recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

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  1. #1
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    Question recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    My gf is looking for a nice vintage watch for daily relaible use.

    I see a lot of frankensteins on ebay, ie Omega's where they are refinished dials, possibly aftermarket hands and dial markers.

    What brand would you recommend we stick with? she prefers round case, medium mens or ladies size, and will likely put it on new leather. Mechanical wind or auto but prob mechanical.
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    What things would you recommend we look for or stay clear away from?
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    Best,

  2. #2
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    There are hundreds of brands that fit. An American made Hamilton first comes to mind. Select one with a 770 or 982M movement, and you will be getting one of the finest, hand winding watches ever made. There are far more rectangular Hamilton's then round, but they are available, and for far less than a similar quality Swiss watch. Better yet you can get a solid gold watch for the cost of a run of the mill Omega. An idea of price range would help.

  3. #3
    Member Erik_H's Avatar
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    Mid 1950ies Gruen or earlier, fabulous. Also look for Universal Geneve, models that are not associated with a famous name such as Polerouter can still be found reasonably affordable.
    Erik_H
    Member NAWCC Chapter 149

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  5. #4
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    Sorry i forgot...budget max $300.

  6. #5
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    Remeber that any watch you buy, will need a service, unless it's already done by a dealer you can trust. Even then it needs to come with a guarantee. There are some very nice Certina's (except DS series $) in your price range. Some of the top of the line Bulovas, Lord Elgins (730, 750, 770), Zodiacs(except divers $), Chronometer rated Cymas, and list goes on. If you already know a watch maker the options are nearly endless.

  7. #6
    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    Hi -

    The operative phrase is daily reliable use.

    Two basic alternatives here: a vintage watch from a reliable seller who has indeed worked on the watch in question, or finding one less expensively and having it serviced properly by a good watchmaker.

    Given your budget, I'd consider the latter, rather than the former, as having a watch properly cleaned and lubricated, if it does not have any other major problems, will probably take at least 1/3rd of your budget, and if anything needs to be worked on, more. That reduces the amount of money you can spend on the watch itself, but will make sure that your GF will have a righteous, properly working and maintained mechanical watch.

    Which the whole idea, right?

    Now, what does she like to do? Active, sporty, studious, office worker, whatever? That would narrow things down some. If she's active and wants to wear the watch everywhere doing sports, it's gonna be a problem, as vintages tend to need a certain degree of careful handling: they were generally not designed for heavy-duty sports usage. You should look at a watch movement that is shock-protected as well, which limits you to mostly watches after, say, 1937 or so.

    That said: does she need a date? Not that way, does she need a date indicator on the watch dial? Central seconds, as opposed to a sub-dial for seconds? Can she get into winding the watch up every day, or is an automatic more of her thing, where she doesn't need to wind it up every day?

    Of you want a date on the dial, I'd recommend a Gruen from the 1960s, as they can be found fairly easily and there are a lot of them out there for spare parts. If you want great design and extremely high quality, with no date and a sub-dial for the seconds, then by all means almost any Hamilton with a 770 movement in it, one of the best movements ever built in the US.

    It's important that the watch be very, very clean (i.e. in great shape) so that it remains wearable. There are a lot of vintage watches out there, and many are in very, very poor shape: don't consider one, as fixing something up cosmetically is probably more expensive than fixing up a poor performing watch that is otherwise drop-dead gorgeous.

    Skip gold, as current gold prices are punishing. Gold-plated, yes, or rolled gold, but not solid gold.

    JohnF

    PS: and find yourself a good watchmaker! Very, very important to maintaining that watch!
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  8. #7
    Member baronrojo's Avatar
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    My 2 cents...Bulova. I have a few vintage Bulovas and I love them. You can get really nice pieces for around $100...then spend the rest of your budget on getting it serviced. You'll have a nice vintage watch that will run for years and never go out of style.

  9. #8
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    I agree with all of the above recommendations, but would like to add one more...Eterna.

    While not the first automatic watch manufacturers, they gave birth to ETA, which has made millions of movements used by hundreds of brands. This means parts for most of the older movements are plentiful and avaliable. Also, most watchmakers cut their teeth on these movements, so repairs shouldn't be a problem.

    Just bought a older bumper automatic on the 'Bay for under $50.



    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa

  10. #9
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    I picked up a Hamilton Thin-o-Matic.

    It's en route to me and I'll get it inspected.




  11. #10
    Member mrsnak's Avatar
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    Re: recommendations on looking for 1st vintage watch for daily use?

    I've owned a Thin-o-matic - great watch.
    Also second all the great American wrist watch companies, Bulova, Hamilton and Elgin. Also Gruen and Eterna. All of these are good for value and durability.
    I wear my vintages frequently and for most all activities (except sports or auto repair). You'll find most of them easy to get serviced and repaired.
    "My grail showed up today"

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