New watches today often resemble those from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The style is considered timeless or classic, but for many, nothing beats a watch that has stood the test of time.
The collection of vintage watches is a world apart. Damaged and run-down watches sometimes fetch higher prices – when aged in the right way and the damage is labeled as “patina”. Much like collecting stamps or coins, even the most subtle difference can mean everything to dealers and die-hard enthusiasts. It can be expensive, but affordable vintage watches can also be a lot of fun. It’s a world fraught with pitfalls and special knowledge, but one that can be endlessly fascinating.
There are a number of things to keep in mind when buying a vintage watch (read more here), and a lot to learn – but sometimes you might just want to dive in. Much of the fun of vintage watches comes with discovery. , so to get your own explorations started, we’ve rounded up a few vintage watches at various price points to get you started.
Seiko Lord Matic Weekdater
What we like: Seiko and even vintage Seiko have gone upmarket, but who said you still can’t find very cool old models from this legendary Japanese brand? Lord Matics is a fan favorite of budget vintage Seiko, but this one with its square case is a bit unusual.
From seller: The day of the week can be in English or kanji. For practical, everyday use, it would be advisable to have the movement cleaned and oiled.
Movement: Seiko 5606A automatic
What we like: A vintage watch with real military credibility may seem rare and possibly expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. The ancestor of today’s popular Hamilton Khaki Field, the GG-W-113 was designed for soldiers from the 1960s through the 1980s, and it’s the real deal.
From seller: The watch runs very well and keeps time to within seconds per day. All parts of this watch are original except for the crown, crystal and bracelet.
Movement: ETA 2750 hand-wound
Omega Day-Date 166.0125
What we like: For a brand in the name of Omega, the value of dress watches in collections like the Seamaster and Constellation can be exciting. This model features a fashionable sector-shaped dial and a bracelet integrated into Gerald Genta’s most famous creations.
From seller: The glass has a break on the edge around 7 o’clock, but practically imperceptible. The watch has been completely overhauled.
Movement: Omega 1022 automatic
Jenny Caribbean 1500 for Philip Watch
What we like: While this probably isn’t a vintage beginner’s watch at this price point, there’s so much about this diver’s watch that’s cool and interesting. It looks striking in all blue and the type of decompression bezel more commonly associated with Doxa watches, but it also features the rare high-beat automatic movement. (Read more about this model here.)
From seller: The original lume patina is very nice and it is starting to turn to a creamy brown color. Comes with a new leather strap.
Movement: ETA 2724 automatic
Prince of the Tudor Oysters
What we like: The attraction to Tudor of course still has a lot to do with its big brother Rolex, but it’s a cool watch on its own. These are similarly dressed Tudor Prince watches that survived the British North Greenland Expedition of 1952, so although they are unassuming watches you know they are tough.
From seller: Case is in overall very good condition showing normal wear consistent with age and use.
Year: Around 1959
Movement: (Contact seller)
Favre-Leuba Sea Sky Chronograph
What we like: Need we tell you what we love about this diver’s chronograph watch? Look at the. Similar to the Nivada Chronomaster, it is meant to be an all-around watch, and its captivating look will fit well on the wrist with a modern yet still very wearable 39mm diameter.
From seller: The case is in overall very good condition and shows normal signs of wear consistent with age and use.
Movement: Valjoux 72 with manual winding
Rolex GMT-Master 1675
What we like: While it might sometimes seem silly to pay more for aging goods, you can probably get an idea of what attracts many collectors when you see the faded colors of the “Pepsi” bezel on this Rolex GMT Master. If you don’t mind that the case has been polished (collectors often pay more if it’s unpolished and still in good condition), it will look amazing on the wrist overall.
From seller: Previously polished case in excellent condition with slight wear from use. The lume on the dial and in the hands has aged to a buttery yellow color.
Movement: Rolex 1520 automatic
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