Buying A Vintage Watch? These Are The 5 Questions To Ask

Vintage Watches

While buying a new watch may be simple, purchasing a vintage watch includes some extra steps. When stepping into a shop to buy vintage, you’ll want to be prepared so you’re not overspending or getting a fake watch. Knowing the right questions to ask will help you get the perfect vintage watch, and these are five must-ask questions before buying a vintage watch.

1. When Was The Watch Released?

Vintage Watch
Credit: Bonitos Relojes Baratos

As watch brands release different models across time, knowing the dates for the watch you want is a quick way to identify whether it fits the correct era. For example, if the watch you want was made in 1913, yet the watch you’re looking at includes plastic may prompt further investigation.

Many people think they can tell if the watch is old or new by looking at it. That is not always the case, as there are many techniques to make a watch look older. However, with the release date of the watch and some time to research, you can evaluate features and materials to make up your mind.

And if the seller refuses to give accurate dates, walk away.

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2. How Does The Watch Movement Work?

Watch Movement
Credit: luginbuhlta

Asking how a watch works is the best way to judge the age of the watch and the expertise of the seller. Anyone selling an antique watch for a premium price should understand why it is so valuable, and one of the most important aspects of a watch is its movement.

Most old watches work differently than new watches. Understanding the differences will help you spot issues and offer deeper insight into whether it is the watch you want. After all, a watch’s character is in its movement.

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3. What Condition Is The Watch In?

Vintage Watch

When it comes to antique watches it is important to ask what kind of condition it is in. The last thing you want is a vintage watch in bad condition because fixing it could be impossible, or ridiculously expensive.

You cannot judge a watch by simply looking at it; you need to research. Plus, if a seller says “good condition,” it might have been cleaned up just for photos.

Remember, vintage watches in genuinely good condition tend to be more expensive. So always consider the price vs. what you are getting. If it is too good to be true, it most likely is.

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4. Does The Watch Have A Service History?


Vintage watches that have been modified or changed in terms of parts and movements often come with a service history. Knowing what has gone on under the hood is invaluable, just like in a vintage car. You don’t want to be paying vintage prices for modern workings.

Always ask the seller about the service history to get a better idea of the modifications made to the watch which will help in estimating the price, and if the seller wants a premium price for the vintage watch without any service history, walk away.

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5. Do You Like The Vintage Watch?

Credit: The_Vinh_Hoang

This should be the first question you ask before paying big money. If you buy a watch you don’t love, you are purely buying it as an investment and you should always consult financial experts about such matters. Collectibles, like vintage watches, are to be preserved but also enjoyed. So, always give it lots of thought before jumping in.

Buying a vintage watch shouldn’t be scary or break the bank. By taking the proper precautions like those listed above, you can find a watch that fits your style and is worth a lot of money without spending that much.