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A Beginner's Guide to Buying Vintage Luxury Watches

November 11, 2020

Do you collect vintage watches or is there a specific vintage watch you've been thinking about purchasing for a long time now?

If so, there are more than enough pre-owned watches out there on the market. You shouldn't have any problem tracking down the vintage watch you want to buy once you set your sights on one.

But before buying vintage luxury watches, there are some steps you should take to ensure that you get exactly what you're looking for. By doing your homework, you can find the vintage watch you want and get a great deal on it in the process.

Whether you're buying vintage luxury watches for sentimental reasons or doing it as an investment, following the right steps will lead to the right watch. Here's a helpful beginner's guide to buying vintage luxury watches.

Consider which kind of vintage you want

When buying vintage luxury watches, avoid impulse purchases at all costs. You might be tempted to buy a vintage watch on a whim while looking around in a watch store or browsing through different watches online. But that's almost never a good idea.

Once you've decided that you're going to invest in a vintage watch, spend at least a few days searching for photos of different watches online. Then, choose the watch manufacturer you like best. Whether you decide to go with Rolex, Omega, or another brand, it'll allow you to narrow down your search quickly.

At the end of your search, you should have one specific watch in mind that you want to buy. Or at the very least, select one style of watch or time period that appeals to you the most.

This will ultimately lead to you finding the vintage watch that you truly want.

Do your homework on the vintage watch of your dreams

After you have a vintage watch in mind, do your homework on that watch and find out just about everything there is to know about the watch.

Learn the answers to questions like:

  • When was the watch made?
  • Where was it sold?
  • What materials were used to manufacture it?
  • How does it work?
  • What services does it need?
  • How many exist in the world?
  • What sets it apart from other vintage watches?
  • What serial number does it have?

You essentially want to become an expert when it comes to the vintage watch that you want to buy.

There are lots of online forums that are devoted to vintage watches. Visit one or two of them and see what you can dig up about certain watches simply by talking to people who are passionate about them.

By doing all this, you'll put yourself in prime position to purchase a vintage watch. You'll feel confident adding the watch to your vintage collection or buying your very first vintage watch.

Figure out how much your desired vintage watch will cost

Vintage watches can range in price depending upon everything from the manufacturer of them to the condition they're in.

You could luck up on a vintage watch that only costs a couple hundred if you find someone who wants to unload it quickly. You could also be on the hook for tens of thousands of dollars if you want something rare.

The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a vintage watch and learn everything there is to know about it, only to discover that it's way out of your price range. It might make it impossible for you to justify buying it at the end of the process.

While searching around for information on the vintage watch you want, you'll likely encounter the price you can expect to pay for it today. But if you don't, make sure you take the time to find out the price for the vintage watch of your dreams sooner rather than later.

Locate a shop that specialises in selling vintage watches

At this point, you'll be armed with all the information you need to go about buying vintage luxury watches. But before you can do it, you'll have to find someone selling the watch you want.

There are many brick and mortar stores and online establishments that specialize in selling vintage watches. Locate one you can trust that carries the watch you want.

A reputable vintage watch shop should:

  • Have plenty of experience when it comes to buying and selling vintage watches
  • Know about all of the vintage watches they're selling
  • Disclose any known issues or technical work (i.e. new dials, polishing etc)
  • Offer up a warranty of some kind on the vintage watch you buy from them

You're likely going to be investing a significant amount of money on your vintage watch. The shop that sells it to you should be prepared to provide you with excellent service before you buy it. For example, most of our watches come with a one or two-year warranty for added peace of mind.

Inspect a vintage watch prior to purchasing it

You know which vintage watch you want. You've found a shop that has it in stock. And you're all ready to plop down your money and take it home.

This all sounds great. But prior to buying vintage luxury watches, you should always take the time to inspect them closely.

Take a look at the exterior of the watch and look for any signs of damage. Check out the different functions of the watch and see if they all work. Ask your vintage watch shop if they have any paperwork on the watch or service records for it.

Feel free to negotiate the price, too. Many vintage watch shops are willing to work on price with those who have a true passion for older watches.

Buying vintage luxury watches takes time but it's worth it

Now that you know how to go about buying vintage luxury watches, it's time to go out and do it.

Start by finding the watch you want and then learn what you can about it. After that's finished, set your sights on buying the watch and taking it home. It'll be well worth all the effort on your part in the end.