Why on earth would you buy a vintage watch online?
If you haven’t asked yourself that question before, it’s more than likely you haven’t bought or thought about buying, a vintage watch online. In my experience it’s the biggest bar to most people going ahead and making a purchase. Horror stories abound concerning the pitfalls of buying vintage or second hand watches online and nearly all of them involve “not getting what I thought I was getting”. It’s understandable to a degree and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t experienced the same emotion on opening the box of a longed for piece only to be left with a feeling of ‘meh’. It’s not even just a question of trust when it comes to choosing a supplier. There are almost certainly many unscrupulous dealers online who will be looking to make a profit from your sense adventure and, in all honesty, it can make life frustrating even for reputable dealers like myself who want nothing more than to partner a much sought after piece with someone whom we know, deep down, longs for such a union. But it’s not just the demons of the web we need to guard against.
In some respects the issue can be in the definition of what we mean by vintage. There are companies out there who will recondition a vintage watch to within an inch of its life, revelling in the nearly new presentation. Let me say right now there is nothing more exhilarating than discovering an untouched vintage piece that looks as crisp as the day it left a bench but the key word for me is ‘untouched’. Give me an odd scratch and bump here and there over a fully restored casing any day. For me, they are the conversation starters, the anecdotes that make owning a vintage watch such a encapsulating experience. A First World War timepiece that bears the scars of it’s existence is as close to a living embodiment of history as you can get in my experience. I have lost count of the hours I have spent researching the provenance of a watch only to really discover its true value with every new revelation.
Let me be clear, I’m not talking about general maintenance and cleaning of watches, I’m talking about the legacy of time a watch carries as part of its construction. The trials and tribulations of its own journey through time.
So how do we reconcile this descriptive difference of opinion. In truth there is no perfect answer. My own approach is instructed by the misgiving I have had in the past, so I can only promise you that everything you read on my own site is the truth as I see it. I have spent some considerable time and effort (not to mention the money) finding a photographer I believe captures the true essence of every piece. I’m more than happy to talk to any potential buyer about a particular piece (leave plenty of time if you call!) and if you find yourself in the Cheshire area I’ll always be happy to share a glass of wine and introduce you to a particular piece. I know as a collector it’s these small things that can make the difference. My own enthusiasm occasions me to the odd mistake now and then of course, but I’m happy, and lucky enough, to chalk it down to experience.
I just want collectors like myself to enjoy the same unquantifiable joy I experience from opening a new box, savouring the look and feel of a vintage watch and becoming the latest instalment of its history. If that thought doesn’t excite you then the question shouldn’t be why you would buy a vintage watch online, but rather why you would buy a vintage watch in the first place.
The Watch Collector