At present, there has never been a better time to invest in a vintage timepiece. The values of these particularly high end items are certainly de rigeur with many watch enthusiasts across the world. In fact, prices have sky rocketed of late thanks to a number of different rare items. This includes the likes of a highly sought after collection of Rolex Oyster Daytonas. When they went to auction the whole range fetched in the region of $13 million.
On the other hand, vintage not to mention heritage, all play an important role in the price of a vintage watch. This may be due to the variety of movements inside any given timepiece or the detailed tourbillon movement which are considered to be exclusive. Yet the more obscure the better for some prized collectors as vintage watches are tribute to the engineering as well as craftsmanship of one of the finest luxury accessories around.
Distinctly stylish and a real talking point, a vintage timepiece has evolved since the early days of spring mechanisms, pocket watches and later wristwatches. No matter what trend it may be, vintage will always have a particular appeal drawing in many horological aficionados from near and far. In spite of their enticing allure, there are some classic timekeeping devices that demand plenty of respect.
10. Omega Chronostop: $800
The Chronostop by Omega may be highly underestimated but it has a unique 60 second timer that also had a wealth of dials and cases and is a great find for any serious collector. Another sports related watch is matched by its increasing price. It was originally introduced in 1966 and is a genuine classic contender. It has unbeatable technical performance and is incredibly accurate thanks to its hand wound movement. Furthermore, it boasts many mechanical elements and an 865 calibre movement with 17 jewels.
9. Breitling Top Time: $3,000
Another popular watch maker you can find is the Breitling Top Time which is priced around the $3,000 mark. You can take advantage of a manually wound movement that can be enjoyed in a range of classic cases. One of the highlights here is the stunning dials which make it a popular choice. Meanwhile, one of the most famous wearers include James Bond aka Mr. Sean Connery. It turns out that the Scottish maestro and star of films such as From Russia With Love, You Only Live Twice and Highlander wore a similar one in Thunderball.
8. Vintage Rolex Explorer: $3,700
Dating from the 1970’s, the Rolex Explorer is a simple and understated piece. It features luminous hour indicators that are situated on the dial with an elegant ivory patina. One for the sportier among you it is nonetheless an impressive little number and pays homage to explorer Sir Edmund Hillary. He went on to become the first man to scale to the top of Mount Everest.
7. Heuer Bundeswehr Flyback Chronograph: $4,000
The military look is very much in as you can see from this Heuer model. Priced at $4,000, this Military Flyback piece provides a black dial which comes complete with rotating bezel and a 40mm plus diameter. Aimed specifically at pilots, they have specific issue numbers which can be found on the case back.
6. Vacheron Constantin Vintage Chronometer Royal Watch: $5,400
Built in the 1950’s, the Vacheron Constantin Vintage Chronometer Royal Watch is an effortless piece that can be dressed down or up. It has a silver dial with a manual wind movement but most importantly it provides a wonderful case made from 18 carat solid gold. With a black crocodile strap and gold numerals this is a highly prized collectible.
5. IWC MKXI: $6,000
This IWC model is another military number that is priced around $6,000. If you are a real fan of aviation you will really enjoy this one thanks to its classic 1940’s design and superb functionality. It has an anti-magnetic cage as well as a 36mm diameter and a signature calibre 89 movement. In fact it is believed to be one of the finest wound movements of the last one hundred years. The MK XI is a truly epic piece of engineering.
4. Cartier Tank: $9,500
One of the most important watch houses of the lot, the Cartier Tank is synonymous with vintage watch making. Created in 1917, it was the brainchild of Louis Cartier who gave birth to what is now one of the finest and most sought after horological masterpieces ever produced. Between 1910 and 1960, the Cartier Tank made its mark on timekeeping. For around $9,500 you can expect a limited piece of which only 100 were made annually. The wound movements are spectacular and its appearance took its inspiration from what was a World War One tank cockpit. Its square aesthetic look and name was the ethos behind the Tank. It is completely seamless and has remained true to its distinctiveness. Other highlights to this particular model include its signature dial with the numbers consistent to Roman numerals as well as steel hands in the shape of daggers. This is rounded off with chemin-de-fer chapter rings and a glorious sapphire cabochon.
3. Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox: $28,000
Dating from around the 1950’s and priced at $20,000 the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox are some of the finest vintage watches around. These are quintessentially Jaeger and were produced in either manual or automatic. You can select from a wide range of both cases and centre dials which evoke timeless engineering.
2. Rolex Submariner: $199,000
One of the most iconic watches of its kind, the Rolex Submariner is certainly up there. However this one is especially unique as it was once worn by former Hollywood favourite Steve McQueen. With its individual self-winding movement and bracelet made from the finest stainless steel, time is very much on your side.
1. Vacheron Constantin Tour de l’Ile, $1.1 Million
Being the oldest watch maker in the business does not stop Vacheron Constantin from manufacturing the exquisite Tour de l’Ile. Priced at around $1.2 million, it has more than two centuries of watch making experience behind it. You can enjoy a glorious tourbillon while it also offers two faces and a whole host of complications. This puts it up there as probably one of the most complicated wristwatches on the planet.