We’re sold youth as though it’s always better than seniority.
The latest fashion, the most cutting-edge technology, the freshest hit singles; although they may well be admirable in their own right, their principal selling point is that they’re new — or in other words, not old.
Rather than being grounded on anything of real value or substance, this claim is nothing more than a sneaky sales tactic that appeals to our incessant inner drive for novelty.
We like new things because new things are motivators of learning and discovery. If we come across something we haven’t seen before or that we didn’t know, we’re rewarded with a dopamine hit and are therefore more likely to do it again and grow.
Of course, this mechanism is not as useful today in our commercial world as it once was, but companies and marketers do like to exploit it by continually telling us they have the latest and greatest products that we must have.
One look at the watch market and you can see how empty these claims are. Modern watches don’t come anywhere close to their vintage counterparts, and in this article, we’re going to look at exactly why that is.
Even if you come across someone with the same vintage watch as you, it’s highly unlikely they’ll look exactly the same. As well as the fact mid to high-end watches are generally made by hand, all vintage watches have lived long lives, and this can be seen by one look at their dials and general condition.
As well as a tool for checking the hour, a vintage watch is also a story. Through its materials, design, and ageing, it paints a rich picture of a world now lost to time. You may be able to know the hour and minutes more accurately on any watch with a cheap quartz movement, but in no way will you be able to be transported decades into the past.
Invest in a high-quality vintage watch from a reputable brand, and as long as it doesn’t suffer any serious damage, you will always be able to sell it on and even make a small or considerable profit at the same time.
The same certainly cannot be said for modern watches today — even though a newly made chronograph from a 21st-century brand can cost you the same as a vintage Rolex or Omega. Like a new car, many modern watches can drop a third or even half in value the second you buy them. The level of quality and craftsmanship that went into vintage watches, along with the fact that many are irreplaceable, means they won’t leave you worse off economically.
Before the time when there was an app for everything, watches supported a variety of different professions, functions, and activities. If someone needed a way to measure or track something, chances are there was a watch for it.
For instance, in the ’50s and ’60s, major watchmakers like Patek and Omega made chronographs with pulsation dials to help doctors more easily take someone’s pulse. Other watches were made to help professional divers track oxygen intake, pilots to measure fuel consumption, racing drivers to time laps, and military personnel to schedule bombardments.
Other than to look good, you’ll struggle to find a modern watch with as much practical purpose as its vintage counterpart. Every dial and detail of a vintage watch is made for a specific function, and you wear one as much for its beauty as its usefulness.
Going into a store and picking up a shiny new watch off the shelf is a nice experience. But when buying a vintage watch, there’s something much greater and more fulfilling you connect with that cannot be packaged in a fancy box or captured in a snappy marketing blurb.
Albeit on the surface a piece of jewellery, a vintage watch is also a part of a broad web of people, places, and moments stretching throughout history. And this isn’t just intangible spiel that can only be appreciated mentally; if you know your vintage watches well you can see it directly in the model and dial configurations.
For instance, Rolexes with an underline dial are certain models from the early ’60s in which Rolex put a little underline mark under the text to indicate to customs officials they were no longer using radioactive radium in the dial. You wouldn’t get that with a Swatch.
Parker’s is a century-and-a-half old watch retailer built on loyalty, reliability, and value for money. Check out our reviews on TrustPilot or browse our catalogue to see the latest models we have in stock.