How To Buy Vintage Watches

By Jovan Krstevski

Vintage watches are simply the best stuff out there mainly for one reason, though, hunting them is so much fun that you can literally ignore the ridiculous price points. For watch lovers, nothing beats the joy of landing a good vintage watch although most of the time, inexperienced collectors often get burned by fake ones. I’m not saying I’m an expert but with my love for horology, I know a dud when I see one, thanks to online forums and whatnots, it’s not so easy to get fooled these days unless you’re literally throwing yourself to the jaws of the sharks in the horology wilderness.

Looking for vintage watches is a tricky hobby but it’s really fun though. Now if you like the smell of a newly purchased watch that you’re probably wearing now, fast forward imaginative years and think hard if you would still like it, if you do, that’s a keeper and that’s the kind of vintage watch that everybody is hunting. Contrary to what the experts say, any regular watch guy can buy a good vintage watch. Don’t be intimidated by it because even the experts get burned sometimes so yeah, if you happen to land a good vintage watch, pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Now let’s talk about a few tips on a successful vintage watch buy. The first on the list is know the specs of the watch which you can only tell with the model number. For a serious collector, this is quite the most fun since you get to call manufacturers looking for a specific model to know its specs that is if they don’t have the model on their website or the model has been released before the internet. Knowing the model allows the buyer to zero in on particular red flags that you can bump on your vintage watch purchase through valuable knowledge about the watch. Significantly, you know exactly what to expect and if there’s a red flag like replaced parts particularly on the watch face, you can simply ignore the watch you’re looking to buy.

The second tip is all about the watch’s provenance. If the watch belonged to a very popular owner, the value of the watch increases drastically. For the regular folks, the provenance of the watch mainly pertains to the history of the watch. Answer important questions like where is the watch from or who bought it first. Serious collectors know the value of a vintage watch so if they happen to sell one, you know exactly what you’re getting, a well-maintained vintage watch. Considering there’s a ton of research involved, sometimes a reputable dealer is the best way to go. However, if you really are in a hunt, online forums like and The Military Watch Resource are credible sources that can really help a lot.

The third and final tip is to examine every bit of the watch, not just the model number and all the numbers that you can see on the watch. Look for a redial or a Frankenwatch and although this may seem daunting, sometimes after looking at the original spec through the first and second tips, a regular watch guy can immediately tell the difference between a real vintage and a fake vintage watch. Any changes on the watch face are pretty obvious if you really take a closer and deeper look like a sloppy logo or fresh repaints. If parts of the movement seems very shiny (uneven wear and tear), then you’re probably looking at a Frankenwatch. The best way is to ask for help and take your time. Snap a picture of the watch and show it to a reputable dealer who might collect a fee but this is totally worth it specially if the price point is way higher than what you’d normally expect.

Have fun looking for a vintage watch and if you’re wearing one right now, bravo for a job well done. The hunt for vintage watches is fun and real and of course, vintage watches never ever lose their elegance, perhaps since time is naturally endless.