What are Vintage Watches and How much should I pay for a vintage Rolex?

So, what is a vintage watch?

Rolex and other fine timepieces older than 25-30 years old are considered vintage watchese because of their age and how their design and technology matches the time period they were produced.  For many, collecting vintage watches is an obsession that some compare with collecting art. There is not particular utility in collecting art, other than covering walls, but there is an aspect of art collecting that moves people emotionally that only art collectors really understand.

Photo: www.artequity.com.au
Photo: www.artequity.com.au

Collecting vintage watches is very similar. Watch collectors find and preserve high end Rolexes and other fine Swiss timepieces for reasons only the collector knows, ranging from timepieces manufactured in their collectors birth year, to the emotional quality that a particular watch face brings to the owner.

John Mayer, a singer and song writer, is an avid watch collector. This video interview describes how John fell into collecting vintage watches and how the passion fell over him.

For people like John Mayer, there are people like Jacek Kozubek and Scott Kaplan of H.Q. Milton in San Francisco who scour the world for vintage Rolex watches.  In an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, Kozubek and Kaplan describe how they search the globe for rare Rolex watches.

Kozubek points out that if a collector wants a particular wristwatch from a particular year, one cannot go down to the store and just purchase it. Searching for fine vintage watches is like a hunt and takes time to source one, if at all, and the reason why fine vintage watches are so valuable.

Ho much should you pay for a vintage Rolex watch?

If you’re looking for a vintage Rolex within a certain price range, this guide can surely help you out. It starts out with the Rolex watches in the $1000 – $5000 range which are usually the most iconic models; the Datejust. This watch is a great first watch investment because it can be worn at any occasion and you don’t have to worry about day-to-day wear and tear.

In the $6000 – $20,000 range is usually where you’ll find your more distinctive Rolex watches like the GMT-Master with a rotating two-tone “Pepsi” bezel. The Rolex Milgauss is another watch in this price range with an interesting twist. It was originally designed for engineers and was designed to be antimagnetic, but since it didn’t end up selling well then, it is extremely hard to find now.

If you’re really looking for that rare Rolex, you might be looking in the $20,000 – $50,000 price range. These are the watches that are extremely rare and tend to be made over fifty years ago. An example is the Rolex Reference 2508 ‘Antimagnetic’ chronograph, which you can see below:

Photo: Forbes.com
Photo: Forbes.com

Read the full story here: The Essential Vintage Rolex Market Guide

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