Watches are arguably the most important accessories in a man. They come in all shapes and forms, and can be worn with any type of outfit. Pick the right watch and you will look noticeably better; pick the wrong one and it will (wrongly) dazzle people. However, I got some good news for you fellas.
Vintage watches for men – those at least 25 years old – have a really important thing going on for them; watches really never age. No matter how old they are/look, they can be combined with (the right) outfits from different eras to create something really outstanding.
In this article I will focus on both classic watches and modern ones that really honor that vintage look, emphasizing some of the most well-known brands in the “vintage world”. Hopefully some really cool outfit-watch combinations spark through your head as we go. Let’s get started!
Classics – Rolex
Founded in 1905, Rolex has become one of the top luxury watch brands in the world with thousands of different watches manufactured through the years. These correspond to different models that the brand has been producing over the years. Some of them are:
- Rolex Datejust: It was created in 1945 and became the first wristwatch to display the date in a window near the 3o’clock mark. It is a very aesthetic watch with a simple design that has stood the test of time. Ranging from 28mm to 41mm and with a wide variety of colours, the Datejust is a MUST for a luxury collection. Some notable series are the 4xxx, 5xxx, 6xxx and the 160x series.
Rolex Datejust 4467Image by Trovestar.com
- Rolex Submariner: Hitting the market in 1953, it became the first waterproof wristwatch that could resist conditions up to 100 meters depth (hence the name). It comes in combinations of colours such as black, blue, silver, green and gold while some of its features include oyster bracelet and case, corrosion and high-pressure resistant materials and luminescent dial, all while maintaining the luxury intact. Some classic models are the 5513, 1680, 16800 and the 16610.
Rolex Submariner 16610Image by xupes.com
- Rolex GMT Master and Master II: Introduced in 1954, it was originally used by pilots and navigators thanks to the featured extra timezone useful for transatlantic flights (hence the name GMT which stands for Greenwich Mean Time). Shortly after, it popularized due to businessmen in constant travel. During the 80s the GMT II hit the market featuring an independently adjusted quick set hour, allowing reading three time zones instead of two. In terms of looks, the master II is almost identical to the original. Some very popular vintage models are the 1675, 16750, 6542 and 16710.
Rolex GMT Master II 16710Image by bobswatches.com
Other notable series worthy of that vintage aura are the Cellini (meant to honor the classic look of wristwatches), Explorer (introduced in 1953 with the purpose of serving under extreme conditions), and the Oyster Perpetual (a new version of the original Oyster launched in 1926).
Classics – Seiko
Seiko was founded in 1881 and is one most popular watches brands in the world. They have a very diverse catalog, starting with their less than $100 watches, going all the way to their luxury series of $10,000+ watches. Among all these there are some models that stand out in terms of quality, popularity, and of course, vintage vibe.
- Seiko Presage: The presage line consists of mechanical watches crafted and manufactured completely in Japan. Despite being produced in recent years, the main attractive of the line are its classic and retro designs along with affordable price range relative to other dress watches ($400-$2500). Some really cool models are the SNR037, SRPB43, SRPC99J1, SARY107 and SARY111.
Seiko Presage SRPB43Image by hodinkee.com
- Seiko Prospex: This line encompass a variety of models depending on the type of environment that surrounds you. The prospex land is designed for hiking and camping purposes with features such as a compass and extra protection – Standout models: SRPD33K1, SRPA95P9, SRPD31J1 . The sky model is designed for pilots with a 24-hour display, world time adjustment via radio, calendar, and many other features – Standout models: SSC425, SSC631, SSC609. The sea model is waterproof, pressure resistant, and comes with a mono directional rotating blaze to keep track of time while underwater – Standout models: 6217-8000″62MAS”, 6309 “TURTLE, SILVER WAVE SERIES.
Seiko’s SRPD33K1 (Left) and SSC425 (Right)
- Seiko Recraft: The Recraft series was specifically designed to mimic the vintage models the brand had but with a modern twist. For example, Seiko had a series called the chronograph (you should probably check them out, you may like the old versions better) which was very popular in the 60s and 70s, and it became the inspiration for some of the watches in the Recraft series. Some standout models are the SNKP27, SSC609, SSC667, SNKP25 and SSC513.
Seiko’s SSC667Image by pinterest.com
Seiko also offers other series with some vintage models in their lines. You can find numerous watches raging in price, starting with the really cheap option, Seiko core range, up to the most expensive Grand Seiko (Check out the sub-brand Credo that offers really interesting options). It’s up to you to decide which models fits you the best.
Classics – Tudor
Another highly popular watch brand with great vintage models is Tudor, a Swiss brand almost 100 years old. Tudor and Rolex are considered sister companies since both are owned by the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation.
Tudor possesses over 10 different collections with some really cool vintage models across them. I have put together a list with my top picks for vintage watches. Hopefully you can find your perfect fit among these.
- Tudor Oyster Royal: 7934, 6426, 7804, and 7904.
- Tudor Oyster Prince: 7803, 7989, 7909, and 7809.
- Tudor Black Bay: 79580, Chrono-79350 and 79220N
Tudor’s Oyster Royal 7934 (left), Prince 7909 (right), and Black Bay 79580 (bottom)
Image by: chrono24.co.uk Image by: parkersjewellers.co.uk
Image by: montredo.com
Other notable classics
Almost every watch manufacturer has some vintage models in their lines. To finish, I will give you some of them covering all price ranges, so if you are not into a particular brand, here is a list of different brands and models to pick from.
- Tissot: Seastar, Heritage, T-Classic. Way more affordable than the ones previously mentioned, but still, some models can get quite pricy
- Breitling: Geneve Chronograph, Chronograph (178), Transocean.
- Longines: Great for watches between made before 1950s so look out for them by their year. They are very common in antique shops
A final note
Before purchasing a vintage watch you will have to decide its future, Will you wear it, or you just want it as a collection piece?. Either way, both paths were covered with the wide variety of options presented in this article. Take a look at all the options you have, the price ranges, and in the end you will find the option that best suits you.