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Discussion Starter #1
Just have some questions for all you vintage experts out there. Feel free to answer all of them or pick and choose

1. Is it possible to buy a nice vintage watch for less than 50 dollars
2. If not, what's the minimum one has to spend
3. Where is a good constant source of vintage watches
4. What should I look for when buying a vintage watch from ebay
 

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I will answer a couple for my two cents worth...
-it is possible to buy a vintage watch for under $50. It just depends on your definition of nice. Don't expect a Rolex or Patek Philippe, but I'm sure it's happened at least once in the past.
-typically most reasonably priced vintage watches range from $100 and up.
-all different venues are a good source. Everyone references " the Bay" for purchasing. Myself, I go to more antique malls and stores, I deal a lot with local gold and silver scrap buyers.
- as far as what to look for, it's primarily what interests you.
- and when buying from the bay, be ever vigilant, there are thousands of fakes and watches made to deceive. When in doubt, ask many, many, many questions, and if you find one that you are not sure about, you can always ask the many experts on WUS about it.

Best of luck in your endeavors.
 

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1. Yes, it is possible. However, you going to eitherhave to settle for a better brand in rather poor condition or a less-known watch brand in better condition. You won't be buying from a dealer, since for that mone, they can do better cannibalizing cheaper watches for movement parts than selling for under $50.

2. Depending on the brand, you're probably looking at around $100 for anything decent. At that price, you'll probably be looking at something with some warts. Maybe it needs service or has a redial, incorrect crown, worn through gold-filled case, etc.

3. Everyone loves to knock eBay, but go find me a better source of vintage watch bargains and I'll be happy to go there. Most dealers replenish their stock from there, they just will never admit it. The problem with eBay is that you need to do your homework and understand what it is that you are bidding on. That's why forums like this exist.

4. That's a very difficult question. A lot depends on what floats your particular boat collecting-wise. I generally look for "barn finds", that is, watches from private sellers who don't sell a lot of watches, but do sell a lot of other non-jewelery antiques. This tells me that they may be buying in bulk from estate sales or local auctions, and may not know what they have. But that means you have to know what to look for. That takes years of practice and then you have to compete with people like me.

Good luck in your searching!
gatorcpa
 

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I think if your lucky and willing to spend a long time searching around ebay ..it is still possible to buy a decent watch for 50 dollars or under on ebay. Less well known brands for starters. The last 3 watches I bought were all under 50 bucks. 2 were advertising pieces, the other a very accurate pin pallet movement. This does not take into account the servicing by my watchmaker on 1 one of them. Both of the advertising pieces were Hamazawa movements..pretty respectable Japanese movements from the 70s. I have also recently bought a "name brand " watch in mint condition for 40 bucks plus shipping. A Camy. So that just my 2 cents on your first question. Good luck and Im sure many more people will come along with diverse opinions on all your questions. Regards..P&P
 

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I've gotten some great vintage Seiko, Vulcain, Mido, & Tissot watches from eBay, my local watch guy, etc. all for under $100. I would suggest purchasing only from U.S. sellers & researching the hell out of the watches you like. I also prefer mechanical watches (automatic & manual wind). There are some really fun vintage Orient watches out there, too, for very little dough.


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Yes, $50 can buy a nice 17 jeweled Swiss winder. Then you need $100 worth of service to make sure it keeps working...
 
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I generally look for "barn finds", that is, watches from private sellers who don't sell a lot of watches, but do sell a lot of other non-jewelery antiques. This tells me that they may be buying in bulk from estate sales or local auctions, and may not know what they have.
gatorcpa
On ebay the problem is not the seller but other buyers :D You know what they(sellers) have and also a bunch of others know :) And they wait
 

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You will get a nice manual wind HMT for 20-40 Dollars. Stainless steel case, solid work horse of a movement that will keep great time. Very under ratted I think.
 

