Dec 10, 2021
Why Collect Vintage Watches?
Here we share the reasons why demand for vintage watches has been increasing dynamically for the past 3-4 years, a phenomenon that doesn’t seem to diminish anytime soon.
A “Living with Covid” Edit
The vintage watch market exploded in recent years and despite the outbreak of COVID-19, the overall performance of the watch industry is surprisingly healthy. The positive performance of the industry applies to all categories, whether it’s new or pre-loved watches but the medal would definitely go to vintage watches. Let’s look at the reasons why, from the perspective as an investor and as a collector.
The pandemic has swayed investors and market forecasts around the world towards a more conservative posture and marred the outlook of economic prosperity for years. Collectors, investors and even flippers have identified collectible vintage watches as a less volatile investment and feels more confident in parking their money on something that holds value. Classics from Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Rolex are considered blue-chip watches.
In fact, the intrinsic value of some vintage watches, especially those made of precious metals, presents itself as an appreciating asset if one is to draw out a chart of past records and auction records spread like wild fire nowadays. The advent of e-commerce and fibre technologies, allowed sources, prices and information to be propagated globally. Accessibility and speed further fuelled the surge in market pricing. So when a prominent auction house hammered off a vintage watch at a record-breaking price, we can almost immediately expect prices for the model to increase. This has the same effect on other models as long as it is of the same brand.
The Repulsive Wait
The Waiting List is like a communicable disease, spreading like a pandemic across all luxury watch brands. Some collectors prefer to be on the waiting list while there are some who simply opt for an alternative, which can be a pre-loved watch or a vintage watch. Now, not everyone is a flipper looking to quickly flip and make a margin. Due to the way auction houses are presenting vintage watches, there are collectors and investors who look at vintage watches as a long-term investment with higher returns. The older it grows, the better it gets.
Some brands simply ride along the trend of implementing waiting-list or offer time-limited, pre-order models, and in some cases, the value and demand failed to match with expectations when the much anticipated watch becomes available in the market. Hype and trends may represent demand but there always exist an element of risk that a hype is just what it is – A hype and never real.
As the pandemic offered all of us time to reflect on how we have missed opportunities and great moments amidst the hectic lifestyle we used to lead, citizens of the world now have more time and liquidity to shop for watches! With the time for research and nowhere to spend the money on, we are seeing new entrants into the vintage market seeking the rare, the precious, the real deal.
History on the Wrist
The demand and hype revolving around sports steel watches have been a decade-long affair. It may satisfy the flippers and fans of contemporary timepiece but to a seasoned collector or real horology lover, the story and provenance of a vintage watches have a bigger appeal. There’s absolutely no doubt that a seasoned collector or a real horology fan may have a few pieces of hyped-up timepieces in their watch box, but to find more meaning into the hobby of watch collecting, you need stories.
Vintage Watches as the name suggests, are old watches. However, these watches bear witness to the events happening in its time – and survived. When you put on a vintage timepiece, you are wearing a part of history on your wrist. Although you might not really be wearing the piece that went to the moon, the piece that reached the peak of Mount Everest, or even the piece that broke the speed record at Daytona 500 NASCAR race, it is the concept of association that appeals to collectors as he is wearing the same model, with the same calibre, or a direct descendant of the actual legendary piece. The culture of watch collecting appreciates and honors the marvel of engineering, human ingenuity and the spirit of innovation. It is a poetic or romantic proposition that new contemporary watches can never offer.
Vintage watch collectors enjoy the hunt for the multitude of renditions a single watch model can offer. It is in the discovery of small, intricate and sometimes, insignificant details on each piece that makes watch collecting fun. “It’s all in the small details”, collectors like to say.
Vintage watches produced between the 1950s and the 1970s in particular, tend to offer a single model with variations differentiated by material, colour, dial details, bezels, sizes and even lugs. Each vintage timepiece possesses its own unique persona and collectability, and for that it becomes a more popular hobby than simply purchasing the latest model off the shelf. A good example would be the seemingly non-exhaustive variations of Rolex Day-Date, better known as the President. The post-war era of watchmaking was a competitive landscape where each brand aggressively seek to feed the raging consumerism with more and more options.
At the Pinnacle
In recent years, 2ToneVintage Watches has been receiving a steady increase in individuals who are more likely to take an interest in vintage pieces than contemporaries. The shift in taste and preference among a younger generation of watch aficionados is brought about by a lack of innovation and surprise in modern pieces. These individuals usually express disappointment over new launches that seem to offer just a slight improvement, or a variation of the model they already own. The stagnation in technical innovations is getting obvious. “If we are to be purchasing remodels of vintage watches or variations of a modern piece, I might as well collect real vintage watches that may very well become an auction-grade timepiece.” Says one of our new Gen-Y customer.
Old is Gold
Collecting Vintage Watches is an enriching experience and a sound investment alternative to the volatile market of securities. In the process of searching for that watch that talks to you, it will be a delightful journey into the history of the watch, the brand and an era which makes the watch even more precious when you finally find it. In our opinion, it is also a fashion statement or a way to stand out from the mainstream as you may find another bloke with the same model but your piece will never look the same as his. Wear out the character and stories of your vintage watch. Manifest a unique persona that appreciates quality, design and of course, heritage.
Enjoy your watch!