As more and more people are getting infected by this virus called “vintage” we thought it was time to clear some things up. In this article we will discuss the most frequently asked questions and misconceptions regarding vintage watches.
Yes, this time it’s not all about vintage Omega. It’s about vintage watches in general!
So, this article came to mind after we got this question for the 100th time: How well do vintage watches hold their value? Or what most people like to know:
Are vintage watches good investments?
The answer to this question is not that simple. Of course, we would like to say “yes of course, they will triple in value in the next 5 years”.
However, this would be the same as predicting which country would win the next world championship in football, it’s based on pure luck.
A better question would be: based on experience, which vintage watch would you recommend buying to get a good return on investment (ROI)? For this a couple of things are important to consider.
First things first, set a budget for yourself. Some things that might influence the value of a vintage watch are:
- Rarity: Is it a limited-edition watch or is it readily available for anyone?
- (Fabricated) scarcity: dealers that buy a lot of and hold back certain pieces to push prices up.
- State: Big one, a similar watch but in better state may be worth thousands more.
- Brand: Big brands are more popular, have more people buying and looking for certain pieces, so are a smarter investment. Period.
- Originality: similar to state, but this one is more focused on original parts. Originality is key.
- Crises: in general, big brand rare vintage watches are not so prone to crisis situations as people that can buy them, will also have money during these crises. Cheaper or small brand watches might be riskier.
- Media coverage: Even in holy watch land influencer marketing is coming up. Think about it, if more people see a watch, more people will be interested to buy it.
The next question we get a lot has to do with the “waterproofness” of vintage watches.
Are vintage watches waterproof?
To be very straightforward on this one: NO. Most vintage watches are not waterproof. Especially the vintage Omega dress watches that we sell the most, are at most water resistant.
Waterproof is a very misleading term. Watches usually display a meter depth. This is, however, different than you might think.
Most vintage watches are considered to have a 30m water resistance. This basically means that the watch cannot be worn while swimming or showering.
Of course, you can wash your hands and walk in the rain while wearing your watch. Just be a little extra careful sometimes. 😉
Do you have to wind an automatic watch?
If you just purchased an automatic watch or if you had it laying around for a couple of days, it is recommendable to wind it a little before wearing it.
Wind the crown for about 15 times to give the watch a boost start. Also, if you work sedentary most of the day, we recommend to wind it every now and then to keep it running strongly.
How long can you wear a vintage watch without service?
Most vintage watches can be comfortably worn for about 5-8 years without service. We recommend to purchase your watch from a trusted source that has a proven track record of selling high quality and checked or serviced pieces.
If you decide to buy from a private person or via auction sites and marketplaces, it is recommended to find a good watchmaker in your city that will be able to check whether or not it needs service.
A basic check on the health of a watch can be done with a timegrapher. Simply put your watch on it, wait for a few moments and read the daily variation, beat error and amplitude.
Most of the times an amplitude of 250+ tells you that the watch movement is in good health. We like to keep the daily variation under 30 seconds a day and prefer a variation under 10 seconds.
Of course, the importance of this varies for different kind of watches. Some watches will be worn once every week and won’t require to run as precise as a watch that you wear every day.
How can you identify if a vintage watch is real?
If you decide not to buy from a trusted seller, it can be really difficult to find original pieces in the sea online watch sellers. So how can you tell if a vintage watch is real?
The best way is by gaining experience by looking at tons of different watches.
Of course, not everyone has the time or is willing to do this. Some rules of thumb:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
- Buy the seller. This one is extremely important, there are a lot of scammers active who want a quick profit. Ask a lot of questions and don’t transfer any money if you have doubts.
- Go to sites like omegaforums.net or your local equivalent and simply post some photos of the watch there to ask questions about its originality.
- Look very carefully at fonts and overall appearance. These watches have been assembled with the highest level of quality in mind. If they appear off, they probably are.
- Check the serial numbers and reference numbers online and see if similar watches arise.
Of course, there are many more factors that come into play when buying a watch. Gain knowledge by reading a lot and looking at lots of watches.
These were 5 questions that we got asked a lot lately. We hope you feel more informed after reading this. We will update this post or make a second one when we get more of them!