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Vintage Wristwatches For Sale From the 1990s
The 1990s were a decade of continual growth for the Swiss luxury watch industry. By 1990, the resurgence of interest in traditional mechanical watches was well underway. The public increasingly appreciated that if they were looking for a high quality, expensive wristwatch, this should preferably have a mechanical , rather than battery powered, movement. This process of enlightenment was aided greatly by the widespread adoption of the internet. For the first time, watch enthusiasts who were geographically too far apart to meet in person could visit dedicated forums devoted to their favour brands and discuss the merits of different movements and cases. Without a doubt, the internet has been a major driving factor for the explosion of interest in fine mechanical horology that we’ve witnessed in the last fifteen years.
The major houses fell into a rhythm of steadily producing their classics, just as they always had done but now with increased sales volume. Rolex was at the forefront, but was still largely relying on a range that it hadn’t greatly revised since the 1950s. If we look at a Rolex Datejust or Submariner from the mid-1990s, to the untrained eye these look pretty much identical to their ancestors of forty years earlier. Omega was more progressive and experimented, very successfully, with contemporary versions of its Seamaster and Constellation models. While these were very well made watches, collectors have always preferred to opt for earlier versions from the 1950s and 60s that were created at a time when Omega still manufactured its own movements in-house. Time will tell whether 1990s Omega production based around generic raw movements bought in from the corporate giant ETA becomes favoured with enthusiasts, but at the moment, this hasn’t yet happened.
In retrospect, a lot of very worthwhile watches were produced in the 1990s. The industry had recovered financially from the crippling blows it had been dealt in the previous two decades by the influx of quartz technology and the money was there to plough into the research and development of new ideas. While a lot of the craftsmanship that went into vintage watches pre-1970 had disappeared and machine rather than hand finishing of movements was common, watches by the major Swiss houses were typically well made and are worthy of consideration today. Rather like luxury cars from the same era, they fall into that no man’s land of being too old to be thought of as current models, but equally, too modern to have acquired vintage desirability. For the buyer wanting a reliable watch that he can wear on a day in, day out basis, a well looked after piece from the 1990s might be a sensible choice.
Our business is almost entirely concerned with the supply of immaculate vintage watches for investment that were produced before the quartz crisis of the 1970s. The vast majority of the watches we have for sale date from the golden age of the Swiss timepiece before 1960. Our expertise is in the field of antique watches and we are the first to point out that there are dealers with much larger stocks of models manufactured in the last twenty years than we have to hand. Having said this, we will purchase the best examples of recent releases if we feel that they have the potential to appreciate in value as collectibles in the future and always try to have a small selection of modern classics on our site.