Spending a lot of time in the forums, I see a lot of people ask the question “what model is it?” in reference to their watch.
Reactions to the answer “it doesn’t have one” tend to vary. Some ask “what does it mean?” to which there is but one answer: it means just that. It doesn’t have one.
It generally wasn’t popular until the 1960s to really give a name to a watch, or a model line (collection). Among Swiss brands, Rolex did give names to a lot of watches… but still, most of their watches are known by their reference numbers rather than names (that period, when reference numbers were 5 digits long – tops).
American brands are a different story. Find me a pre-1970 Bulova or Hamilton wristwatch, which doesn’t have a name. Banker, Clipper, President, Senator, and so on…
As a watch collector, you should learn how to service your own watches.
I don’t want to proclaim that everyone can easily learn how to do so. I don’t want to proclaim that we don’t need professional watchmakers. Don’t fetch the toolbox to immediately start tinkering with your vintage Rolex.
I’m talking about servicing a nice manual wound mechanical watch that you bought at a flea market. Or maybe you won a nice lot of mechanical watches on eBay that you like to restore. When you’re more experienced, you could also maintain your own collection.
There are several reasons why I think that you should learn how to service a watch.
- It adds an extra dimension to the hobby. You’ll appreciate your timepieces more, especially the mechanical part.
- Being able to wear a watch that you’ve serviced or restored yourself is extremely satisfying.
- You’d be able to save money if you could perform basic services or minor repairs yourself.
- You’ll appreciate watchmakers, and the work they do, more.
Do you buy vintage watches online? Where do you buy them? Don’t you think it’s scary to buy used watches on the internet?
These are the questions that I probably get asked most often.
The vintage watch market is very healthy and prices have exploded the last few years. Sadly, where there’s money, there’s corruption. People try to take advantage by selling fakes and “Frankenwatches”. If you’re buying vintage timepieces you should always be on your guard. Everything needs to be as original as possible. That means that you need to do a lot of research on watches you might consider buying.
Some people might not have the time, the knowledge or the nerves to buy pre-owned watches on Ebay or similar.
That’s why you should know some dealers that you can trust. Watches that are 100% legit and certified by a team of professionals.
It’s likely that you could find the watches they offer for less money. But are they authenticated and certified? Are they serviced? Do they offer trusted checkout? Are they backed by a warranty? Exactly…
In March this year I started with HowtoWatch. As a means to gather as much info on vintage watches in one place. Also to be able to share my passion of watches and movements with other enthusiasts.
For a while, we were publishing and enjoying it. The website actually had decent traffic for a 3-month-old blog with 200 visitors a day. After a while, I discovered that Google ranks with a couple “rules” and one of them is geography. A .nl extension is the extension for local Dutch websites and they are simply not relevant for Google abroad. Since the website is only a couple months old, now was the time to get it right.
When you have a vintage watch, the question that without a doubt you will keep asking yourself is: when was my watch made? Now, is dating a watch possible? Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. Anyway, it’s very useful as a collector to know how to date a watch.
The first thing to check is serial number charts. Sometimes they’re official resources, sometimes they are compiled by brand aficionados. They attempt to combine all the bits of knowledge scattered out there into one, more or less accurate resource.