Finders Keepers: Justin’s Vintage Carrera

“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.

Finders Keepers: Justin's Vintage Carrera

Justin’s pieces are perennial favorites on the red carpet of watches appearing on Hodinkee’s “Bring A Loupe.” He has an uncanny ability to resurrect and breath new life into forgotten timepieces through his company, watchsteez. Last month Justin was featured in Wound for Life’s “Face Off” column as an up-and-coming vintage dealer. The truth is: Justin’s arrived and has staying power. Recently he lucked out on a late 1960s Heuer Carerra ref. 2447-T. And for now, this one’s staying put in his personal collection.

So the story goes…one day an older gentlemen walked up to the counter of an auto parts store where Justin’s buddy worked. From hanging around Justin, his friend knew enough about watches to recognize an old Carerra on the man’s wrist. Small talk ensued, including bringing up Justin’s likely interest in his Heuer and managing to exchange contact information. Hey what are friends for, right? After a month of anxiously waiting for his phone to ring, Justin took matters into his own hands. When he hung up, he’d scored an invite to the man’s house, being told to come over the following day at 3pm. At 3:01pm Justin was on his doorstep.

The 83 year old pulled a chair out for him at his dining room table and then revealed his Heuer Carrera…

Heuer papers

Beneath the “gunked up” case, Justin saw a diamond in the rough. Not only did this Carrera appear unpolished and have all its original parts, but it still kept spot on time despite having  never been serviced. The other thing still intact was the original booklet, filled out and dated in ballpoint pen and bearing the stamp of the shop in Geneva, Switzerland where it was bought. The only thing that would’ve made this scene more perfect was finding this Heuer in a barn.

Justin initially was thinking “flip,” but seeing and holding the watch flipped the script for him. He knew this one would be a keeper. If he could get it…

Tense negotiations concluded at 5:50pm, leaving 10 minutes for Justin to run to the bank for a cashier’s check. He was lucky to get this watch. Since the 1980s its only been worn a handful of times. Justin doesn’t take for granted the one-in-a-million odds that it came out of a drawer and made a pitstop at his friend’s job. For that reason, Justin’s not taking offers on this one…sorry Heuer-holics…it’s NOT FOR SALE.

To learn about another watch of Justin’s that’s NOT FOR SALE read “Mint” To Be: Justin’s GMT.

For a sneak preview of coming attractions on, be sure to follow Justin on Instagram @justinvrakas and @watchsteez.

Heuer pocket

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