The iconic Breitling DC-3 visited 54 countries over seven months
When looking at vintage watches, do you know what you’re buying?
There’s no denying the pleasure that lies in buying something brand new. You open the box, and it’s pristine, untouched and shiny. The trouble is, that feeling inevitably wears off, and all too soon it’s not brand new any more.
When you buy something like a vintage watch, it’s quite a different experience. Instead of a pleasure that fades, it’s one that grows on you. You can look at the watch a year later and love it even more than the day you first laid eyes on it. Many a collector has succumbed to this form of addiction.
Trouble is, many first-time buyers of vintage watches have no idea what they’re buying, and pre-loved, historic timepieces are usually not open books. There are quite a few bad ways to spend your money if you’re browsing eBay for a vintage watch or hunt for the best price instead of the best watch.
You might think it’s as easy as contacting the manufacture and asking them directly, but unfortunately for newbies brands such as Rolex don’t comment on or authenticate vintage models as a matter of policy.
The surge of interest in vintage watches — buying as well as selling — means there are now plenty of resources available if you want to educate yourself on what you intend to buy. Forums like the Rolex Passion Report, A Blog to Watch, and the ever-popular Hodinkee are good places to start. One of the best is the Vintage Rolex Forum, owned by my good friend Eric Ku, who happens to be one of the greatest collectors I have ever met.
Enthusiasts from all over the world exchange their knowledge on the Vintage Rolex Forum, and browsing through it will give you plenty of references. But only reading won’t make you “buy proof”. Know your stuff or trust the seller; these two options are the only ones. Just remember, the seller has access to these resources too — so the more you know, the better.
In fact, the dynamics of the vintage watch market have changed significantly, with more and more people making well-educated buys. Collectors and enthusiasts are quite clued-up these days. There are still unscrupulous people willing to fudge the details about the watches they sell, but that has made authentic, pristine watches so much more desirable.
Now, go out and find yours.
The writer is cofounder and managing partner of Momentum
Debonair talks to Khaled Elsayed, Khalil Al-Kaddo and Adil Iskander, the team behind Timepiece 360, the region’s first dedicated online marketplace for pre-owned luxury watches
The film is described as a visual poem to the honorary chairman of TAG Heuer