
Jonathan told us the early screw-back Autavia with GMT function had always been his #1 Heuer to acquire. And even though there are only a handful of known examples of this particular model in the world, he knew he would cross paths with it someday…
That someday was a day last year. He received a message from one of his dealer peers who knew this vintage Heuer had been on Jonathan’s radar for some time. His dealer buddy was tight-lipped about the specifics, only saying, “I have something I know you’re gonna like…” Jonathan had a feeling what watch it was…
When he reminisces about admiring his treasure in person for the first time, in the light of day, Jonathan said, “it felt amazing, I had the ultimate Heuer.”
The story goes that this Heuer came directly from a family member of the original owner who purchased it in Switzerland in the late 1960s or early 1970s. And look no further than the dial for proof of that provenance: you’ll notice it’s double-branded with the name “BEYER” – one of the oldest family-owned jewelers in the world, located in Zurich, Switzerland. Making this special watch doubly special. Most likely one of a kind.
Whenever Jonathan pulls it out of his safe to wear, he has to pinch himself – he has his dream watch. He told me if someone offered him a first generation Autavia for it – with the oversized subdials and dauphine hands – he wouldn’t do the deal. That says a lot about his feelings for this watch. That’s why for the foreseeable future this Heuer Autavia is NOT FOR SALE.
Images courtesy of the owner, Mr. Jonathan Krovitz