Why Buy a Vintage Watch?
There are so many reasons you should buy a vintage timepiece instead of a new one. Elegance, sustainability, the story behind every timepiece, these are just a few things to consider. With so many options nowadays, knowing why, where, and what to buy is a challenge. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the best 10 reasons why you should consider buying a vintage watch.
VintageRadar is a great place to find vintage watches for both men and women. With thousands of vintage timepieces, we have transformed our passion into a sustainable business. With a few years of watch restoration experience and thousands of watches in our collection, we are excited you to let you in on a few tips about buying vintage watches.
Before we dive into our list, a couple of questions you need to consider:
Is it safe to buy a vintage watch online?
As long as you buy the seller and not the watch, you should be fine and safe with getting a great working and authentic timepiece. Doing a little bit of research beforehand always helps.
With the growth of Internet shopping trends, it was only natural that more and more businesses would move online. This led to the appearance of many online platforms that support both certified and independent sellers, such as eBay, Etsy & Chrono24. These allow watch sellers and buyers the necessary infrastructure to carry out negotiations and transactions, in a somewhat safe environment. But vintage watches can be found on many other platforms!
Can you trust the other small watch shops?
Tiny vintage watch businesses are also taking a bite at the market. With the help of platforms that facilitate website-building, such as Shopify, Wordpress, Wix and so many others, there are quite a few watch sellers out there that have created their own online stores, which is a great thing. Buying directly from a vintage watch seller might get you a better price, discount, and also the chance to build a long-lasting relationship with a watch shop, watchmaker, or other watch fans.
Looking through their website, brand, photos, blog posts, social media channels, and feedback will tell you a lot. When a website/ online watch store looks very poorly made or something looks off you might be safer to stay away.
You can also ask as many questions as you want about the watch. If the seller/ sales team replies to you with all the details and photos you requested, it means you might be in the right place.
Now without any further ado, let's discover together the best 10 reasons why you should buy a vintage watch.
1. Responsible Shopping
There is no secret that capitalism has its downfalls and the world seems to have more than it actually needs. Watchmaking has been around for hundreds of years and now we have more active watch brands than ever before in history, most of which design mass-produced watches that bring nothing new to the table.
What kind of watch you choose to opt for remains entirely up to you. But we want to introduce to you the idea of wearing a watch that has been worn before (a second-hand/ used watch) or even one that has been ticking for more than 20 years (a vintage watch). This is a great way to balance new watch production. If you are someone who loves watches or likes to have many pieces in their personal collection, tens of watches can be revived for this purpose, many of which can even look brand new.
This is also the main reason why we decided to create VintageRadar. We already had a collection of used, vintage or antique watches and we decided to bring them back to the market. Ever since we started, we have acquired and restored many more vintage pieces. We test them one by one, clean them, add a new watch strap if needed, and find them a new owner that can further use the timepiece.
This solution does not apply only for watches, but for so many other things as well.
You can see that all major brands have not changed that much and you can still get basically the same model, or vintage watch models that are similar in design with newer ones. The differences are sometimes hard to notice. And even if you notice them, we love having a piece that tells a story around our wrist. Don't you?
2. History - each watch has a story behind it
Each vintage timepiece unveils a story about the watch brand, the person who wore it, or simply the passing of time.
Many watch brands such as Elgin, Gruen, Ingersoll, Molnija, Smiths, Waltham, Wittnauer, Jules Jurgensen & others did not survive the quartz crisis, in which a lot of American, Swiss, German, French and Russian watch brands did not adapt and wanted to continue producing mechanical watches. These brands made beautiful and innovative mechanical watches that stood the test of time for more than 100 years in some cases. One can only imagine the stories these watches came to witness.
How many owners did such a watch have, how many times has it been gifted to someone else, and how many fathers passed them on to their sons or daughters? These are very intriguing questions that add up to the value and meaning of certain watches.
Many of the dials, cases, watch straps, or even movements also tell a story. Maybe a watch has been well-preserved while others may have rust, a dent or patina on them, maybe one suffered an immersion into water or fire, who knows?
These are questions that might be answered by looking at the watch or maybe the story was passed along generations with each owner adding something more to it. Have you ever thought about these questions when buying a vintage watch or vintage item?
3 Unique Style - Nobody will have the same watch as you
Keeping up with fashion trends can sometimes be too much for many of us and that is why having a timeless watch will save you a lot of hustle and also get you a lot of attention. When you walk into the room wearing something elegant such as a suit and wear a vintage Seiko Pepsi Chronograph automatic watch you will surely make an impression.
4. Support Watchmakers & Watchmaking
The history of watches began in 16th century Europe, where watches evolved from portable spring-driven clocks, which first appeared in the 15th century. This art form has been passed on from generation to generation and even the biggest brands in history such as Patek Philippe still use machinery, techniques, and watch parts that have remained the same for hundreds of years.
