Vintage or No?

Vintage Discussion:

  • Are you into Vintage pieces?
  • How'd you get into Vintage? 
  • What would you tell the newbies who want to get into it?
  • If you're not into Vintage pieces, why?

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The main reason I’m not into vintage pieces is a lack of knowledge. I don’t think I’d know enough to know if an old watch was going to last me whereas the modern watches I buy all from reputable brands (including the micros) I feel pretty safe with. Also if you like the vintage look plenty of brands do copy that with some of their lines. I’ve just discovered Dan Henry but Tissot have also gone with a 70ish look with some of theirs. I’ve got a lot of respect for people who know what they’re talking about and buy vintage but with all the modern options available I don’t want to take that risk. 

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Having purchased and resold at much lower price about three vintage Omegas over the course of my collecting life, I've realized that I have no talent or ability to determine the authenticity or functionality of vintage watches.

Cards on the table, I'm probably going to try again at some point and swear it off again.  It's a sickness.

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I like vintage. I only have a couple pieces but I do like then a lot even with the smaller size. The more patina the watch has the better in my opinion. But of course the risks are there. The fun of it is researching the brand and model, with that comes confirmation the watch your looking at is original. 

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  1. Yes, I like vintage.
No Duh GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

2. I got into vintage because I saw an early 60's Hamilton in an antique store and thought that it looked so much better than the early 90's quartz watch that I was wearing.

3. Advice to newbies:

Read what you can find online about a watch and a brand. Know what they should look like so that you can eventually avoid the traps. Nothing is rare (and everything is). Don't buy hype.  Look at movements even if you don't know what you are looking at.  You can see water damage or rust. Starting out stick to 15 jewel movements and up. Watchmakers are less easily accessed and more expensive than ever. A $100 watch will require 2-3x that in service costs in the near future. A seven jewel watch may never be worth service costs. Avoid pin pallet escapements.  Most vintage watches will brag about their jewels (rubies, etc.).  Those that don't may be pin pallets. There is no such thing as "wound too tight" or "overwound".

Vintage buying is a bet and you will lose some. Just like anything else you are buying the seller. It is hard to have just one or two vintage watches because at any given time a third will not be working properly. Sufficient volume of watches lets you wear one when you want to.

If you can mod a Seiko you can keep 90% of vintage watches going by yourself.

I have said all of this and more elsewhere here.  The vintage collectors have lots more helpful knowledge.

Oh, I took a friend to lunch today.  This cost less than that lunch:

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I have a drawer of mistakes, but the successes are worth it.

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Might I recommend picking up the Shugart book?  It used to be updated every year, (I think that has ended) but you can pick one up and it has a lot of info on vintage pieces.  

The bottom line is the more you see and handle the more you know.  You use the information to make good decisions.  The mistakes become lessons as you learn from them.

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·
Aurelian
  1. Yes, I like vintage.
No Duh GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

2. I got into vintage because I saw an early 60's Hamilton in an antique store and thought that it looked so much better than the early 90's quartz watch that I was wearing.

3. Advice to newbies:

Read what you can find online about a watch and a brand. Know what they should look like so that you can eventually avoid the traps. Nothing is rare (and everything is). Don't buy hype.  Look at movements even if you don't know what you are looking at.  You can see water damage or rust. Starting out stick to 15 jewel movements and up. Watchmakers are less easily accessed and more expensive than ever. A $100 watch will require 2-3x that in service costs in the near future. A seven jewel watch may never be worth service costs. Avoid pin pallet escapements.  Most vintage watches will brag about their jewels (rubies, etc.).  Those that don't may be pin pallets. There is no such thing as "wound too tight" or "overwound".

Vintage buying is a bet and you will lose some. Just like anything else you are buying the seller. It is hard to have just one or two vintage watches because at any given time a third will not be working properly. Sufficient volume of watches lets you wear one when you want to.

If you can mod a Seiko you can keep 90% of vintage watches going by yourself.

I have said all of this and more elsewhere here.  The vintage collectors have lots more helpful knowledge.

Oh, I took a friend to lunch today.  This cost less than that lunch:

Image

I have a drawer of mistakes, but the successes are worth it.

Thanks for this! Very helpful.

