Guide to Buying Vintage Watches

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Obviously, our biggest piece of advice on buying vintage watches is that you should buy them from us because we have a reputation for being very trustworthy in these matters and can source individual pieces for you.  However, we’re sure that’s not what your reading this blog to learn!  Instead, we’ll talk about factors that affect the value of vintage watches and some of the important things to think about when you start looking in to buying them.

Why Are You Buying?

It seems like an odd thing to say but what to look for in a vintage watch will be greatly affected by what you actually want it for.  A watch that is a very wise investment may not be the best watch to buy if you want one that will also be reliable in telling the time, for example.  Fashions change too so the best watches to buy for the short term might not be the same as the best ones for the long term.  It is worth conducting some research into the long term prices of watches to see which ones fluctuate and which hold their value if you are looking for a good long term investment.

Models Matter

Some watch brands always do well but there can be huge differences between models.  The rarer the model, the more valuable.  Some models are inherently more desirable than others too due to all kinds of features like materials, details and complications.  There are even models which are fashionable due to associations such as being prominently worn by a famous person or having a certain image.  Individual watches owned by or made for famous people can be very valuable indeed.

Condition Clearly

It goes without saying that the condition the watch is in can affect its value.  It’s less obvious, however, that sometimes original parts are more important than immaculate ones.  Older watches with all original parts can be very valuable even if they no longer keep perfect time.  Unscrupulous dealers also sometimes sell watches that are either outright fakes or have been cobbled together out of different parts to look like the real thing on the surface but have lots of fake parts inside.

There are some obvious signs of damage, however, that it is worth looking out for.  Always check how clear the dial and crystal are and have a look at the back and mechanism for signs of rust or oxidisation.  The usual signs of damage like dents, scratches and chips are also, obviously, going to affect the value of the watch.

Who Are You Buying From?

Dodgy people sell dodgy watches.  It sounds like an overly simplistic thing to say but it’s true.  You know how the old expression goes, ‘if it looks too good to be true…’.  That’s the unfortunate danger of buying vintage watches privately from individuals as there is no way to check their reputation.  There is with dealers though so it is worth taking the time to check their online reviews and double check that they’re genuine.  It is also worth checking to see if they are members of any associations or organisations, such as the National Association of Jewellers or British Horological Institute, which guarantee quality and honesty.

When you come to us to buy a vintage watch, we will take the time to get to know exactly what you want and why you want it.  We can either help you find the most suitable watch for your budget or source specific models for you.  If you would like any advice on buying vintage watches, please give us a call on 01273 239763 or email

Guide to Buying Vintage Watches was last modified: July 4th, 2019 by Admin