Are you a vintage Rolex fan or do you only collect modern?

Are you a vintage Rolex fan or do you only collect modern?

I spent the afternoon with one of my close friends who is an avid watch enthusiast and collector, who also happens to be directly involved with his own watch brand. Of course we were talking about watches and we were able to see the Analog Shift display at Watches of Switzerland in SoHo. For those unfamiliar with Analog Shift, it’s a business started by James Lamdin in New York City catering to pre-owned watches distinctly flavored by the tastes of the company owner (think vintage DOXA and pristine five-digit Sea-Dwellers). James had built Analog Shift to be very successful and sold his company to Watches of Switzerland. If you ever get a chance to meet him, you’ll quickly observe how enthusiastic he is about watches.

Photo by Analog Shift

The Analog Shift display case offered a very nicely curated selection of watches from a two-tone Nautilus to modern Explorer IIs to an Onyx dial Day-Date. The mix of old and new, but all selected for quality and overall desirability, was an intoxicating experience for a watch lover.

While the vintage Rolex models looked particularly tempting to me, I wondered if I actually would enjoy owning and wearing one. Would it be too fragile? Would it require too much upkeep? Hodinkee Radio presented an excellent breakdown of this quandary in an episode entitled: “Dispelling with vintage watch myths with the Hodinkee Shop.” 

Photo by Analog Shift

Vintage watch collecting can be a challenge when it comes to making sure the watch is in good enough shape to be worn without being too fussy about it. It helps to only buy from reputable dealers who clearly explain the details of the watch and if there might be replacement parts and other factors that are on your criteria list.

When taking in a mix of new and vintage in a short period of time on the same day, I can overwhelmingly say that I do want to own a vintage Rolex someday because I just like the look of certain periods of design, just as I do with cars. I prefer the generally boxy and more utilitarian look of certain BMW and Broncos, for example. With watches I love seeing a less shiny and plain presentation of older Rolex models.

Photo by Analog Shift

Of course there are those very wise folks who will counter that modern watches will become vintage one day and that you should create your own history with a newer watch. I understand that idea and do believe it approaching my modern watches with that in mind. 

But when I saw a Rolex 1603 Datejust on the wrist of a store associate at the Todd Snyder Liquor Shop menswear store, I was reminded of why I want to own a vintage Rolex in spite of the potential upkeep necessary. The engine-turned bezel, proportions and overall look of his Datejust exuded a look that truly worked with this gentleman’s personal style.

Where do you stand on vintage Rolex watches? Worth the effort? Or just buy watches that aren’t even close to being older than you are?

We offer straps for vintage Rolex models. Check them out here.

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