Vintage Watch Investing, an Introduction


Values for vintage watches have been rising for many years at an impressive clip. People are just beginning to notice that a great vintage watch can also make an excellent investment. To get started in vintage watch investing and collecting, one may think the first step is to go out and purchase a vintage watch. Wrong.

From experience, I would tell you the first step should be to look around your house and check the attic; you may already be a vintage watch investor and not even know it yet.

The Vintage Longines Discovery

I stumbled on this old watch in my closet that I’ve had for many years. It was given to me as a gift, and I’m not even aware of the year or model. All I can tell at this point is that it’s a Longines brand and has the words “automatic” on the dial. It’s not in excellent condition, and I’m not optimistic at the watch having much value, but my point remains.

Know what you own, and check around to see if you are already a vintage watch collector and don’t even know it.

Once you’ve scoured the attic, basement, closets, or even grandma’s house for an old Rolex or Piguet and come up empty-handed, your next step is research. This is where you can literally spend the rest of your life reading about vintage watches. There are hundreds of excellent watch collector websites out there with information on every detail, from watchmaking to watch values and every watch brand in existence.

Your next step is to find a few of the major sites dedicated to vintage watch collecting specifically and zero in on your favorite brands. Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe are a few of the most popular. Once you find the brand you like, it will simplify everything to make final purchasing decisions.

Vintage Watch Investing for Under $5,000

Starting your search for great vintage watches under $5,000 leads us to many, many options. An excellent looking vintage Rolex, in my opinion, is the Datejust #1601. This particular Rolex is from 1973 and sold for $2,800.

Another great vintage watch for under $5,000 is the Rolex Air King 5500.

If you’re looking for something a little over the $5,000 range, here’s a cool looking Audemars Piguet for somewhere around nine grand. The particular model is the Classic Day-Date Moonphase with yellow gold. These models were built in the early 1980s.

Vintage watch investing can be a great hobby and tons of fun. It’s incredible to consider there are so many great watches out there built by true craftsmen that are 60, 70, and even 80 years old. A great vintage watch is timeless and has many stories to tell.

Whether it’s an heirloom passed down through generations of the family or simply just a collectible, watches can be extremely valuable and owners very often don’t realize the financial value of them. Identifying a watches age, its movements, materials and manufacturer will help determine its value on the market today.

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The Vintage Rolex Paul Newman Cosmograph

vintage rolex paul newman
This vintage Rolex Paul Newman Cosmograph can be yours for just $400 grand. Vintage watch collecting is not just for the average middle-class Joe, it can be a hobby you can enjoy even if you’re loaded with cash. This is a truly amazing watch, and new, incredible vintage collector watches are coming up for sale every day. Don’t feel bad if you miss your chance at buying a great vintage watch, there’s another deal coming.

3 Investment Ideas for Vintage Watch Investing

There’s always a vintage watch to fit your budget. Don’t complain about the watch market getting too expensive for your budget, adjust your search to find the watch that’s right for your financial situation.

The Winds of Change – The Dominos Rolex Example

There are endless ideas when it comes to vintage watch investing. The more creative you become, the better chance you have at finding great watches. Limited edition versions of well-made watches exist. One of my favorite examples is the “Dominos Rolex” watch from the 80s and 90s. This watch was mostly laughed at for decades, only to come roaring back in popularity in recent months.

When a watch was mocked for such a long period of time as the Dominos-Rolex, it should give you pause and make you reconsider your thought process. These watches were actually considered less valuable than a standard Rolex Air-King because they were “defaced” with an unsightly pizza company logo.

Now, the Dominos Rolex is selling for many times the value of a standard vintage Air-King. The rarity of the watch is a primary factor, there’s no doubt. The cultural significance of two unsuspecting companies partnering for a promotional watch that not many people realized even existed is a compelling story. You could buy a Dominos-Rolex on eBay for just a few thousand dollars a couple of years ago, now they sell for over 10 grand.

Endless Possibilities

The bottom line is that you can make excuses for why something is not possible or get creative. It’s no different in the vintage watch collecting and investing world. Do you feel like you are priced out of the market? Can’t find the watch you desire for the right price? Frustrated with rising prices leaving you in the dust. Adjust your mindset, and recalibrate your thinking.

Off-brands, limited edition promotions, and uncovered gems are lurking out there every day. Don’t make excuses, do some homework and lots of research. Get busy finding the next great vintage watch; the best deals are yet to come.