Vintage Womens Wristwatch Buying Guide

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Vintage Women's Wristwatch Buying Guide

Vintage wristwatches are sought for their design, craftsmanship, visual appeal, and value. Expensive vintage watches are sometimes purchased in the hopes they can be resold for a profit, while many people purchase and wear them for their visual appeal alone. Due to the popularity of vintage wristwatches, a large secondary market has developed around them, and buyers can find a high number of items to choose from.

When shopping for vintage women's wristwatches, consider the materials, movement, and size of the item. The manufacturer can also be an important factor, and can help dictate the price of a vintage item. If an expensive vintage watch is being purchased, take the time to research the product and learn how to spot a counterfeit. When shopping online, be sure to purchase from reputable sellers.

Vintage women's wristwatches can be purchased from jewellers, antique stores, pawn shops, and online retailers. Marketplaces like eBay offer buyers a broad selection of watches, including particularly rare and valuable ones. Learn about the types of vintage watches available, and choose items that provide the most satisfaction and enjoyment.

Choose Vintage Women's Wristwatches

Before considering the specifics of a vintage women's wristwatch, it is worth brushing up on some common terms. The following table lists basic vocabulary used to describe aspects of wristwatches and their features.

Term

Description

Complication

Any function of a watch besides basic timekeeping. The value of a watch increases along with the number of complications.

Chronograph

A unit that incorporates a stopwatch into its design.

Movement

The components of a watch responsible for driving its hands.

Quartz

A movement type that relies on a quartz crystal for its timekeeping.

Automatic

A watch built with a self-winding mechanism.

Familiarity with individual components and styles increases as a person buys and sells watches. Many more terms are used by experienced watch collectors, so be sure to look up any terms that are unfamiliar.

Types of Vintage

There are four primary types of vintage watches: authentic vintage, modern vintage, reproduction, and counterfeit. In some cases, the distinctions between these categories can result in a price difference of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars. Understand each type of vintage watch to find the most attractive items without overpaying. The following table offers a brief description of each.

Type of Vintage Watch

Description

Authentic

A commercial watch produced in a previous decade.

Reproduction

A watch produced in a recent time period that is meant to look like a specific model from the past. These are sometimes created by the same manufacturer of the original item.

Modern

Modern watches constructed with design elements similar to those from previous decades.

Counterfeit

Made to look as similar as possible to an authentic vintage watch, but uses cheaper materials and construction. Sold at the same price as an authentic.

The most important distinction for buyers is the one between reproductions and counterfeit watches. Reproductions are sold legally, and are meant to celebrate the design and artistry of older watches. They are acknowledged as reproductions by the seller, and sold at prices that reflect their materials and craftsmanship. Counterfeit watches, on the other hand, are sold illegally, and are meant to earn a profit through fraudulent sales. The sellers of these watches insist they are authentic pieces.

Movement

The hands of an analogue watch can be driven mechanically or with quartz crystals. Although quartz watches are more accurate, they are generally less desirable as collectables. Instead, many buyers prefer the intricate craftsmanship of mechanical watches. Keep in mind that each type of movement can be powered in more than one way.

Mechanical

Mechanical watches may be self-winding, or they may be wound by hand. Automatic watches have a small weight inside that shifts with the wearer's movement to automatically wind the watch.

Quartz

Quartz watches can be powered kinetically, with batteries, or by the sun.  Kinetic quartz watches are self-winding, and use a weighted mechanism similar to those used in mechanical watches. Battery-powered products use small button cell batteries, which must be replaced occasionally, and solar-powered watches can continue to run as long as they receive occasional exposure to sunlight.

Materials

The materials of a watch can greatly affect the price of a product, as well as its visual appeal and durability. The most common types of metals used for the case of a wrist watch are stainless steel, silver, gold, and platinum. Of these, platinum is the most valuable, with gold being second. There are three types of gold used in watches: white, rose, and yellow. White gold is the most valuable, and yellow the least.

Size

The size of the band or strap on a watch should fit its wearer's wrist properly to ensure comfort, and protect the watch from damage. Straps made from leather or other soft materials can be adjusted with holes in the band, and are designed to fit most women's wrists. Buyers with larger or smaller wrists can usually find replacement straps for a vintage watch without too much trouble, especially if the manufacturer is still in business.

Metal bands can be a little trickier, as they are designed to fit only a single size wrist. Although factory-new watches are designed with extra links that can be removed to fit a wearer, this is not always the case with vintage items, as the links may have been removed years ago. For this reason, it is especially important to check the size of a wristband before making a purchase. In some cases, a seller may still have the original links, which can be inserted to increase the band size, as needed. If not, it may be necessary to have the band replaced by the manufacturer, or by a professional jeweller, which can be expensive. 

Verifying Authenticity

The attraction of a vintage watch may be its design, history, value, or a combination of factors. Regardless of a buyer's interest, it is important to verify a watch's authenticity to ensure an appropriate price is paid. Due to the popularity of vintage watches, and the anonymity provided by many online sites, a high number of counterfeit watches make their way into the market each year. In many cases, counterfeit vintage watches are meant to look like expensive and popular models from the past, and are sold at very high prices.

There are several guides and fact sheets available online to help buyers avoid purchasing counterfeit watches, and it is recommended that these be consulted before committing to a serious purchase. In some cases, information can be found on specific brands and even models of watches.

Short of research, one easy way to help ensure a positive buying experience is to shop from sellers with a verifiable history. Online sites that use seller profiles with ratings and feedback from buyers are ideal, as a seller of counterfeit watches is likely to quickly gain a poor reputation.

How to Buy Vintage Women's Wristwatches on eBay

Many vintage women's wristwatches can be purchased from the sellers on eBay. To find these products, begin by conducting a word search from the homepage. To see general listings, enter "women wristwatch vintage" into the search field. Search results can then be refined by adding additional terms, such as a brand name, or by clicking on any of the category options that appear. Category links can be used to browse items by condition, price, brand, and more.

Always take the time to research sellers and item listings when shopping for vintage watches. Read the full description of the watch, and examine all available photos. Be clear on the price of the item, and when possible, compare it with listings by other sellers. If you have any questions, or would like to see photographs of a specific part of the watch, contact the seller.

Look for eBay users with a high positive feedback rating and many completed transactions. You may also view comments from previous buyers, along with links to the item the buyer was sold. If a seller claims to be dealing in authentic items, look to see if there are any previous transactions with similar items. Many sellers specialise in authentic vintage timepieces, have sold many in the past and received high ratings from their customers. 

Conclusion

Vintage women's wristwatches are desirable for their visual appeal, craftsmanship, and collectability. A large secondary market exists for these items, and buyers can find many rare and valuable watches for sale, especially online. Begin shopping by deciding which type of vintage watch is desired. Authentic vintage items were produced in previous decades by established manufacturers. Reproductions of famous or rare authentic watches can be found at lower prices, and modern vintage watches incorporate designs from watches of the past. Beware of counterfeit items while shopping. These are similar to reproductions, but use inexpensive materials, claim to be authentic, and are sold at high prices. Buyers should also consider the materials, movement, and brand of a watch to find the best items available.

Women's vintage watches can be purchased from jewellers, pawn shops, and online sellers like those on eBay. Take the time to research counterfeit watches in order to spot a questionable item, and always purchase from reliable sellers with verifiable histories. The high number of vintage watches available ensures that one can be found to suit the interests of any buyer, so begin shopping to find attractive and valuable vintage watches.

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