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The world of Vintage Watches

Whereas the term vintage is widely used to refer to any watch with more than 20 years since its manufacture, there are certain conditions to be met in order to differentiate these from antique watches. The general agreement for a watch to be considered as an antique watch is one that has at least one-hundred years from its date of manufacture (or estimated date in the absence of a documented register). For the most part pocket watches, these timepieces tend to value themselves depending on several factors such as aesthetics, manufacturer, mechanical conditions and unique characteristics.

On the other hand, the vintage watches have a broader spectrum of possibilities that create categories and even subcategories depending on the characteristics of the watch and its historical background. To mention a few: off-catalogue models, NOS (new-old stock), last series, limited series and models before important historical events (i.e. 1968’s landing on the moon for Speedmaster models). There are also a very special category known as “rare” which covers all those timepieces that belong to very limited production or with elements that are only found is very specific production series. All these variations in the world of vintage watches open a hole universe filled with interesting facts and history as well as to prove the evolution of mankind and its perception of the concept of time.

The perception of time throughout the history of watchmaking.

From the beginnings of humankind in the search of a criteria to measure time to the current concept we have about hours and minutes is an understatement to say that there has been an evolution. Many centuries have passed and many civilizations have experimented and developed instruments and ways of measurement. However, the possibility to have a portable gadget capable of providing a precise reading of the time, opened up a hole new chapter that would set the grounds on how we would know these days one of the oldest trades in the world: watchmaking.

Haute Horlogerie Icons

There are few brands that have achieved to provide with iconic fine-watchmaking timepieces to the historic heritage of this ancient profession. Such kind of watches are known in the world of vintage collecting as the “holy grails” and are highly sought-after models for enthusiasts and connoisseurs. Rolex, Sieko, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Patek Phillipe, Vacheron Constantin or Blancpain (to mention a few), are the leading manufacturers that due to its longest tradition in the fine watchmaking industry appeal the most to refined collectors.

Did you know that…?

  • Patek Phillipe is actually the leading manufacturer that holds the record in auction for a pocket watch: the Henry Graves Supercomplication (1932) hammered in 2014 for 23.983 Million USD. When it comes to vintage wrist watches, Rolex still holds the record with its Rolex Paul Newman Daytona Ref.6239 auctioned in 2017 for 17.753 Million USD.

Some examples of these iconic timepieces in the vintage world and that you can browse through in our vintage watches selection catalogue are:

  • Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Zenith Ref.16520
  • Rolex Submariner Ref. 5508 (James Bond)
  • Rolex GMT Master Ref. 1675
  • Rolex Day-Date Ref.1803
  • Blancpain Fifty Fathoms (first series)
  • Tudor Submariner Ref. 7922
  • Movado Militar Chronograph Ref.19038
  • Heuer Autavia
  • Omega Speedmaster (Pre-moon)

But, are all vintage watches appealing to the collector’s eye? Unfortunately, no. While there are vintage watches in perfect state of condition and from renowned haute horlogerie manufacturers, the truth is that only a handful of models manage to catch the attention of collectors and connoisseurs willing to pay large sums of money just to include them in their private select collection. However, there is a rather modest and rapidly growing market that, either for nostalgia or to get started in the vintage collecting, seeks for special timepieces with an historic background or any specific characteristic that would add value to less sought-after models.

Where to sell my vintage watch?

Are you interested on selling your vintage watch? Only professionals can give you the best assessment in safe conditions. Our vintage watch specialist has over 20-years of experience assessing special watches. Get the most out of your vintage watch and a tailored service. Visit our Sell Vintage section for more details on our process.

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