Vintage may not always have the reliability or durability of a modern purchase but what it does offer is charm, history, originality. While it is easy to pop down to the shopping centre and pick a brand new Tag Heuer or Breitling, it might not be long before you find someone else with the same watch. However, if you take a little time to find a vintage watch, it is more likely to turn heads and start conversations because of its uniqueness.
Many of these vintage watches have seen little change in their designs for more than half a century. Their timeless appeal is in stark contrast to modern smartwatches and handsets that become virtually worthless in a few years as new software developments make them obsolete. Yes, the vintage watch may lack some modern conveniences, like a quick set date or sapphire crystal, but the very idea of tool watches was solidified in the ’60s with watches like the Rolex Submariner and Omega Speedmaster. While I don’t doubt that modern technologies can produce a tougher watch, how tough does your watch really need to be? If it was good enough for SEALAB and NASA, it’s definitely not going to let you down.
There are some vintage watches that are very expensive. That is not to say that vintage watch collectors are relegated to the top percentile of the world’s richest people! Indeed there are many other models that are relatively affordable. One of the most important factors that will determine the price of a vintage model is of course the brand and rarity of the piece.
As well as brand name and rarity, a famous or perhaps, infamous connection can increase the desirability of a piece. A 1969 Rolex Oyster Daytona Paul Newman model sold for more than £610’000 even though it had never been worn by the star and was simply named after the model he wore in the 1970’s. Similarly, Steve McQueen’s Swiss Replica Tag Heuer Monaco watch worn during the film LeMans also sold for around £500’000 in 2012.
All in all, a vintage watch is a remarkable work of craftsmanship; if looked after properly it will bring joy to the wearer for many years.