What is our definition of a vintage watch?
There is no strict definition or standard for how old a watch must be to be considered vintage, but we decided that:
- We consider that a watch needs to be between 30-100 years of age to be vintage.
- We define a watch more than 100 years old as antique.
As our personal passion lies in a specific segment of horological history, Davidoff Brothers specializes in vintage wristwatches from the 1940s to the early 1980s.
Why buy a Vintage watch?
For us, vintage watch collectors and aficionados, the answer is simple, but it is an interesting subject and may not be so obvious for everyone else.
- Vintage watches are rare, especially ones in good or excellent condition.
- Vintage watches have a nice story and usually had an actual purpose or historical significance. Watches were often made for the military, for astronauts, under-water explorers, pilots, doctors, racecar drivers, boaters had a real purpose.
- Vintage watches keep their value and often appreciate. Therefore, they tend to be a healthy asset to have and enjoy.
- Vintage watches are often collectibles and highly sought after
What makes a vintage watch a collectible?
1) Rarity – Very few vintage watches have survived over time and even fewer are currently in circulation. Also, there are a growing number of collectors worldwide and the supply of vintage watches is drying up and becoming scarcer every year. Another important aspect of rarity today is the condition. Today, finding a vintage watch in great condition, with all original parts and that has never been refinished (or if it has, at least refinished very well) is very rare all on its own.
2) Sought-after – Due to the growing number of collectors and the shortage of quality vintage watches, the demand is steadily increasing and adding to collectability. Supply and demand still is the number one rule in the marketplace.
3) Referenced – You would be surprised how important the records kept by a manufacturer are for the value of the watch. Being able to find out when and why and how many watches were made of a certain model is crucial to collectability. There is a lot of bogus information on the internet of course and luckily there are enough people on the internet to generally debunk many of these falsehoods, but not always. Essentially, brands like Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Tag Heuer, IWC and Omega lead the way in protecting their heritage by keeping strict records. The exception to the rule is of course Rolex, who do not make available their records and often stay out of the secondary marketplace entirely. We depend on the Rolex enthusiast community for this today and luckily it is an overall reliable source via forums and blogs. Finding small rare brands is also a collector niche, however it is important to make sure and be able to find facts about the brand, model, mechanism and origin.
4) The Story – Watches with a historical significance, their original intended purpose or a provenance of ownership by someone important tend to have a great value to collectors. In vintage watches, many of the iconic models have a really nice story associated with them in terms of their development and their impact on the industry. This is essentially why we see so many modern collections among watch brands today incorporating vintage re-editions of heritage models, as they are able to communicate on the powerful stories of the past with them adding greatly to their value in the eyes of watch lovers.