How to Start a Vintage Watch Collection
Collectors can be the most detail-oriented people in the world. Little differences mean the whole world to them, but how do they get started? Let’s look at some of the key things to consider before we set out to create a respectable vintage watch collection.
Money Is Not the Key
This may seem like a strange sentiment when we begin speaking of collecting valuable items such as watches. These are pieces that are well-known for being engineering wonders and have been dressing the wrists of the most influential men on Earth since the very beginning. But why, then, do we say that money is not the key? It is an elementary item because there is one thing worse than having no money to spend on your collection: having a lot of money and having a terrible taste.
The world of collectors is divided into those who know about the subject and can be immersed in a two-hour talk about the hour hand on their latest titanium cased acquisition, and those who just wear their new gold Rolex but have no idea why they bought it.
If being a watch collector can elevate your social status, being a dull one can do the exact opposite. This is why the majority of collectors are passionate connoisseurs before anything else. Remember, money is needed, but it is not the key.
Find Your Niche
There are as many great brands of watches as there are people who wish to buy them, but which one is the perfect brand for you? Every time you decide to wear or not wear something, you communicate your preferences to the world. What do you want to communicate to the world with your watch selection? This can be broken down into three simple categories:
- Gold watches - Statement pieces are usually closely related to luxury and big money, and people will look at you as a person of wealth.
- Sports watches – These pieces are usually calmer and have more useful information displayed. You can wear them as your everyday watch. In fact, you could be wearing a $5000 Breitling Avenger on your left wrist and be virtually unnoticed by most people.
- Iconic watches – Finally, this is an excellent category where many collectors choose to spend their money. Whether it is James Bond or Bruce Wayne or NASA astronauts or even World War I & II era soldiers, they all have a story behind them, and in this case, the watches are valuable because of the history they represent rather than the looks or functionality.
The next item you have to bear in mind when watch hunting is:
- What do you want your watches for?
- Are you an indoor collector who will not wear your pieces in public?
- Are you a well-known artist who will be photographed wearing your best pieces very often?
- Are you an airline pilot who needs to be on time all the time and in all time zones?
Once you find the type of watch that you like and also suits your needs perfectly, you will find yourself at home with it and ready to consider the next aspect.
This is another key element to consider in finding your niche because brands are built consciously to target a particular segment of the population. Once a brand has made that decision, they usually go all-in for it and perfect every detail of it, so much so that people often feel as if they are falling in love with them.
Once that happens, the consumer suddenly needs to have them all, and immerse themselves as deeply into their products as they can. The key here is that it is a gratifying feeling to have that bond with a specific brand. Our suggestion? Follow the criteria above, find a brand that suits you, and fall in love with it.
Lastly, before we review some of the watch suggestions we have for you, it is important to be fearless when beginning your watch collecting. Nobody was born an expert, and you will probably regret your first few purchases ten years from now. So, go ahead, be fearless and buy the one you like the most right now.
After a few years, if you find that it no longer suits you, just sell it and buy another, it will not lose any value; with vintage items, it is often the exact opposite as they are likely to gain more value with time.
Escrow.com’s Top 5 Starting Collectors Watches
Here is a list of the best watches to consider to start your collection and spend less than $5000 apiece. The most sought after watch brands include Rolex and Omega, with many other watchmakers such as Laco, Zenith, Bulova, and Longines are also very popular.
Perhaps the best-known luxury watch brand in the world, Rolex has many models to choose from. We shall examine two of them here.
- Rolex Speedking 6430 - This is a classic piece from 1966 with a black and silver finish and a leather band that is nothing short of elegant but will make it through the crowded streets of any city unnoticed by all but a few. The Swiss-made mechanism is fitted into a 30mm polished stainless steel case that is waterproof. It operates with manual winding, and it is a great first-approach watch.
- Rolex Submariner 14060 - The quintessential diver’s watch, this Rolex can resist up to 300 meters when submerged in water. Besides this great feature, it has consistently been one of the brand’s best-selling watches since Rolex introduced the model back in the 1950s. It is a stunning piece and a safe investment.
This company is well-known for creating some of the most stylish and rare watches available.
- Omega Constellation 187.005 - Another Swiss made piece that can go with you into almost any situation. This timepiece is a true rarity, finished in beautiful black and gold; it is classic and stylish enough to be worn in a fancy restaurant or paying your bus fare.
TAG Heuer has been the leader in prestigious sports watches and chronographs since 1860.
- TAG Heuer Monaco WAW1310 - If you want to feel like Steve McQueen racing your way through the world while wearing a classy square-shaped waterproof watch (the first of its kind), then this is the piece for you. This timepiece was first introduced in 1969 and has become a classic since then.
Specialists of technical watches and official supplier to aviation
- Breitling Navitimer World Chronograph - Considered the ultimate traveler watch, it is as elegant as it is beautiful. It seems big with its 46mm case, but it bears a second red-tipped arrow for use with another time zone. As an added feature, the brands engrave all of the major cities and their time zones on the back. The watch also has a 42-hour reserve, in case you are up in the air and cannot change the batteries on the fly.
This is a brand that specializes in really tough pieces, even treating the steel to be more scratch-resistant.
- Sinn 856 - A masterpiece in its own right, it resembles the watches worn by old-time pilots with a sleek layout and the TEGIMENT treatment to prevent scratches and other wear issues. "Embrace toughness and simplicity and look great while doing it," is this watch's motto.
Many types of watches can be bought on many online marketplaces, both new, used, and antique watches are bought on marketplaces such as eBay as well as independent boutique watch stores. Mens, Womens or Unisex watches can reach very high prices and should be secured with an escrow service such as Escrow.com.
As important as it is to be passionate about the pieces you collect, it is also important to go for the most secure investments, more so if you are a beginner. Remember that the best watches are those to come and the path to finding your niche and your perfect piece is never straight, so get started and enjoy the ride.
When you are buying a watch for your collection, a third party escrow service such as Escrow.com protects your purchase so you can buy your dream piece with security. Escrow.com gives you the ability to specify an appraisal as part of your inspection period so you know you are getting the real deal, every time.
When you are adding to your collection, make sure you are protected by the Escrow.com.