How To Buy Your First Vintage Rolex
Rolex is quite simply the biggest name in watchmaking. Owning your own piece of that history can be very special. With the demand for antique items increasing, buying a vintage watch is a prudent choice, and what better than a Rolex?
It’s not just about the reputation or design that the watch has, but many watch enthusiasts are keen on the narrative the Rolex carries with it.
Rolex’s most exciting vintage watches include the Explorer, the Submariner, and the Lady-Datejust, among many others. Their demand keeps increasing, and it is a massive reward if you manage to get your hands on a vintage Rolex with all its official papers.
The Swiss watch designer and manufacturer has the finest assortment of iconic timepieces, but getting your first vintage watch can be a challenge. Here we will help you understand all the fundamentals for buying your first vintage Rolex.
Why Vintage Watches?
You instantly develop a connection with an antique piece, acknowledging its rich history. You get to wear a memoir from the past that could be rare or never found on anyone else. It is not just that; a vintage watch is worth every cent that you spend on it.
Many people will marvel at the flawless hand-crafting techniques used to maintain mechanical and architectural precision, making them a different class over modern watches. With some good research, you will be able to find bargains in the market, partly because some sellers don’t consider their rich history.
Are Vintage Watches Accurate?
While most classic watches are accurate as modern ones, you cannot expect them to be perfect at all times. If the Rolex has been adequately maintained over the years and with the quality that goes with its name, it can achieve modern-day chronometer standards. Many of these vintage watches can be easily repaired to operate precisely, even if they have been overworked for the past three or four decades.
When To Buy a Rolex?
Let’s be honest. A Rolex, whether new or vintage, will cost a considerable amount of cash. Do not grow too excited about buying one and spending your budget without proper consideration. Regardless of the money you have, it’s a significant investment.
The average starting cost of a vintage Rolex can be as low as $5,000 and strikes as affordable to most buyers. These watches can be found plenty in number as Rolex manufactured large quantities of their models to meet the enormous demands during the earlier days.
If money isn’t a worry for you, get to the next step right away!
See more about - The 10 Best Rolex Watches You Can Buy Right Now
Getting an Authentic Rolex
The price of a vintage Rolex depends on the condition of the piece and the quality that it has sustained after all these years. Before buying one, get to know the parts of the watch and try inspecting them yourself or with an expert who can do it for you reliably. Performing this not only assures you of a justified price but additionally helps you identify the authenticity of the antique.
Being one of the most sought-after brands in the world, there are a lot of counterfeit models that can easily fool anyone. On an authentic Rolex, you can find the reference number at the top lugs in the 12 o’clock position. The four to eight-digit serial number will be located between the lugs on the side of the case at the six o’clock position. You will however have to remove the bracelet in order to find them.
The model number or the case back stamp denoting the caliber movement is engraved on some of the older models in the case back. While checking, remember that the serial and model numbers on an original Rolex are solid and perfectly cut. If they appear sandy or flawed, they are acid etched and an undeniable fake.
A Rolex is known for its heavy size. As uncomfortable as it sounds, a genuine Rolex only uses the most exquisite materials with meticulous craftsmanship for lasting quality. A fake will feel much lighter when compared to an original and is a dead giveaway of the substandard materials used.
Magnification of the Date
Rolex watches that include a date have a convex-shaped magnification glass (also called cyclops window) to enhance the visibility of the date.
The date is designed very small to accommodate the functioning of the watch, and a certified Rolex will have a magnification of 2.5 times to enhance it. This makes it appear bigger and bolder, unlike replicas where the date is magnified only by 1.5 times, making it flatter and thinner.
While you are at it, also make it a point to check the lettering on the dial. The writing will be bent outward and free of any bubbles when viewed with a magnifying glass. Rolex is known for its perfection, so even if you have a slight sense of doubt, you are most probably dealing with a fake.
Another simple technique for more recent watches is that Rolex began micro-etching a small crown logo at the six o’clock position on the crystal. It can only be viewed through a microscope and is mainly observed in watches manufactured after 2002.
An authentic Rolex will never have any engravings on its case back except for a very few vintage models that came out during the early 1930s. The case back needs to be opened using proper Rolex tools, and if not followed, you can find scratches and marks on the outer surface. It does not necessarily signify that the watch is an imitation but rather how the former proprietor handled it.
A Rolex does not have the familiar ticking sound made by the other watches. Counterfeits cannot deliver the perfect product and produce the ticking sound, indicating to you its artificiality.
