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Vintage Watches Buying Guide

Vintage Watches Buying Guide

Top 8 Affordable Vintage Watches Under £1,500

Affordable vintage watches offer an excellent entry point into the world of vintage watches and we’re often asked by customers for recommendations for our favourite “cheap vintage watches”. For many it will be their first (but rarely their last!) venture into the world of vintage watches and their requirements are often similar; a watch from a recognised brand, under £1,500 in price, a classic, timeless design that is robust  enough to be worn daily, and ideally, a watch that’s likely to appreciate in value.

With so many customers asking for our opinion, we thought we’d put together a list of 8 affordable vintage watches under £1,500 that we felt fit the bill. There are of course many more that didn’t make our list, and as we always say to customers, the most important thing is buying a watch YOU like, not what someone else does!

So without further ado, let’s get started with our selection of our top 8 affordable vintage watches under £1,500. We’ve included a brief description of each timepiece, as well as the main things you’ll want to watch out for (you’ll notice many will be the same), our favourite models, and a price guide. Our price guide is based on watches sold by dealers like ourselves, so remember to add 30-60% if you’re buying from traditional dealers.

If you can’t wait and just want to see examples of actual watches, click through for our current selection of Affordable Vintage Watches Under £1,500. Alternatively, if there’s something you want that we don’t currently have in stock, you can always make use of our Free, No Obligation, Watch Sourcing Service.

Our Top 8 Vintage Watches Under £1,500:

 Omega Seamaster De Ville | Time Rediscovered

 

1. Omega Seamaster De Ville. An iconic watch of the 1960’s (and our most requested watch ever!), this beauty previously graced the wrists of Sean Connery in the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”. More recently it was sported by the devilishly debonair Don Draper, in Series 5 of "Mad Men.” The Seamaster de Ville was first introduced in the 1960’s and fuses the rugged credentials of the Seamaster line with the elegant, dressy nature of the De Ville collection. Available in a range of sizes and finishes, the Seamaster de Ville offers a choice of automatic or manual models, with or without date function, ensuring there’s a Seamaster De Ville for absolutely everyone.
    • What to watch out for: When purchasing your Seamaster De Ville, look out for un-serviced examples, rounded lugs, and fake or poorly refurbished dials.
    • Our favorite: Our top pick is the Steel or Gold Cap examples, with automatic movements and the larger 34.5mm case. For example this previously sold Omega Seamaster De Ville ref. 165.020
    • What to pay: Expect to pay between £900 - 1,600 for your Seamaster De Ville, depending on condition, completeness (i.e. box and papers), and reference.

Affordable Vintage Watches | Omega Seamaster 30 - Time Rediscovered

2. Omega Seamaster 30.

Though the Omega Seamaster range was initially created in 1948, the first Omega Seamaster 30 model didn’t arrive until 1962. The “30” in the model name refers to the size of the movement not the depth of water resistance, as some mistakenly think. During the mid-twentieth century Omega’s 30mm hand-wound movements were hugely popular, so were produced in large numbers, ending with the Calibre 269.

The very first Seamaster 30 watches used the calibre 286, created in 1961.  With basic models available for under £1,000, the Seamaster 30 offers superb value for money, considering the design, movement, and brand heritage you get with this vintage classic. The full range of Seamaster 30 references offers a great range of options, whether you’re a novice buyer or niche collector, from the simple time-only models to rarer MoD-inspired pieces.

 

    • What to watch out for: When shopping for your Seamaster 30, avoid models with dial damage, un-serviced movements, and rounded lugs.
    • Our favourites: We love the great looks sported by the cream/champagne dial examples in the Seamaster 30 line such as this Omega Seamaster 30 ref. 135.007.
    • Expect to pay: You’ll pay between £850 - 1,100 depending on condition, completeness (i.e. box and papers) and reference.

    Affordable Vintage Watches | Omega Seamaster 600 - Time Rediscovered

    3. Omega Seamaster 600. Originally launched in 1948 to mark the brand’s 100th anniversary, the Seamaster is Omega’s longest continuous line to date. In Omega’s words, the Seamaster line is “loosely based on the waterproof wristwatches made for the British military at the end of World War II. The Seamaster models were created to provide robust yet elegant watches for active individuals who wanted a timepiece for “town, sea and country”. There are countless iterations of the Seamaster line, but we have a particularly soft spot for the Seamaster 600, with its minimalist dial design and hard-working movements.

     

      • What to watch out for: Examples with poorly restored or damaged dials, un-serviced movements or significant damage to the plating.
      • Our favourites: We’d be happy with both a steel or gold cap example of the Seamaster 600. For example this Omega Seamaster 600 ref. 135.011.
      • Expect to pay: Between £700 - £1,000 depending on condition, completeness (i.e. box and papers) and reference, making this vintage watch model one of the most affordable out there.

      Affordable Vintage Watches | Omega Geneve - Time Rediscovered

      4. Omega Geneve. Originally launched in 1953 to celebrate Omega’s success in the Swiss chronometer competitions, the Geneve line would go on to account for more than 60% of Omega’s sales by the time the line ceased production in 1979. The Geneve name would eventually become a catch all for a number of very different looking watches (the Omega Geneve Dynamic springs to mind), but our all-time favourite models are the larger (34-35mm) gold cap examples. They offer decent size, reliable movements, and a timeless design – what more could you ask for from a dress watch!

