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Thread: 40th musings (To vintage or not to vintage...)

  1. #1

    40th musings (To vintage or not to vintage...)

    Greetings all.

    Firstly, let me apologize if you have already been subjected to my endless agonising on either "The other forum" or Instagram. My 40th is next year and I must be undertaking the most drawn out decision making process for any mid-tier watch ever...
    I aim to spend around $2500-3000AUD (approx $1900-2300 USD currently) and, as a man of limited means, this will likely be the most I ever spend on a watch (except for maybe my 50th...). I'd like it to be a significant enough piece to mean something for some time and possibly be a worthwhile heirloom.

    Current shortlist is:-

    Sinn 356 Flieger.
    I really love the look, feel and presence of this watch.
    The size is about perfect at 38.5mm.
    I have no real need for a chronograph but really dig the dial aesthetic.
    It's a watch I feel I could wear pretty much anywhere, anytime.
    Only possible negative is the ETA/Valjoux movement being available in so many watches (including many cheaper) may make it feel a bit less "special".

    Nomos Tangente or Nomos Club.
    Jury is out on which. The Tangente is beautiful but, realistically, I think the Club would suit my casual dress and lifestyle more - making it more versatile.
    In-house movement and exquisite build quality are obvious draws here.
    No real negatives. I just feel the Sinn would get more wear and may be a bit tougher?

    Option 3 - The Vintage Choice.
    There are a couple of options here that might just scrape into my budget incl: 60s Breitling Top Time, 60s/70s Datejust/Air King, 60s Omega Seamaster etc

    This is where I need your help and advice. I see this as my only option to own a Rolex, Omega etc. If this is to be my only watch of that level, would it be silly to go vintage? Should I leave that to collectors who can afford models old and new? Is it going to be too delicate or temperamental to rely on everyday for years to come (like a vintage car)? Will service costs be prohibitive?
    In short, am I better off sticking to a new or lightly used model in a more realistic price point for my means?

    Tell me your thoughts...

    Cheers, Mat.

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  3. #2
    optimistic pessimist hayday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by squire76 View Post
    Greetings all.

    Firstly, let me apologize if you have already been subjected to my endless agonising on either "The other forum" or Instagram. My 40th is next year and I must be undertaking the most drawn out decision making process for any mid-tier watch ever...
    I aim to spend around $2500-3000AUD (approx $1900-2300 USD currently) and, as a man of limited means, this will likely be the most I ever spend on a watch (except for maybe my 50th...). I'd like it to be a significant enough piece to mean something for some time and possibly be a worthwhile heirloom.

    Current shortlist is:-

    Sinn 356 Flieger.
    I really love the look, feel and presence of this watch.
    The size is about perfect at 38.5mm.
    I have no real need for a chronograph but really dig the dial aesthetic.
    It's a watch I feel I could wear pretty much anywhere, anytime.
    Only possible negative is the ETA/Valjoux movement being available in so many watches (including many cheaper) may make it feel a bit less "special".

    Nomos Tangente or Nomos Club.
    Jury is out on which. The Tangente is beautiful but, realistically, I think the Club would suit my casual dress and lifestyle more - making it more versatile.
    In-house movement and exquisite build quality are obvious draws here.
    No real negatives. I just feel the Sinn would get more wear and may be a bit tougher?

    Option 3 - The Vintage Choice.
    There are a couple of options here that might just scrape into my budget incl: 60s Breitling Top Time, 60s/70s Datejust/Air King, 60s Omega Seamaster etc

    This is where I need your help and advice. I see this as my only option to own a Rolex, Omega etc. If this is to be my only watch of that level, would it be silly to go vintage? Should I leave that to collectors who can afford models old and new? Is it going to be too delicate or temperamental to rely on everyday for years to come (like a vintage car)? Will service costs be prohibitive?
    In short, am I better off sticking to a new or lightly used model in a more realistic price point for my means?

    Tell me your thoughts...

    Cheers, Mat.

    I'll channel my inner Jimminy Cricket and say to let your conscience be your guide but I'd opt for vintage, preferably a birth year watch. Set your sights on something awesome, maybe a newer model you already have, and get that watch in a 1976 production year. You'll just need to run serial numbers to verify production year. You should be able to find one for much under your budget, leaving you money to get straps or put aside for your 50th birthday gift watch.

    The hunt for this kind of watch is spectacularly fun!

    -hayday
    The pessimist says it can't get any worse while the optimist says it can.

  4. #3
    Grr! Argh! meijlinder's Avatar
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    I'm actually in the exact same situation. Will also turn 40 next year. As of right now I'm leaning towards vintage. Perhaps trying to find a birth year Speedy.

