When It Comes to Watches, Older Is Often Better
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m a bit of a watch nut. I love following the brands. I love seeing what comes out of SIHH and Baselworld ever year. And, I love planning my dream collection.
There are a lot of great innovations in materials, complications and technologies out there. There are some new watches that a most definitely drool-worthy (HYT H1, anything from MB&F, the Audemars Piguet Millenary 4101 and any Harry Winston Opus to list but a few). But, there is something special about vintage and antique watches, something more. They come from a time where your watch was something special. You couldn’t pull out your cell phone to check the time. You needed an accurate watch. A railroader in the late 19th and early 20th century would spend what amounted to a few months salary to buy the proper watch.
I’ve always gotten a kick out of pocket watches. They have a sense of occasion not present in wrist watches. I still wear them on occasion, and they always make me smile. At the risk of sounding pretentious, they’re the best accessory a man can wear, and every man should have one.
|1919 Southbend 12sz, 1916 Elgin 12sz, 1885 Aurora 18sz & 1915 Elgin 12sz|
As far as wristwatches are concerned, they just keep growing in size. The Harry Winston Histoire de Tourbillon 3 is 65 mm wide. That’s huge. There is something to be said about a vintage Hamilton or Waltham that is only about 36 mm wide. It’s a great understated look that will never become dated.
|1992 Bulova Accutron, 1967 Hamilton Thin-O-Matic, 1956 Waltham|
The final reason backing vintage and antique watches is plain old craftsmanship. These watches are already a century old. If they’re still running and keeping time now, there’s a good chance they’ll keep running well into their second century. These watches were made in the days before display backs were ubiquitous, but that doesn’t mean the movements were neglected. They are superbly finished even though the average wearer will never open the caseback. They are works of art.
|1919 Southbend: 12sz – 19 Jewel|
New watches are great. The advances in technology and materials never ceases to amaze. But, there will always be a place for beautiful vintage and antique pieces, because, in watches, older is often better.