Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?
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  1. #1
    Member barbecoa's Avatar
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    Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Apologies if Iím asking a question thatís been addressed on the forums. I searched for previous posts but couldnít find anything on this particular subject.

    Hello,

    I looking to purchase an old watch (~50 years old). This is my first real watch purchase so Iím understandably a bit nervous. Itís from a reputable seller on eBay (>800 reviews with 100% positive feedback) and reputable watchmaker. I would not have reservations about purchasing a watch thatís 10-20 years old, but 40-50 seems like it may come with challenges since I donít know how well the watch has been kept over the years.

    My main categories of questions are:

    1) What should I ask the seller?
    2) Should I do anything w/ the watch once I receive it?
    3) Any other words of advice to a newb?

    Thank you
    Last edited by barbecoa; 2 Weeks Ago at 15:48.

  2. #2
    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Questions you should ask about a 50 year old watch? All of them.

    To be honest, if this is your first real watch, I would try for something a lot newer that has been serviced.

    Cheers and best of luck.
    fastfras likes this.
    "Life's tragedy is that we get old too soon and wise too late." -Ben Franklin
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  3. #3
    Member Time Exposure's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    By buying from a reputable dealer who is a watchmaker, you're starting off on the right foot. I hope he is a good watchmaker.
    In my opinion, there is a great deal of learning when it comes to vintage watches. Also, and again my opinion, there is no such thing as a turnkey vintage watch seller (although I have greater confidence in some sellers like HQ Milton for example). As a buyer, you need to be aware of what to look for in terms of originality and serviceability. Originality is the key, especially with highly collectible models (think Rolex sport models, Omega Speedmaster, Zenith 3019 chronos, etc.). If you go vintage, consider serviceability factors, like-are parts still available? Parts are difficult to obtain for any vintage watch, but some of the popular models like Rolex Submariner for example, have specialists who may stock old parts. But if you're looking to repair a Universal Geneve for another example, you may have years of heartbreak ahead trying to find a part.
    Typing this, I realize there is way more stuff to share, but I don't have the time and space to share all I know, and I don't know all there is to know. You can make a list of questions to ask the seller, but how do you know the seller is truthful? Or maybe they are convinced what they are selling is "mint original" but their judgment of condition differs from yours, and maybe that crown looked original to the seller but it turns out to be the wrong one?
    So back to square one: Get to know your area of interest, and buy from a reputable specialist.
    barbecoa likes this.

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  5. #4
    Member City74's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Will you take way less?
    My collection changes so often I got tired of redoing my signature

  6. #5
    Member sticky's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    I would hold off and look at plenty of vintage watches in the metal (both good and bad) so that when you do come to buy you are more familiar with the scene.

  7. #6
    Member TwentiethCenturyFox's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Well start with the basics: service history, how long has he had the watch, is a warranty being offered, does the watch have provenance (papers, history).I have purchased several Omega MKII's and other vintage watches from ebay with no issues. The seller is the key and you appear to be on the right track. Name:  04E72F2C-8DA1-40F0-A679-D8CDA8928AAB.jpeg
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    barbecoa likes this.

  8. #7
    Member Nokie's Avatar
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    [QUOTE]Questions you should ask about a 50 year old watch? All of them.

    To be honest, if this is your first real watch, I would try for something a lot newer that has been serviced.

    Cheers and best of luck./QUOTE]

    +1
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  9. #8
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Just buy it. If it's great, you did well. If it's terrible, you will learn a lot.

  10. #9
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    Does the seller accept returns ? If so its fairly safe just pay pal or credit card and if all goes wrong you should be covered.

    To be honest, as other members have said you sound like you have done your research on the seller .

    Post up some pics in the vintage section when you have purchased , would be interested to see your new watch
    barbecoa likes this.

  11. #10
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    Re: Purchasing a 50 year old watch - Questions I should be asking?

    My 10c mate:

    Depends, a good reputable 50 year old watch that has been serviced will be fine.

    A cheap unserviced unheard of D level brand is going to be a nightmare.

    I used to collect vintage Omegas. They had VERY reliable sold movements. A long as I had them serviced they were fine.

    I now have several vintage Rolex. A 1950, 1963, 1965, and a 1970 watch. No problems at all, I wear them to the office, for day to day etc.

    The down sides:

    Parts. If you have a serious problem you may struggle to get new parts.
    Dial. Chances are a 50 year old watch has a repainted dial, or a changed dial, or a faded crap awful looking dial. Thats just how it goes.
    Case. After 50 years the case wont look like showroom condition.

    My 1950 Rolex Air King, at the office:

    Name:  048D65CE-6F01-41A6-BB62-91B0FF24ACFC.jpeg
Views: 40
Size:  2.17 MB
    FullFlavorPike and barbecoa like this.

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