Vintage Watch Blog.
People have all sorts of Tastes when it comes to vintage watches | Here's what's been IMPORTANT this year.
I will tell you this, it has been the most interesting year in the vintage watch business and I project it will continue to be. First, let me premise what I'm about to say with what is happening in the market. There are many newcomers starting to collect vintage watches. In large numbers in fact. Another much stranger phenomenon is happening; age demographics have made a major shift and appear to have limitless boundaries. Typically, the collector of a vintage watches are 40-60 year old men. That would be the largest demographic in the past, give or take a couple years. Today, men in their 80's and 90's, etc..are getting into this. Perhaps not as a primary hobby; however, they are wanting to buy the watches they remember from yesteryear. This especially includes dress watches in solid gold, both American and Swiss and also American military watches from almost any major US war - official orders and civilian pieces are both as popular. Collectors should remember this, official issues, I admit have cool factor due to their military engravings on the case back; however, civilian pieces were either the same watch and most were of better swiss watches. Military personnel in the US were required to pass in their watches when the battle was over. They were the property of the US Military after all. Many of the bravest men who fought in WWI and WWII purchased their own military grade watch - apparently they wanted their own. That's why we see the most famous advertising from Hamilton with its model 23 chronograph. There would be no need to advertise these to military personnel if there wasn't a large market. And it's not just the old men that like them. Professionals in their young 30's love them too as well as dive watches, dress watches and chronographs.
Now, let's talk about Women. I've been talking about this for about 10 years; that women will eventually going to enjoy the value, history and nostalgia that comes with a vintage watch. Well, they finally are. This year has been a significant uptick in women, young and mature, getting into the hobby. The most popular watches they enjoy are 32mm sports pieces that emerged in the 1940's and deco tanks or squares. They especially like "tropical" dials, those that dial changed in color to a more exotic color like brown (this is usually referred to as patina).
One more interesting phenomenon should be mentioned. Although there is still a massive market for vintage Rolex or Tudor and they keep growing in price, younger collectors are not buying them as much even if they have the money. I wonder if the younger generation perceives Rolex as an older mans watch or perhaps too frivolous. Or, many may not want to draw attention, which a Rolex sometimes will do. Either way, it's a stark difference between younger collectors and more mature collectors when it comes to Rolex. I think this is why you are seeing more dealers focus just on cult watches like Rolex, Tudor, Patek, VC and AP. While others like myself, cater to a much larger group. So, you would think, why is this happening? It doesn't sound like a great business strategy right? Not really. Collectors of cult watches, especially Rolex are usually not new collectors. They know how vintage watches are different than modern watches and they know what they are looking at. That frees up a lot of time speaking with clients, educating them and research on obscure watches for the dealer. I choose a different path; but to each his own.
To wrap this up, just about everything that is not junk has been important to collectors this year and I do not see this changing. This is a change in the business that will last for years.
Adam J. Dubilo, founder of Adam Vintage
Adam J. Dubilo
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