Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?
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  1. #1
    Member kit7's Avatar
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    Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Hi I'm fairly new to vintage watches, just wondering what tips experienced members have for buying vintage.
    Do you stick to a rigid budget, only buy one brand, or watches from a particular era or type, eg. military watches ?
    Do you ever buy broken watches in the hope of getting them going?
    How important is condition to you, if you came across a shabby, but otherwise desirable watch would you buy it?
    Do you sell on one as you buy another one?

    Hope that's not too many questions.
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  2. #2
    28A
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    Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Let's see here..

    Do you stick to a rigid budget, only buy one brand, or watches from a particular era or type, eg. military watches ?

    Budget - Preferably cheap, under $350AU if i REALLY want it.
    Brand - Don't care as long as it's not junk.
    Era - I prefer trench / trench "style" watches (i'm not really too bothered by the differentiation here, but i know others are so i added it for lack of arguments sake) so around the 1910's - 1920 at the latest. I also like 60's to 70's divers.. however i'm a bit over paying the initial cost of the watch again to have mechanicals serviced.. so while i've got one 70's diver that needs going over, i'm kinda looking more towards quartz for the time being for any additions. I currently wouldn't mind an 80's Seiko diver, so they are still kind of in the realms of vintage.. but also quartz so it keeps the cost down for me.

    Do you ever buy broken watches in the hope of getting them going?

    Yes. I bought one trench watch that wasn't working, turned out to be a broken main spring. My 70's diver also doesn't run but we think it's gummed up with some crud.. Hopefully anyway. I would also buy a broken quartz, but it's dependant on the movement. I'd love to get a late 80's Tag 1000 diver.. and ETA 955.112 are VERY common so if it wasn't working i wouldn't care about swapping a movement or having my watchmaker fix it. So i guess buying a busted watch depends on the movement condition and if i can reasonably work out what the fault is, or if in the case of my 70's diver with its ETA 2789-1 movement that is also pretty common, sourcing a new movement for it.

    How important is condition to you, if you came across a shabby, but otherwise desirable watch would you buy it?

    Very important. Condition is really dependant on the watch itself. For example, when i come across Tag 1000 divers and they are shabby.. i'm not keen because i know there's tons around and the right one for me will pop up eventually. When i was hunting trench watches i was strictly about finding great examples even though almost every watch is a one off in a way.. you'd rarely see two of them the same. But i skipped tons to find the two i have because they were "just right".

    On the other hand, my 70's diver is a bit shabby.. not too much but just enough to have a nice aged patina to it. You'll likely never come across another or perhaps VERY few.. so i wasn't too fussed that the bezel is faded and has some scratches and stuff. It gives it character.

    Do you sell on one as you buy another one?

    No, i don't have enough money to buy tons and keep swapping and changing them. Especially with old vintage mechanicals you'd end up spending a few hundred buying, a few hundred fixing.. only to sell it and buy another vintage that you then have to spend more on again. I can't be bothered. I just buy the ones that i want and hunt the other few.. and that does me.
    Last edited by 28A; June 2nd, 2015 at 14:10.
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    Nick.

    Divers - June 1977 Seiko 6309-7040 Quartz Hybrid | March 1978 Seiko 7548-700H (Orange Dial) in a 6309-7040 case | February 1972 Seiko 6105-8110 | Seiko 7548 "Tuna" TST | October 1985 Seiko H558-5000 "Arnie" | Scurfa Stainless Steel.

    Chronographs - July 1972 Seiko 6139-6005 (True Pogue).

  3. #3
    Member Wibbs's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit7 View Post
    Do you stick to a rigid budget,
    Yep. 200 euro/dollars/pounds is around my limit. I might go to 3 for something special. The most I've ever spent was on a vintage Heuer, but even there got it for about a third less than they were going for at the time(and half what they go for now), so still a "bargain" in my mind.

    only buy one brand, or watches from a particular era or type, eg. military watches ?
    All of the above I suppose. I have a major soft spot for Longines and they would be the most numerous brand in my collection. Era wise I like times when big changes were happening in watches, so early wristwatches and the electronic/quartz era appeals(and is cheap enough too). I used to look for more military stuff, but prices have risen a lot in the last decade and good examples can be hard to source. I still keep an eye out though.

    Do you ever buy broken watches in the hope of getting them going?
    No. It can start to get expensive. I do sometimes buy broken watches for parts for my working ones.