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I started collecting vintage Hamilton in the usual way.  That is to say that I bought tons of inexpensive gold filled models.  I quickly found out that service is a sunk cost that adds no value to basic, inexpensive models.

In addition to @Aurelian’s  suggestions, I humbly suggest to leave the bargains alone and focus on iconic pieces, outstanding designs or precious metal pieces with intrinsic value.  I lost more money on my ”bargains” than all my signature pieces combined.

Even as a percentage, it makes more sense.  If you buy 10 x $100 watches and perhaps four need a service, you are potentially $1600 into a $1000 collection. If you buy one $1000 vintage piece and need a service, you are potentially $1200 into a $1000 watch but this better example also has a better chance of  increasing in value with a good service, time and a healthy vintage market.

The large vintage collection has genuine appeal until you are spending $200/week on service.

I think the safe way to get into vintage is target a specific brand or model, then do your research, follow the market and buy a safe example from a known seller.  Don’t speculate on value.  Buy what you like and will wear.  With more knowledge and experience, you can start to target much nicer and more desirable models with much more confidence and less risk. 

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Davemcc

I started collecting vintage Hamilton in the usual way.  That is to say that I bought tons of inexpensive gold filled models.  I quickly found out that service is a sunk cost that adds no value to basic, inexpensive models.

In addition to @Aurelian’s  suggestions, I humbly suggest to leave the bargains alone and focus on iconic pieces, outstanding designs or precious metal pieces with intrinsic value.  I lost more money on my ”bargains” than all my signature pieces combined.

Even as a percentage, it makes more sense.  If you buy 10 x $100 watches and perhaps four need a service, you are potentially $1600 into a $1000 collection. If you buy one $1000 vintage piece and need a service, you are potentially $1200 into a $1000 watch but this better example also has a better chance of  increasing in value with a good service, time and a healthy vintage market.

The large vintage collection has genuine appeal until you are spending $200/week on service.

I think the safe way to get into vintage is target a specific brand or model, then do your research, follow the market and buy a safe example from a known seller.  Don’t speculate on value.  Buy what you like and will wear.  With more knowledge and experience, you can start to target much nicer and more desirable models with much more confidence and less risk. 

I understand @Davemcc 's point about the bargains, but I still do the "more is more" approach. But, I will add that I have access to lower cost repairs than most. I might start in bargains and work up once you gain confidence. It would really hurt to guess wrong on a vintage Omega, Rolex or JLC.  My best piece is probably my Omega and it has caused me nothing but trouble for the last couple of years.

The best examples of Dave's advice in action are the collections of @WatchYourIntruder and @SimplyVintageWatches . There is nothing to criticize there and so much to admire. I think that @chronotriggered and I are more similar in that we take more risks for lower stakes, although his better pieces are better than mine. You can always try @ChronoGuy 's approach which is to buy every watch. He has brands that I have never heard of in incredible condition.  For that privilege he had to sell his soul down at the crossroads.

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Yes, but really only vintage (or neo-vintage 😀) electronic digital watches. I have a collection of digital watches from the '70s and '80s.

My parents both enjoy watches and are one of the main reasons I am a collector. My dad had some of the early LED and LCD digital watches from Seiko, Citizen, Texas Instruments, Bulova, and Armitron (those are the ones I remember). When I decided to dip my toes into the vintage market, I ran across a Citizen CQ Solar Digital watch from 1977, and it brought to mind my father's small, digital collection from the '70s and '80s. This was my first vintage purchase.

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I removed it from the bracelet and put it on a Vario World Time strap.

If you are going to look at the budget level in vintage collecting, only spend money you would not mind flushing down the toilet. 😂 All watch collecting is somewhat superfluous and spends money that could be better spent elsewhere, but you really need to be willing to throw money away to try to collect budget vintage watches. I have found some real gems for less than $100, but I have also received the equivalent of a transmission packed with sawdust, and when you buy as, you buy as is. 🤣 I have opened more than one unsuccessful dispute (an a couple successful disputes, to be fair) when a watch I received arrived with an unmentioned defect or shot craps within a week of purchase.

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I found this Texas Instruments digital watch from the 1980s for around $50 and it has been working great.

