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Vintage watches

How to buy a vintage watch guide

If it comes to buying a classic watch the decorations are as good as the advantages.
What is a vintage watch?
Alex Stonely:”I believe most people in the industry would consider a view of 25/30+ years as vintage, but the greater prevalence of vintage watches signifies the expression is being used with much more modern items nowadays.” However, as long as the watch in question is no more in production, or has been superseded by a newer version, then I would say it is acceptable to use the term classic. It helps if it is at least 20 years old, like the Zenith-powered Rolex Cosmograph 16520 (made from 1988-2001), for instance, now broadly recognized as a vintage Daytona.”


Which are the characteristics that define a classic watch? Since technology has moved on, the functionality of mechanical watches has become more complex and things such as men dive watches are becoming more robust and can cope with much more intense depths. What is currently happening in the watch world is that a whole lot of vintage styles are being revived so customers can purchase a new watch with all the look of the vintage one. This has also generated interest in classic items as clients find the originals in addition to the re-editions.”
DP:”The magnitude of a wristwatch has ever been a careful compromise by the manufacturers between functionality and aesthetics. What defines vintage more are the techniques and materials previously embraced on these watches, such as plexiglass, dial enamelling or even the luminous chemical used on the batons and palms.”
Which brands/models should I be looking to buy?
AS:”Ultimately the choice of brand is dictated by budget, fashion, the usage of this watch, etc, as it’s when choosing a new or modern watch.”
DP:”From a commercial point of view it would be wise to concentrate on Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega and Cartier. Rolex models that deserve a special mention would be: any vintage Daytona from the late Sixties onwards, or even the pre-Daytona (6238) that came earlier, good illustrations of Submariner and GMT, especially full-set watches or early models with gilt dials are quickly rising in value. With Patek it is worth noting the insatiable demand for several of the Eighties Nautilus models — notably the ref 3700 — in any metal, and the Forties/Fifties Calatravas which have great dial legibility and make exceptional daily wearers.”

But when collecting vintage, sometimes the heart can rule the head, and many different brands like Heuer, IWC, Audemars Piguet and Breguet perform extremely well at auction and therefore are highly respected.”