Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage
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  1. #1
    Member JBowen's Avatar
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    Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Hey guys,

    So I am in the market for a new dress watch, and I would love to buy my first vintage to fill this void. Theres just something about a vintage dress watch that is far more interesting than a new one. But you already know that

    I prefer the look of a stick dial, ala vintage Omegas, but Im not completely opposed to numbers either, what I am really after though is a vintage with sub seconds. I love the look of a dial with small seconds, but am having trouble finding a vintage that I really like with it.

    I'd like the movement to be sturdy and reliable, something that is a proven workhorse. Obviously this is VERY subjective in the vintage world, but at least a point in the right direction.

    Prefer a white dial, steel case combo, but again I am open. Also I would prefer something 36mm or bigger, but I know that is tough.

    I would like to find something in the $500 neighborhood

    This list is only to give you an idea of my tastes and what I'm looking for, it is by no means exclusive, so suggest away

    Thank You

  2. #2
    Member Emre's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    1960s timepieces would fit your taste.Mind also that servicing might be needed once you get it so that's something count on $$. An important point of owning vintage watches is to have access to a competent watchmaker/service center.Most movements from that era are easy to service though.
    The brand recognition back then wasn't the same as now, there are many makers which you could consider. First comes in my mind: Eterna, Enicar, Longines, Omega, Glycine, Roamer....

    Sub-seconds are more popular in '40s and '50s timepieces,'60s mass trend was center seconds and larger case diameter than '50s, and still round case-shapes in comparison with the '70s. IMO the '60s is the pure and chic watches era.Post your candidates here,members will be happy to share their experience and opinion on the condition of the watch.Happy hunting...

  3. #3
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by JBowen View Post
    Hey guys,

    So I am in the market for a new dress watch, and I would love to buy my first vintage to fill this void. Theres just something about a vintage dress watch that is far more interesting than a new one. But you already know that

    I prefer the look of a stick dial, ala vintage Omegas, but Im not completely opposed to numbers either, what I am really after though is a vintage with sub seconds. I love the look of a dial with small seconds, but am having trouble finding a vintage that I really like with it.

    I'd like the movement to be sturdy and reliable, something that is a proven workhorse. Obviously this is VERY subjective in the vintage world, but at least a point in the right direction.

    Prefer a white dial, steel case combo, but again I am open. Also I would prefer something 36mm or bigger, but I know that is tough.

    I would like to find something in the $500 neighborhood

    This list is only to give you an idea of my tastes and what I'm looking for, it is by no means exclusive, so suggest away

    Thank You
    I don't have a watch to recommend or even suggest other than the obvious ones -- Omega, Hamilton, Gruen, etc. -- that you can find on Chrono24, James Edition, and other vintage watch selling sites. I am only replying because I made a post somewhat recently that you might find helpful in general if you are new to vintage watches or new to vintage dress watches. If you aren't new to vintage pieces in general, sorry to take up space in your thread.

    The post I made is here: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f11/%24...1457202-3.html . The bit I thought you might find helpful will be found in the fourth group of bullet points, which is close to the end of the post.

    I also discussed vintage Hamilton watches here: https://forums.watchuseek.com/f2/hami...l#post12524617 . That post too has several good links to sites that contain not only info and vintage Hamilton watches for sale, but also other makes of vintage watch.

    All the best.
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  5. #4
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    I will suggest what I always suggest when these questions come up...

    I would call or go to your local independent watchmaker. Many watchmakers have a selection of vintage watches serviced and ready to go. This has the advantage of letting you look over the watches in person.
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  6. #5
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    If it has to be a watch with a proven "workhorse" movement, and you don't mind if it is an ebauche or in-house movement, then you might want to have a look at vintage Doxa watches. They usually have ETA movements- rugged, reliable, and the parts are easily available. My other suggestion would be Tissot- late 1940s or early to mid-1950s Antimagnetique models, with variations of the Tissot calibre 27- if you want sub-seconds, the 27-3 would be just perfect. Now, why do I suggest these? Because these brands had a few oversized (at least back in the day they were oversized) models- there are 36, 37 and 38mm sized Tissots out there. And the vast majority of watches back then was sized 32-35mm.
    If you want a watch from a brand of a higher tier, then maybe a 1950s Zenith... A sub-second Zenith with a cal.40 I would never call a bad choice. A 1950s Omega or Longines would do as a dress watch as well, in my honest opinion.
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    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Best advice I can give in light of above is to read and look at EVERYTHING!
    Find a style you like from a maker that appeals through something like google image search (for me it was Omega, and I started upside-down so to speak, starting with a constellation!) and start a list, then shorten that list until you get to 3 or 5 or so models you like and go see some, or take a punt from an online seller(although I'm NOT recommending that option!)
    Very best of luck and keep us posted
    B
    specto magis