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I really didn't notice it for the longest time, but this Citizen digital watch has one LCD bar out in the one for 10:00, 11:00, and 12:00, and all of the pictures of the watch were taken between 1:00 and 9:59. The watch works great other than that, but I was unaware of the slight defect.

For a long time, I avoided the vintage market and really only purchased new watches. I have purchased some pre-owned or open-box watches, but they were of new or recent models, not watches watches from half a century or more ago. It was only earlier this year that I purchased my first, and I am still hesitant to purchase a vintage analog watch, although I am looking at a couple Seiko 5s.

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Aurelian

I understand @Davemcc 's point about the bargains, but I still do the "more is more" approach. But, I will add that I have access to lower cost repairs than most. I might start in bargains and work up once you gain confidence. It would really hurt to guess wrong on a vintage Omega, Rolex or JLC.  My best piece is probably my Omega and it has caused me nothing but trouble for the last couple of years.

The best examples of Dave's advice in action are the collections of @WatchYourIntruder and @SimplyVintageWatches . There is nothing to criticize there and so much to admire. I think that @chronotriggered and I are more similar in that we take more risks for lower stakes, although his better pieces are better than mine. You can always try @ChronoGuy 's approach which is to buy every watch. He has brands that I have never heard of in incredible condition.  For that privilege he had to sell his soul down at the crossroads.

Yes - I did my deal like in this clip from "Crossroads"...😉

https://youtu.be/wXguZwR7NOE

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Excellent points already made in the previous postings to this thread.

To reiterate some and expand a bit...

  1.  With vintage start low and learn...make inexpensive mistakes because you will make mistakes
  2.  Get to know a good watchmaker, because no matter how good you get you still need one if you are going to try and keep a vintage collection up and running
  3.  Start with simple three handers if you want to collect long-term - if you start with complicated watches like chronographs - you are asking for disappointment very swiftly - that said, once you've gained confidence there are still lots of great deals out there on vintage chronographs - no @Aurelian I have not bought them all (yet).
  4.  Use resources like Ranfft Watches archive - the best source for identifying and learning about vintage watch movements - not only details about the movements, but pictures as well, which aid in verifying that the movement is original and is what it's claimed to be. Here is the link using an example of a 1970s Certina 25-651 automatic movement: http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?11&ranfft&&2uswk&Certina_25_651&
  5.  Search in forums like WatchCrunch and WatchUSeek for postings about vintage brands. Here are several articles I have posted in the past year that might be of interest: 
  6. Dugena: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-dugena-4060
  7. Festina: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-festina-4370 
  8. Favre-Leuba: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-favre-leuba-4665
  9. Titoni: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-titoni-5104
  10. Choisi: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-choisi-5235
  11. Wakmann: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-wakmann-5481
  12. Nivada Grenchen/Croton: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-nivada-grenchen-croton-5583
  13. Pontiac: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-pontiac-5725
  14. Enicar: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-enicar-5918
  15. Lings: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-the-lings-scam-fake-chronograph-watch-8836
  16. Decompression Dive Watches: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-decompression-dive-watches-11932
  17. Caribbean Dive Watches: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/let-s-talk-about-the-caribbean-7053
  18. Vintage Chronographs: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/vintage-chronographs-what-s-your-favorite-period-5767
  19. Omega De Ville: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/the-andrew-grima-omega-de-ville-7106
  20. Budget Vintage: https://www.watchcrunch.com/ChronoGuy/posts/what-vintage-watches-have-you-picked-up-for-less-than-us-100-7189
  21.  Lastly, have fun - if you don't enjoy excavating eBay, Catawiki, and other buying platforms looking for good vintage deals, then find some reliable vintage dealers like Silvia and Sigfrid at www.Watches83.com and you can trust them to sell you a quality vintage watch at a fair price.

Hope this is useful.

