A Beginner's Guide To Investing In Vintage Watches: Part II

In part one of "A Beginner's Guide To Investing In Vintage Watches," I dealt with the principal aspects of vintage watch buying, such as the brands, the case materials, and the topic of how specific wristwatches have gained their industy-wide status. Today I will discuss the best sources for buying vintage watches and the significance of foresight.

Where To Buy

Christie's, Geneva

It may seem easy at first, but buying a quality vintage watch is no walk in the park. Time and money are, without question, essential. Knowledge, if you want anything worthwhile, is imperative.

Anyone can walk into a shop and purchase a vintage Rolex Datejust for around $5,000. Fantastic! You bought yourself a Rolex, but look at it this way: You paid $5,000, the watch is only worth half of that amount, and the most you'll possibly get for it is $1,500. It would've been a whole lot better if you had originally paid $2,000, or even less. Right? That's why auctions are the way to go. 

A Rare Patek Philippe Reference 1463 In Steel, Circa 1950. Photo Courtesy Of Antiquorum.

Christie's, Sotheby's, Bonham's, and Antiquorum are some of the world's premier destinations for buying and selling vintage wristwatches. Prices generally end up far below retail, even after factoring in the 25% buyer's premium. Plus, all of the watches are authenticated by renowned experts and graded based upon their condition.

The Watch Shop At Christie's

Reginald Brack, International Head of Retail over at Christie's, runs The Watch Shop: An online marketplace that offers clients hassle-free watch buying and consigning. This is an excellent alternative to Christie's auctions, best suited for the client who wishes to purchase a watch for a set price and without any additional fees.

Watch the video below of John Reardon, International Co-Head of Watches, explaining the Patek Philippe Reference 2511 "Disco Volante."

Aside from obtaining vintage timepieces via auction, transacting with highly-respected dealers is a recommended option. For help finding the appropriate dealer for your search, please refer to our "Contact Us" page.

Looking Ahead

A Tudor Submariner Reference 7928 With Tropical Dial.

It's common knowledge that there are risks and rewards associated with every investment we make. Though I emphasize the importance of horological knowledge in wristwatch-investing, speculation plays a major role in purchasing the "right" watch--the one that will yield substantial returns.

Tudor's Submariner (pictured above) is now worth as much as its Rolex counterparts. Only a few years ago, this watch was in low demand and easily could be bought for around, if not under, $1,000. Now, the Tudor Submariner trades for around $5,000, if not more. Small details, such as the fading of the dial (a.k.a "Tropical" dial)  add value. But who would've thought this Tudor would sell for the same amount as a Rolex 5513? No one. Unlike the Rolex "Paul Newman" Daytona (mentioned in Part I), the Tudor Submariner is relatively common, does not bear the Rolex name on the dial, and has no iconic connection. There's really no reason for it to have suddenly risen in value, but it just has. 

I hope you have found my two part guide to investing in mechanical wristwatches to be a helpful, informative read; I've enjoyed writing it.