Christie’s Watches : Vintage vs. New

Just like driving a car off the lot, in most cases you are going to take a big hit on the value up front.”

Reginald Brack

Christie’s article “Ask a Specialist: Vintage vs. New” speaks with Reginald Brack, International Head of Retail, Christie’s Watch Department, about the merits of buying a pre-owned watch vs. a brand new one. He says that a used watch has already paid its retail hit and is more likely to remain at 90-100% of what you’re buying for.

Even at lower price levels, your watch will drop in price the second you walk out the door: why buy a $3,000 watch that drops in value to $1,000 when you could buy a vintage watch that’s already paid its dues?

Of course there are some vintage watches that have gone up in price and value, such as specific watches made in certain time periods or made for certain professions. Brack speaks about a certain Rolex that was made in a short period in the early ‘60s only distinguishable by small underline marks.

Brack elegantly sums up the human obsession with watches by noting the machinery, the human connection, and the history included in a vintage watch purchase:

“Collectors love the thrill of the chase. And once you find what you’re looking for, you get to bask in the romance of strapping on an incredible machine with its own history and its own patina; this object has really paid its dues. We watch lovers look down at this machine that we’re powering ourselves — whether through the motion of our arms or by manually winding the watch — and we see a companion that’s with us through whatever the day, week, or the month might bring, just as it once was for some previous owner.

It’s a very human connection to have with an object. Each vintage watch has its own story, and that’s something you just can’t buy from the factory.”

Read the full article on Christie’s