There are a few golden rules that are always worth considering when buying vintage watches, and while this list is certainly not exhaustive nor intended strictly as a “buying guide”, it is a good place to start and aims to put you in the right frame of mind:
- If it looks too good to be true, it is – if it is an unbelievable deal, there is always a reason for it, no ifs, ands or buts. Whether the watch is put together, badly polished, has a refinished dial or incorrect parts, there is a reason it is strangely cheap and should not be bought unless you are prepared to accept its faults and the potential related costs to fix them.
- Rarity does not directly equate to value – Just because something is hard to come by does not mean it is worth lots of money. Generally, there is a reason something was produced in limited quantities in a period: it was not a sales success due to it not being very good or was offered in a configuration that was not fashionable at the time and has not aged well. Of course, if it is rare because it is hard to make or was extremely expensive originally, these may be additional reasons why a model is sought after.
- Condition is everything – The premium now paid for watches which have been extremely well preserved is now multiples of what one in average condition is worth. Collectors are in pursuit of the best of the best examples and condition is prized over nearly everything else, meaning that those in a compromised condition can be very hard to move on further down the line. On a related note…