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Vintage watches for sale by other brands
On this website you will find immaculately preserved vintage watches for sale by Rolex, Omega, Jaeger LeCoultre, IWC, Breitling and the all the other famous brands that we regard as household names today. Sales of these watches have made up the bulk of our turnover for the last twenty five years.
It would be a great mistake to think of these companies as being the be all and end all of the vintage wristwatch world though.
In fact, some of the significant technological breakthroughs that have taken place over the last century, particularly when the wristwatch was coming into its own in the early inter-war years, can be attributed to less well known pioneers.
A good illustration of this would be the first generation of self-winding wristwatches. These are some of the most interesting models available to the collector and have a Heath Robinson charm all of their own. The first serially produced automatic wristwatch was the Harwood, designed by an Englishman, but there are several others that followed in the years around 1930 including the Rolls, in which the movement literally slid up and down the case, winding as it did so; the Autorist, which utilised a curious pivoted lug to wind the mainspring with the movement of its wearer’s wrist and the memorably named Wig Wag. While beautifully made, we should regard these delightful watches in retrospect as heroic failures. However, they are of the utmost historical importance and it comes as no surprise that London’s British Museum has examples of each of these types on permanent display in its horological section. We try to offer a small selection of early automatics for sale in investment grade condition at all times. These are far from inexpensive and almost impossible for us replace when we sell one, but they do make the basis of a marvellous themed collection for anyone intent upon charting the development of the wristwatch as we know it today.
Similarly, early waterproof wristwatches also have a lot of appeal. In the years before Rolex finally developed an effective solution to the challenge of designing a sealed wristwatch with its Oyster in 1926, there were several evolutionary stepping stones by various makers that led the way to the creation of reliably waterproof models. Again, though these are rare and highly prized, we try to offer a representative selection of the best surviving pieces.
When the dark clouds of war amassed over Europe in the late 1930s, both the Allied and German governments commissioned wristwatches for use by their armed forces. Vintage military watches are extremely collectible today and many of the most difficult to find models were manufactured by makers other than the major brands. While we would all regard the regime that inspired them to be totally unacceptable, some of the most evocative of these military classics were produced for the German Luftwaffe by a variety of Swiss and German houses to a remarkably high standard. As with all Nazi related antiques, fakes abound, but we do our best to offer a handful of these models that are guaranteed to be entirely genuine and of a standard suitable for museum display.
Some of the early chronograph wristwatches are a delight to own and again, are much sought after. We’ve had some remarkable gold cased chronographs from the 1940s and ‘50s pass through our hands over the years, several of which were supplied, and signed, by some of London’s most prestigious jewellers. This sort of material is well worth considering, not least because while it isn’t cheap by any means, it will typically sell for only a fraction of the amount asked for its closest equivalent by the famous makers. Even today, when the market for vintage watches is at an all time high, it should be possible to locate a large sized pre-1950 near mint vintage chronograph in an 18 karat gold case, with a superbly finished Venus or Landeron movement, for less than £1200 GB pounds. These watches offer an awful lot of complex high quality machinery for a very modest outlay and will unquestionable appreciate in value in the future.
Our company policy is not to supply anything that isn’t first rate, both in terms of its intrinsic quality and its present condition. It could be argued convincingly that this section of our site is the most interesting, because it breaks away from the conventional vintage Rolex, Omega, Cartier etc territory and showcases unusual models that many collectors will not have encountered in the past. These are watches that are as exceptional in their construction and finish as those by the prestigious brands, but are not often seen outside of highly specialised auction catalogues and scholarly reference books.
In every instance, we are always willing to discuss with potential buyers, either by email or by telephone, as to what may be the most suitable purchase for them, whether the objective is to find a watch they can wear from time to time or to fill a strategic gap in a focussed collection. Those who wish to examine some of the quirky rarities in this section first hand are more than welcome to do so and both old and new customers are most welcome to examine our stock for themselves in East Yorkshire.