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The problem with HMTs is that most of them belong to "most ridiculous redial" thread :)
True, but take your time and you will find a nice original watch. Or even a redial that you like. I have been wearing a redialed HMT for the last few months that I really like. A Pilot redialed as a Jarwan. I bought it as a 12 quid "hack" but ended up really liking it. Keeps perfect time too. It's a really nice watch. Good size, stainless steel case, good movement and looks great. What is there not to like? Unoriginal dial? That doesn't bother me once it has been done tastefully and to a good standard. And I knew what I was buying.
 

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I have once found what I think was original not repainted HMT
But there was no movement photo and seller did not respond so no buy :/

 

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Those who have seen any of my recent posts know that it is definitely possible. Most of my collection is vintage and was purchased for under $30 on Ebay. There are deals to be had but you have to be patient and learn the good from the bad. Good luck!
 

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I agree with many in that Ebay is the best source. However, it's a bit of a gamble. Some sellers are not always honest about describing faults, and others simply do not know. As long as the second hand is moving it's "running strong!" You can usually interpret "accuracy not tested" as keeping poor time. It doesn't take much effort to wind a watch, look at the time, and 12-24 hours later see the difference, if any.

You would have much more available to you if you increased your budget to $100, but there is plenty to be had for fifty dollars. The vintage Russian watches tend to be inexpensive. For 50 or even 100 you are not going to get Omega or Longines. I recently picked up a Helvetia mechanical watch, WWII style with the second sub-dial for $35 plus shipping. I have also purchased a handsome Mayek, which is a Russian brand in military style for about $55. Both keep time to within 10s/day and required no service. Most watches I service as soon as I get them, but I was lucky with these in that it was not necessary.

To the contrary, there are about 2 purchases I recall that I returned because they were barely running and were truly a wreck. There are plenty of smart and experienced people on this forum that can guide you with any questions you have about a purchase.
 

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If you do your research, EB probably remains the best place to find vintage watches . . .not only however, is servicing usually required as has been pointed out above, my experience after 20+ EB vintage buys is that most straps that come with vintage watches are also not what I wanted, so another smaller aspect of all-in costs is replacing the strap, which probably is 'open ended' for anything older than 1960.... . ..Scott
 

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Not an expert (yet) but keep learning... Hope this helps.

1. Yes, so long as you don't expect a REAL Rolex. I've found nice enough Swiss and German watches (Stowa, Anker, Sicura) and a cool Citizen chronograph - from mid-60ties to late 70ties, most in good working condition. Anyone can check prices online, so the real bargains are rare.
2. Yes, but put money towards cleaning, repairs, spare parts.
3. Europe: Flea markets. Asia: Had some luck with watch repair shops. Not super bargains, but at least things haven't seen in Europe.
4. No experience.
 

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I have once found what I think was original not repainted HMT
But there was no movement photo and seller did not respond so no buy :/

Why not?
Its genuine and for $30, it would not be such a big disaster?

A
 

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Not an expert (yet) .
Been buying and studying Horology 10 years, and I am far from an expert. So don't expect miracles to soon.

I consider 25 to 30 years and you may become an "expert"

"Expert" and "watchmaker" are too Horology what "rare" is to Ebay! - (ultra scarce commodities)
 

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If you're able, try to raise your budget to $100, if you want a "nice" watch, do your research and be patient to find the right candidate.Always ask about the authenticity of all parts of the watch, especially dial,hands,case,mechanism and that they belong to the same watch, in this budget the crown and plexi can be ignored. If you buy from eastern countries(incl. eastern eu) ask the seller what a fresh service would additionally cost from his local watchmaker, it can be a pleasent surprise,trust me. And finally, dont expect too much accuracy imho 2min/day for this price range is acceptable.Try to look on forums from private sellers and even etsy, you will get a better price,better communication and much less risk for a ripoff.

PS. watch out for availability of parts if you're going for a rare brand in-house cal.
 
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