  8. #7
    Member Sdasurrey's Avatar
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    Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Are you set on SS ? Possibly because of the budget objective - I personally see gold vintage everything else the same as dressier - here's an example, mid 50s Eberhard bumper auto, 18ct solid gold, white dial, about 35 mm so a little below your size objective, the one rub with this specific watch is it's redialed - also centre seconds not sub seconds. But it's not that much above your suggested budget, maybe about $800 total. Good luck, Scott



    Here's another example of what to me is quite dressy - this is a 'no name' vintage watch I picked up for not much more than $500 - also 18 ct solid gold, somewhat below your size objectives but super thin for a probably late 50s watch - simplest straight forward dial you could find with what I think is nice wrist presence - no seconds at all, so sometimes simplicity = elegance, think more modern Movado 'simple'. Cheers..

    .

    Ok one more example - I'm showing pics to see if that helps you - to also get my vintage cards on the table, I stay short of December 31, 1959 - ie I think trench to Art Deco to chronos are the vintage style I like and collect and after that I'm less interested style-wise - but the beauty of the regulars here on this forum is the diversity !

    This to me is dressy - this is one of my favourite watches I wear with suits - like this pic - so certainly dressy from my pov - mid 30s Eberhard 18ct gold 39 mm chrono - I absolutely prefer simpler dials but this is an example of a watch as mentioned I wear primarily with suits. But this is well above your cost objective - one of the only rules here, is 'to each his own' on style, collecting whatever....cheers.....again...



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    Last edited by Sdasurrey; February 11th, 2015 at 09:40.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Quote Originally Posted by JBowen View Post
    Hey guys,

    So I am in the market for a new dress watch, and I would love to buy my first vintage to fill this void. Theres just something about a vintage dress watch that is far more interesting than a new one. But you already know that

    I prefer the look of a stick dial, ala vintage Omegas, but Im not completely opposed to numbers either, what I am really after though is a vintage with sub seconds. I love the look of a dial with small seconds, but am having trouble finding a vintage that I really like with it.

    I'd like the movement to be sturdy and reliable, something that is a proven workhorse. Obviously this is VERY subjective in the vintage world, but at least a point in the right direction.

    Prefer a white dial, steel case combo, but again I am open. Also I would prefer something 36mm or bigger, but I know that is tough.

    I would like to find something in the $500 neighborhood

    This list is only to give you an idea of my tastes and what I'm looking for, it is by no means exclusive, so suggest away

    Thank You
    What country are you it? Where you are makes a big difference in what to recommend. Do you mind hand wind or want an auto? OR if you want something more exotic like a Bulova Accutron? The one pictured below is on one of my wide leather bands but it looked classy on a dark brown strap as well.

    As for where to get it; be prepared to over pay by 300% if you buy from a retail jeweler. There is an advantage of being able to actually touch what you are buying and maybe some sort of warranty but, to me, if there is no warranty, retail is the wrong way to go. If you look through eBay and find a vendor with a lot of transactions and good feedback AND offers returns up and over the MBG that eBay offers then you will be fine. I have bought hundreds of vintage watches on eBay and have had incredible luck at awesome prices.
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    Good Luck!

  10. #9
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Here are some ideas from what I have. The first is a 47 Elgin....handsome and classic Art Deco:
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    Then a late 30s Helbros and a 40s Benrus.....again, small and classy and something different that 99% of people will be wearing.
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    Here is a Helbros Auto from the early 60's slim and elegant..(nest to my sweet but beat Elgin auto)
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    And finally, if you really want to be different, this is a 1929 Elgin that I have always loved. It proudly shows it's era.......
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  11. #10
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    Re: Wanting a vintage dress watch - First time buying vintage

    Sorry for the possible hijack, but I'm in a similar situation where (thanks to WUS) I am suddenly interested in the idea of owning a vintage mechanical. But I really don't know what hidden pitfalls I should be watching for, beyond the obvious.

    For example, I came across this baby and LOVE the look:


    Nice Vintage Mens Elgin Shockmaster Automatic Wrist Watch 17J Self Winding 643 | eBay

    But it is very cheap ($150) and the seller says some not-so-great things about it: +/- 2 min/day, not 100% original, no guarantees, get it serviced.

    At this price, the accuracy and originality don't matter to me. But could this thing end up costing me hundreds of dollars more just to keep it running? If I wear it just a few times a year and don't leave it on a winder, will that accelerate or delay the need for maintenance?

    Sorry for the newbie Q's. Feel free to redirect me to a sticky/website with relevant 101.

    --DC guy
    Last edited by DC guy; February 12th, 2015 at 16:59.

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