Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

Thread: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

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  1. #1
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    Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    I'm heading to Asia for a month at the end of July and will be in Bangkok, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Kyoto, and Tokyo. I always read about people that uncover vintage gems in markets or small dealers across the Asian countries, so I was wondering if anyone had tips to look into while I'm in those cities. This Nina Rindt Compax isn't going to find itself!

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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    I don't remember the other cities very well anymore, but I wouldn't got to a street market for any watches other than fun little weird trinkets. In Hong Kong, just go to Central or ICC/IFC to look at boutiques. Any of the malls at the MTR stations will have small dealers in them where you can find watches, and they are more trustworthy than not. But in general you can find them spread throughout the city.

    In Tokyo, it's Ginza or Shibuya for the high end small dealers (and boutiques). Akihabara, Shinyuku, or Ueno have small dealers too (lower end). I don't recall Tokyo very well.

    In E Asia in general you need to dig for these stores. They can be really tucked away in deep corners.
    Current Collection - | Ball | Bvlgari | Casio | Citizen | Credor | Girard-Perregaux | Graham | Gübelin | Hamilton | Jaeger-LeCoultre | Longines | Minase | Mühle Glashütte | NOMOS Glashütte | Omega | Rolex | Seiko | Swatch | Undone | Vacheron Constantin | Victorinox Swiss Army |
    Mulling Over - | Minase Horizon | Reservoir |
    On deck - | Omega Speedmaster Apollo 8 Dark Side of the Moon |
    Waiting to be on deck - | Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary |

  3. #3
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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    Depends on how much you know what you're looking at, doesn't it?
    Finding a gem is made much easier if you know what makes it a gem.


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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    True. I'm fairly well-versed in the Speedmaster/Seamaster universe, Universal Geneve, Heuer Carreras/Autavias, and Rolex/Tudor, so I'd stick to looking for those. I know it's a pipe dream, but hey, when you've got the watch bug, you can't go to Asia and not try to uncover an under-priced beauty, right? Thanks to sleepyhead for the general recommendations.

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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFrog View Post
    True. I'm fairly well-versed in the Speedmaster/Seamaster universe, Universal Geneve, Heuer Carreras/Autavias, and Rolex/Tudor, so I'd stick to looking for those. I know it's a pipe dream, but hey, when you've got the watch bug, you can't go to Asia and not try to uncover an under-priced beauty, right? Thanks to sleepyhead for the general recommendations.

    But do you really know them?
    Which movement goes with what dial, refurbished, repainted, modern replacement, and whatever else the refurb-ers do to watches.
    There's a lot of differences to a lot of watches.

    I mean, there were three distinct generations of Autavia, each with different bezels, dials and hands.
    Do you know by sight, which goes with which?

    I've been eying up a step dial, applied logo, dot 90 Speedmaster for a while now but it is listed a crazy too low to believe low price and I haven't been able to confirm all of the details yet and think I am not bad at recognising the tell tale refurb jobs. If you've had to google any of those refererences, I'd be tempted to say that you're not as familiar as you should be to be casually thinking about dpending $1000+ on a watch in a country far from home.


    Thoughts for the day:
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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    You raise good points, but I'm not going to rush into the first watch shop I see and throw down thousand(s) for the first vintage watch I find. I'm not even looking to buy one, but part of the thrill is having those few watches you're constantly searching for. After pouring through Speedmaster .321's/.861 transitionals and Compax's (far fewer variants) for over a year, as well as owning a '68 Sub and '64 Carrera, I feel confident that I could visually assess the movements, dials, and bezels if I truly found one that was a great bargain and in good shape. The point of this thread is more to find places that others swing by if they're in town. Obviously appreciate the caution flag you're waving though.

    So to get this back on track - if anyone routinely stops into certain dealers or shops in any of those cities I listed, please let me know!

  8. #7
    Member drunken monkey's Avatar
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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    I appreciate you not taking my posts the wrong way. Mostly, its to do with the places where you would find bargains. In Hong Kong especially, there is a huge second hand market and people do know their stuff and the price of everything.

    You really have to looking at those 50/50 purchases that you know are fixer-uppers or be looking at NOS stuff that isn't popular with the masses.

    That said, prices tend be lower than the UK and there are many more examples to look and choose from so you don't need to go hunting to find say a "bargain" sub or seamaster.

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    Re: Traveling to Asia - Vintage Dealers or Street Markets to Peruse?

    Prices tend to be cheaper in general in HK compared to the other cities listed. You may even want to try the boutiques (good god there are a LOT of them) as there is no sales tax or VAT, and they do give good discounts as mainlanders go there and buy 10 watches at once. I'd say the prices in HK are comparable to a bit more than the pre-tax in US (say 1-2% more). That's assuming of course you consider the loss to exchange in HKD. I can't think of any specific used store with a lot of selection. If you've not been to HK you'll see soon enough. All the stores are small, have a small inventory (compared to the megastores in the US), but there are TONS of them. This goes for all goods. It's pretty much the same in Japan. I don't know about SE Asia, but I would assume the same outside of the "for Westerners" malls.
    Current Collection - | Ball | Bvlgari | Casio | Citizen | Credor | Girard-Perregaux | Graham | Gübelin | Hamilton | Jaeger-LeCoultre | Longines | Minase | Mühle Glashütte | NOMOS Glashütte | Omega | Rolex | Seiko | Swatch | Undone | Vacheron Constantin | Victorinox Swiss Army |
    Mulling Over - | Minase Horizon | Reservoir |
    On deck - | Omega Speedmaster Apollo 8 Dark Side of the Moon |
    Waiting to be on deck - | Omega Speedmaster Apollo 11 50th Anniversary |

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