N.B. Just remembered one more resource to add - the indispensable and excellent site hosted by Dan Henry: https://www.timeline.watch/

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Q1 yes but I like modern especially retro repros

Q2 because I like the look of them 

  • Q3 now decide what you like and research,now a little tip,look what local resources you've got to help you if you've got a local little shop with an in house watch repair service your onto a winner go and talk to them and find out the costs involved with servicing and repair and budget accordingly,think about finances, like an old car its a beauty but it might need babying and it's going to cost, if you've got a bit of spare cash and want a gamble ( because it is) no problem go for it. They are lovely things ,I've gone down the cheap route and bought 5 from e bay 4 are great ones not but but as they're not expensive peices the one that's not won't be too much of a problem (the local shop is shut till the end of the month but I will go and see him and have it appraised and take it from there). If you go online it's more of a gamble and if they say it's serviced all well and good but ask questions and ask for proof (no seller should take exception to this), I didn't in the case of the not do good watch so lesson learnt. And you could always get into the tinkering and refurbing yourself, get kitted out with some basic gear buy some cheapies to play with and have a go, and of course there's plenty of NOS new old stock out there to look at. Well that's my take on vintage it's a fascinating part to our hobby,many pitfalls but lots of joy to be had,enjoy.
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I am not  a collector, but I own and wear a bit of vintage for two simple reasons. They are sized properly and look more interesting than modern bloated blandness.

Of course I have all kinds of "vintage" things that are just normal use items to me as I'm of the "use it or lose it" school of preservation that has no interest in coddling and tucking things away.

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One more thought to add...I forgot to mention this YouTube channel which is a great resource for you if you are planning to collect vintage watches.

This current episode is particularly relevant...

https://youtu.be/JZa2uzHlh7s

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Aurelian

I understand @Davemcc 's point about the bargains, but I still do the "more is more" approach. But, I will add that I have access to lower cost repairs than most. I might start in bargains and work up once you gain confidence. It would really hurt to guess wrong on a vintage Omega, Rolex or JLC.  My best piece is probably my Omega and it has caused me nothing but trouble for the last couple of years.

The best examples of Dave's advice in action are the collections of @WatchYourIntruder and @SimplyVintageWatches . There is nothing to criticize there and so much to admire. I think that @chronotriggered and I are more similar in that we take more risks for lower stakes, although his better pieces are better than mine. You can always try @ChronoGuy 's approach which is to buy every watch. He has brands that I have never heard of in incredible condition.  For that privilege he had to sell his soul down at the crossroads.

Thank you @Aurelian for the flattering comment 🙏.

Q1: The answer lies within my name 😂. Simply Vintage Watches, meaning, "let's put this bluntly, I'm all about Vintage Watches".

Q2: I use to think that I have an old soul and that that was the reason I got into Vintage Watches. The real reason is that since I was a little boy I have been influenced by cinematic adventures and the thought of discovering something mysterious, special and unique was always a goal of mine...like "treasure hunting". I use to draw up maps and play Indiana Jones ☺️. On top of that, as a kid, I was always a collector of some sort. Figurines, comic books, semi precious stones, rocks, etc...of course, my parents thought that was a healthy way to keep a little boy interested and out of trouble. I guess I'm a sort of failed archeologist 😂.

As an adult I have collected Vintage Star Wars toys, the real deal original Kenner action figures and playsets (1977-1985), vintage Shwinn bicycles, RC hobby grade helicopter Kits where you choose your own electronics built them and fly them 3D style. I guess I have the need of feeling that I am somewhat "ORIGINAL" even if I know I am not 😉.

One day I became friends with a guy that use to work at a pawn shop. He was a fashion watch guy and got me into Nixon wich was a very popular brand at the time. I got a few of those but quickly felt that they we're not really unique. He showed up one day with a few old pocket watches and what I later discovered was a Vintage Bulova Computron. I bought the "lot" of him for maybe $80.00.

The Computron was in very good working order and made me feel like a kid again, like I had striked treasure 😃! From then on I started researching everything I could about Vintage Watches. I trully got hooked!

If you made it this far, remember, I am a failed archeologist 😂 so researching where it all began and discovering truthfull aspects of watchmaking are a must for me. That is why the focus of my collection is mainly "world firsts" and Patents. 

Here is a video of my collection from last year. All the pieces are still in and I have aquired others that are just the right fit for my personal collecting philosophy wich redundantly lies in my "love of wisdom" when it comes to Vintage Watches and on any subject I become interested in for that matter.

https://youtu.be/6MAs22tidXhttps://youtu.be/6MAs22tidX0 

Q3: If Vintage Watches appeal to you, follow that feeling. Fullfill your curiosidy, be an interested individual, be passionate and never ever lazy!