Are you interested in buying vintage watches?

The vintage watch market is a lot different and more sophisticated than the second-hand watch market. Odds are, you’ll be dealing with sellers that have a bit more knowledge of horology, and thus, are more prepared to give you a sales pitch.

If you’re in the vintage watch game to find something stylish that you can wear every day, you’ll merely want to avoid getting ripped off. If you’re a budding collector, however, you’ll need to do some serious research before making a purchase.

Those interested in vintage watches are very passionate about the history of watchmaking and world-famous watch brands, so you’ll have to learn your stuff. A vintage watch could be a one-of-a-kind piece in your accessories collection and you’ll want to cherish it.

Let’s learn a little bit about vintage timepieces and how to shop for them, shall we?

Tips for Buying Vintage Watches

What qualifies as vintage?

Most vintage timepiece experts would agree that the term “vintage” is anytime before 1990, while the sticklers will say that it’s actually before 1980. Regardless of the age of the watch, you’ve got to be the one to decide if it’s worth the time, effort, and money of trying to obtain it.

With how much luxury watch brands sell their stuff for nowadays, you can get a gorgeous vintage piece for the same price or quite a bit cheaper. You can’t walk into the process blind though.

Preliminary Research

Unfortunately, if you’re not a vintage watch connoisseur, then it might feel like the entire vintage watch market is out to get you. There are loads of fakes out there and you’ll need to be able to separate the fact from the fiction, so to speak.

To educate yourself, use the many resources available to you online. There are lots of vintage watch forums online and specific websites that put a special focus on old timepieces.

It’s also important to make note of common flaws in certain timepieces and what you might want to look closely at when you start visiting shops and speaking to sellers. You don’t want to end up with something that needs a ton of maintenance, though all vintage watches do require regular care.

Choose Your Watch

While you’re doing your research, you should be able to narrow down your search to a few different watches or brands that you’re interested in. Keep close tabs on 5 or so specific models that you would pull the trigger on if given the opportunity and learn all that you can about them.

How much you’re willing to spend on your watch will narrow down your search significantly, as many of the higher end pieces will fetch a pretty penny. It’s not uncommon to see an old Rolex go for somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000.

How to Find a Seller

If you don’t know where to look, it can be kind of confusing trying to find vintage watch dealers. Not all of them are going to be operating in the 21st century with a website and a list of their stock, so you might have to dig deep.

Search online anyways. There will be some vintage watch dealers with websites, like Watches of Wales, selling this product. Others might sell via online marketplaces or at least list their stock on sites like Chrono24.

Get into a daily or weekly routine of checking out their stock so that you don’t miss anything and if you know what you’re looking for, it doesn’t hurt to send out a quick email so that they can keep an eye out for you.

The same watch forums that you use to research and find the watches that you’re interested in will occasionally have people selling on them. This could be one of the better places to get a good deal on a watch, but you’ve got to be careful as well.

Depending on where you are in the world, you might be able to attend a watch fair, where loads of vintage watch collectors and sellers convene to show off and sell their timepieces. This is a great place to go if you’re well-researched and willing to buy a watch on the spot.

Similarly, you could also have a vintage timepiece shop right under your nose wherever you live. Again, these people aren’t always the best at advertising their business, so you’ll have to keep your ear to the ground.

Get Your Hands On It

You should never let someone, especially someone online, talk you into buying a watch without examining it with your own hands. The dangers of buying a watch online are fairly obvious; you can’t get the full story of the watch from a picture.

You’ll want the watch to have all of the original parts. If the hands aren’t original or the lume on the dial’s been replaced, then the resale value should go down significantly. You’ll also want it to have the original finish over a polished finish, even if it’s a little scuffed up.

Talk to Other Experts

Obtain the serial number to find out how old the watch actually is, then go talk to an unbiased expert to see if there are any replacement parts before you make a purchase. If you just want a nice old watch to wear, you might not care about replacement parts, but you will care about the price reduction because of them.

As long as you get the full picture of a watch’s worth, then you can confidently make an offer that you know is fair. If you’re not comfortable paying what the dealer is asking, then let the search continue. There will always be other watches.

Go Back In Time to Find Your Watch

Buying vintage watches can quickly turn into an obsession if you’ve got the spare cash. The more time you spend searching for cool timepieces, the more you’ll learn about the study of horology and the incredible engineering that goes into the pieces. The more you learn, the more watches you’ll want to buy.

For now, use these tips to start your vintage watch search so you can get a good deal on one of these awesome artifacts.

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