【F】 Vintage Watches In 2024 — A Return To Our Roots

by shopidea.net
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Surprisingly, 2024 will be my 10th year writing for Fratello. Wow, time flies! During this time, I have covered all kinds of topics, but my main focus has always been vintage watches. I have an undying love for old watches and am grateful to Robert Jean for allowing me to start #TBT a few years ago. In addition to reviewing vintage works, I have also dabbled in market discussions. I’m going to do exactly that today.

If you listen to some of the critics, they’ll tell you that the vintage watch market is over. Well, that’s a complete exaggeration in my opinion, but there’s no question that the bull market of the past decade has subsided to some degree. Previously, the focus was on a broader range of models, where the state was not necessarily important. Today, buyers have more choice. Still, there are bright spots and glaring weaknesses in the market that are worth noting. We’ll touch on some of these topics as we talk about what’s likely to be hot in 2024. To shake things up, we’ll mention what deserves to be hot this year.

CK2915 in November 1957 — Image: Phillips

Vintage Watches of 2023 — Auction House Folly

Unless you’re a grassroots vintage geek like me, auction results in Geneva, New York, and Hong Kong tend to serve as a barometer of how most people view the market. Looking back at last year’s auctions, the simple word that comes to mind is “chaos.” Whether it’s the story of last year’s broken ‘Franken’ Omega Speedmaster CK2915 or last-minute reserve changes at Christie’s, this year hasn’t been a confidence-building year for auction houses. Apart from that, I also found many of the pieces boring. In a year when many expected a full-blown recession, it seems to me that people who had great work that didn’t need to sell were putting their work on the sidelines.

Although I generally despise the term “neo-vintage” (seriously, I know what it means, it’s kind of ridiculous), I know that the powers that be are trying to push these pieces onto the market. Serious efforts have been made by Who is that power? Brands, stock dealers and other so-called taste makers. My favorite example from 2023 was Daniel Ross.Immediately after the brand announced its revival, I saw the work at the Phillips auction and felt it. very It was scripted. It remains to be seen whether these tactics will have staying power, but I think we can look forward to the future.

Vintage watch Rolex GMT Master 1675

Vintage steel sports Rolex is still the foundation

We know that there are many different types of watch buyers: speculators, collectors, people who only like modern things, and people who like all kinds of watches. However, one thing is certain. It’s the fact that there are more users in the watch environment than ever before. Sites like ours and even major newspapers are being blamed for bringing watches into the homes of millions of people. As watches as a whole became more widely known and garnered more attention, some people eventually started paying attention to vintage watches.

I had conversations with Eric Wind and Charlie Dunn. wind vintage A recent trip to Florida. In between constant calls and emails from potential buyers, I asked them about the current market. They mentioned the fact that the watch is reaching a much wider audience than he did five years ago. Additionally, some of those who jumped on the hype are now paying attention to vintage watches. What is their typical entry into the arena? Unsurprisingly, vintage steel Rolex sports models are the most popular, bearing the GMT-Master Ref. 1675 and various Submariner models led the way.

Vintage watch Rolex Oyster Quartz Datejust

people are still noisy

But Eric and Charlie certainly reflected on the fact that buyers are more picky than ever. Collecting watches used to be more important than anything else. Now, buyers are pulling out for reasons that would have been unheard of a year ago, perhaps due to a slower outlook or more caution. Eric calls it “finding a reason not to buy.” Still, if the watches are in good condition, the market is definitely healthy.

Vintage watch Cartier Tank Normal

Image: Wind Vintage

Cartier remains popular

We’ve already mentioned that vintage steel Rolex sports models of great quality are popular, but what else is leading the way? Cartier has really stood out in recent years, and with vintage steel is incredibly popular. Products such as Tank Normale and Tank Cintrée have rapidly increased in price and are no longer easily available for purchase. The ripple effect of attention to Cartier spread in two different directions.

Watches from other luxury jewelry brands

Cartier may be the most famous name when it comes to fine jewelry, but there are many other companies that have made or continue to make watches. Like Cartier, many used luxury movements from brands such as Jaeger-LeCoultre and Universal Genève. These watches are not necessarily in the same realm as Cartier in terms of price, but they are no longer ignored. Brands like Van Cleef & Arpels, Boucheron, Piaget, and Dunhill are just some of the brands that are trending right now.

non-circular clock

It feels like about 30 years have passed since non-circular vintage watches were valued. Yes, Cartier models have always been an option, but their growing popularity has made it easier to sell new and old rectangular watches. Dating back to the golden age of American watchmaking in the ’20s and ’30s, there are tons of these watches from Gruen, Hamilton, Benrath, and more. Swiss brands also compete, and again, there are plenty to choose from, including Movado, Cyma, and Eterna. Of course, many of these watches are small or have undesirable case materials. Additionally, after almost a century, most have been refinished or are in poor condition. Still, the gems exist and post-service movements tend to be solid. Best of all, you can find models with large lug-to-lug dimensions that are extremely comfortable to wear.

