We recently uncovered an amazing cache of rare motorsports chronographs from the Fifties at Collector Studio – Motorsport Gallery in Toronto and were as intrigued by the watches’ histories as much as their vintage good looks.

Made by all-but-forgotten brands like Lanco, Marvin and Vetta, the timepieces vary in value with the most precious having been presented to drivers at historic races by famed marques like Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo.

Pictured above is a 1955 Lanco Alfa Romeo chronograph with an 18 karat rose gold case (left), and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz Le Mans chronograph by Marvin (right).

The most valuable models were presented to drivers at historic races by famed marques like Ferrari, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo

The Swiss-made Marvin is of particular value as it was a gift from Mercedes to one of their drivers at the historic event – possibly the great Stirling Moss who raced the iconic 300 SLR (below) – and is engraved as such on the back.

“Watches, like cars, often tell more than time,” Collector Studio’s Morry Barmak tells us. “They relay a story and often encapsulate one moment in history.”

That’s especially true for rarities like the Marvin, priced at $10,000, and a 1953 Vetta Ferrari chronograph given to racing driver Alberto “Ciccio” Ascari, who won the Grand Prix championship for Scuderia Ferrari that year, by his teammate Luigi Villoresi, inscribed on the case back.

Pictured below, that one just sold for a cool $26,000, while the Alfa above is a mere $3,600. You’ve got to start somewhere….

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