So ran an ad for the Ford Ranchero. Essentially an amalgam of a station wagon and a pickup truck, it was the Ranchero that created the American conception of a coupe utility. Ford declared their invention to be “the finest pickup on the American road,” a “double-duty beauty for work—for play.”
A similar thought could be applied to the Ford Ranchero’s horological equivalent, a watch by Omega that shared the same name.
Introduced in 1958, the Ranchero was meant to be Omega’s successor to the Railmaster and Seamaster. Unlike those two watches—tough, purpose-driven, designed for specific professions or pastimes—the Ranchero was meant to do it all, really. Though with the same waterproof case and robust hand-wound movement as its sportier brethren, the Ranchero’s slimmer profile meant that it could—like Ford’s Ranchero—do double duty for both work and play.
Omega achieved this by using a smaller, slimmer case for the Ranchero than the Railmaster or Seamaster. The thinness of the crystal, coupled with the slim case, makes the dial really stand out, an effect that Omega used in many of its dress watches. And the dial of the Ranchero owes much to the Railmaster, with its large luminescent triangles at the hour markers and broad arrow hands.
With all that the Ranchero had going for it, it should have been a success. By rights it should have sold as well as its automotive counterpart, the Ford Ranchero, which sold so well (over 508,000 units, in fact) that its success prompted Ford’s competitor, Chevrolet, to create a coupe utility of its own—the (in)famous El Camino. However, the Omega Ranchero did not prove to be the runaway hit that the Seamaster was, and Omega discontinued production in 1958, selling off the last remaining units in 1959.
And despite for a limited run in Belgium in the 1970s, that was the last anyone saw of the Ranchero. That is, until intrepid collectors realized that the watch had all the style and lineage as the Railmaster and Seamaster, but without any of the hype. Now, the Ranchero enjoys popularity on the vintage watch market.
This particular Ranchero has a weather-beaten look that’s imminently attractive. The dial is stippled and spidered, and the luminescent elements of the hour markers and hands have gained that gorgeous patina that we so love. Best of all, though it comes with its original case back and sticker, a previous owner fitted a replacement case back to it in order to wear it without fear, as one was meant to do with a Ranchero.
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