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Thread: My Themes for Vintage Collecting

  1. #1
    Old but Crafty RayMac's Avatar
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    My Themes for Vintage Collecting

    There are lots of themes you can have for vintage collecting - a particular brand, country of origin, type of watch (say dive watches or pilot watches) - grade of watch, age of watch - you name it.
    I have a couple of themes I have used over the years.
    1. Buy pocket watches my grandfathers would have used.
    2. Buy wrist watches my dad would have used.


    That generally confines me to mid grade pocket watches of American origin prior to the first World War. My maternal grandfather did own a Hamilton railroad grade watch late in life but that is an exception. One grandfather liked Waltham, the other one Elgin. Neither one was a railroader or businessman so I shy away from high end or hunter case models.
    As far as wristwatches go I stick primarily to American made plus Swiss-American companies like Bulova and Benrus. I usually go for manual wind as I don't think my dad ever owned an auto. He passed away in 1963. Here I concentrate on 1930s-1950s.
    The only exceptions I've made to this set of themes are some 1980s Russian wind-ups which are not strictly speaking vintage I suppose. I just liked them.
    Do you have any particular theme for your vintage stuff?


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  3. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by RayMac View Post
    Do you have any particular theme for your vintage stuff?
    First and foremost: American made RR grade pocketwatches that have some (however tenuous) relationship with the 1968 "clean up" Hamilton 4C 992B's - which I consider the pinnacle of the breed, or at least the survivor : the "last man standing". I just acquired my 11th "4C 992B" - I may not be satisfied until I own them all (or at least one good example of every case/dial combination.

    For WW, I like clusters that "tell a story". Zenith & Ebel, connected by the El Primero chronograph movement are one (I have a nearly unbroken string from the early '50s to the 00's. There are many others - the only requirement is that a SINGLE watch doesn't do it for me; there must be a progression of some sort.

    Latest mini-collection (which will surely grow): Vietnam War era US military watches. I also have a decent start on Russian watches.

    Longer term (because they require more $$): "space" watches (both USA and USSR). I really should have had a 1969 Speedy Pro to wear today, but "just the right one" has not yet presented itself to me. Five years from now FOR SURE.

    In fact, the usual drill is that I see something I really like - and that becomes the "seed" for a "theme" - again, one is never enough.

    And then there's the classic "birth year" collection...I suppose I really ought to have a "birth year" collection for every member of my family. Must work on that.
    La lutte elle-mme vers les sommets suffit remplir un cur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

  4. #3
    I'm always scared to answer any thread which talks about collecting: I can't claim to be a Collector - I've just got a bunch of watches that I like wearing.

    But most of them are vintage, and they definitely have a couple of clear trends so.....

    firstly, Seikos. I would happily buy these brand new, if they still made them like this - I have to buy vintage to get what I want. I can't work out why it is I feel drawn to Seikos rather than the many good Swiss brands of the 1960s but I do. Maybe I just like the logo? I've got two in my rotation now, from 1968 and 1971, and I've had two others (1961, 1995) as well.

    secondly, Soviet bloc watches. Here I'm sure I'm enjoying reaching into a world which was still closed off when I was young. Closed off, but very much at the forefront of our thoughts though. I've a 60s Russian, a 70s Belorussian and an 80s East German, all with design cues in common, but which aren't seen outside this orbit.

  5. #4
    Member scottjc's Avatar
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    The theme for my collection is fairly obvious and seemingly never ending.
    Rado has produced so many varied styles that I can't even contemplate another brand until I've got my head around them all.
    If the supply of ETA movement parts affects you please complete this survey:
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  6. #5
    Honestly I don't really. I just have a few vintage pieces in mind to purchase down the line but I can't say there is really a theme to it.
    Olma, Oris, Vostok, Casio, Smiths, Luch, Elgin, Fossil, Orient

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  7. #6
    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    Pretty much a varied thing. I mostly go after RR-grade pocket watches, mil-spec (Hamilton 4992B), or early Omega's. Personally, I prefer the pocket watches.

    Cheers!

    Dan

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan R View Post
    Pretty much a varied thing. I mostly go after RR-grade pocket watches, mil-spec (Hamilton 4992B), or early Omega's. Personally, I prefer the pocket watches.

    Cheers!

    Dan
    I like 4992B's (I have one permanently mounted on springs in a cylindrical metal "Case, Carrying"), and I always carry one (or a look-alike Elgin) when traveling across time zones (set to G.C.T., of course) - but *really* like the 4992B parts that went into 4C 992B's. These combine the attractions of WWII surplus and the last gasp at the end of the RR PW era.

    Like you, I really prefer the pocket watches, but I'm learning to appreciate these new-fangled wrist-thingies. Much more *variety* (my PWs are almost exclusively RR grade and range from 1869 to 1968 - my WWs are all over the lot, from American to Russian, but mostly Swiss, 1940s to 2015)

    Always on the lookout for "yet another 4C 992B" (even bare movements) - and still searching for an affordable Ball-Illinois.
    La lutte elle-mme vers les sommets suffit remplir un cur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

  9. #8
    Zenith & Vintage Mod Dan R's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KennethRSloan View Post
    I like 4992B's (I have one permanently mounted on springs in a cylindrical metal "Case, Carrying"), and I always carry one (or a look-alike Elgin) when traveling across time zones (set to G.C.T., of course) - but *really* like the 4992B parts that went into 4C 992B's. These combine the attractions of WWII surplus and the last gasp at the end of the RR PW era.

    Like you, I really prefer the pocket watches, but I'm learning to appreciate these new-fangled wrist-thingies. Much more *variety* (my PWs are almost exclusively RR grade and range from 1869 to 1968 - my WWs are all over the lot, from American to Russian, but mostly Swiss, 1940s to 2015)

    Always on the lookout for "yet another 4C 992B" (even bare movements) - and still searching for an affordable Ball-Illinois.
    The big problem with PWs, IMO, is driving. Unless you have the war mount, it is tough to pull it out to see what time it is. I honestly still use my wrist watch to tell time while I am driving. Then there is the rain thing. Very few of mine have any hint of corrosion and I like to keep it that way.

    I only have one Russian, and one Chinese, but several Japanese with the balance being Swiss.

    It is a good hobby for the eyes!

    Dan

  10. #9
    I have two; vintage world timers and vintage chronograph.
    I am intrigued by watches with a military history, but don't own any as of yet.


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  11. #10
    My car has a clock embedded in the dashboard.

    A PW is almost always well protected against rain.
    La lutte elle-mme vers les sommets suffit remplir un cur d'homme; il faut imaginer Sisyphe heureux.

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