       

        • What to watch out for: Look out for undue wear to the plating, along with dial damage, and un-serviced movements;
        • Our favourites: We love the gold cap examples such as the Omega Geneve ref. 135.070 which offer timeless design at an accessible price point;
        • What to pay: A total vintage bargain, the Geneve can be had for between £700 - £1,000 depending on condition.

       

      Affordable Vintage Watches | Cartier Must de Cartier - Time Rediscovered

      5. Cartier Must de Cartier. Launched in 1976, the “Must de Cartier” line succeeded in rejuvenating Cartier’s lack luster watch sales. By using a cheaper material known as Vermeil (sterling silver plated with 20 microns gold) for the case, and opting for precise quartz movements over the more attractive but costly mechanical movements, the “Must de Cartier” helped to democratize the Cartier brand and attracted a whole new audience.

      For those seeking the look of traditional models, the “Must de Cartier” offered a Tank model that retained the basic shape of the original along with the blue hands and Roman numerals. Meanwhile, for those looking to make more of a fashion statement, a “Must de Cartier” was offered with vibrant coloured lacquer dials along with a more minimalist dial design. The “Must de Cartier” line stopped production at the turn of the century but these economical models are becoming increasingly sought after as an affordable entry point to Cartier’s timeless design.

       

        • What to watch out for: Avoid watch models with wear to the plating, dial damage or suspect re-furbished dials;
        • Our favourites: We love models that echo the timeless design of the original Cartier Tank;
        • What to pay: You’ll need to invest between £800 - 1,600 depending on the condition, completeness (i.e. box and papers) and reference of your Must De Cartier.

       

      6. 1950/60’s Longines. Not everyone knows this but Longines was once considered a more prestigious brand than both Rolex and Omega. In 1913 the New York Times commissioned a survey asking the public which brand of luxury watch they would prefer, if price was not an option. A resounding 92% said they would own a Longines!

        Longines can trace its history back to 1832, which makes it older than both Rolex and Omega. Not only that, but the attention to detail in their vintage pieces is in another league compared to most brands of the time.

        The Conquest and Flagship lines were added in 1952 and 1959 respectively, and though the value of these pieces have (rightly) started to shoot up in recent years, other timeless designs from the period can be had for under £1,500. Buy wisely and you’ll be getting a watch with exceptional history and quality that few other brands can best.
          • What to watch out for: Look out for poorly refurbished dials and dial damage when shopping for your Longines;
          • Our favourites: Our favourites are gold models with cases 34mm and above;
          • What to pay: You can grab examples under £1,000 but we’d honestly recommended stretching to a little more so you can source a really nice example.

         

        7. 1960’s IWC’s:

          Search hard and you can still find decent condition, serviced IWC steel dress models powered by legendary movements such as the calibre 89, for less than £1,500. We don’t expect these to stay at this price for long, but if you can snap one of these watches up now, we highly recommend you take the plunge. Not only do examples from the 60’s make a superb investment piece, but also offer timeless design, rugged good looks, and reliable performance that you’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.

           

            • What to watch out for:  When sourcing your IWC check for poorly refurbished dials, and frakens;
            • Our favourites: We love steel, 34mm models powered by legendary movements such as the calibre 89;
            • What to pay: There are great examples of IWCs between £1,400 - £1,800, but if you can afford it, we’d recommend stretching to a little more so you can get a really nice example.

           

          8. Zenith “Stellina”

            Largely the preserve of serious watch aficionados, vintage Zeniths offer some of the best value for money around. Originally founded in 1846, Zenith are infamous for being one of the only manufacturers to continuously produce their movements in-house. Even prestigious brands like Rolex used to rely on buying partially complete movements from third parties, but Zenith can boast that they complete everything themselves, from R&D to production.

            The result is a “purer” end product that offers a more compelling result than many of the better-known brands. As for the “Stellina”, this isn’t a watch model per se but a designation given to the line by Italians. "Stellina" is the Italian for "star" you see, and the moniker comes from the brand’s star, which features on the dial. The average Stellina is an attractive, minimalist dress watch with a gold or steel case and manual wind movement (automatics and date function variants also exist).

             

              • What to watch out for: When shopping for your Stellina, take care to avoid poorly refurbished dials, and frakens;
              • Our favourites:  Our favourite Stellina examples include steel, 34mm models powered by a legendary movement such as the Calibre 89;
              • What to pay: While you can pick up Stellinas under £1,400 - £1,800, our advice is to stretch to a little more and seek out a really nice example in mint condition.

            Now you know what to watch out for (sorry we couldn’t resist!), you can go forth and source your bargain vintage timepiece with confidence.  And if you’re currently in the market for an affordable vintage watch, why not check out our own curated selection of Affordable Vintage Watches under £1,500? With a wide variety of brands on offer and each piece fully serviced and backed by a 1 year guarantee, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect watch to meet your needs. If you can’t, be sure to check out our Free, No Obligation Watch Sourcing Service and let us help source your dream watch!

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