    How important is condition to you, if you came across a shabby, but otherwise desirable watch would you buy it?
    Pretty important though I usually avoid like new examples as a) they're usually much more expensive and b) I find wearing them a worry as I don't want to be the guy who marks it. I don't mind seeing some patina of the years. Good dials and clean movements are non negotiable though.

    Do you sell on one as you buy another one?
    I have done in the past, but haven't in a good while. If I was operating in the thousands per watch I likely would though.
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Welcome to vintage and a great line of questions.....

    To keep it brief because I could write an essay!!!..My answers to these questions would be completely different over the course of my collecting life.....Hence the collecting perspective changes as you progress and learn and therefore the answers are fluid...
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    So many watches.....so little time.....

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    These questions are often discussed in a various focus. It might be helpful to use the search function to get an idea about the way other think about. Collecting is always invidual and therefore you've collect depending on your personal "fun factor" and budget. Guys who like to screw buys of course broken watches, guys who wants worthy treasures only buy near NOS of known brands, gamblers buy cheap "surprices" (convolutes on flea markets, not opend watches with bad pictures in the bay etc.), people who like a special aera or theme like military watches or a brand buy those. In all cases they are hunters and have fun.

    Usually the best tip for the beginning is. Go on a Flea market or another place were you can touch the watches. Buy quite cheap ones and let your knowledge grow by studie and play with them and of course use the WUS. Only buy watches who "speak to you". You'll never get happy with a exclusive important rare watch you personal dislike. It takes some time and might burn a few bucks but 'm sure you find the way to your watches.

    Personal I love pocket watches and I buy those. There is one brand I'm fascinated and get a little knowledge by the time. Here I buy often terrible scrap just to get more informations. It's a form of a little private puzzle. More a game than collecting nice watches. I also buy other watches mostly out of the art deco aera just because I like them. Here I look after the condition but less on the quality. The other ones are all watches I can give the brand : "Loved by Silke"

    Kind regards
    Last edited by SilkeN; June 2nd, 2015 at 12:52.
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    I envy the novice who is just starting out; with hindsight I could have saved a lot of often-expensive detours...

    One of the main facts for the novice to realize is that many watches - even "name brand" ones, were and still are assembled from proprietary components and assemblies: the availability of proprietary movements from specialist makers, for instance, makes it an attractive proposition for most watch companies to use them: a Brand A watch might have the same movement as a Brand B, and that would not make then functionally at all different.

    While my major focus is on Russian horology, I do have a very minor collection of other types of watches, most of them very inexpensive. I actually find that retaillers' "private label" watches tend to sell for relatively little, and often are of more than decent quality, powered by good proprietary movements; if you actually like to wear watches which are not immediately identifiable by on-lookers, they might be quite enjoyable indeed. In fact I could have made a minor collection of this type and have tremendous fun with them. Here is my latest acquisition of this type: one sold by Bowden & Sons of Plymouth, UK; the firm is still trading after more than a century and a quarter by the same family.

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  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    My budget is very low, as "playing around with watches" as my wife calls it is just a fun little hobby I have, so she won't let me waste too much money on it :( But luckily I prefer fixing up broken ones, so you can usually pick them up cheap anyway, plus you just have to learn to hunt around more for bargins and not be too impatient. So normally I'm limited to £5 for a watch, or I might go a little higher for a brand I recognise as collectable or for something in really good condition, but even then I'm rarely allowed to go above £10.
    Shabby watches can be worth buying, just depends what you mean by shabby? But something like a grubby looking case is easy to clean, and the crystal is usually easy enough to either polish or replace. It's just the dials that are harder to tidy up, so I would usually avoid one with a really shabby looking dial.
    I've just started trying to sell some now, just put my first one up on eBay last night in fact. That's partly to get more money to buy watches I would prefer to keep and partly because I've got too many and starting to run out of space to put them all.
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  9. #8
    Member kit7's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Thanks everyone, lots of good advice so far. I have to admit I have been influenced by Wibbs on another forum. This seems to be a good time of day/night for the Australians to be online.

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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit7 View Post
    I have to admit I have been influenced by Wibbs on another forum.
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    :D
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    Re: Vintage; Do you specialize in one or two brands?

    Quote Originally Posted by kit7 View Post
    Thanks everyone, lots of good advice so far. I have to admit I have been influenced by Wibbs on another forum. This seems to be a good time of day/night for the Australians to be online.
    Actually I am currently in the UK, doing a bit of travelling, and a cool game for Australians called "watch-buying at eBay UK"!

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