See more about - Which Is The Cheapest Rolex? The 5 Most Affordable Rolexes
Choosing Your Perfect Rolex
All the watches designed by Rolex are not dress watches; the Swiss manufacturer is also well known for its professional and sports watches. A Rolex might be the epitome of a stylish appearance, yet you can still find diverse views about wearing one with a suit.
At this point, it is your personal choice. What do you feel about it? Do you dress casually or more sharply? While a Rolex isn’t expected to be worn with a suit, a large population still does. Most Rolex models do not look out of the ordinary when worn with a suit, and even Rolex had something to say for it in a 1966 advertisement.
You may also not want to wear your Rolex but simply marvel at a timeless piece of history. Before you search for your vintage Rolex, think about whether or not style is important to you.
The state of a vintage watch can be determined from its dial. Dials from some older Rolex’s turned into a shade of dark brown due to overexposure to the sun. These dials are called “tropical dials,” and are exceptionally invaluable as Rolex is not known for imperfections. While Rolex did find a solution to overcome this issue, watches with these faded dials are precious and still in circulation.
Secondly, check if the patina on the hands has the same lume as the indexes. If they match, you then have an original piece in your hand. However, if they differ, then it is due to a replacement material. Rolex has continuously changed its luminous materials through the years, and it is not much of a concern. You will have to observe the luminous material employed in your watch and even if they aren’t the same, these vintage replacement materials are available in excess with many genuine dealers.
Get the Right Size
Ensure that the watch is not too big or too small and is the right size for your wrist. The correct size for a watch is two-thirds the width of the wrist. It is also to be noted that depending on the size of your wrist, some vintage models might not be the right fit for you. Study them thoroughly or visit an antique store and try them hands-on.
Choosing the Strap
The strap/bracelet invariably plays an essential role in the appearance of your watch. There are different kinds of materials used in Rolex watches, such as stainless steel, gold, ceramic, and mother-of-pearl. Two-tone watches are also desired by many, and their prices for vintage pieces are much less than stainless steel.
Oyster Steel, the steel superalloy specific to Rolex, is the most popular material used for Rolex watches. It is recognized as a corrosion-resistant material and can be readily used in extreme conditions. This material can likewise be polished to a remarkable shine. Rolex Submariner and Rolex DeepSea are some of the watches that use this material, considering the rough applications they have been designed for.
Gold has always attracted buyers ever since the perception of its significance. Rolex uses 18 karat gold that consists of 75% pure gold compounded with copper and silver. White gold and rose gold are most commonly found in the watches. Rolex launched its special alloy, Everose, in 2005 to appeal to both men and women. Rolex Day-Date uses this gold variant and is the ultimate status watch.
The Presidential Rolex, aka Rolex Day-Date, is unique in the fact that it’s the first-ever Rolex watch to have both the day and date inscribed in it and is composed of either platinum or gold and not other materials like stainless steel or the two-tone.
If you are confused about whether you want a gold or a silver watch, Rolex has it covered. They patented a combination of gold and stainless steel in 1933 and called it “Rolesor.” It is now an iconic and highly recognizable two-tone watch that is the spine of the Rolex’s Oyster family. Usually, a combination of stainless steel and the variants of gold, the bezel, crown, and the bracelet’s center link are made of 18 karat gold and subtly wins in balancing the harmony.
The most valuable among all precious metals, platinum is known to last for generations. With its striking silvery-white and vibrant luminosity, Rolex combines Platinum 950 with ruthenium allowing the metal to be incredibly robust. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona and Rolex Lady-Datejust are some of the best vintage watches that you can try if the bright and energetic color interests you.
Get to know about the vintage pieces that are available on the market. Avoid websites that are likely to have unauthorized sellers marketing duplicates. As far as the product’s authenticity is concerned, remember the phrase, “Buy the seller, not the watch.” Getting hold of your first vintage watch can potentially drive you to continue collecting more of them, and beginning with a Rolex is always a great start.
Like any other investment, it is worth remembering that the value of a vintage watch goes up as the year’s pass. With the sudden influx of demand for vintage watches, buying a part of history hasn’t seen better times.
The right watch will hold its value even when other commodities undergo a slump in economic power. While it might take a few years for watches to appreciate in value, they can soon grow at an accelerated rate.
Take time to understand which model suits you best and educate yourself on spotting a fake one from the real. Good luck in your endeavor to become the owner of a vintage Rolex watch.
See more about - Official Statement On Scarcity Of Rolex’s Watches Brings Shock