What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch
Like Tree18Likes

Thread: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 22
  1. #1
    Member Valksing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    147

    What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Dear all,

    I was browsing the net and found this very affordable dresswatch from the 1940's ($30).

    Case looks to be in decent shape, with only minor marks of aging 70 years. The movement looks to be a bit rough, although I'm not sure what to look out for when looking at movements.

    This is where I might need your help. The advertisement states the watch is in running order, but I don't know if this is a safe buy, or if it might break after a week. Can anyone tell if something appears off about this movement? I personally see what looks like two empty screw holes for perhaps the movement clamps? Anything else to look out for? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Name:  vwatch.JPG
Views: 47
Size:  68.0 KB

    Thank you!
    "Normally I get my stuff from dealers"

    Here's a classic: https://youtu.be/aCPRfA6W00k

    I'll buy anything made by Ford honestly

  2. #2
    Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    430

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    I think the biggest thing to ask is it just running or has it been serviced and is running as it should? My guess from the photo is that it has not been serviced and you should expect it to stop running, not because it is broken, but because it is necessary to service vintage watches, especially if they have been sitting about for years of decades.
    If it hasn't been serviced, the fact that it is running is a great sign but be sure to factor in the cost of a service into your purchase price.

  3. #3
    Member Valksing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    147

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Quote Originally Posted by MoreWatches View Post
    I think the biggest thing to ask is it just running or has it been serviced and is running as it should? My guess from the photo is that it has not been serviced and you should expect it to stop running, not because it is broken, but because it is necessary to service vintage watches, especially if they have been sitting about for years of decades.
    If it hasn't been serviced, the fact that it is running is a great sign but be sure to factor in the cost of a service into your purchase price.
    Thank you for the useful information!

    The decription states it is 'running nicely', and also that it has been tested for accuracy which is +/- 20 seconds per day. Definitely no chronometre but hey it's a vintage watch

    I will follow up with the seller to be sure when the last service was.
    "Normally I get my stuff from dealers"

    Here's a classic: https://youtu.be/aCPRfA6W00k

    I'll buy anything made by Ford honestly

  4. Remove Advertisements
    WatchUSeek.com
    Advertisements
     

  5. #4
    Member odd_and_vintage_fan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Location
    PA, USA
    Posts
    2,098

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    From the anecdotes on here, sometimes a seller's "serviced" means they put a drop of oil on all of the pivots on the side of the movement that's showing. Any watch I've sent off with surface rust and grime came back without rust and grime. I can see some rust and grime on that one, so I'd be suspicious and send it out to a trusted watchmaker anyway.

    Agree with MoreWatches that the fact it's running at all means there's a good chance of it being in good shape after a service.

  6. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Location
    ABQ
    Posts
    94
    As long as it's running I'll take a chance.

    I gladly spent $250 in service on two $45 watches that spoke to me.

    +- 2 minutes a day!
    Old_Tractor likes this.

  7. #6
    Member Shum's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Sweden
    Posts
    3,520

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    For $30 you will not get a serviced watch and wearing a watch like that will only ruin it. There are people like me that fix old watches and sell them for ca $100 and up so that is the price point you should consider.

    Name:  0007.jpg
Views: 41
Size:  353.3 KB
    This was the latest I fixed up for myself.

    The watch I'm working on right now is a Tissot PR 516 GL for order on the cheap. That means I take genuine Tissot parts form several wrecked watches to build one good one and by doing so can more then half the price. A $400 watch for $150 is not to bad.

  8. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Wegberg, Germany
    Posts
    3,580

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Hi there,

    Quote Originally Posted by Valksing View Post
    ...this very affordable dresswatch from the 1940's ($30).
    Obviously you didn't read this page: Ranfft Watches, Second Timepiece
    Its short conclusion is: The cheapest watch is always the most expensive in the end. The naked figures in this case: A comparable watch in mint condition would cost you $80, while it would cost you $500 to restore the affordable watch to mint condition. So $30 was actually $450 too much.

