Why go vintage?
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  1. #1
    Member Caraptor's Avatar
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    Question Why go vintage?

    I know a lot of you guys like vintage watches. Educate the rest of us. What's the draw? Nostalgia? Price? Quality? What are your tips for getting started in the vintage watch world? What got you interested in vintage watches?
    Caraptor

    The man who buys a particular watch to feel smarter or better than other people and the man who avoids a particular watch to feel smarter or better than other people are brothers.

  2. #2
    Member ctzn's Avatar
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    In addition to some the things you point out, I love the hunt. The process of educating yourself and beginning the painstaking journey of finding just the right watch is a part of what embodies the hobby, for me at least. Finding that watch is half the fun.

    I also love some of the aesthetic qualities that you just don't see anymore. Age can add a certain undefinable charm.

    The biggest barrier to entry for me personally, has been size. If I had smaller wrists I would have a whole lot more vintage watches in my collection. For me, 38mm to 40mm is the sweet spot, and finding vintage watches in that range can be a challenge.



  3. #3
    Member Ray916MN's Avatar
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    Watch companies trade heavily on heritage. Research shows often you can often buy the original for less than the latest and greatest and have something you won't see every day and that is generally nicer than what you can buy today. Something that any wanker with enough cash can't walk into a store and get to be instantly cool. Which is cooler, a 1965 or 2011 Mustang Fastback? It takes more than cash and the nearest AD to buy a vintage watch. It takes knowledge and discrimination that reflects a deep appreciation for something.

    Buying vintage is the antithesis of the question so often asked on this forum, "What is the best watch I can buy for X dollars".

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  5. #4
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    There's many reasons I prefer vintage watches over modern ones.

    - Because I have small wrist, vintage pieces fit me perfectly. Too many modern watches are oversized. About the biggest I can go is 42mm (depending on the watch) before it looks downright stupid. Will people be looking back of the oversized watches of today, thinking that they look stupid due to the size? Only time will tell.

    - Style. I think vintage watches convey a certain sense of style that modern watches can't hope to capture, whether it be with their visual attributes or another characteristic. Often their patina, dings, dents (if the watches were well used) tells a story of I've been there, done that. To me, their age is charming. Having something so old (for example my 1918 Gruen Verithin) still in use is fascinating. In addition, many have engravings on their casebacks, something that you hardly see today.

    - Sentimental value. My Hamilton, Accutron, and Gruen have all been passed down to me; all three gave me my start with vintage pieces. They're probably the reason I favor vintage.

    - Ease of getting an in-house movement. Those types of movements are just plain cool. Sure, not all vintage pieces have in-house engines, but they're far easier to get.

    I could go on and on about vintage watches, but I'll stop. Just know that they are the bomb!
    Last edited by ImitationOfLife; March 12th, 2011 at 03:07. Reason: Typo
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    Member vinylgreek's Avatar
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    I think most of the reasons that I find vintage pieces enticing have been covered. To elaborate just a little on of those factors: With so many makers of watches defunct after the quartz revolution and then resurrected by various means I enjoy wearing a piece that was produced by the original manufacturer. Plus the brands that don't exist in any form today but were not some cottage industry product like Benrus. As far as the size issue, personally I find my 42 - 44mm watches seeming like pie plates when I wear them and my wrists are 7.5" +/-. Do some digging and you will find much to enjoy and appreciate.
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    I know nothing except the fact of my own ignorance. Socrates

  7. #6
    Member Coffeeshopman's Avatar
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    I love the looks of some vintages but the small size is keeping me from going there.

    Under 40mm doesn't look right to me at all. 7 3/4" wrist.

    44mm is my sweet spot.


    The thought of sending it in for service and the response that it will need $500 or more to bring it back turns me off as well.

    I want to go there, but can't/won't.

  8. #7
    Member Monocrom's Avatar
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    Honestly, many vintage watches are just better made than some of their moden-day counterparts. Find one that hasn't been abused, and lacks radiation paint; and you're likely to enjoy it for a long time. (Especially if you know a particular watch's history. One that has been going strong for several decades with only standard servicing is likely to outlive you, unless something truly terrible happens to it.)
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity here and there. Not the other way around." ~ John Cleese.

  9. #8
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    I like them because they...

    - comes in 32 & 34mm width case which is next to impossible to find now. They fit nicely under the sleeve.
    - style: again the 60s vintage design is very hard to find.
    - movement: they have more interesting & unique movements as suppose to 90% of every Swiss automatic movement are basically ETA 2824.
    Last edited by mebiuspower; March 12th, 2011 at 04:45.
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    Fan of manual winds and German makes.

  10. #9
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    I'm not going to reiterate what's already been said as they're great points. I'll give you specific examples.

    1) Check around and see how much the Piaget Altiplano runs for, even pre-owned. Then compare the vintage original grandfather of the Altiplano with the caliber 9P to it. You can still snag one for under $1000 in near mint condition, and it's the benchmark for a manual wind ultra-thin movement.

    2) How about an automatic Audemars Piguet? Bet you think any model is out of your price range. What if I told you that you could have one with a legendary movement for just a little more than some common models made by Omega or Breitliing? (you know, the ones with ETA movements)

    3) I bought my VC pre-owned for a pretty good deal, yet I could purchase 2 killer vintage VC's for the same money. One auto, one manual - the best of what they had to offer. The manual wind inside my Malte Grande is nothing special compared to their other offerings now. (still, I paid for that dial and would do it again in a heartbeat but that's getting off topic)

    I could go on, but I think it's safe to say that for what you would spend on a single high end modern watch you can have at least 3 or 4 spectacular vintage pieces. As mentioned, the first hump to get over is knowledge. That comes with time and maybe some mentoring. None of the experienced vintage collectors were born knowing the different fonts on Omega watches from the 50's and 60's. Find somebody willing to help sift through the muck to find a gem. Ask for good reference material - books or websites dedicated to certain brands. The information is out there. You just have to find it and sort out what you need and what you don't.
    Caraptor likes this.

  11. #10
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    Re: Why go vintage?

    My Lucien Paccard and I became vintage together.
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