Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch
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Thread: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

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  1. #1
    Member hayday's Avatar
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    Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    I'm also posting this in the Public Forum.

    I've been bitten by the vintage bug and would like to add one or two to my collection. There are tons of great watches out there I would be happy strapping to my wrist, but I am trying to be selective in order to avoid adding another 15 or 20 dozen watches to the collection. I've scoured many a forum and looked at many a picture to get an idea of what I want, but I'm having difficulty when it comes to finding specific information.

    What I want is a 1970 (birth year) Omega Seamaster, Constellation or De Ville, or a Longines Flagship or Admiral. Preferably, the watch would be white gold or stainless steel (I'm not a big fan of bright yellow gold, but something more subdued would work) and would have a seconds subdial. Below are pictures of what I have in mind, style-wise. Square and rectangular watches are ok, but round is preferred. Also, I'm not married to an Omega or Longines but I've seen enough examples of these to know that I like them. Feel free to recommend models from Tissot, Hamilton or similar makers and models.


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    I've spent countless hours scrolling through pages on Ebay, and most of it has been a waste of time. This is largely due to my not know a damn thing about vintage watches. I know squat about authenticity, how to date the watches, whether the watch has been refurbished/rebuilt with new parts, or whether or not the deal/dealer is shady or honorable. While I would love someone to simply find the me the watch I'm looking for, I realize that this isn't how the game works; it's not very fun, either. What I'm asking for is advice as to where to go to find more and better information. Are there particular books I should read or other websites I should visit? I need help finding info, so please help find the best sources.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

    -hayday
    Last edited by hayday; December 8th, 2013 at 21:54.
    The pessimist says it can't get any worse, while the optimist says it can.

  2. #2
    Zenith Forum Co-moderator
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    Some nice choices there - but as you noted, also some of the most faked, redialled and parts-mixed watches on the market! I am afraid there is no easy way: you will have to learn how to weed out the bad ones yourself (or pay a very hefty premium by buying one from an auction at a very reputable auction house where authenticity is guaranteed). Just sticking around this forum and reading all the posts on "Is this old Omega/Longines real?" for a while will get you quite far along the way.

    Hartmut Richter

  3. #3
    Member bspargo's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by hayday View Post
    While I would love someone to simply find the me the watch I'm looking for, I realize that this isn't how the game works; it's not very fun, either.
    Hi, if you do want someone to find you a piece, there are people who will do this...The Tailored Watch (never used them, no affiliation).
    But my recommendation would be to start with a lesser known brand, which is therefore less likely to be faked. If you like Longines, you can't go past Wittnauer, who basically had an arrangement with longines to use the wittnauer name on their watches for the american market.
    of course you can post examples of watches you are looking at in this forum and get opinions before buying.
    good luck
    Ben.

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  5. #4
    Member hayday's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    The problem is that I see watches like the ones below, and think, "holy s**t, that is gorgeous!" and have to find some way to resist temptation. Fortunately, I know that I know next to nothing about them, and while buying one of these watches would certainly scratch an itch, it would also be a bit of a disappointment.


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    -hayday
    The pessimist says it can't get any worse, while the optimist says it can.

  6. #5
    Member Arcitecht's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    Might help a bit, a great resource for Constellation info: Omega Constellation Collectors

    I've got me a 1970 Omega Constellation. Its called the "C-shape" case, and afaik was the first watch Genta designed with the iconic integrated bracelet setup. I know, giving you more options is probably the last thing you need at the moment, lol!
    hayday likes this.

  7. #6
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    If you're interested in vintage Omega and Longines, head over to Omega Forums.net. Some of the craziest, most knowledge guys about those two brands hang out over there.
    hayday likes this.

  8. #7
    Member john*thomas's Avatar
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    That first Omega looks like it was lettered by hand. The second is small but it looks as bad. An Omega can be a great choice but also be very careful when buying. You'll not find Hamilton's generally that aren't right. They don't seem to be butchered or faked very much. Lower priced than an Omega but still a very nice watch.

    IMO, stick with an automatic. They will IMO hold their value the best. But then again, depending on your budget manual winds can be very affordable. I don't believe Omega offered a sub dial in the year you are looking for though.

  9. #8
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    Re: Need Help Finding a Vintage Watch

    I am not sure--my Longines lore is extremely limited--but I think Longines had given up the seconds subdial in the Flagship by 1970. My Flagship is a bit earlier and it used the caliber 285, which has a central seconds hand. I suspect that a seconds subdial was more rare by 1970 except maybe in more high-end pieces.

    I found Longines in a jewelry store owned by a family friend--not an approach available most of the time. But it demonstrates that not all Longines watches had any Wittnauer markings thought the watch was sold in the U.S. by the Longines-Wittnauer company. Longines watches (and also JLC) sold in the U.S. were cased in the U.S., though. My Flagship is in a Star Watch Case Company case. This was a tariff dodge, but the Star cases are excellent so it doesn't usually really affect value.

    But I've bought a number of vintage brands--Dong Feng, Favre-Leuba, Zodiac--and those are obscure and still quite likely to be marriages, or with garishly repainted dials and corroded movements. I followed Harmut's approach. I became interested in a particular model, and researched it first. I looked at the websites of the vintage watch sales companies, and I studied the pictures in Roland Ranfft's past watch sale archive. I also looked for brushed metal dials--those were more common in those days instead of paint. I spent at least 20 or 30 hours researching the old watches I've bought so that I became comfortable with what those models were supposed to look line.

    Rick "thinking it would be a bit easier if you were five years older" Denney
    Last edited by Rdenney; December 9th, 2013 at 08:34.
    Zenith: Captain Chronograph 03.2110.400*; Cartier: Santos 100 XL Concord: Mariner, C1 Big-Date, C1 v.2 Chronograph; Ebel: Chronosport 1134901, Tekton 9137L83*, Type E 9137C41* (*=COSC)
    Ebel: 1911 BTR 9137L73* and 9139L71*, 1911 1120L41*, 1911 Senior 9080241, Brasilias 9120M41 (2), Aquatica 500 9120K61, Classic Hexagon GMT 9301F61, Classic 100 LE 9120R41; Baume & Mercier: Capeland World-Timer
    Heuer: Carrera 1964 Re-Edition CS3110; Maurice Lacroix: Masterpiece MP6439; "Seagull": 1963 Reissue cal. ST19; Seiko: Black Monster SRP307; Poljot: Sturmanskie cal. 3133; Tissot: T-Touch Lew and Huey: Acciona
    Vintage: JLC: ref. 2953, ca. 1946; Longines: Flagship cal 285; Zodiac: SST cal. 86, Aerospace GMT cal. 72; Favre-Leuba: cal. 253; Tianjin: Dong Feng cal. ST5; Elgin: Gr. 152 (1898), Gr. 384 (1919); Ebel: ca. 1962 ref. 9214955
    WUS: ST5 Project Watches (Black and Blue), F72.2014.DG3804 (Gray and Cream); Swatch: Sistem 51 Blue; TNT: Rattrapante cal. Rochat 7750+RAT-1

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