A vintage watch is a remarkable work of craftsmanship; The value of vintage watches is rising as more people seek an alternative to modern, high-tech gadgets. In November 2014 the world’s most expensive watch – the Patek Philippe Graves Super complication – was sold at auction for approximately £13.4m. It was previously sold in 1999 for approximately £10m – certainly then, a worthwhile investment.
When it comes to buying a vintage watch perhaps at auction, the story of the watch is often worth more than the actual timepiece. For example, if a watch was previously owned by a public figure or celebrity, it will be inevitably worth more. However, a vintage watch need not have been owned by Einstein to emanate a sense of nostalgia and old charm. A watch that has been loved by a previous owner offers an air of mystery and depth that’s sometimes lacking in a brand new watch.
Thanks to the trend towards “vintage-inspired” new watches combined with the relatively slow pace of the Swiss watch industry, vintage pieces can look as modern (or as dated) as you prefer. Much like the styling, most of the underlying technology is not only similar and just as effective as today’s movements, but can often be found for a fraction of the cost. What’s more, a quality vintage watch has been made using the finest materials is built to last so, providing it has been well cared for, the watch should serve you well for many years.
Timepieces from top makers such as Rolex and Patek Philippe lead the vintage watch market. For many people, the Datejust is Rolex. Debuting in 1945 with the ref. 4467, it was launched to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the company. It has been in constant production ever since. On its release, it married the two ground breaking revolutions that had put the Rolex name on the map. Then it added a third: housing the Perpetual movement inside the Oyster case. Now, it became the first waterproof, automatically-winding wristwatch to also display a date aperture. Other makers whose watches are going up in value include Replica Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Breitling, Cartier, TAG Heuer, Jaeger-LeCoultre, A. Lange & Söhne, Seiko, Tissot and Omega.