When vintage becomes vogue: antique watch collection

What goes around eventually comes around and the fashion statements once rejected as passé, come back as “trendily vintage”.

From sober pocket watches that went with the scholarly enigma of professors to the masterpieces and diamond watches that adorned the wrists of movie stars from different eras, antique watches are gaining ground as collectibles. Not many a collector can refuse the temptation of owning a souvenir made by finest makers of the era and the intriguing tales associated with it that have transcended time and cultural differences. Collecting antique watches proves to be a challenging as well as rewarding hobby to the people who like to turn back the yellowing pages of history and value and revere the times gone by.

For a layman without much knowledge of makes or types of antique watches, pursuing this hobby may be difficult at first. But there is no need to be disheartened. Some basic guidelines may prove to be effective tools while starting one’s collection.

  • Antique watches can be distinguished into two broad categories. The mechanical ones and the quartz crystals one. Mechanical watches are the older and more fascinating of the two. Minute parts are artfully connected and move together to in turn move the hands of the watch. These need to be wound regularly.  Sometimes these are automatically wound when the wearer moves his wrist. Mechanical watches outnumber the quartz crystal antique watches which work with the aid of battery.
  • One must have a clear idea of one’s budget right at the beginning of the collection. The hobby is satisfying but the price of vintage watches may vary widely depending on the make, the age and the history behind it. Some watches sell for thousands of dollars.
  • Before leaping into the market, the prospective collector should thoroughly study the various types of antique watches, from different countries, in particular Swiss watches which have been coveted by many a fashionable gentleman from times immemorial.
  • One must also know the brands that are creating waves in the world market at present, their expertise in the watch industry, the type of watches made by them and so on. Some of the brands have been in the industry for many years now and their older makes may be listed as antique in the current market. Some popular brands are Titan, Timex, Omega, Rolex etc.
  • The antique and vintage watches need utmost care. They are more susceptible to breakage or damage than modern watches and may get spoilt beyond repair. To avoid, one must take precautions such as winding it daily, keeping it safe from breakage etc.
  • An interested and patient collector may also learn to repair watches before taking up this hobby. This will allow him to buy the watches at a lower rate than those in working condition. The repaired watch may be traded at a higher price to another less enthusiastic buyer.
  • A favourite haunt of the antique watch collector can be the antique shops. Even the shopkeeper essentially bears some knowledge on the subject and his wisdom may come in handy while picking out the gems for the collection.

It is easy to be hoodwinked while pursuing this hobby. To avoid placing ones money at the mercy of tricksters, one should develop a sound knowledge about vintage watches through reading, online research or any other means. A professional watchmaker’s advice could be highly valuable while starting a collection.




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