June 14, 2018 By Nick
We love a vintage watch here at Single Man Magazine. They can be an investment, they’ll bring you pleasure and the quality of the craftsmanship speaks for itself.
You can also pick up an absolute bargain if you know what to look for. You also have to be prepared to get over your eBay phobia and learn how to buy the right vintage watch on eBay.
It’s a jungle out there, so make sure you research the seller, get an established shop with an eBay presence if you’re not sure. Read what other people have said about them, too.
Also learn to refine your searches. I have done them for you here and have gone for the ‘Buy it now’ option, limited the price range to keep things simple and done a few other tweaks for you. The searches lead to live listings, so bookmark this page if you’re thinking of buying and you’ll keep seeing fresh options.
1. Breitling Navitimer
Selection of Breitling watches, from $700-$2000 on eBay right now.
Really, you can have a Breitling for the price of a pretty forgettable mid-range fashion watch.
The Breitling Navitimer is a thing of beauty, although you might spend upwards of $1500 for a decent example and more for a perfect one. It’s chunky, detailed, the mechanism is pure engineering at work and it’s a watch you could wear anywhere.
If the Navitimer is a little brash for your tastes, then just take a look at the other Breitlings, particularly the dress watches. They really do tone things down, although you can opt for a WWII chronograph that seems to offer the best of both worlds.
A Breitling should last you a lifetime if you get a good one and it could be the only watch you ever wear. Buy wisely and this will be one of the best fashion investments you ever make.
Do your due diligence on the seller, make sure they’ve got spotless feedback. Also be prepared to polish your new baby and give it a service. You’re buying at the bottom of the price range, so your Breitling might come with a patina and a back story. Some TLC, though, should make a world of difference.
2. Tudor Oyster
A Selection of Tudor Oyster watches for men to buy online $700-$1500
You can’t quite get a decent Rolex on this budget, but you can get a Tudor and that is almost the same. This was Rolex’s foray into the mass market and this 1960s Oyster Prince is a stunning watch with the guts of a Rolex.
It’s a self-winding mechanism and a clever watch, but it is also subtle and can go with everything. Truth watch aficionados will love this one. It will actually open doors for you and it’s a fantastic watch to wear at work.
A watch like this grabs just the right people. It can spark conversations all on its own and it will win some quiet respect.
3. Longines Conquest
A selection of Longines Conquest watches for men $700-$1500
Personally, I’m not a huge Longines fan. But don’t let that stop you if you appreciate these simple, clean watches that have sold in big numbers, at high prices, for decades.
That’s the thing about individual style. One of these watches will just gel with you better than me, and that’s all good.
The best-looking ones, in our opinion, date back to the 1960s. Longines has played with the same basic classic design and there’s going to be something for you. Broaden your search and you’ll find some watches with genuine character, which might even be a solid investment.
4. Omega Seamaster
A selection of Omega Seamaster watches from $700-$1500
The messed up thing is that the Omega Seamaster was on my other list of $500 watches and there seems to be a Seamaster to suit most budgets, from $100 right through to $10,000+. With $1000, though, you can get a cherry example that could be your go-to watch for the rest of your natural life.
The dress watches are getting more expensive and they make up most the ones you can find in this price bracket. They used to be cheaper and it might be worth picking one up as an investment right now.
The Seamaster can be a gateway drug for the vintage watch world, but really it’s a watch you could wear anytime, anywhere.
5. Tag Heuer Carrera
The Carrera is kind of vague as a descriptive term, because it covers everything from chunky diver watches to slinky dress pieces that are, if anything, a little understated.
So, really, you have to find a style that suits you. If you’re a car fan, too, then there are some interesting Gulf racing tie-ups that I think look amazing. The classic blue and orange livery is an acquired taste, but if you are into your racing then you might just love them.
Otherwise, go for neutral colors and good condition. Ilike the Calibre line, which you should take a look at. They’re much more artistic than the modern-day Tag Heuer watches and you might findthey work better for you.
You can buy a brand new Tag Heuer Formula One for about $1000, so don’t settle for anything too messed up by the passage of time.
6. Grand Seiko
It’s easier than you think to spend $1000 on a vintage Seiko and you don’t even need to get into the rarefied Grand Seiko air to do it. You can spend that money on a lowly Lord Matic these days, but don’t.
Everything is a poor substitute for a Grand Seiko. This watch featured on my list of the best vintage watches for $500. But $1000 buys an even better vintage watch and this is a timepiece that will win you friends in the boardroom. It’s classy, it speaks to a certain kind of individual and it is quietly excellent at everything it does.
The rest are fashionable vintage fads. The Grand Seiko is forever.
Handwinders are well outside this budget, but you can get a twin Quartz-powered Hi-Beat for $1000, just…
There are diamond versions around and they’re commanding the same money as the cleaner watches, there simply isn’t a premium to pay. So if you want to get flashy, get the diamond-encrusted vintage watch that is actually a lot of vintage watch for the money.
7. Jaeger LeCoultre 481 Automatic
This is just one of those brands that commands respect. Personally, the watches don’t do anything for me. But they always seem to look more expensive than they really are.
They come with instant cache, so a connoisseur will see it and it’s like catnip to them. They just can’t resist. That makes it a perfect accessory for business casual.
The red power reserve model is quite cool in its own right. It isn’t my personal style, but wear one to meetings and it will have the same impact as a new watch that costs five times the price.
8. IWC Schaffenhausen Automatic
A selection of IWC Schaffenhausen watches for sale online from $700-$1500
Like the Breitling, you basically get your foot in the door at IWC for $1000 and you should really be prepared to compromise on the style.
Look very carefully at the condition, too, and bail out at any sign of rust or decay. You don’t want to buy a vintage watch that is a money-pit. Keep it simple, buy a good one or buy something else.
Some of the best examples are out in Japan, so be prepared to order outside of your comfort zone and buy IWC watches online to save yourself a fortune.
9. Zodiac Sea Wolf
A selection of vintage Zodiac Sea Wolf watches to buy online, $700-$1500
This is another one of those watches that those in the know will appreciate more than an in-your-face Rolex or modern Tag Heuer. This was always a designer watch, but the Zodiac is a professional workhorse, too.
The original diver’s watches,not the first models, but the second gen that were properly sealed, are rated to a depth of 660 feet.Put a contemporary metal strap on the metal-bezelled titanium version and you have got a watch that can hold its own with anything out there right now.
This is one of the prettiest watches out there if you like bold styling.
It has been with us in some form since 1953 and the second gen feature hacking and the serious waterproofing. Later models adopted an acrylic bezel, but it’s the titanium-finished brass one that looks by far the best.
Buy your Zodiac Sea Wolf online now.
10. Citizen Chrono Master
To be honest,you can take your pick of vintage Citizen automatic watches. There is something for everyone out there.
The Chrono Master shows the day and the date separately, which is kind of cool. Honestly, though, and I know I’m doing my own point in at this point, new Citizen watches are arguably better value than the vintage ones.
You can get something like this, a brand new Citizen Eco Drive Signature Collection Moon Phase, for the same money, and I think it’s just better.
Or this slightly more conservative alternative.
It’s a better watch. So yeah, that’s my advice here. Go figure, huh…
Basically Citizen’s vintage stuff is overpriced, and it’s new stock is better value than ever. That first Eco Drive is dripping with complications and it looks the business. I may even have to get one.
If $1000 is a little rich for your blood, we have also got the following features for you: