Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

Thread: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

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  1. #1
    Haf
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    Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Hey folks, this is my first post here, although I don't own any vintage watches.

    I have a few questions for those more knowledgeable than me. At the end of the year I would like to buy a new watch and I thought that I could buy a vintage watch coming from a high end manufacturer like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, JLC or Piaget.
    I checked the prices and it turns out that something like 1500 to 3000+ USD are enough to buy an "affordable" hand wound watch in nice condition.
    Another option would be a Grand Seiko, one of those powered by a 36k bph automatic movement.

    Do you think that buying such a watch would be a good idea as opposed to choosing a modern watch? I intend to wear this piece 3-4 days a week, most of the time it will rest under a shirt with cuffs. I would be pleased with an accuracy of +/- 10-15 seconds per day.

    I am asking this because I don't want to overlook any important aspects of getting into vintage watches.

    :thanks
    Last edited by Haf; August 19th, 2010 at 16:37.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    I would think going with the Swiss high end manufacturer would be better because they tend to have better parts support for their vintage watches. I've read several posts about JLC and support for their vintage watches. Watches particularly high end watches will last several lifetimes so I wouldn't worry about that. The one down side is that if you need parts it would likely need service from an Authorized Dealer which would be expensive. Achieving +/- 10-15 seconds would require getting a chronometer grade watch (most high end watches are) and getting it back into top condition. If you find a lightly used watch it might be still within specifications if not there could be major expense. An accuracy standard of 1:00 to 1:30 minutes a day would be easier to meet. I think with your expectations you absolutely need to deal with a reputable dealer.

  3. #3
    Haf
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Thanks a lot for the info.

    So, I understand that 10-15s per day is not a realistic expectation?

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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    If by "Better support for their vintage watches" you mean they don't return parts, charge massive amounts of money, and refuse to sell parts to independent watchmakers, then yes you're right. ;)

    If you have the money and care that people be able to recognize the brand, then a high-end watch supported by the authorized dealers is certainly easiest. For the rest of us, find a local, friendly watchmaker and give your money to him/her. They can get you into a nice looking and dependable watch, and you'll likely get a story to go with it.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Perfectly realistic for a good quality watch that is in good shape and is maintained.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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    Haf
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    If you have the money and care that people be able to recognize the brand, then a high-end watch supported by the authorized dealers is certainly easiest. For the rest of us, find a local, friendly watchmaker and give your money to him/her. They can get you into a nice looking and dependable watch, and you'll likely get a story to go with it.
    I don't care about how recognizable the watch will be, as I said most of the time it will stay hidden under my shirt and I don't deal with any customers at all.

    There are no large vintage watch dealers in my city, there's only one dealer that started the business 2 years ago or so. The ADs that sell high end stuff like modern watches from the brands I listed here deal only modern timepieces. However, there are some great watchmakers in my country, so this is a reassuring thing.

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    Member JohnF's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Hi -

    Consider this: maintenance.

    What you get when you buy a high-end watch, especially of the provenance you refer to (Patek, A-P, JLC, Paiget, etc) as a vintage is access to a rather different world of watches. These are movements that, while machine-produced, are put together by master watchmakers who ensure that you will get the best performance available, without (much) regard for price. These folks spend a lot of time paying attention to the little things that are otherwise ignored because it costs too much, for instance, to polish the inner faces of gears or machine them, rather than punch them out of thin sheet metal and let the operation of the watch polish the face of the gears for you.

    Given that, you will have to pay attention to maintenance: while this level of watch will not need more maintenance (and could actually need less, given the benign environment you describe), it will need maintenance from someone who both understands what they are doing with such a high-end movement and who has access to parts.

    Patek, for instance, tends to provide parts only for Patek-trained watchmakers; other companies insisting on onerous and difficult procedures for independent watchmakers to get parts at all (any of the Richemont group watchmakers, such as Piaget, V-C, JLC, IWC, etc).

    As a result, maintenance, even though you've paid "only" a few thousand for what once was a watch over $10k, can be very expensive and most of the high-end makers "prefer" that you return the watch to them for maintenance. This can be extremely expensive and very time-consuming (plus the risk of theft within the post system...).

    Hence: factor in the cost of servicing, and when buying the watch, ensure that it was recently serviced (preferably by talking to the watchmaker who did the servicing, if that is possible!) in order to minimize your maintenance expenses. There are few things sadder in the world of high-end watches than a beautiful vintage piece abused by a sloppy and inconsiderate watchmaker who lacks the proper respect for such lovely pieces of workmanship.

    JohnF

    PS: Don't mean to scare you off the idea - far from it! - but rather just to point out an important aspect of high-end vintage watches...
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    Haf
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Thanks a lot for the info John, this is exactly the kind of info I was hoping to obtain here, your in depth explanations shed some new light for me. I was expecting to find out that the maintenance of the watch is also an aspect to take into account, but I think I might have underestimated its importance.

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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    If by "Better support for their vintage watches" you mean they don't return parts, charge massive amounts of money, and refuse to sell parts to independent watchmakers, then yes you're right. ;)

    If you have the money and care that people be able to recognize the brand, then a high-end watch supported by the authorized dealers is certainly easiest. For the rest of us, find a local, friendly watchmaker and give your money to him/her. They can get you into a nice looking and dependable watch, and you'll likely get a story to go with it.
    JonnF explained the Swiss end better then I did. The Japanese will often stop stocking parts and servicing obsolete movements within a few years of stopping production. I don't envy anyone trying to locate parts for an obsolete Japanese watch movement.

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    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage high end watch (AP, PP, VC) as a daily wear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Haf View Post
    Thanks a lot for the info.

    So, I understand that 10-15s per day is not a realistic expectation?
    Most of my vintage (<50 years old) achieve that or near that. However very few equal a modern ETA 2892. There actually has been progress in the past 50 years

    Your problem is not 'is vintage a good alternative'. Your problem is 'of the millions of vintage available, which one???'

    I've always wondered why more people aren't as smart as you. Go for it!

    (I like the photography in your blog! Just a note, links in WUS posts to another site should be non-commercial and should have a link- back to WUS.... but don't worry, I won't tell a moderator )
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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