I`ll admit that I am still relatively new to collecting watches, but I seem to see quite the `generalized` fear of vintage timepieces. Now this fear seems to range from the simple, `I don`t know what to look for,`or `I don`t know if parts are available,` to the `how can any of you fathom to daily your vintage timepieces??`
For me, I find this mentality is somewhat silly. My daily watch is a 1974 Speedmaster MK4.5; a semi-rare model of the Speedmaster Mark line. While owning this piece for close to six months, I have never once second guessed subjecting it to daily activities - my only fear is sustained submersion in water (rain, washing hands, etc is fine). On top of this, I`ve got an early 60s Caravelle Diver with a cracked (?) crystal, jammed bezel, and as far as I know, almost no service history - this thing is resilient as heck, and still water resistant almost 50 years later.
All I`m trying to say, is that vintage is not something to be scared of. As long as you know your way around the model of watch you`re interested in, and treat it how it was designed (ie, don`t go diving with an Pie Pan Constellation...) it`ll continue to serve you very well. The 50s, 60s, and 70s were the golden era for a lot of the big name Swiss manufacturers - they`ve been around this long already, what`s to say they`ll die now?
PS - you can always have them serviced, then they`ll certainly be sound ;)
PPS - The biggest hurdle is finding parts for some of the rarer movements. It took my watchmaker and I two months to source a handful of not-so-sought-after NOS pieces for my MK4.5`s Calibre 1045. However, where there is a will, there is a way; just because your watchmaker can`t find the parts, doesn`t mean they aren`t out there. With his permission, I sourced them and asked him to install them.