Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start
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  1. #1
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    Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    Hi

    I was hoping you can give me some guidance. My love for watches started as a child when I would see my father and grandfather's watches. Simple, three hand watches with gold background. Not sure on the brands what they had, but it is similar to the Longines/Omegas from the 60s.

    I see some of these models on the for sale forum, but I have hard time understanding which watch would be a good one to purchase and keep for extended period of time. Would a watch from the 60s, be something that can withstand time?

    What are some of the movements, and brands from that time that made quality watches? Omega, longines? Anybody else?

    Would I be able to find some "jumbo" sizes around 38 mm case or will they all be around 34mm to 36 mm?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    Welcome aboard, Twix!

    You ask some excellent questions and I'll give you my advice.

    I personally love watches from the 60's-- and there are some good deals out there to be had if you're careful and patient. While the price of vintage Omegas has escalated in the last few years, other brands like Longines, Hamilton, Eterna, and Tissot can still be found quite reasonably priced from the period.

    You are probably going to be hard-pressed to find many dress watches at 38mm and above from the period. Most seem to be in the 32-36mm range, but I wouldn't let that put you off, since many of these watches have thin bezels and tend to wear larger than their size indicates.

    My advice is do your research and don't be in a hurry. When you find a prospect, research it. Dig up some pictures of the model or similar and compare. You can always post here and ask for opinions. Watch out for watches that come of places where a large number of frankens and bad refurbs typically come from (India, Indonesia, Korea, etc.). I'm in the U.S., and prefer to purchase from sellers in North America, personally.

    Also, you should probably assume that you will need to have the watch you buy serviced to put it in full, long-term working order, so you should factor that in as well.

    Most of all, have fun with it.

    db
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    Sounds like to me you are looking for a simple sweep second automatic. It's a very wide catagory, to narrow it down a price range might be necessary. As you said, most will be in the 34-38mm size range.

    Girard Perregaux, Zenith, Movado, and LeCoultre may be options depending on price range.

    Mido, Bulova, Hamilton, may be lower price options.

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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    Quote Originally Posted by guy0783 View Post
    Sounds like to me you are looking for a simple sweep second automatic. It's a very wide catagory, to narrow it down a price range might be necessary. As you said, most will be in the 34-38mm size range.

    Girard Perregaux, Zenith, Movado, and LeCoultre may be options depending on price range.

    Mido, Bulova, Hamilton, may be lower price options.
    Price range would be $300-$500

    What I have seen on this forum is vintage Omega's and Longines. Would GP or LeColture would be nice, but I think they may be out of my price range.

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    Ulysse Nardin made some very nice watches that can be found in your price range and fit your description Beware re-dials. Give them a look.

    *edited to remove 'chronometer grade'. Some are marked Ulysse Nardin Chronometer Co. But this doesn't mean they were certified chronometers.
    Last edited by guy0783; February 28th, 2015 at 00:03.

  7. #6
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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    To be honest, the quality of the "Brand" is somewhat less important then the current condition. A basic 15 or 17j Bulova may not sound as good as a 21j Omega, , but if the Bulova was properly cared for and the Omega wasn't, the Bulova will likely run better and last longer. With "big names" like omega or longines, you're paying a premium based on the regard that the current market has for them, not for how good they were back when the watch mas made. The higher-end Bulovas (like the 23 series) sold side-by-side with Omega's and Rolex back in the 60's, and there are any number of brands that catered to the high end market back then that you've never heard of, because they didn't sell themselves out to Swatch and died an inglorious death during the quartz crisis.

    Of course, if you buy and wear such a watch, no one is going to glance at it and say "nice watch".
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    Great advice above.

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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    Quote Originally Posted by AbslomRob View Post
    To be honest, the quality of the "Brand" is somewhat less important then the current condition. A basic 15 or 17j Bulova may not sound as good as a 21j Omega, , but if the Bulova was properly cared for and the Omega wasn't, the Bulova will likely run better and last longer. With "big names" like omega or longines, you're paying a premium based on the regard that the current market has for them, not for how good they were back when the watch mas made. The higher-end Bulovas (like the 23 series) sold side-by-side with Omega's and Rolex back in the 60's, and there are any number of brands that catered to the high end market back then that you've never heard of, because they didn't sell themselves out to Swatch and died an inglorious death during the quartz crisis.

    Of course, if you buy and wear such a watch, no one is going to glance at it and say "nice watch".
    + 1,000,000

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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    Quote Originally Posted by twix68 View Post
    Price range would be $300-$500

    What I have seen on this forum is vintage Omega's and Longines. Would GP or LeColture would be nice, but I think they may be out of my price range.
    You could get some incredible Helbros and Benrus autos in that price range, all serviced and ready to go....along with Bulovas talked about above. Dont be stuck on the name...it can really burn you. You should also consider Elgins and Lord Elgins as well. They had Swiss made quality movements and were very handsome.

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    Re: Want to buy a vintage as a dress watch, but don't know where to start

    This is a fantastic exchange - i think its fascinating how brand perception has evolved .... And how premiums exist based mostly on how the brands are perceived today

    Im not sure how Mido fit on the rankings back then... But if it was james bonds first watch why not!?

    I too went through a period of wanting a vintage 60s watch but I was concerned that I wouldnt have managed to verify the genuine originality of many of the pieces I found on lesser known brand names

    Anyway best of luck on the hunt!


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