What makes a watch "vintage"? - Watch Freeks


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Old 05-15-2017, 01:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What makes a watch "vintage"?

Is vintage just determined by the age of the piece or does more go into it? Does it have to be limited or rare? If it is only how old it is, when does that start? Does the fact that the model is discontinued, or if the manufacturer has gone out of business? How much does the strap play a factor? Some old leather or lizard straps are hard to find.

My opinion is that the watch must be at least50 years old. It must be in fully operational condition and all original. However, it does not need to keep great time. It must run but I don't expect the same accuracy as a new piece would offer. You can't drop a new movement in an old case and call the watch vintage IMO. Some minor repairs are allowed. The watch can't be modified from the original. That prevents mixing and matching parts like hands and bezels.

These are just some thoughts that I thought might open the floor up for some conversation. What do you guys think?
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:47 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Spaceview:
I agree a watch aughta be at least 50 years old to be considered
vintage. I've had a few vintages in my time.
1. An A11 Bulova WW2 issue wristie 36mm 16 jewels 259 movement
2. A 1903 Elgin Sized 18 pocketwatch. Nicnamed the "Biscuit" watch.
3. A 1948 Hamilton 992b. Sized 16 RR grade pocketwatch.
4. A 1954 Hamilton 950b. Sized 16 RR grade pocket watch.
5 A 1949 Gruen wristie gifted by an uncle.

All 5 of em gone now to posterity.

Loose Nutt
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I still have a 1970 Spaceview T-case with the original hands.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think the word vintage is meaningless except when it applies to wine.

It's not really a word to describe an old item of any sort. I'd far rather see "circa" and a guesstimated date then the "vintage" adjective. If we could lose the the words "rare" and "collectable" it would also be helpful. Both of those are also meaningless when it comes to describing a watch IMO.
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Old 05-15-2017, 04:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not a 100% sure on the answer but it will be interesting to read peoples thoughts on the matter.
I have a 1968 Seiko Sportsmatic I purchased as a birth year watch all original baring the strap. I would consider that to be vintage.

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Old 05-15-2017, 04:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The word "vintage" is used a lot in my business (antique mall). Ask 20 people what it means - get 20 different answers. Most seem to believe it means 20-30 years or older, but it's different for everyone. Personally, I try not to use the word, just because there is no universal definition. But that's just me - your mileage may vary.




adjective vin·tage
Definition of vintage




  • 1 of wine : of, relating to, or produced in a particular vintage
  • 2 : of old, recognized, and enduring interest, importance, or quality : classic
  • 3a : dating from the past : oldb : outmoded, old-fashioned
  • 4 : of the best and most characteristic —used with a proper noun vintage Shaw: a wise and winning comedy — Time
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Old 05-15-2017, 06:08 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Vintage is a subjective description and holds no intrinsic value or classification. Just like 'artisanal', 'rare', 'collectible' (to whom?), 'sought after', etc. Especially the artisanal label makes me frown.

However, vintage carries an emotional charge that is applied to clothing, furniture, cars, and of course watches from certain eras. When is a watch antique, when vintage and when modern?

What is modern can turn into vintage in 40, 50 or 60 years from now. To me it's heavily influenced by fashion, the spirit of the age (Zeitgeist) but also the popularity of the object. A 50-year old wooden clothes peg that looks the same as the wooden clothes pegs that are still produced today will not be considered vintage. But if they carry a well recognised brand name and come with the original packaging and an interesting story they might well become vintage.

Last edited by GoodWatch; 05-16-2017 at 04:19 AM.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Rough rule and purely subjective of course....

Vintage is approximately 30 years, and over 50 years is antique.

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Old 05-16-2017, 10:09 AM   #9 (permalink)
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In my experience, the term is overused as a whole and seems to be an excuse for retailers to unnecessarily increase their prices.
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Old 05-16-2017, 12:01 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Vintage is whatever the collectors say it is,
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Old 05-18-2017, 04:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I would say it should be at least 30 years old. 50 years old is too much in my opinion.
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:54 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WatchMedic View Post
Rough rule and purely subjective of course....

Vintage is approximately 30 years, and over 50 years is antique.

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I thought it was 20?
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:42 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grease View Post
I thought it was 20?
Rough rule. Purely subjective of course

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