When you bought vintage instead of brand new, you’re being brave in a way. You have to be an educated buyer. You have to navigate this world of secondhand goods. Buying a new watch is the ‘easy way.’ So if you go through the added wildness that is the vintage watch world, respect what you have!
If you’re a collector of classic watches, in some sense you have to be passionate about things like beauty, design, workmanship, and aesthetics.
You have to do research; buying a vintage piece requires doing a bit of ‘homework!’ Originality and condition are important; a ‘frankenwatch’ or redial could be the difference between a couple hundred bucks on eBay and thousands at an auction house. Even auction house watches aren’t safe bets sometimes! Regardless of whether your taste flows to time only pieces, chronographs, military watches, tool/sports models or luxury/dress pieces, or even the refined complex world of pocket watches… the variety is wide.
There’s certainly a vintage watch for everyone.
There are really all kinds of collectors! Of course there are those who are engaged to one brand above all. Then you have the other side of the coin, the ‘unfocused ones!’ (This is like me! The only focus I have is my eclectic personal taste.) You’ve got ‘indie’ collectors. Don’t forget ‘movement snobs.’ The luxurious haute horlogeri enthusiasts etc. The crowd is big in this watch world we love!
None is better than the other, and we all like to help each other and share our finds or knowledge. But one thing is for sure a must, we need to honour our vintage watches if we want to call ourselves true genuine collectors. When I say ‘honor your watch,’ I mean: take care of it! To honor is to respect it. To love and care for it. Not in the sense of avoiding scratches, but in the sense of giving it love. How does one do that? Respect it. Keep it in good condition through servicing. An absurd sentence I often hear, even from high-level collectors; “If the watch runs, then it’s okay.” What?
I mean, do you drive your car until it leaves you stranded in the middle of the highway?
Don’t think so. You service the motor every « X » kilometres don’t you? So why are we being cruel with our vintage so called “loved” watches? Love means caring (or correct me if I’m wrong?) Most of our vintages have lived a hard life, probably dangerous lives through WWI and WWII. Strong adventures as a diver watch, or as the companion of a F1 driver even! How else the multiple scratches, dings, or patination due to weather exposure?
Love your watch.
Some of us fix our own watches; it’s part of the hobby. Others rely on professionals; the same way as how some people wrench on cars while others take theirs in for servicing. The important thing is that you should take care of your things. Don’t they deserve a good life with us in the present day? Being pampered and well dressed with a beautiful concordant bracelet or matching strap? Let your watch be happy! You need to wear them with pride and that also means with good taste.
On a less serious note: please, if you’re going to take pictures of your watch on social media, do so with a certain aesthetic if you get what I mean? I don’t need a sausage pictured in the back of the scene or some lousy outfits I at times find in my IG feed, ha ha! (Hope this doesn’t sound too snobbish!) Be happy.
Wear it elegantly if it’s a classy, classic watch.
After the hard life many watches have had, they deserve this. Honor them!
And seriously, when you’re out looking for your next vintage watch, please give some real consideration to the service costs as well. Some of us need to learn how to respect and honour a vintage watch. They are lovely and deserve it amply!
It isn’t just about buying and trading my dear passionate crazy friends.
(Words and photos by Sandra Silva, also known as @_passion_66 on Instagram. For more, check out the rest of our Medium page, and follow us on IG for even more visual inspiration.)