In the wondrous world of vintage watches, selecting your first piece is not always an easy task. You are at the beginning of a wonderful journey into a world full of adventure, and this first step can be as exciting as it is intimidating. But let’s start from scratch, have you ever asked yourself why vintage matters and what defines it?
The term "Vintage" itself, most probably derives from the French word "vingt" meaning twenty, and we consider vintage those watches that are at least two decades old, dating back to the 1930s.
Vintage is a multifaceted concept that encapsulates uniqueness, personal connection, and timeless value. Each vintage watch is unique, with its distinct aging, patina, and condition, and the cult of this collectibles has thrived since the late 1980s, fostering a global community. Details are what speak to us, whatever it is the case shape, plexi glass domes, or the patina on the dial, creating a connection that makes our hearts tick.
Vintage Vs Second Hand
Vintage watches differentiate from second-hand watches mainly because of accessibility. While the consumer can choose when, where, and how much to pay for a modern or second-hand watch, the vintage buyer has to keep the cash in the pocket until the desired watch is found. This challenge of discontinued availability adds an exclusive dimension, with collectors hunting the most precious, iconic, and unique pieces all over the world.
Unlike second-hand watches, vintage timepieces go beyond being mere items of wear; they are objects that encapsulate an era's elegance and timeless class. In contrast, second-hand watches, while still available at authorized dealers and across varying price points, lack exclusivity and often fail to capture the essence of a specific trend or moment in time. Vintage watches offer a unique and personal touch, with each timepiece narrating its own story through the passage of time, creating a connection with the wearer. Beyond being mere accessories, these watches often become cult items, symbolizing a distinctive lifestyle choice, often related to notable people who used to wear a specific watch.
Buy what you like
Whether the reason you fall in love with a vintage watch is its design, history, or some other aspect, you'll inevitably start researching to learn more about the piece you fancy before making the decision to pull the trigger. This journey will lead you to browse the web, stop at every shop window, follow auctions, and feel the urgency to gather with collectors to share the passion and gain knowledge. This process is fundamental in building your taste, and as you immerse yourself more each day into the world of vintage watches, keep these points in mind to avoid mistakes:
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: It's the currency of collectors. The more you learn, the more accurate your choices will be, and your taste will evolve. Sometimes, sharing with other collectors is the only way to get insights about your watch, especially given the lack of official literature on vintage watches.SET YOUR BUDGET: Crucially, set a budget wisely. Aim to purchase the best condition you can afford, thinking like a collector rather than an investor. For beginners, a budget starting from $5,000 is recommended, recognizing that quality commands a premium in the vintage market. As budgets increase, so does the potential for future value, with a focus on obtaining the best quality within your designated budget. Remember, investing a bit more for the right watch can often prove to be a secure future investment.CHOOSE YOUR BUYING CHANNEL: When entering the vintage watch market, it's essential to select the right channel for your purchase. Sales are primarily divided between retail and online. The latter, including marketplaces and watch forums, dominates but requires attention and can be risky for first-time buyers.VERIFY CREDIBILITY: Buying a vintage watch often involves a significant investment and demands a substantial level of trust. Given the emotional connection and passion associated with these objects, impulsive decisions are not uncommon. To avoid bad experiences, prioritize education and place trust in the right people. When online, meticulously review seller references and terms. In a physical store, focus on building a strong relationship with a dealer you trust. Always remember to 'Buy the Seller.'TRY BEFORE YOU BUY: Your bond with a watch extends beyond its visual appeal. Whenever possible, try the watch on your wrist. If considering buying at auctions, attend the preview to examine the watch of your interest and engage with specialists. These experts can offer valuable information and insights to enhance your buying journey.
5 Rules of Watch Collecting
With these five rules in mind, your collecting journey will be smooth and pleasant:
1) Buy What You Like: Let your taste, feelings and passion guide your choices.
2) Buy The Seller: Trust is mandatory. Forge relationships with dealers who share your passion and values.
3) Buy The Best Quality You Can Afford: Always look for the best quality and consider paying a premium for it.
4) Study And Research: Be an active participant in the horology community and enjoy the world of watch collecting. Share your passion with fellow enthusiasts, join watch-collecting clubs, and try to attend watch exhibitions and events. Ever heard of Rolliefest? Discover the unique experience of participating in one of the most significant vintage watch gatherings by reading more here.
5) Don’t Compete With Other Collectors: It's not a race, collect at your own rhythm. Everyone’s taste is different and that’s what makes the world beautiful.In conclusion, your first vintage watch isn't just a piece of history; it’s a piece of your personal story. Here at Momentum, your go-to for vintage watch collecting in the UAE, we're thrilled to guide you through this adventure, making it as enjoyable and personal as it deserves to be. If you missed the first part of this series, read here why we start collecting and the factors which drive us into this journey, and stay tuned for the next episode.