Age improves many things. Men, wine (occasionally ), automobiles and most certainly watches. It is the principal reason every watch brand’s R&D department spends half of its time covered in down book dust from the archives in an effort to find the most obscure reference to reissue.
Vintage watches are comforting, they hark back to simpler times also, in terms of earnings, they are gold. However, what this tradition reissue revival has also triggered is an interest in seeking out vintage designs — the originals that inspired the latest crop. Smart watch buyers have been zeroing in on a decade having an aesthetic that appeals and investing there, enticed by the bargains to be had.
Although there might be deals and steals, buying vintage can be a small wild west. Thus, we’re here to go first through the double doors of that particular saloon to allow you to know where any dangers lie.
Why Can You Purchase A Vintage Watch?
There are so many bright, glistening timepieces out there that you may buy from respectable retailers, so that still have their papers and that you know have their original parts, so why buy vintage?
“In the exact same way that classic car collectors can drive a contemporary one but collect vintage, the same is usually true of watches,” says Adrian Hailwood, senior watch expert at major UK auctioneer Dreweatts plus a private watch adviser and valuer. “A vintage watch might not have the exact same toughness, accuracy or reliability as a contemporary one and it surely won’t be covered by a three- or – last-minute guarantee but it’s history and reflects the maturation of watchmaking over recent years.”
If you read up on the watch you want and trust your seller too, it’s also a means to buy in an iconic brand version at a substantially lower price bracket compared to if you bought new.
For example, as Chris Mann, host of popular watch podcast Time 4 A Pint points out, an Omega Speedmaster in the 1980s or 1990s is a bargains at auction and you can pick up the head (i.e. no bracelet) of an iconic ref.145.022 (the very first Speedie to utilize the calibre 861 and the pre-Moon watch) from back in 1968 for approximately #2,000-#3,000. Even though you can find them recorded for #13,000, so it pays to be savvy.
The Very Best Vintage Watch Websites
What started out as a website has now developed to a one-stop shop for all things watch related, and that includes classic watches. There’s a wonderful choice from the situations you know — Rolex Datejusts — to those you might not — 1970s Aquadive Caribbean, anybody?
All of the classic styles are covered with a 30-day mechanical warranty, so if it quits functioning within that period you can send it back, however, although Hodinkee assess the watch is working when it leaves them, they create no warranty of accuracy or water resistance.
The Watch Club It specialises in Rolex and Patek Philippe but there is still plenty to select from including Tudor, Omega and even relative novices Bremont. Every watch is coated with a two-year guarantee, is inspected by a skilled watchmaker and if mandatory and then pressure-tested and accuracy assessed onsite.
Watches of Knightsbridge
If you want to take your chances with the auctioneer’s hammer, then this family-run site will incorporate a frisson of excitement to your vintage watch buying. Directed by father-and-son staff Simon and Toby Sutton, they bring 50 decades of experience to the vintage watch game. You can flirt with all the monthly online auction or attend one of their Berkeley Hotel-based physical events.
As this is an auction house, unless there is a problem, there are no refunds here. If it comes to dials, they’re just believed to be original if said in the condition file, however WoK will not speculate regarding the creativity of the hands, lume on dials or hands or the originality of polishing cases.
Every opinion value over #1,000 is also given a due-diligence ceremony from the Art Loss Register, the world’s largest database of lost and stolen watches as well as art, antiquities, and collectibles. This will be to determine if it’s been stolen prior to being offered at auction.