What Are Vintage Watches – And Should You Buy One?

Vintage watches are, as the name suggests, pretty old.  And as soon as something is considered vintage, it tends to become very popular. The beauty of vintage watches is that they don’t go out of fashion – they will always be stylish as current fashion trend rules don’t apply to them.

what are vintage watches

 

When Is A Watch Considered Vintage?

There are more factors than the age of a watch that determine whether or not it’s vintage. Generally, a vintage watch will be between 30 and 100 years old; any more than that and it will likely be classified as antique.  Since the word vintage is thrown around pretty carelessly in the timepiece world to justify a higher price tag or to sell a slightly damaged watch, here are some other things to consider if you want to buy a vintage watch:

  • Is it serviceable? – An indication that a watch is genuinely vintage is when you are unable to get it serviced by the manufacturer. Perhaps the company no longer exists or they simply refuse to cater to their older watches. Either way, a watch which can’t be serviced by the manufacturer equals a vintage watch.
  • Does the watch pre-date the Swiss ‘Quartz Crisis’? – The years of 1973 – 1983 dramatically affected the Swiss watch industry. Hundreds of brands and manufacturers shut their doors for good due to an influx of cheap quartz watches from East Asia that flooded the market. In the years that followed several brands were revived. However the limited availability of machinery and parts meant that they were unable to recreate their original models. Watches that were made prior to the crisis are considered vintage on all levels.
  • Is it materially different from its manufacturer’s current production? Collectors seek vintage watches with very different specifications from those of today. If an apparent vintage watch was manufactured from materials not used in a brand’s current collections, it’s a good sign it really is vintage. Besides if they did still use the same materials, then they would probably offer a service for them which counteracts our first point.

Why Buy A Vintage Watch?

There are many reasons why people buy vintage watches, but if you’re considering a purchase, consider these pros and cons first.

Pros To Buying A Vintage Watch

Although vintage watches aren’t as old as antiques they are still highly collectable items. Most genuine vintage watches are pretty rare, especially if they are in a good condition and have some form of authenticity. They also commonly have a nostalgic backstory. Vintage watches were often designed for professionals – astronauts, divers, military personnel, doctors, pilots, and the like – which adds to their character and charm.

On top of that, these types of watches keep their value very well and have a tendency to appreciate in value as the years pass.

Cons To Buying A Vintage Watch

As servicing by the manufacturer may not be an option, or parts may no longer be available, you’ll need handle your vintage watch with extra care.  However you may be able to find an independent,  qualified watchmaker who has the skills to keep your timepiece in good order.

The second biggest con with vintage watches is their condition. On the market, there are many watches in a less than perfect condition which might add to their story or alternatively they could have just been damaged by their previous owner.

There is definitely something special about owning a collectable item like a vintage watch, and nowadays they are even considered an investment. If you own a vintage watch which requires servicing, please contact us. Our skilled craftsmen will be able to advise you on whether we can help. While we have the skills, sometimes when watches become discontinued, and obsolete parts are simply not available, we are limited in what we can do.  But we’d be happy to discuss your needs.