Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?
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  1. #1
    Member NoLeftTurn's Avatar
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    Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Hi all,

    My first ever post and I hope I did it in the right place!

    I have been a fan of watches all my life, with my Granny buying me several, cheap, ones as a kid. I then had my own stuff, but nothing too fancy, just a nice cheap everyday time piece. Then somewhere along the road I fell out of watch wearing and I did not have one on my wrist for several years!

    Something clicked with me at Christmas when I moved a new flat I found Ziiiro Aurora behind the wardrobe in my new bed room. Several attempts to track down the previous occupants failed and I now consider it to be my watch, though it is not really my style. The finding of this watch did reignite my interest in my watches tough and I got my others fixed up. I have, in addition to the Ziiiro, Guess flip faced watch on a over sized leather strap, it is about eight years old. TBH at the time I thought it was awesome, but now its a little 2000's nouveau rich feel about it, and having to use two hands to tell the time is just so my fail! I still wear though. My every day watch is a Fossil Big Tic which my friend bought for me in New York in 1996! I loved it as it was several years before Fossil were available in Ireland and it drew many comments. It is showing its age now a little, being a bit rubbed and the glass has some marks, but I still love it. I guess it is the closest to a vintage watch I have, but I'm looking to branch out!

    I recently mentioned to a co-worker that I was interested in getting a vintage watch. He surprised me by bringing me in two Russian watches! One looks to be from the 1990's and the other from the 1950's or 60's. Both are wind up and look pretty good, but have some mechanical problems. Neither run for 24 hours and the older one does not keep time. I'll post pics of them in the Russian forum as I would like some info on them. Anyway, I suspect that it will not be worth my while getting them fixed. If they are gonna cost €100 each I'd rather spend it on getting something real nice that would work better.

    However, I don't really know what to look for! I'm intrested in a nice "entry level" (read, cheap) vintage watch. Being a historian and ex-army I would like something military or military style. I've no idea what to look for though and thought I might just say hi to ye folks and bounce some ideas off ye.

    Ones that caught my eye are the Hamilton Military watch on this page: (I like this first site as he does lay away)
    Men's Vintage Wrist Watches For Sale - GIRARD'S VINTAGE WATCHES - Page 1

    The Romer on this page:
    http://www.girards.com/sell/page2.shtml

    The Swiss Army on this page
    http://www.girards.com/sell/page5.shtml

    The last two watches here:
    http://www.ebay.ie/sch/tomlin2tomlin...&_trksid=p3686

    and this one
    http://www.chrono24.com/en/all/titon...arch/index.htm

    TBH there are a few more, but I think that gives you an idea of the type of thing I'm looking at. Any advise/help would be great!

    Thanks!


    Last edited by NoLeftTurn; April 22nd, 2013 at 16:37.

  2. #2
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Hi there and Welcome!

    your want list certainly has a military style! I guess it depends on what interests you? You can pick up for under £100 CWC military issued watches (battery) from the 80s... or, going a little further back (and up in price), Hamilton's from the 70s (hand wind)... costing around £100-£150 for army 'W10' issue.. RAF will cost more...

    However, if you are merely interested in this style (not bothered if its an issued watch), there are many black dial/lumed hands watches out there!

    Marc
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  3. #3
    Member DragonDan's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Welcome! I too like vintage military watches. You are in the right spot to ask questions, there are quite a few folks here that know what they are talking about.

    I like the looks of that Hamilton, except for the crown. Good luck and post photos of what you come up with!

    ~Daniel
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  5. #4
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    My take on military watches is that one should approach with caution. They are very popular and the exact same movements can often be found much cheaper in civilian watches. That is, there is a premium on "Military" anything, to such an extent that there is a dedicated group of fakers out there doing such things as stripping out movements from civilian watches, recasing them in NOS, surplus, or perhaps even newly made cases, and hawking them as 'WW2'. Thus, if you're really concerned about authenticity, tread carefully! Find the experts and learn all you can, and ask for advice before plunking down serious coin on any watch. But don't ask on a public forum, or you'll alert others to your find!