Modern young watchmaker
We still use small screws, tweezers, and a simple loupe to handle the major parts of the watch. Watchmakers have improved a lot of machinery to deliver better product quality, but most high-quality watch companies still assemble and make parts by hand.
A vintage watch will need regular servicing in order to keep accurate time and this is where the relationship between you and a watchmaker begins. We consider watchmaking to be an art form as it requires a lot of patience, skill, and devotion to this craft.
As long as true watch collectors and watch fans stay active, watchmaking will be kept alive and the craftsmanship will never be lost. You are a direct contributor to the perpetuity of this profession.
5. Price - You might get a great deal on vintage watches (or not?)
Hunting for vintage timepieces might be very rewarding as you might find rare watches in the most unsuspected places for a fraction of their actual prices. It takes a little bit of searching and a lot of patience to get the best deal! While it is a common belief that vintage watches cost less than new ones and in most cases that is true, please keep in mind that many brands have kept their value along the years or even increased tremendously.
One great example is the Paul Newman Rolex Daytona that sold at an auction for $17,752,500.
Once again, this is a great example of how much value the story brings to the actual watch.
6. Return on investment
Many people like to invest in the stock market and wait for it to grow. Buying rare timepieces might have the same benefits. A vintage watch can grow in value as the years go by.
As shown in the previous paragraphs some vintage watches can exceed millions if they were made in limited production or someone famous has owned them at a given point in time.
Smaller brands such as Doxa, Longines, Certina, Elgin, Glashutte & Hamilton have acquired a lot of value over the years, for example. If you invest in one of their vintage watches now, you might sell it later for an even larger amount.
If you want to sell your vintage watch at a certain point down the road, or simply want to be sure that it grows in value, look for established brands and limited-release watches. The more years pass, the fewer models will be left and that will add to the novelty factor.
7. Plenty of time to decide
Living in the fast-paced Internet era means shopping has become such an impulsive and easy decision that people often regret what they've just purchased. This also happens when buying a watch. There is a sense of urgency that makes us buy on impulse, like limited-time discounts that make us rush into a purchase.
With so many watches produced in the last 100 years, you have nothing but time to think about your decision, do the research, talk to the seller/ shop, and make the right call.
8. Diversity & Options - So many models to choose from
If you love a watch brand that has been around for many years, this often means you have hundreds of models to choose from. It can either be different models, or variations of the same model. You may like a blue dial or a black dial.
One of our favorite watch brands is Swatch for so many reasons. They revived the Swiss watch industry when everybody else thought it was over, have taken watch marketing to the next level and designed thousands of incredible models. If you are interested to find more about them check our article about the story of the Swatch brand here.
The vintage watch world comes with hundreds and hundreds of watch models from so many exciting watch brands. You have a choice not only in terms of design, but also when it comes to movement, features, and the purpose of the watch. From elegant vintage designs to playful watches or military divers, the vintage watch market comes with choices for every taste.
9. The fun of hunting something vintage
If you came across this article it means that you love vintage stuff, or this might be just the beginning of your vintage adventure. Many of us have watched Storage Wars, where people would dig through thousands of vintage and unusual things and find gold in the end. Or maybe you like to go to flea markets and find some incredible treasures. One thing is for sure, we all love finding a small treasure in a pile of junk.
If you're brave enough to hunt down watches at flea markets, we highly recommend the experience. If you're a first-timer, don't spend a lot of money on a watch. Start off small, check out your watch at home, clean it, and make sure it works and learn from the experience.
Always take your time to look around, ask questions, and work on a great deal. Explore the right styles for you, and practice the art of negotiating. You'll be surprised at the price offer you might be able to obtain.
10. Sizing - Watches made for tiny wrists
I am pretty sure that some of our readers do not like this new trend of big bulky watches that has been going on for some years now. Vintage watches used to be more classy and men could wear a 34-38 mm watch without worries. Nowadays, some brands don't even produce dials with a diameter smaller than 36 mm, even for women, which can be challenging for a lot of people.
If you have small wrists, vintage watches will appeal to you for sure! You can look at vintage watches from brands such as Cartier, Bulova, Omega, Zentra, Seiko, Citizen, Slava, Alpina & more.
Vintage Cartier Tank Watch
If you think the Cartier Tank is too small for men's wrists let us show you a photo of Muhammad Ali wearing it. If one of the biggest boxers of all time who was 1,91m tall could wear it, there is nothing more to say.
I believe that many of us will fall in love with vintage watches thanks to their timeless elegance, and to the fact that they come with regular dial sizes. This can add an extra touch of refinement to the watch, and it makes the timepiece look particularly beautiful on the wrist when it comes to elegant events or office wear.
These were our best 10 reasons why you should buy a vintage watch. What do you think guys? Do you agree with our list? Do you enjoy buying vintage watches? Let us know in a comment below!
Choosing a watch with Vintage Radar
Some of our Rare Vintage Timepieces
As an inspiration of what vintage watches you can find on the market, we're showcasing some of the rarest pieces in our collection.