Wristwatches play a very important role for a mans’ image. They come in all shapes and forms, and they can be worn with basically any outfit. Choosing the right one is crucial though. Pick the right watch and you will look noticeably better; pick the wrong one and people will look down on you.
Vintage watches for men – those at least 25 years old – have a really important thing going on for them; they age really well. No matter how old they are/look, most of them can still be worn.
Moreover, they are very valuable collection pieces and also can be sold for high prices.
In this article we focus on both classic watches and modern ones that really honour that vintage look, emphasizing some of the most well-known brands.
With this guide, our primary focus is to provide you with a list of vintage models, so that you won’t have to spend hours and hours doing research.
Just a quick list of suggestions that is easy to read and that will expose you to a huge variety of options!
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Classics – Rolex
Founded in 1905, Rolex has become one of the top luxury watch brands in the world with thousands of different watches manufactured throughout the years.
Some of the most notable models that the brand has been producing over the years 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 available at a wide variety of colours, at least one Datejust is a MUST HAVE if you possess a luxury collection. Some notable models are the 4467, 1603, 16013 and the 1601
ROLEX DATEJUST 4467
Image 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 is available in combinations of colours such as black, blue, silver, green, and gold. Some of its features include oyster bracelet and case, corrosion and high-pressure resistant materials and luminescent dial. All while maintaining the luxurious vibe intact! Classic models include the 5513, 1680, 16800 and the 16610.
ROLEX SUBMARINER 16610
Image by xupes.com
- Rolex GMT Master and Master II: Introduced in 1954, the GMT Master was originally used by pilots and navigators due to the featured extra timezone useful for transatlantic flights (hence the name GMT which stands for Greenwich Mean Time). Shortly after, it popularized among businessmen in constant travel. During the 80s the GMT II hit the market featuring an independently adjusted quick set hour which allows the user to read 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 16710
Image 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).
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Classics – Seiko
Seiko was founded in 1881 and is one of the 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, its’ main attraction point is the classic and retro designs they have, along with affordable prices relative to other dress watches ($400-$2500). Some really cool models are the SNR037, SRPB43, SRPC99J1, SARY107 and SARY111.
SEIKO PRESAGE SRPB43
Image by hodinkee.com
- Seiko Prospex: This line encompasses a variety of models, with each design depending on the surrounding environment.
- The prospex land is designed for hiking and camping purposes. It features 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”, full silver wale series.
Seiko’s SRPD33K1 (Top) and SSC425 (Bottom)
- 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, as 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 also offers other series with some vintage models in their lines. You can find numerous watches in a wide price range, starting with the really cheap option, Seiko core range, and 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 amazing vintage models across them.
We have put together a list with my top picks for vintage watches. Hopefully you can find your perfect fit among these.
For a more detailed description of some of these models, be sure to check our next installments of our vintage watches guides.
- Tudor Oyster Royal: 7934, 6426, 7804, and 7904
- Tudor Oyster Prince: 7803, 7989, 7909, and 7809
- Tudor Black Bay: 79580, Chrono-79350 and 79220N
BONUS: Take a look at this 1950 Tudor Oyster 1182. A truly vintage gem like no other!
Tudor’s Oyster Royal 7934 (Top), Prince 7909 (Middle), 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.
We now give you some vintage models from other brands and covering all price ranges.
Saty tuned for more reviews on some of these and other watches coming in the near future.
- 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 when you are looking for watches made before the 1950s, so look out for them by their year. They are literally relics so they are usually found in antique shops.
For more information on these, take a look at part 2 of our vintage watches guides!
Regular users and collectors agree – Vintage is the way to go!
Before purchasing a vintage watch, remember that you will have to decide its future. Will you wear it, or you just want it as a collection piece?.
Either way, with the models provided in this guide we covered both alternatives. Take a look at all the options you have, the price ranges, their condition, and in the end you will find the option that best suits you.
Stay tuned for further posts about vintage watches and don’t forget to leave your comments and suggestions down below.