Discussion | Vintage Watches

Watches.  Only recently has it become an obsession of mine and that’s because of one photo I’ve seen on a Tumblr URL.  I forget which photo it was, but it was divine, alluring enough that I found myself browsing through images of timepieces for hours on in!  Watch Anish, ring a bell?  It should.  That’s the name you want to hear if you want to see what Anish would call “upstairs money” watches.  His Tumblr is well put together and truly is for watch lovers, you don’t really need money to appreciate the pictorials he blesses us with each post.  From the imagery to the information I learn from each and every post is amazing, I love this man’s Tumblr so much, I had to have him to talk about watches on my blog.  Without further ado, I bring to you, Anish Bhatt.

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OK so here’s the thing, I love watches!  I mean I REALLY love watches, in the same kind of way that some people are obsessed with Ferrari’s, sneakers or Call of Duty, but times that by 100! I’m blessed enough to be able to work in an industry that I have a real passion for and with a product that I have a true bond with.  Of course there are days that majorly blow, but on the whole, I’m not complaining.  I’m chuffed to be invited by Paul to contribute and share some of my thoughts with you guys, and for my first Lavish-Livez article I will go through some ins and outs of vintage watches.

The beauty of a vintage watch is that it has a story to tell, be it a super expensive military issued Rolex or a modestly priced vintage Seiko or Timex.  Each piece has the potential to be different.  See the thing I like about these aged pieces is just that, the age.  It shows through. The fading of the dial and the ‘patina’ developed by the luminous compounds used on the hands and markers, the softened edges on the once sharp case edge and the weathered glass, it all adds character.  Styles tend to go in circles, and where large oversize watches are the norm now, they also used to be the style of choice pre-1950 where old pocket watches had wire lugs welded onto them to allow the owner to strap it to their wrist.

Zenith Special Corps converted pocket watch-

Molnija pocket watch conversion-

This watch was actually available for purchase a few months ago for $50!

In addition, it’s so much more satisfying to answer the question, “what watch is that?” with, “it’s a vintage” after all, there’s a mini hipster within all of us!  I mean 18K Rolex Day Dates are a dime a dozen in the big cities, come talk to me when you got a real story to tell with your timepiece.  The vintage Rolex sports watch market in particular should be motivation enough to consider a throwback piece.  Watches bought for under $500 in the late 1960’s such as the reference 6263 Rolex Daytona can now fetch anywhere up to 6 figures in some cases at auction and there are plenty more buyers than sellers even at that price!

My ex, the 6263 ‘Paul Newman’ Rolex Daytona-

Remember that vintage doesn’t always have to equal pricey.  There are many companies such as Hamilton, Bulova, Longines & Junghans, to name but a few that have made some very fetching watches in the past which will set you back under $500 today.  Vintage Tissot watches will come in under $200 so there really is a choice for everyone.

Junghans Olympic Chronograph-

Vintage Hamilton Asymmetric Automatic-

Of course there are many brand new watches you can buy for the same price as the vintage watch you’re looking at, but I guess the key to it all is deciding what suits your own needs.  We are used to a buying cycle with a quick turnaround of products going from cutting edge to obsolete within a couple of years so possessing an article that was manufactured years ago and is still functioning today is an achievement in itself.  As a guide I would say the first thing to do if you’re looking to delve into the vintage market is decide the type of watch you want (classic/large/quartz/mechanical/chronograph) and the amount of money you’re willing to spend on it.  The truth is that buying an old watch can be a bit of a minefield at times… What if it stops working? Can the watch still be serviced? What condition is the case in?  All questions that you’ll want to know the answer to.  For that reason the best place to start out would be by making your first purchase with a specialist vintage watch dealer.  Sure eBay has tons of vintage watches available, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for then it’s not that of a helpful place, and auction houses are great for what they would term ‘investment worthy’ pieces but that basically means “we specialize in very expensive watches”.  Do a bit of research by checking out the market value at sites like chrono24.com (http://www.chrono24.com/en/home/index.htm) and maybe even join a forum like Timezone (http://forums.timezone.com/) to ask questions beforehand.

All in all it’s gonna be a bit more effort than just going to Nordstrum and picking a watch from the counter, but do the right amount of legwork and it will be more than worth it.

-Anish

Follow Anish on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.

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  1. [...] There is a lot to be gained from going vintage (see my previous article here), and a Citizen such as this Constellation screams [...]

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