One question that I frequently get asked is how, as a young watch collector with a sometimes limited budget; do I get into vintage watches?? Many of the vintage watches that are advertised and people come across are offerings from heavyweights such as Tudor, Rolex and Omega, all of which are a little pricey if you are a student, young watch collector, or just don’t have much budget assigned to this fantastic hobby. However, for most collectors, however old, having a mixture of new and vintage is something that we all aspire to.
One way to get very good quality vintage watches for not a lot of money is to buy what I refer to as ‘No Name’ brands. These are brands from years gone by who struggled to get off the ground, or compete with bigger companies, and as a result, went bust soon after starting. This is a good way to go because of a few reasons. Firstly, they are for the most part, unheard of. This is good because it means they have next to no popularity, and therefore the grey market is flooded with hundreds and hundreds of these pieces. Secondly, they are, at the end of the day, still Swiss manufactured. This means they still use ETA movements, tweaked by the company or not, which means they are still great, reliable movements. If they are Chronographs, they will use the same Valjoux 7750 or similar, that are used in chronographs that cost thousands! Thirdly, and most importantly for young watch aficionados who are looking to buy their first vintage piece, they are cheap as chips!
I am a prime example of this. A few years ago, I purchased, from fellow editor Calum Moore, a 1974 Enicar. It is a gorgeous time only, sterling silver vintage watch. It was my first ever vintage piece, and cost me £75. It runs a ETA movement, which is manual wind, and runs like a dream. Which is amazing considering it costs less than a Seiko SKX, for example; and is 42 years old.
There are even a number of well known brands which offer cheap vintage pieces that could get you on your way. The Godfather of watches, TGV (If somehow you haven’t already heard of him, check out The Urban Gentry on Youtube!!) Recently purchased a vintage Timex for about $30, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Apart from Timex, vintage Seiko’s or any ‘no name’ Swiss pieces can be had for an utter steal! Little tip is to type ‘Vintage Swiss Watches’ into Ebay and offerings from brands such as Avia and Lancyl to name a few, will pop up. Even offerings from Russian brands such as Poljot or Rateka can be had for a steel, and due to the Russian watch game not rising to the same dizzying heights of Swiss, are still well made, but dirt cheap if you look around. This shows that getting your foot on the first rung of the vintage ladder doesn't even have to break the bank, or even get close!!
Editor and Co-Founder
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