You would imagine I’m coming at this from one side only. I’m a vintage watch fanatic so naturally it wins every time right? Perhaps a case of having a position and finding the evidence to support it (Brexit anyone!)? Well maybe.
But new watches or nearly new account for maybe 20% of the watches I come across so I get to hear plenty of stories about buying from an AD. At the same time I speak to an awful lot of people for whom buying a vintage watch is not only their first foray into the pre-owned market, but the first time they’ve seriously invested in a Swiss timepiece. So I get it, I really do.
I understand the anxiety of stepping into the market and trusting in the quality of the investment you’re about to make. Easier to take the safe option and enjoy a comfy showroom at your local approved dealer. They’ll make you feel special, and they’ve got all the logos and certificates and must be trustworthy. And of course they are… completely trustworthy. But that’s sort of not the point really. With that trustworthiness comes a sense of value for money and what that means in terms of investing every cent you spend into the piece that will adorn your wrist. Comfy showrooms don’t come cheap. Neither do expensive advertising campaign and celebrity endorsements. The fact is 30% of the price you pay for your new watch has gone into just selling it to you. Now that might not matter when it comes to buying a new Rolex (let me know if you can get one of those!) where prices just continue to climb the moment you leave a shop. If you are looking to dip into the Swiss watch owners club consider this:
A £1000 sports dive watch from a well-known designer end of the Swiss market will probably lose 50% of its value in the first year of ownership. You won’t get that value back unless you box it and store it for the next 50 years
(if you’re lucky).
The alternative is to do your research, find a dealer in vintage and pre-loved watches you trust (cough!) and discover what hidden gems you can own for £1000. Undiscovered treasures that will not only run as perfectly as the day they were created, they’ll also give you brand kudos you possibly couldn’t afford with a new watch. A £1500 vintage Omega De Ville is not only stunning to own and wear, it will, in all likelihood, continue to appreciate as it sits staring up from your wrist
Something like a 1960’s Caravelle dive watch will give you all the credibility you could ever want and has certain unique style that will simply never age. Find something nobody else is wearing like a vintage Yema and you’ll get tired answering questions about it.
Of course it all comes down to trust and doing your research (that’s what the internet is for!) and running your hands over a potential investment. So do it, take the plunge and I guarantee you’ll never regret it. And if you do, guess what, I’ll buy it back. That’s the beauty of the vintage watch market, they simply can’t make them anymore and demand is always outstripping supply. Looks like I was biased after all!