Vintage watch Universal Geneve Pole Router

Simple and dressy watches – attractive but limited in appeal?

Other main themes for vintage watches are small, dressy, or simple watches. In particular, many of his 40’s and 50’s watches fall into this category. These watches take me back to my roots. These were the kind of pieces my dad collected in his 90s, and they seem to be having a moment again. While I’ve seen (and participated in) a growing interest in these watches, I think the upside potential is somewhat limited for most models. That’s good for buyers! The reason I say that is because during this period there were so many different variations made by different companies that it was difficult for any particular model to garner much attention. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.

Watches like the Universal Geneve Paul Router are well known and I think they will continue to do well. On the other hand, take for example his lovely Eterna 852 that I bought last year. Indeed, now he is a trendier watch than he was two years ago, but this watch is difficult to classify. The same is true for Longines, Tissot, and even Omega watches that meet this description. Still, as mentioned above, this makes finding and buying these watches even more fun. But will you end up paying too much for one? Not a chance.

Heuer Autavia 2446 on the wrist

Return to our roots — the blockbuster chronograph

The market for prime vintage chronographs from the ’50s and ’60s has been horribly quiet in recent years. The “Nina Rindt” Universal Geneve Compax model, the Breitling pieces, and most notably the vintage Heuer, did not attract the attention of collectors. But signs are starting to emerge that these watches are ready for a comeback. Perhaps prices have dropped to a level where both long-time patient collectors and new entrants to the market are starting to take notice.

If you follow Instagram long enough, you’ll see seminal models like the Heuer Carrera 2447 and its rare Abercrombie & Fitch cousins ​​pop up more and more often. Is this forced or desired? I think we’ll know more in 2024.

Image: @mostlymovado

What should bring back excellence?

From a practical standpoint, there is no reason for pocket watches to make a triumphant return. But I think it’s worth it for anyone to spend time working on a great pocket watch and working through the vast amount of finishing touches on these parts. Best of all, you can get amazing models from brands like Longines and his IWC for under his magical 1,000 euros. Does anyone need a pile of this? Probably not, but given how much time most of us spend at our desks in front of computers for work or other purposes, why not add a little analogue to inspire you?

As my taste in vintage watches continues to evolve, I’ve discovered that I love watches that are deeply satisfying. What I’m saying is that I want a well-finished watch with a beautiful case and a lot of thought behind it. This has led me to become a one-hit wonder and will continue to do so. But I’m more likely to look for great examples of lesser-known or high-value items from great brands. I really enjoy collecting vintage King Seiko and Grand Seiko watches due to their exquisite detail and relatively low entry fees. On the other hand, I recently purchased a more expensive vintage Audemars Piguet and it feels like a very expensive watch for the price.

Discover more

There are a lot of choices when it comes to vintage watches, and even with all the attention they’re getting, there’s still plenty to discover. Contrary to what some people think, there is still much to learn. This topic also came up in my discussion with Charlie and Eric, where some collectors said they felt there were no more areas to unlock. Charlie is an excellent researcher and he is always discovering new information. This type of research sheds new light on watches that have been ignored or previously misunderstood. Calling it “hype” or “creating something out of nothing” is dangerous. The reality is that, unlike works of art or cars, there is still a lot to learn about vintage watches, and we expect this to continue to drive interest.

Zenith 143-6

It won’t be a blockbuster in 2024, but it will be fun.

Do you think 2024 will be a great year for vintage watches? I’m not sure if there are any topics or themes that really stand out, but the market is by no means dead. We expect that there will be a high level of interest in this item going forward, and watches that are in good condition will continue to attract a lot of interest. The seller’s integrity will likely be prioritized, and I think there will be more coverage of dangerous behavior. Is it a good time to start vintage? absolutely! I’m not saying this from an investment perspective, but I think the grassroots enthusiasm is very strong. If you are a vintage collector, where are you looking at this year and what do you think is happening in the market?

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