    But don't worry, a hobby has nothing to do with math or economy. So if you enjoy this rusty thingy, $30 is a low price for long lasting pleasure.

    Regard, Roland Ranfft
    Last edited by Roland Ranfft; 6 Days Ago at 03:47.
    Mirius likes this.

  9. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southern England
    Posts
    282

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Roland has hit the nail on the head.

    If you want a reliably working timepiece always expect to add the cost of a service to the purchase price. The rougher the watch looks, the more chance there is that you'll waste both the purchase price and the cost of the service.

    On the other hand, if you're happy to take a punt, if you're happy that it's probably not going to last and if you're happy to abuse an old piece of horology, then buy it, wear it, shrug your shoulders and smile.
    :)

  10. #9
    Member OhDark30's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    5,539

    What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Out of my 100+ sub £40 mainly 60s 70s watches, 2 had issues when I received them:
    a new old stock Zim Pobeda with no remaining lubrication

    and my 1970s Smiths with rubbish power reserve (needed a new mainspring)


    Not a bad hit rate
    The key is to find an affordable watchmaker: I got mine to service the ones I decided were keepers after a few wears

    Tips:
    - Donít buy watches with significant dial damage, itís not an easy fix
    - Donít buy watches with the regulator lever (the top one, often marked +/-*) way off centre) Can be sign of worn parts thatíll need replacement
    - Donít buy watches with corroded movement parts
    - I personally donít buy watches with dirty movements either (a sign itís not been serviced/ cared for)

    * F/S fast/slow
    A/R avance/retard on yours

    Good luck!
    Looking forward to pics when your watch arrives
    Von170 likes this.
    DO NOT put sales verbiage in your signature.

  11. #10
    Member Valksing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Netherlands
    Posts
    147

    Re: What to look for when buying a cheap vintage watch

    Quote Originally Posted by OhDark30 View Post
    Out of my 100+ sub £40 mainly 60s 70s watches, 2 had issues when I received them:
    Not a bad hit rate
    The key is to find an affordable watchmaker: I got mine to service the ones I decided were keepers after a few wears

    Tips:
    - Don’t buy watches with significant dial damage, it’s not an easy fix
    - Don’t buy watches with the regulator lever (the top one, often marked +/-*) way off centre) Can be sign of worn parts that’ll need replacement
    - Don’t buy watches with corroded movement parts
    - I personally don’t buy watches with dirty movements either (a sign it’s not been serviced/ cared for)

    * F/S fast/slow
    A/R avance/retard on yours

    Good luck!
    Looking forward to pics when your watch arrives
    Thanks for the advice.

    I might give it a shot especially as I'm intrigued by this, relatively affordable, war-era wristwatch. I like the patina and would love to own such an old watch with so much history.
    However I'm afraid to spend too much on it on services. I asked around the watch dealers (I don't know of any local watchmakers) in town and all have third party watchmakers whose cheapest rate I have found was €100 for a basic service.
    I'm not sure whether this is a normal, decent value, however I do not feel like I would want to spend €100+ on another watch (I've got a few too many at this point ).

    What are your thoughts, as far as you can give them, on this movement as shown in the image? As you said, the regulator lever appears to be quite centered, so that must be a good sign right?
    And I don't know whether the visible spots on the movement are just regular wear on movement parts, or whether they are significantly corroded.

    Another thing that concerns me, I asked the seller who told me he doesn't know the history of the watch, and doesn't know when it was last serviced. This leads me to believe it is a guaranteed necessity to service the watch so I might let this one slide.

    I know I sound hella guilty of not wanting to service a watch (even though it is a basic need for (older) mechanical watches), but hey, I too like to live dangerously

    Also, your 2% fault rate does intrigue me ...
    "Normally I get my stuff from dealers"

    Here's a classic: https://youtu.be/aCPRfA6W00k

    I'll buy anything made by Ford honestly

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

    Posting Permissions

    • You may not post new threads
    • You may not post replies
    • You may not post attachments
    • You may not edit your posts