Tips for Buying a Vintage Watch

A vintage watch laid out on a hand-written letter.

There are a ton of hobbies people love to get involved in. Collecting items that are important to them is one of them. Collections give a person something to do with their time that has meaning, a bit of detective work, and a tangible end-product that they can admire and appreciate for years to come. Collections often can double as a hobby and a conversation piece in a home. One of the most popular and versatile collections to start is a watch collection. Buying watches is a fun and exciting hobby. Even those who only like to buy the occasional watch can appreciate a great one. One of the best ways to buy watches is to buy vintage ones. Vintage watches are stylish and often a bit more affordable than brand new ones. Another great thing about buying your watches vintage is that they come with a history. Vintage watches are between 50 and 100 years old, which means they were previously owned by at least one other person. That is history that a brand-new watch just doesn’t have. Your vintage watch is more than just a timepiece, it’s a little piece of history with the stories to match. If you’re considering investing in a vintage watch for yourself, a loved one, or for a collection, check out these essential tips for buying a vintage watch.

Research the watches you’re looking for

Research is key to finding the best deal on a vintage watch. Before you start your search, do a little bit of digging to learn more about the different eras and their styles. This can help you to determine which styles speak to you, blend well with your current style, and may lead to the best investments. Learning about watch design through the decades and the unique attributes of different watchmakers can help you to narrow down your initial search. It is much easier of a process to find the right vintage watch when you know what you’re looking for. Going into a watch shop or starting to search online is made much simpler when you can accurately identify what watch brands and makers you like the best, what design styles you prefer, and what features you appreciate the most. There are countless vintage watches to choose from both in stores and especially online, so narrowing the search as much as you can will make the experience much more enjoyable for you.

Decide what kind of condition you would buy

There are different conditions that you can buy a vintage watch in. Many set out to purchase a mint condition watch and fail to realize the minor differences in each certification. Some good condition watches may need a little bit of polishing and some minor maintenance but can be brought up to a higher condition easily. Below are some quick descriptions of what each condition certification means in the world of watches.

Mint: Mint condition refers to a watch that was previously owned. A mint condition watch is in nearly the same condition it was in when it was first purchased. As a mint watch, there should be little to no visible signs of wear and the watch should also have proper documentation or original packaging.

Excellent: An excellent condition watch is a preowned watch that is in nearly flawless condition. The dial and face should be scratch-free and look brand new. There can be extremely minor signs of wear. An excellent or near-mint condition watch should have nearly no visible flaws or none at all.

Very good: A watch described as being in a very good condition should have very minimal flaws. It may however need a bit of polishing. It may also have extremely small and nearly unnoticeable scratches. The dial, hands, and face should be nearly flawless or with only very minor flaws.

Good: A watch in good condition should still look very new and well-maintained. It may have some noticeable scratches. The watch may look noticeably worn and preowned. The watch can be brought to a higher condition with a few part replacements or work by a talented watchmaker.

Poor: A watch in poor condition will show signs of wear. It will look worn and have many noticeable scratches. The dial or hands may be damaged or may not properly function. A poor condition watch may be very difficult or impossible to fix or upgrade to a higher condition class.

Only buy from a trusted dealer

One of the most important tips to remember when buying a vintage watch is to only buy from dealers you trust. It’s essential to believe in the person or shop that sells you your watch. The dealer you work with should exhibit willingness to discuss the pieces’ you’re interested in with you without hesitation. Watches purchased from dealers that give you a bad feeling or seem less than honest about how they acquired the watch often lead to counterfeit or stolen watches ending up in your collection. Take some time to get to know your watch dealer. Trust your gut feeling, and it might be safest to take your business elsewhere if the dealer seems untrustworthy. A true vintage watch dealer will be passionate and excited to tell you about the watches you’re looking at. A trustworthy dealer should be able to provide with at least a bit of history surrounding the watch you’re eyeing, as well as some form of documentation to vouch for its authenticity. Real vintage watch dealers know that watch hunting is serious business that ends in a long-term investment. Forming a good relationship with your dealer can also be beneficial as they may be able to help you find other pieces you’d love.

The next time you’re in the market to buy antique and vintage watches, check out our wide selection of watches at Solvang Antiques. We are moving our entire selection online and there are new additions all the time, so check back often for the newest watches in our collection.

Tips for Buying a Vintage Watch

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