    Alternatively, if authenticity isn't really that important to you, find something you LIKE, and buy it! There are many watches that are military 'style' - black dial, Arabic numerals, stainless cases - without actually being military, and can often be had for a lot less!
    Don't take life so serious, son. It ain't nohow permanent - Pogo

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  6. #5
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    I agree with whats been said above..

    IF you want an issued watch, I suggest doing lots a research into what you want.... and use forums like this as a resource! Asking questions on here, could end up saving you lots of time and money!

    Some of my military issued watches, that may suit your required style and budget!

    1982 Issued CWC battery watch.



    1981 USAF hamilton




    1973 Hamilton w10




    Cheers,

    Marc
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    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

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  7. #6
    Member NoLeftTurn's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Thanks guys some interesting info here so far!

    I found out in the Russian thread that one of my watches is from the 1950's and may be worth a fix.

    Sparcster- love all three of yours! Most of all the 1973 w10! Are they for sale? Or even in general how much did they cost you? or where did you get them?

    I had a little flutter on this on ebay. I lost but I did not really get involved in the betting. Is this the thing that is too risky, or is it worth it?

    WW2 military/luftwaffe DOGMA wristwatch, 41mm | eBay

  8. #7
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Also like military watches but some of the prices they go for are on the expensive side, you can always pick up military STYLE watches cheaper lots of cheap Russian styles and you can even buy modern military style watches like these MWC Watches. But must admit worth waiting and try to pick up an hamiliton. Be warned vintage watches are great to own but make sure you put some money away for any repairs or servicing needed and have others have said research and more research. Good luck and keep us posted.

  9. #8
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    This is one of the of things to avoid (Just finished on ebay):

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    The political symbol (blanked out as per WUS rules) and the attribution to 'Moskau 1941' is all rubbish designed to make a nice Eterna watch from the 30's or 40's look military and ascribing a significance to it it never had. Also avoid anything from the Ukraine. Military pieces typically sell for double the price of non-military ones so there's a lot of profit to be made from 'militarising' ordinary watches from the same period. Take care.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  10. #9
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    Hi NoLeftTurn,

    First of all, welcome to the vintage watch wonderland...
    My little suggestion for you to start with and i'll try to make it simple;

    1. To lock on some specific targets in order to narrow down your choices. (Seems like you've made it and to start with military sytle)
    2. Your budget. (No need to explain, of course...)
    3. To avoid some common mistakes easily made from the beginning like you just did, for instance the Titoni that you've choosen are redone dial, remember to always stay away with this...
    4. The size. This is an all time easily neglected factor but hence extremely important point. Again, the Hamilton in your list is just 31mm in diameter...
    5. The history. Maybe you can start with a very nice WWII Cyma or Record with WWW engraved at the case back within a reasonable price range about US$500-US$600. Both are in quite good size (Around 37mm in diameter) and reliable manual winding movement. (Just search for WWW military watch on the Bay and you'll find quite alot) And again, the Swiss Army in your list is not a vintage one...

    Lot more issues to mention but let's just stop here, just don't wanna confuse you too much from the beginning...
    Last but not least, try to learn anything about vintage watches little by little day by day, and you'll fell in love with it gradually...
    Good luck.
    jc from HK

  11. #10
    Member at2011's Avatar
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    Re: Looking to get into vintage watches- where to start?

    I agree with #4 above, the size. Most vintage milwatches are on the small side compared to what's in the market today. Most will be in the 30-34mm or the size of a quarter. Good for collecting, not so good for wearing. The A-11s for example, are authentic milwatches sized perfectly for a 5-year old toddler with a 2-inch wrist.

    Sent from my HTC_Amaze_4G using Tapatalk 2
    Last edited by at2011; April 23rd, 2013 at 13:36.

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