The Vintage Issue: A how-to guide for choosing a timepiece (& 10 wedding worthy watches from $100 to $10,000)

by | Groom, Groom Style

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ms Tweed
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I won’t lie. I don’t know a great deal about vintage watches. But I do know one thing! And that is that Mr Tweed LOVES them. Stepping out of my comfort zone to research and purchase a vintage timepiece for him as a gift on our wedding day is something I am always so happy I did. I love the little smile he flashes me each time he puts it on his wrist on “special occasions”.

I have enlisted the help of Mr Tweed to bring to you a how-to guide for purchasing a timeless timepiece. – Ms Tweed x

Image by Will Chao Photography via Debra & Nelson’s Elegant & Classic Melbourne Wedding

A quality timepiece can last lifetimes – making them the perfect wedding day memento for your groom (or bride!).

With endless brands and models, the search for a new or vintage watch can be daunting. So here is my how-to guide for purchasing a keepsake to mark your nuptials.

  • Keep it classic and avoid fashion trends – you want timeless (pun intended), not something that will be dated in two years’ time and left in their sock drawer. Get it right and you’ll have an heirloom to pass down to future generations.
  • The days of oversized watches are numbered. Go with a watch of 42mm or less – after all it needs to be appropriate with a wedding suit.
  • Look pre-owned to save on RRP. But unless you’re an expert, buy from reputable vendors. Look for trusted sellers on Chrono24 (the global eBay for watches) or visit a reputable second hand watch dealer for high end purchases. You’ll find them in most cities.
  • Search the jewellery cabinet at pawn brokers, which usually have lots of vintage offerings. Check what warranty they come with and make sure you can return it if there’s an issue. Take it straight to a respected watchmaker to make sure it checks out.
  • Vintage options from brands such as Omega, Longines, IWC, Rolex, Tudor and Cartier will never go out of fashion. Expect to pay anything from a few hundred bucks to several thousand, depending on the model and condition.
  • Watch snobs prefer mechanical watches – wound automatically from the movement of wearing it on your wrist, or by hand. But don’t discount quartz; they are reliable, low maintenance, affordable and keep better time.
  • Do your research. No one wants to spend their hard-earned and then get a nasty – and potentially costly – surprise when it’s delivered to your door. Or simply choose from one of our handpicked selections below.

And just for fun, I’ve included 10 watches worthy of being your future husband or wife’s wedding gift, ranging from $100 to $10,000.

1. Braun

$100 – eBay

eBay can be a minefield if you don’t know what to look for,  but you can safely pick up a new Braun quartz for less than a hundred big ones. It’s a classic minimalist timepiece sporting Bauhaus design, and powered by a Japanese quartz movement. It will keep better time than the $10k Rolex below.

Braun Men’s BN0021BKBKG Classic Stainless Steel Watch via / Image via eBay

2. Timex Marlin

From $285 – timex.com

Whether the vintage-sized 34mm hand wound version or the more modern 40mm, the Marlin is an inspired choice boasting classic mid-century design. And from just a couple of hundred bucks, it’s in within reach of most. And brides, did we mention there’s a ladies version?

Image via Timex

3. Merci LMM-01

$385 – merci-merci.com/en

The first watch by iconic retailer Merci from Paris’ Boulevard Beaumarchais, the LMM-01 (for La Montre Merci) is a pared back vintage inspired field watch that comes in both quartz and automatic versions. It might be simple, but the details are spot on. Dress it up on a leather band for the nuptials – save the fabric Nato strap for the honeymoon.

Image via Merci

4. Tissot Heritage Visodate

$475 – tissotwatches.com/en-au

A vintage-inspired modern classic and a true everyday watch measuring a very modern 40mm. Quartz versions are around $500, or double that for an automatic. Either way you can’t go wrong, whether on leather strap or mesh bracelet.

Image via Tissot

5.Baltic Three-hands

$540 – baltic-watches.com

One of the many young “microbrands” making waves in the watch world, Baltic produces achingly handsome watches powered by reliable Japanese movements at attractive price points. You can’t go wrong with any of their models, but this 38mm Three-hands on a leather strap is sure to stir emotions when gifted on your wedding morning.

Image via Baltic

6. Vintage Grand Seiko

From $1000 – chrono24.com.au

About the most watch you can buy for the money, choose a Grand Seiko from the 1960s or ‘70s and you’ll have a timepiece that rivals anything from the best Swiss watch houses. Once a Japan-only offering, Seiko’s high end spinoff brand has become the darling of those in the watch know around the globe in recent years. New examples will cost several thousand (still amazing value) but this 1969 example will set you back $1,300 from a seller in Japan and will be worthy inheritance for your grandchildren. Look for verified dealers on Chrono24 for peace of mind.

Image via Chrono24

7. Vintage Cartier Tank

From around $1300 – chrono24.com.au

You can spend $20k on a new solid gold version… or just a fraction of that on a vintage version of the deco classic that put the wristwatch on the map in 1917. They’ve been on the wrists of everyone chic including Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Muhammad Ali, Princess Diana, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent and Kim Kardashian (who actually bought Jackie O’s example for more than $500,000). Most de Cartier versions – a more affordable range launched during the 1970s quartz crisis that crippled the watch industry – can be had for around a little over a grand for clean example. A bonus – this is definitely a watch that can be shared between brides and grooms.

Cartier Tank Quartz Must de Cartier Fullset 681006 for AU$ 2,823 / Image via Chrono24

8. Nomos Club Campus

$1870 – nomos-glashuette.com

An entry level model from the small German manufacturer adored by watch aficionados, known for their high-value mechanical movements made in-house. It’s pitched as the model to celebrate milestones in life, such as graduating, starting a new job or … getting hitched. Nomos will even offer complimentary engraving on the case back to literally mark the occasion for decades to come.

Club Campus 38 night — NOMOS Glashütte / Image via Nomos

9. Tudor Black Bay 36

$4000 – tudorwatch.com

Tudor is Rolex’s sister brand – but definitely not the poor cousin. It’s a historic and fabled brand that has been risen to even greater heights with a slew of vintage inspired releases over the last several years. The Black Bay collection has been the cornerstone of brand’s resurgence. The 39 and 41mm dive watches are the most prominent in the collection, but this understated 36mm version is the pick for checking the time while waiting at the top of the aisle.

TUDOR BLACK BAY 36 WATCH – M79500-0007 / Image via  Tudor

10. Vintage Rolex Datejust

From around $7,500 – The Watch Gallery

About as iconic as a watch gets, this is one wedding-worthy time piece. More than any other brand bar the stratospherically priced Patek Philippe, Rolex watches become heirlooms and often appreciate in value. Expect to pay a little under $10,000 for an example like this 2018 version from bricks and mortar dealer The Watch Gallery in Melbourne. It will be perfect on his wedding day, and every subsequent day of his life.

Image via  The Watch Gallery

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