Investing in a collectable watch – Our Guide

If you are thinking of buying vintage watches, and looking for a return on your initial investment then it is prudent to start with watches that have a proven pedigree.

Watches with dial names such as Boss, DKNY, Versace, Gucci, LaCoste, Oakley are not brands which will appreciate in value;  watchmakers do not make handbags, luggage, designer dresses or sunglasses. Buy one of these and all you will end up with is a pretty, wrist ornament that will tell the time via a cheaply produced quartz movement.

In our opinion, you need to aim for a watchmaker with an authentic history in watchmaking with at least a century’s experience being the prerequisite. The following makers are  principal artisans of their craft in watchmaking:

  • Rolex
  • Omega
  • Jaeger Le Coultre
  • Patek Philippe
  • IWC

… all Swiss, and making watches designed and produced by real craftsmen wearing white coats in purpose built factories.

Of course, the aforementioned Rolexes of the vintage watch world will be out of most people’s budget but thankfully there are many gems to be discovered with just as much history and pedigree for a lot less. Watchmakers such as Bulova, Buren, Cyma, Enicar, Eterna, Favre Leuba, Fortis, Hamilton, Movado, Wittnauer, Zodiac and Zenith to name but a few, have exquisite and magnificent watches just waiting to be discovered.

Breitling Sprint

Largely unknown to the public in contemporary times, the above-mentioned watchmakers all have around 100 years of history and experience producing exceptionally made timepieces. You can source remarkable and fine examples from these brands from under £200. That’s about half the price of a typical “Designer Label” fashion-type watch and unlike those, a vintage piece if looked after correctly, will reward you by increasing in value year on year.

For those with an aversion to the looks and foibles of vintage pieces, an alternative plan would be to buy a brand new Omega Speedmaster and nurture it for the next 50 years.

Although you will doubtless lose around half its purchase cost in the first 10 years, it will likely steadily rise in value to dwarf its original outlay.

Original examples of the Speedmaster Moonwatch from the late 60s are now trading around the £5,000 mark; it is an upward trend that is set to continue.

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  1. Steve Lunt says

    I’m fairly new to vintage watch collecting and have recently purchased a few Omega watches from the sixties, and some nice Longines items from the same period. I really prefer the build qualities of Longines, and am trying to source a smart steel, white dial (good but not reworked) automatic or hand wound of say 35mm dia. which I know is large for a vintage watch from the mid fifties to late sixties. Calibre 30L would be nice.
    Perhaps I am trying to be too prescriptive for a vintage item, but one must try. I will be happy to pay for the right quality item with a pristine movement, case and dial.
    Hope to hear from you soon. Love the website.
    Cheers and all the best,

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