By Michael Delage-Pandeli, of www.skjwatches.co.uk.
When it comes to watches Vintage usually means classic, that is to say a timeless design that shouts its era yet still looks good. If you look at the main brands like Cartier, Rolex, Omega or the prestige brands like Vacheron Constantin and Patek Philippe their best sellers do not pander to fashion, they are design classics.
Here are some examples from each of these brands starting with the Cartier Santos, this watch was originally designed by Louis Cartier in 1904, the white face roman numeral dial has since become a Cartier standard, the screws that originally held the bezel and back of the watch were integrated into the design which was followed through on the bracelet, and has gone on to be copied many times by many people.
This watch is still sold today and is still popular, in fact it was updated for its Centenary with the Santos 100.
Onto Rolex and the Submariner (see picture at top of page) – this classically simple design with black dial and luminous hands, rotating black bezel, and oyster 3 link bracelet, all things that were right on the 1950s original, are still right for today’s discerning buyers. The look of this watch has not changed on the outside bar the addition of a winder protector and a date window since its inception, as for the insides they have improved with advancing watch technology.
As for Omega the Speedmaster Chronograph (pictured above) has evolved from its 1957 beginnings as a racing driver’s watch through being the only watch worn on the Moon to today’s iconic must have chronograph. Even though there has been small changes in 60 years the watch is much the same today as the original.
There is an added benefit to these watches and that their desirability and finite supply make them good investments, for example if you had bought a brand new steel Rolex Submariner in 1990 it would have cost you about £2500, ten years later the same watch would have cost you £3500 as a used example, and today the watch is worth £5500. The same would apply to the Omega and the Cartier.
You do not need to spend that kind of money to get vintage classic you can start for as little as £500 for a 1960s steel Omega Seamaster, £800 buys you a 1970s to 1990s Must de-Cartier Tank, or £1500 can get you a 1950s to 1970s steel Rolex Oyster Precision.
I am not suggesting that you buy purely for financial gain, you should buy the best quality watch you can afford, and that you like.
So, if you are looking for a watch you should consider owning a vintage classic, in the current climate it could make sound financial sense.
Michael Delage-Pandeli has been a watch dealer for over 25 years. He used to run South Kensington Jewellers in London for 7 years and was a jewellery manufacturer for a number of years. He currently has a shop called The MEWS Dorchester, in Trinity Street, Dorchester and he also runs the SKJ Watches website.