Hi, my name is Martin, I am a vintage watch collector on a budget. Why vintage watches, you may ask? For many reasons, one of them is, a lot of modern watches tend to be quite large, the current fashion seems to be bigger is better, many new watches have such large lug to lug sizes that the watch does not actually fit wrists, (like the one in the picture) so the ones I prefer tend to be vintage, as they actually fit my wrist.
Also many new watch brands are faked, and not just high end brands, and some of the fakes are very realistic. Besides that, I think there are higher quality watches to be found, at a lower cost, for the discerning buyer, budget buying does not always mean budget quality! Vintage watches are of course second hand, or pre-owned as lot of sellers tell us, that does not bother me, but if you are the type of collector that cannot cope with a watch that shows signs of age, Vintage watches may not be for you.
Regarding buying, be warned! there are some unscrupulous sellers out there, so do your research before you buy, and not after, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, I have learned the hard way. Do not be hasty, there will always be another watch for sale. If you are new to watch collecting the best advice I can give you is to join a watch forum, there are many great forums out there, with members who are willing to share their knowledge. The forums are also usually a safer place to buy (but not always), I have dealt with many very honest and fair people, I also have made some good friends buying, selling and trading over the years. But always do your research, some forums have feedback about their members, so do your due diligence before handing over your hard earned cash.
There are a lot of factors to take into account like condition, condition and condition! What about boxes, receipts, tags? Boxes and receipts are not a deal breaker for me, it is a bonus to have them, and they will increase the value of your watch. But do not forget to consider servicing costs, has the watch been serviced recently? That is a factor lots of people fail to take into account, as servicing costs are not cheap. Find a good Watchmaker and befriend him if you can, here is my watchmaker ‘Ricky’ in the picture servicing my Rado Voyager.
Another consideration is, what material is the watch made of? I always try to buy stainless steel watches if I can, the quality and future saleability is much better. I also prefer the weight of a stainless steel watch, it is just more substantial. Chrome cased watches are OK, but have the potential to deteriorate over time. I have several chromed case watches that are fine, but when buying check out the underside of the watch, as this is where the deterioration starts, which is usually down to perspiration or sweat if you like.The value of most watches is in the original condition of the dial, be on the lookout for redials, (re-painted dials) countries like India are notorious for this, as this adversely affects the value, usually considerably and the future saleability. Also look out for watch cases that have been polished, it tends to be more on vintage divers in my experience, but it is not exclusive. Authenticity, originality is what watch collectors want.
I am definitely a 1970’s design lover, so many of my favourite watches are from that period. My watch collection is humble, compared to many, but it is possible to collect some excellent timepieces at budget prices. I have been collecting watches for over seven years now. Relax and enjoy the journey, the research, searching out that special watch, and hunting it down, for me is where the most fun is! Collecting vintage watches, is not an investment for me, my motivation it is not to make money, it is a passion. Of course I do not want to lose money, I always try to buy the best I can afford, I would humbly suggest you try to do the same.
Sadly sometimes I have to flip a few watches along the way, as I cannot afford to keep them all, therefore my collection is forever evolving, and hopefully improving. I try to wear most of my watches on a regular basis.
I do not really have a theme other than my favourites tend to be from the 1970’s. Therefore my watches are various, as I will buy anything that I like. I started out collecting USSR watches this is a great place to start in collecting vintage watches on a budget, there are some very interesting watches available at affordable prices. Or you could start out collecting a particular brand, like Seiko or Citizen? You could choose some Swiss made or US made brand, whatever you chose the choices are varied and vast, it is a very enjoyable and fulfilling pastime whatever your budget.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I will always try to answer.