What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?
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  1. #1
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    What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Hi guys.

    I want to visit some antique shops around the city to find a good vintage watch. I don't know a lot about watches, so please go easy.

    This forum was the first place I even heard about Omega and Patek. My parents loved Seiko, and has always bought Seikos. I want to be a bit different and get a good vintage with quality. Being an avid user of reddit.com, I've come across their "thrift store guide" which lists the higher brands that I should look for if I'm getting anything used, just because the brand is trustworthy and synonymous with quality.

    I've come across a couple of Longines for cheap at the auction I was attending, but I knew nil about them, so I didn't even budge. So I'm requesting some inputs to create a list I could follow myself. Right now, I'm only looking out for Omega, Hamilton or Mido watches. What are some big names easily found in a vintage collection?

  2. #2
    Member Seele's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Welcome to this mad indulgence!

    What I can see is a typical situation facing the novice: not knowing what one sees. There are several ways to look at it:

    First of all, by nature you would never know what you would find at an antique shop, or collectors fair, etc. There might be some fine pieces by the great constructors at good prices but if you do not know you might have pass them up. One way to do it is to concentrate on a few marques, learn as much about them as possible, and simply ignore the others even if they are good; this is the specialist approach, where the saying "you won't miss what you don't know" applies.

    There is also the generalist approach, where you make yourself familiar with a wide range of good marques; those you do not know might not be of enough merits to justify your monetary investment. It goes without saying that between these two logical extremes is a huge grey area, and I feel that most vintage collectors are somewhere within this scale.

    Taking myself as example: my specialist interest in Russian watches, but still familiar with a fair number of the good brands outside Russia. Occasionally I find an interesting Swiss (or whatever) watch that I believe is worth my $2 - or $20 so I have no hesitation in getting it.

    A thought, if you may: there is no such thing as an exhaustive list, and even if it exist and you remember it off by heart you will still get some duds, and miss out on other great pieces. What I say sometimes is that you need to develop a degree of connoisseurship, where you can more or less figure out the merits of a totally unfamiliar piece. It will come in time, if you have a chance to see enough of them; checking eBay listing is a good start to get the raw materials to develop the "seeing eye". But please do not be in a hurry to acquire, and for now, resist the temptation to over-spend; I know of many experienced collectors getting costly duds. The main thing is: enjoy the journey!

  3. #3
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Glad to read that you are interested in vintage watches, a price guide would help as you probably know omegas can start $200 and up. I could say a really good omega would be a Connie, but then for more money I could say a omega speedmaster pro classic look but still looks modern with a fantastic movement. Some great buys would be vintage tis sot some on here could provide more info which ones to look out for, but some people on here say they were just as good as omegas and some say better then omega. Some really good buys are roamers never even looked or heard of a Roamer watch till I came on here. People on here are very helpful so if you see something that takes your fancy post here and get the info first for the good points and bad points.

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  5. #4
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Hi There

    Seele makes some very good points.... and at the end of the day... it comes down to research, experience and time!

    Some names you may want to look out for (along with the ones you have, inc Longines) are:

    Buren,
    Cyma,
    Eterna,
    Elgin,
    Gruen,
    Roamer,
    Tissot,
    Universal,
    Waltham,
    Zenith,

    Thats a few to get you started... but its only scratching the surface! You may be lucky and find a Pakek or Rolex going cheap.... but i doubt it! For every one bargain watch, there are a 1000 watch nuts trying to snap it up (I may have made up that stat!!)


    A warning.... most of the watches above are good quality, that command good prices.... as a result, there are copies, fakes, frankiens out there..... So if you have any doubts... do some more research or ask on here for some advice first!!!... As you may think you are getting a bargain... but in fact, its a dud!

    Good luck!

    Marc
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  6. #5
    Member baronrojo's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparcster View Post

    Some names you may want to look out for (along with the ones you have, inc Longines) are:

    Buren,
    Cyma,
    Eterna,
    Elgin,
    Gruen,
    Roamer,
    Tissot,
    Universal,
    Waltham,
    Zenith,
    For a second I thought it was a grocery list...might as well add "milk and eggs" to it and go shopping.

  7. #6
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparcster View Post
    ... For every one bargain watch, there are a 1000 watch nuts trying to snap it up (I may have made up that stat!!)
    "88.2% of Statistics are made up on the spot" - Vic Reeves.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)


    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  8. #7
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    +Certina
    +Enicar

    The brands in Sparcster's list are manufacturers who 'usually' made their own movements. This in the eyes of many is a considerable plus. Of course such a brand name is not guarantee of an inhouse movement - for example, Later Swiss Walthams and Elgins etc. You need to do a little research on dates and styles if this aspect is of interest to you.

    * Edited.
    Last edited by trim; December 8th, 2011 at 14:41.

  9. #8
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post

    The majority of movements in Marrick's list
    Im happy to be mistaken for Marrick.... but the 'top cat' may not be so happy.....


    I thought all on the list manufactured atleast 1 of their own 'in-house' movements......



    Marc
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

  10. #9
    Member trim's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparcster View Post
    ...
    Marc
    Sorry, posting/reading things on this tiny little phone is hard! I have fixed the original post - hopefully no significant bruising occurred.

  11. #10
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: What brand of vintage watches should I look for when I'm at the antique shop?

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    Sorry, posting/reading things on this tiny little phone is hard! I have fixed the original post - hopefully no significant bruising occurred.
    I can always forgive you Trim!
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

    Twitter: quickpicmarc

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