Buying Vintage Watches

Thread: Buying Vintage Watches

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  1. #1
    Member cottontop's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Townsend, Tennessee

    Buying Vintage Watches

    I have been collecting vintage hand wind and quartz watches for several years now. A few years ago I sold almost all of them and have recently started collecting again. I really like the Timex "Q" in all of it's many shapes and styles. I collect hand winds of several different makes. Most of them I buy on that famous auction site. Here is what I have found and tell me if you experience similar results. First off I collect the "affordable" ones. Most of the Timex quartz I have bought work well and keep time, and some only need a new battery to keep them running. I do occasionally find one that is a dud and just does not work. The hand wind mechanicals are a little different. Buying them is a crap shoot. Some sellers will cover themselves (or at least try to) by saying that "the watch runs but has not been checked for accuracy," "sold as is," "needs a service and/or cleaning," etc. The ones that look pristine and are a little more costly seem to be better bets as far as running well and keeping time. The ones that are kind of beat up or dirty looking and only cost s few dollars seem to be the ones that have problems, and might not run at all, but not always. I have an older Hamilton that winds up and runs great for well over 24 hours. I also have a beat up old Timex automatic I paid $5.00 for and cleaned it up and polished the crystal with my trusty moto tool and it runs and runs and will not quit. If the collector is going to wear some of his/her watches and actually use them, they would be well advised to have them cleaned and serviced (especially the mechanical ones).
    What to do if you get a bad one or one that is not as described? That's a topic for another thread.
    "What's time to a hog?" Junior Samples

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Essex Uk

    Re: Buying Vintage Watches

    And there in lies the problem Joe ! All the cheap mechanical watches will need servicing and that on the cheap ones ,far exceeds the cost/ value of the watch. Its always a problem selling a not very popular brand vintage watch.

    The only way round this is to start having ago at servicing your own watches. Parts ARE going to be an issue as watchmakers have there own network of contacts, built up over many years.

  3. #3
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Re: Buying Vintage Watches

    I wouldn't go quite that far. Most mechanical watches will cost rather more to service than to buy and you will practically never recuperate the cost of the service if you resell. From that point of view, almost no mechanical watch is worth having serviced. If you choose to use it rather than sell it, however, it is certainly worth having the watch serviced, at least the Swiss lever watches with decent (although mostly generic) movements from e.g. ETA , Adolf Schild, Felsa, Fontainemelon, etc. as long as these are in principle in good condition, working and don't require parts replacement. I bought a ca. 1965 Provita with ETA 2472 for ca. 20 Euros and had it serviced plus crystal replaced for 80 Euros. Where can you buy a good mechanical, fully working watch for 100 Euros these days? Certainly not on the market for new watches!

    Hartmut Richter

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