What Exactly Is a Vintage Watch?

 In Collecting Watches

Vintage watches are a hot item. Lots of enthusiasts are searching for them to wear or collect.

Some only like pristine pieces, others don’t care about the condition but want them to be as original as possible. Another group of people is simply looking for specific brands or just watches they think look cool.

But what exactly is a vintage watch? What does vintage mean?

What’s vintage?

Words that are closely associated with vintage are classic, retro, antique and old school.

According to eBay, antique are items that are valued for their aesthetic or historical value and are at least 100 years old. That means that watches and pocket watches from before 1916 are now considered antique.

You can call an item vintage when it’s over 50 years old but less than 100 years.

Fifty years seems a bit excessive though (that would mean that all 70s and 80s watches aren’t vintage), so for watches, eBay notes that older than 25 years would qualify a watch to be vintage.

Many collectors, however, use their own definition to determine if something is vintage or not. Some draw the line at the 70s or perhaps ’85. Others may consider only watches that use radium as a luminous substance as vintage or just timepieces that have an acrylic crystal.

I’ve even seen brand specific criteria: Heuer is vintage and Tag Heuer -since 1984- isn’t. Or a Breitling is only vintage if it’s from the period before the CEO of Sicura, E. Schneider, decided to buy and revive Breitling in 1979.

When you’ve been collecting for a longer period, you might begin to develop your own preferences and perhaps even your own definition.

Until then, the “rules” that eBay has provided seem logical and can be used to determine if a watch is vintage or not.

What’s your definition of a vintage watch? Let me know in the comments below.

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    To me, anything before 2000s is vintage.

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