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  6. #4
    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    Nomos.
    Follow IWL on instagram! https://instagram.com/iwatchleague

  7. #5
    I'll echo the sentiments of this thread so far. Get yourself an awesome vintage piece.

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  9. #6
    My thoughts,
    You mention several reasons for the watch - 40th, worthwhile heirloom, little short on money (possibly for some time it seems).

    The money issue should be dealt with first - if you don't need a chrono don't get one because of the service costs taking money that could be better used elsewhere. (I would make an exception for a Speedy Pro, but it's not on your list)

    40th - seems big when you're staring down it's throat but really nothing worth commemorating. Using it as an excuse to buy a watch is fine however but it's importance will quickly be overshadowed by more important milestones (50th, 60th, first coronary bypass, etc)

    So lets look at what left - you want something to wear daily and worthwhile to leave to some one. Problem here is that some/many of the 60's and 70's watches - while pretty "groovy looking" when new - are now "funky looking" . Fine for occasional wear but maybe not every day. And will somebody like some of the 30 years from now? Debatable,

    I don't think servicing good vintage watches is much. if any, more than currant models - even less.

    The Nomos may well be a desirable 'heirloom' - but primarily if the recipient and a watch person. Otherwise I doubt that an old Nomos will thrill anyone. Whenever people are planning on heirloom giving I think of the names that were big years ago, are big now, and will likely be big then - Rolex, Omega, even Breitling are all recognizable names in the general public.

    So i'd get a vintage Rolex, or vintage Omega. Your budget should allow you to get a more recent Omegas well. The previous iteration of the Seamaster has a better shot at being viewed as 'timeless' than the older ones (which is not to be derogatory toward the older ones - I just don't think the average person in the future will like them as much). Or a Speedy - simply because it is timeless, if need be common enough movement to be serviced easily, restorable forever (parts supply). and fits in your budget.

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  11. #7
    I'm a "vintage" kind of guy, so that's my choice - but be realistic. Budget for a major overhaul. That way, you get vintage PLUS an everyday watch. My take on this is that the price of an overhaul is something like the actual cost (not price) of a new watch. What you pay to acquire the vintage watch is the "markup". At the risk of exposing myself as an idiot, here's an example: a 1963 Omega Constellation. Purchased (online auction) for about $800. Overhauled by a US authorized repair shop and completely renovated: about 1.5 times that. Was it worth it? You be the judge:

    OmegaConstellationBefore.jpgOmegaConstellationAfter.jpg

    But, sometimes you get lucky. Here (again...) is *my* "birth-year" Omega. So far, it has not been in for even a COA (it will, soon) and certainly does not need an "overhaul". Since I'm more vintage than you, prices are a bit lower: (cost to me so far is just a bit more than the initial cost of the 1963 Constellation - but it's in superb condition)


    Omega1947June122015.jpg

    Personally, I'm in about the same shape as the original condition of the Constellation. Anyone know what the cost of a complete overhaul at the factory might be?
    La lutte elle-mme vers les sommets suffit remplir un cur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

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  13. #8
    optimistic pessimist hayday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by meijlinder View Post
    I'm actually in the exact same situation. Will also turn 40 next year. As of right now I'm leaning towards vintage. Perhaps trying to find a birth year Speedy.
    This is a good example of my mindset. Something eternal, recognizable, and valuable, both internal and external. I plan on a birth year Rolex GMT Master II Pepsi for my 50th, and I obtained a birth year Mickey Mouse last year. I'm thinking about birth year watches from my kids birth years but watches from 1997 and 2000 are ubiquitous to me as they are not yet vintage.

    -hayday
    The pessimist says it can't get any worse while the optimist says it can.

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  15. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by KennethRSloan View Post

    Personally, I'm in about the same shape as the original condition of the Constellation. Anyone know what the cost of a complete overhaul at the factory might be?
    I don't know about you, but in my case, the factory closed and I'm pretty sure there aren't any spare parts left...
    Plus, I was a LE of... one! Not sure if they were afraid of lowering the high standard or completely disappointed with the result...
    Last edited by CFR; Jun 13, 2015 at 06:18 PM.

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  17. #10
    Desk Diver jraul7's Avatar
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    I would try to get a watchco Omega Seamaster 300 if I were you. Do you like the Omega SMP? They can be had within your budget... great watch that looks awesome in sport and formal situations (just ask James Bond). I had one but flipped it to get my PO.... however I'll probably add one again to the collection down the road. I really dig the blue "wave" dial.

    Rolex Datejust would also be a nice addition.

    In regards to the Sinn or the Nomos, whereas I really like Sinn watches, I would go for the Nomos in your case because it's a "special purchase", so the inhouse movement works nice with it.

    In summary, just as I started... get the Omega or Rolex
    Joe

    Omega / Rolex / Oris / Citizen / Seiko / Alpina / G Shock

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