Looking to get into vintage watch collecting? Collecting vintage watches can be a wondrous hobby, but it can also be an expensive one, especially if your interest lies in historically significant models and pieces. The demand for vintage is on the rise and while it might be tempting to go all out to search for that limited and very unique vintage piece, you have to be warned that vintage watch collectors are willing to pay astronomical sums for highly sought-after pieces.
Although it might seem inviting and tempting to snag a Rolex Submariner or an Omega Speedmaster, which are classics, but make no mistake, there’s something to be said about dipping your toes into vintage collecting, and perhaps you should start off with something more affordable.
Fortunately, the vintage marketplace is brimming with undervalued timepieces from big names and forgotten brands alike. Lucky for you, we’ve been able to narrow it down to three very affordable yet outstanding pieces for your vintage watch collection.
Our unequivocal number one vintage choice would have to be the Breitling Navitimer ref. 806. This watch offers a huge bang for your buck. Breitling is one of the preeminent brands for aviator watches and one of first watch companies to feature a slide rule on the dial of a chronograph, first in the early 1940s on the Chronomat and then in 1952 on the iconic Navitimer, a revolutionary wrist-worn chronograph that became an instant hit with pilots and a mainstay in many cockpits. It was worn by pilots for some of aviation’s most impressive developments, all thanks to an ingenious slide rule which enabled them to make all critical flight calculations. The Navitimer is used as a navigational aid by pilots, and the watch has become a classic vintage piece for chrono collectors.
The next on our vintage watch line-up would be the Vintage Tudor Prince Oysterdate. Tudor Oyster timepieces started to appear as early as 1946 as manually wound watches. Most of the watches were housed in 34mm steel Oyster cases and featured an extensive array of dial variations.
In 1952, the “Oyster Prince” was introduced with the presence of an automatic movement, and it was Tudor’s answer to Rolex’s “Perpetual”. These automatic movements were modified by Tudor according to Fleurier Calibre 390.
Let’s dive into a brief background of the founding of Tudor. Formed in 1926 by Rolex founder Hans Wilsdorf, Tudor was originally launched as an accessible way to own a Rolex quality timepiece at a more affordable price point. The whole objective was to establish a separate company to produce a more affordable line of watches in accordance with the high standards for which Rolex is renowned. Although the Tudor watches were essentially Rolex pieces in many ways sharing the same cases, bezels, crowns and crystals as Rolexes, the quiet Tudor rapidly carved out its own unique identity that was bold yet strongly dependable; flashy yet in many ways refined and sophisticated. Following Tudor’s global relaunch in 2009, many new collectors started to take notice of this historic Swiss watch manufacturer, and Tudor has stepped out of Rolex’s shadow, cultivating a new generation of passionate collectors with their timelessly cool watches.
The Tudor Oyster Prince Ranger model was introduced in the 1960s and was first listed in the catalogue in 1969, where it remained until 1988. The model presented here (reference 7995/0) dates from 1967 and has a 34 mm waterproof steel case. Its matte black dial with the rose logo is punctuated with luminous rectangular hour markers and luminous Arabic numerals at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. Its characteristically shaped hands also feature luminous material. Its self-winding movement is the ETA Calibre 2483 with the signature “TUDOR AUTO-PRINCE” on the rotor. The screw-down case back is engraved “MONTRES TUDOR S.A. GENEVA SWITZERLAND PATENTED” on the inside, and it bears the signature “ORIGINAL OYSTER CASE BY ROLEX GENEVA” on the outside. The steel Oyster-type bracelet (reference 7835) has folding links and a Rolex signed clasp.
This is a perfect vintage piece for a watch collector looking for a Tudor Prince from the 1960s, and what perfect timing it is as we have a splendid piece from our collection of vintage timepieces.
Our third and final recommendation would have to be a vintage piece from a brand that relies on high-quality workmanship, advanced technology and an undying sporting spirit: Certina.
Certina was founded in 1888 by brothers Alfred and Adolf Kurth, who set up their own watch production facility in the Swiss town of Grenchen. In this picturesque spot at the foot of the Jura mountains, the brothers and their three employees worked in an annex of the family home. Within a short period of time, the business began to flourish.
Certina watches have been recognized for their precision, reliability and sporty attributes. Certina, as sports-watch brand, has steadily built itself a solid global reputation on excellent, precise and reliable Swiss workmanship, which spanned over 130 years of watchmaking history.
Although the business started in 1888, it was only in the 1930s that the business and company increasingly used the brand name “Certina” because it was easy to pronounce in all languages and was aptly based on the Latin word “certus”, which meant “sure”. The brand was officially registered in 1939, and in 1949, Certina was chosen to be the sole brand name.
Certina went on to have huge success with professional watches, especially dive watches which were used during the US Navy’s Sealab II project. We are delighted to be able to offer something different, which is a piece of Certina TPT 402 which remains in pristine and stunning condition, with a case that appears unpolished, intact luminous material and only some light marks on the inner section of the dial. This watch looks absolutely gorgeous.
You can be assured that the condition of the three vintage watches which we have recommended from our collection is in pristine condition and are the perfect way to begin your journey into the world of vintage watches.