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The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel marks the beginning of my big Vintage VDB test series, with which I would like to introduce you to this extraordinary brand from Erfurt. In my eyes, this timepiece is the prime example of why I am so taken with the brand. These are the highlights of the diver’s watch with the vintage look…

Vintage VDB Watches in the WATCHDAVID Shop


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My opinion about the new watch!

The time has finally come! You can now find all series models of the German premium brand Vintage VDB in my store. Alongside the so-called custom watches, the series models are an important pillar in the model range of the likeable brand, whose roots can be traced back to a cellar in Erfurt, where Vintage VDB was founded in 2007 by watch enthusiast Stephan Obst. 

When we talk about series models in the Vintage VDB cosmos, we are still referring to an incredibly small number of just 200 pieces produced per series. Once the watches are sold out, that’s it. That’s why we recommend that you don’t wait too long to buy one! 

The E23 makes the start

Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel
Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

This also applies to the first watch we want to look at together. Although, strictly speaking, that’s not quite true. I looked it up while writing this watch review: I already tested the Vintage VDB Maritime Diver over 3 years ago. You can read the result here.

So now the time has come again. The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel has made it onto my desk and, unlike many other watch models, is able to attract my full attention. The E23 Historical Steel embodies exactly what Vintage VDB (the abbreviation VDB stands for the aptly named Vintage Daily Beater) is all about: a striking, masculine design, trimmed for that unmistakable vintage look. Round, in the figurative sense, but somehow with rough edges – something for real guys.

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The Historical Steel is an update of the E23 series, of which 140 units have been produced to date. Vintage VDB has built its roots into the name. The ‘E’ stands for Erfurt, where the brand was founded. 

Used look: why the Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel looks so ‘old’ 

Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Used-look surfaces dominate the picture. They are most noticeable around the lugs and hands. Impressive, but you get the impression that the E23 Historical Steel could have come from an old box in the far corner of a dusty attic. Incidentally, Stephan Obst does not want to tell us which manufacturing methods and processes give the Historical Steel its special look: Trade secret!

Vintage VDB Watches sees itself in the premium segment: and rightly so! The case finish of the processed stainless steel makes an excellent impression, feels good and conveys a special value despite (or perhaps because of?) the used look. 

Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel
Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

It’s not just the chic and high-quality look that impresses. The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel also performs impressively on the test bench. As a diver’s watch, the Historical Steel is water-resistant to depths of 500 meters. You may not be able to dive to the bottom of the Mariana Trench with it (only the P1070 from Vintage VDB managed that), but the unidirectional rotating bezel makes the Historical Steel ideal for taking on at least semi-professional dives.

The use of sapphire crystal is practically self-evident and fits in with the exclusive choice of materials used by Vintage VDB Watches. 

With presence and self-confidence on the wrist

Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel
Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Do you have to be born to wear the E23? You don’t necessarily have to be a man like Till Lindemann, Johnny Depp or Arnold Schwarzenegger, to name just a few names who have already acquired a taste for wearing Vintage VDB. However, the timepiece should be worn with a certain self-image and self-confidence.

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The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel measures an impressive 46 millimetres in diameter. The length between the lugs is 55 millimetres and the height is 18 millimetres. So think carefully about whether the Historical will fit your wrist before you buy it. A larger wrist circumference is an advantage here, even if narrower wrists are not a knock-out criterion. 

After several days of testing, I can confirm that Stephan Obst and his team have attached great importance to good wearability in everyday life. 

I like the Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel on the vintage leather strap best. It’s amazing, but even that looks as if it could already have a few decades under its belt. If you have a sportier occasion than the office, you can replace the leather strap with a rubber alternative. Fortunately, this is included in the scope of delivery and does not have to be purchased separately.

Dial and movement of the Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel

Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

Inspired by military diving watches, the Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel also subordinates its design to functionality. The result is a straightforward look with a tidy, minimalist dial and good readability. Nevertheless, in my opinion, the sister models are slightly better in this respect. On the other hand, they lack the used look. You can’t have everything!

Vintage VDB does not experiment with the movement and chooses none other than the famous ETA 2824-2. The Swiss automatic movement with the illustrious name has been the top dog in the premium segment for decades. Even if some manufacture movements have now overtaken it in terms of power reserve, the 38 hours offered by the ETA will get you through the day.

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My conclusion on the Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel

Photo © 2024 by WATCHDAVID® David Drilling – All rights reserved

I didn’t really need any final “proof” as to why the decision to include Vintage VDB in my store was a good and correct one. The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel has nevertheless provided it. With its unusual yet timeless design and premium materials, it is a watch that stands out and whose confident look and presence lingers in the memory. In the sea of watches we are inundated with these days, that is more remarkable than ever. 

So there is no question that the E23 is a well-made watch. However, if you can’t get used to the special look, there are 10 other model variants with different colors and materials to choose from as of February 2024 – only while stocks last.

The Vintage VDB E23 Historical Steel costs 2,890.00 euros.

Below you will find all further links to the watch in my store and Vintage VDB in general.

More about Vintage VDB Watches and the E23 Historical Steel

The model in my store
All Vintage VDB watches in my store
Even more diving watches in my blog
Watch photography


Technical Details

NameE23 Historical Steel

Reference numberN/A

BrandVDB Watches

Categorydiving watches / retro watches

Price from2,890.00 euros

Warranty2 years

Case Material316L stainless steel

Diameter46.00 mm

High18.00 mm

Watch GlassSapphire Crystal

Watch TypeAutomatic

Waterproof50 bar (500 m / 1640 ft)

Movement NameETA 2824-2

Power Reserve38 hours

Functionshour / Minute / second



Special Featureslimited watch

Bezeldiving bezel

Bracelet Colorbrown

Bracelet Materialleather

Clasp316L stainless steel / pin buckle

Auch verfügbar auf Deutsch