Why wear a vintage watch?

Last Updated on May 18, 2024 by Jason

If you are an avid watch fan, you will have noticed in recent years that vintage watches are becoming more common. What is the appeal of these vintage timepieces? Why have they become so popular? Should you consider wearing a vintage watch? In this post, we will attempt to answer the question, Why wear a vintage watch?

Vintage watches are timeless

If you are looking for a classic watch with lasting value, you can’t go wrong with vintage. Modern watches tend to be larger and bulkier than vintage timepieces, which have a sleeker, more classic look. Vintage watches have a timeless style with a slender profile that suits all wrist sizes.

Eterna-matic Centenaire, 1954.
Eterna-matic Centenaire, 1954.

A vintage watch can fit neatly into a wardrobe which features other retro styles, or it can add a touch of nostalgia to a more modern outfit. No matter what vintage watch you wear, it can help you to recapture the style of a bygone age.

Historically important

Vintage watches certainly have their own story to tell. From who wore them and where they have been, to what kind of events they were involved in along the way. There is always history involved. Not only will you be adding a vintage timepiece to your collection, but you also get to add your own history to it.

Longines calibre 490, 1969.
Longines calibre 490, 1969.

All vintage watches have a history and it shows that you are someone who appreciates the finer things from the past. Vintage watches have retained their value year after year because of the level of craftsmanship. They’re becoming more rare, and will never be seen as “dated” in a few years or even decades later.

Designed to last

We live in a time marked by planned obsolescence, where manufacturers intentionally design products to have a limited lifespan. In earlier times, products were built to last with longevity being a major consideration. Watches, in particular, were engineered to maintain peak performance for as long as possible.

When acquiring a vintage watch, one can capitalise on that different mindset. Vintage timepieces often boast an exceptional ruggedness, particularly those fashioned for wartime deployment, such as the Dirty Dozen Watches. This showcases a dedication to durability seldom seen today.

Wearing a vintage watch from the 1970s, 1960s, or even further back, serves as a testament to the craftsmanship of watchmakers in years gone past. These timepieces have already stood the test of time, their quality confirmed through decades of faithful service for their former owners. With proper maintenance and care, one can rest assured that such a watch will continue to reliably keep time for many years to come.


Many vintage watches seem to be almost ludicrously under-priced for their quality and value. A modern watch from the same brand, for example, Omega, might cost thousands of pounds, but a vintage watch from the same brand may be well within your price range.

Cyma bumper automatic, 1950s.

This is not to say that prices on vintage watches have fallen. On the contrary, they seem to have been fairly stable in recent years, with some brands rising in price. If you do eventually decide to sell a piece in your vintage collection, there’s a good chance that you will be able to recover your money. It is possible, if it is investment grade, that you might even be able to sell it at a profit.

Batteries not required

There’s no need to worry about battery life because most vintage watches do not need batteries to keep them running. The gears and other mechanisms in the movements keep working fine for decades when regularly serviced. More “modern” vintage watches may be powered by a quartz movement. This has both its advantages and disadvantages. You won’t have to wind your vintage watch or adjust the time after a couple of days of not wearing it. However, when the battery is not replaced in time it may leak, causing damage to the movement.

Tag Heuer 1500 series, quartz.
Tag Heuer 1500 series, quartz.

Conversation starters

A lot of people, not just fellow vintage watch collectors, will be interested in what kind of watch you are wearing. Maybe they’ll also ask where you got it. So if you’re in the mood for a chat, then wearing your favourite vintage watch is a great way to start a conversation.

Vintage watches are unique and quite often one-of-a-kind. As long as there is a reason why you are wearing this piece of jewellery on your wrist, everyone will be curious about it and ask you questions about your watch.

Sentimental value

Whether it’s because of their history or sentimental value, vintage watches are worth more than just their monetary price tag. There is a particular joy in securing a look that has been with your family for many generations. It is so much more than a timepiece, it’s part of an heirloom.

Tissot Seastar Seven, 1960s.
Tissot Seastar Seven, 1960s.

A vintage watch doesn’t need to be an heirloom to acquire sentimental value. It could be a watch you only wear on special occasions. It will accrue sentimental value over a series of significant life events. A vintage watch is an investment that will last for the rest of your life. It can also be something that your children and grandchildren will treasure and pass down to their kids as ancestry pieces.

Practical timepieces

Vintage watches shouldn’t just be kept for special occasions. If you have a vintage watch that you enjoy wearing, invest in regular maintenance. This means it will keep running well and you can wear it daily. If you work a job where your appearance is important, buy a vintage watch. It will give you the confidence to come in to work looking your best.

Certina Bristol 235 manual wind watch, 1970s.
Certina Bristol 235 manual wind watch, 1970s.

When you walk into a room with a vintage watch on your wrist, people will know that you take pride in yourself and the image you portray to others. People will immediately see you as someone who appreciates fine quality and likes to make bold statements. Wearing a vintage watch is an easy way to demonstrate your taste and style. However, it’s also a subtle way of showing everyone how much you value yourself.

Vintage watches are perfect as gifts

Vintage watches make for an excellent birthday, wedding or anniversary gift because they can be found relatively inexpensively and look elegant no matter what the occasion. This makes them a fantastic go-to gift whenever you need something extra special for someone. It also doesn’t have to be for someone else, perhaps you want a gift for yourself. Not only will it mean a lot on a sentimental level, but the receiver will enjoy having a rare timepiece they can wear.

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