longines vintage watch

longines vintage watchWhat is considered vintage and what is just old? I get many people who email me or call and ask me if they have, what would be considered a vintage watch, or if their watch is just old.  So I think that it’s time to set the record straight as to what makes a watch vintage. 

Old Vs. Vintage Vs. Rare Vs. Valuable

First, old and vintage are the same things. Think about it, something that is vintage is old. Something that is old can be vintage or antique. If you have an old watch, for the sake of ease, let’s just call it vintage.  The truth is, whether you call it old or vintage doesn’t matter, what does matter is the age of the watch and what the watch is worth.

Not every vintage watch is rare and not every old watch is valuable. It’s important to realize that most vintage watches are not worth very much money.  How many of a particular model of watch were made will impact the worth of the watch.  Some watches were produced in huge quantities, while others only a few exist.

What is the Age of Your Watch?

In order to figure out the age of your watch, you need to look at the serial number on the watch movement, not the watch case.   Not all watches have serial numbers, so you need to look at the style of the movement and way the watch is constructed.

If your watch doesn’t have a serial number on the movement, then that makes it more difficult to identify the age of the watch, but not impossible.  You can find great books that can help you out, forums or find an expert, and as much as I like to think I am an expert, when it comes to this, I am still learning, just like you!

What is the Condition of Your Watch?

Condition is an extremely important consideration when it comes to what a vintage watch is worth.  Here are a few things to look for:

  • Is the watch working or not?
  • Is the case in good condition and relatively free from scratches, dings, dents and cracks?
  • Does the movement look original? Do all the screws and does the movement pieces all match up?
  • How does the ticking sound? How does the balance wheel look?
  • Is there any sign of rust or water damage on the face of the watch or on the movement when you took the back off the watch?
  • How does your vintage watch look? Is she pretty as a picture or does she look like she’s been rode wet and hung up to dry?
  • Is the crystal sapphire and scratch resistant or is it plastic?
  • What type of strap do you have and if it is a bracelet are the links hollow?
  • Are the materials stamped? Is the watch case stainless steel or 14 kt gold and is it stamped?

What’s the value of my vintage watch?

You probably still want to know the value of your vintage watch, don’t you? The bottom line is this…your watch is worth what someone is willing to pay you for it or what you think it is worth!.