How To Buy A Vintage Watch

    Looking for a watch with a bit of history? Find a watch with a story to tell with this guide on how to buy a vintage watch.

    two vintage watches

    Jumping into the vintage watch market for the first time can be overwhelming. Or, on the other hand, you might be thinking it’s as simple as googling the watch you are after and adding it to your virtual basket. 

    Use this guide on how to buy a vintage watch will help to steer you in the right direction, get you asking the right questions, and hopefully narrow down your search.

    Vintage buys appeal for so many reasons. For one, there is something satisfying about finding an old gem that few people own. Vintage items have a nostalgic air and stylistically feel like a piece of history.

    You can also often get a better price for luxury goods when they are vintage and in more of a used condition - which is all part of the charm.

    If you have found yourself daydreaming about owning a vintage watch, then this is the guide for you. You may have an idea of what type of watch you see yourself wearing but aren’t quite sure how to get started.

    But before we address the main question at hand, what is a vintage watch?

    Vintage watchesWhat Is A Vintage Watch?

    The first thing to note is that vintage and pre-owned are not synonyms.

    Vintage is reserved for items from a particular period in time, whereas pre-owned simply means it was previously owned. A pre-owned watch could have been manufactured and bought in the last six months.

    myGemma’s watch expert Tom Pozsgay deems the term ‘vintage’ to refer to any watch that was produced prior to 1990 (as of 2023). 

    Therefore, you can estimate that a watch that is currently just over 30 years old could be considered vintage. Whereas Neo-Vintage refers to watches made roughly between 1990 and 2005.

    These dates live on a spectrum, as different sources will have slightly different timeframes.

    How To Buy A Vintage Watch?

    1. Be Clear On What You Want

    When you establish what it is that you are looking for, it will make your search a whole lot easier. Having an idea of what style of watch you favor will immensely help you in your search. If you know which brand and model you prefer, that is even better.

    Once you have a search term in mind such as ‘yellow gold vintage Cartier Tank’ then you can compare prices online. Price differences might depend on the condition of the particular watch, but you will also find that some websites simply charge more.

    It is a good idea to have a list of websites you feel secure in buying from, but also a ballpark price that you are comfortable with.

    2. Do Your Research

    It may seem obvious but whenever making a significant purchase, such as a luxury or costly item, research is absolutely key. You may know what aesthetic you like best when it comes to watches, but there are other aspects to consider.

    With vintage watches, it is easy to think that you are getting a good deal based on the cost. However, external flaws do not necessarily tell the tale of what is going on inside of the watch. You are far better off buying a vintage watch with minor external imperfections than a watch that needs thorough servicing to make it usable. 

    Tag Heuer Triple Date watch

    Make sure if you are buying a watch online to read all of the specifications. Some older styles of watches may have been well maintained whereas others on the market might need a bit of money put into them. It is always best to know what you are getting yourself into before making a purchase.

    A lot of vintage watches will have replacement parts, which isn't necessarily a problem but can impact the value of the watch. These are things worth knowing so that you don't overpay, especially if you think you might sell the watch one day.

    Research will requires you ask the right questions if need be and look out for specific details. For example: Is it a genuine vintage watch? Is the watch authentic? Are the internal parts original or replacements? Has the watch been over polished?

    Aside from the condition, the functionalities of the watch should also be taken into consideration. Has the watch got all the features you look for in a vintage watch? Does the design layout work for you? These are all personal preferences, so just make sure you are asking yourself the relevant questions for your own needs.

    When in doubt, talk to someone within the industry who can give you solid advice.

    3. Stick To A Budget

    It is easy to get swept away and go off track. However, if you set yourself a budget for buying a watch, there is probably a good reason why. Watches come in all different prices points, so make sure to stick to your original intentions.

    4. Where To Buy A Vintage Watch?

    There are so many buying routes to consider. You can go down the pawnbroker, auction, vintage store routes, or of course, buy online.

    One of the great things about buying vintage watches online is that you don’t need to feel rushed in your purchase. You can take your time to sift through all of the specifications and shop around before committing to a purchase. Sometimes in person there is a sense of pressure to buy on the spot.

    Online auctions can be a great place to find rare items, including watches, but you are then working on an auction house's timeline. You also are not guaranteed a sale and it's easy to get caught up and pay too much for items.

    Shop vintage watches

    Platforms such as eBay can be great, but it really depends on the seller. Make sure to check reviews and carefully inspect all the specifications on the listing.

    And then there are online resale websites that specialize specifically in certain items, such as accessories and watches.

    myGemma offers a wide range of watches, including vintage watches, Neo-Vintage watches, and contemporary styles too. With an in-house team of watch experts, myGemma is both reputable and knowledgeable.

    Each watch is properly assessed and authenticated before going live on the website. So, you can feel confident in your purchase with myGemma.

    Our customer service is top tier, so if you have any questions, a member of our team will be happy to assist. Check out myGemma’s reviews to see for yourself.

    Find your next vintage Rolex or rare Patek Philippe on myGemma.

    How To Sell A Vintage Watch Online?

    myGemma buys across different luxury accessory categories, with experts in each category. With years of experience in watch buying, myGemma can offer you the right price for your vintage watch.

    The best part is that it is easy and quick. From price quote to payment, the entire selling process can take as little as 24 hours. There are no middlemen involved and no unexpected fees and costs.

    Whether you are looking to sell a vintage watch, a more contemporary watch, or sell a different type of luxury accessory altogether, make myGemma your choice. Fill out the online form today to get started and a member of the team will be in contact with an offer.

    Latest Vintage Watch Arrivals