We are back at again with the watches! In case you missed it, some months ago we provided a guide on vintage watches for men, where we gave you some suggestions of cool oldschool watch models. Back then, we mainly focused on luxury and widely popular brands, but this time around, our vintage watches sale guide focuses on less known and inexpensive brands.
Nontheless, you can expect high quality suggestions, some of which will have a link for you to acquire the desired watch.
As always, we try to cover a wide variety of designs, so both collectors and casual fans can get their hands on the watches that best suit their needs.
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We kick things off with an American-Swiss brand not as popular as Rolex or Breguet but still a very respectable brand with lots of great collections.
It was founded in 1892 and originally supplied only the US military and commercial airlines. It gained great popularity among the general public and Hollywood during the 50s and 60s.
Unlike more renowned luxury brands, Hamilton focuses more on casual and dress watches, hence they are more affordable, however, their long tradition in watch crafting assures high quality for all buyers.
Their military collection is widely popular and vintage models used during both World Wars are avidly sought by collectors. Some of these models are USMC/Navy 2987 18J, Navy R88-W-800 K-H-3, and the 987A.
Hamilton’s USMC/Navy 2987 18J
Due to their historical value, models like this can get a little bit more expensive. Still, the vast majority is under $1000, with some around $500.
Another widely popular collection by Hamilton is Ventura. The watches in this collection are known for their unique, asymmetric, and futuristic design, very different from traditional watches. Elvis Presley is known as of the most famous celebrities to have worn this collection.
Take a look at the models 500 and 505 as they are some of the classics. These are over the $1000 dollar mark, however, newer Venturas with similar designs such as the Elvis80 H24551331 fall below that mark
Hamilton’s Ventura 505
Other relevant projects involving Hamilton during that time were, the design for the watches in the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the development of the first digital wristwatch (Hamilton’s Pulsar) in the 1970s.
Hamilton’s Original Pulsar
In theory, Tissot (a Swiss brand founded in 1853) is a luxury brand, however, there is a large portion of their catalogue that is just a few hundred dollars. Add to this the fact that it’s been around for nearly 200 years and you get a large list of vintage alternatives.
In 1930 Tissot merged with another Swiss brand called Omega, so the Tissot-Omega fever began and still remains up to this date as it is one of the preferred brands for collectors.
For low-price watches the following Tissot lines are best:
Tissot Sport watches: Introduced in the 1930s, Tissso’s sports watches are durable, resistant, and highly functional. Thanks to this, vintage models tend to be preserved really well and can still be worn. They are also cheaper compared to other luxury lines; their prices range between a couple of hundred dollars.
The Tissot Seastar collection is a great example of this. Navigator, Quartz, Chronograph are all common seastars, and the models cal.784-2, cal.2571, and 17 Jewels are some examples of vintage Tissots around $200.
Tissot’s 17 Jewels
Tissot Heritage: When going vintage there are two main Heritage types you should consider.
First, the Visodate Heritage, which is a Tissot collection that was introduced in 1953 and features a clean design where the date is clearly visible. It is the ideal model for anyone looking for a simple, elegant, nonexpensive watch. If you are interested, some of the most popular vintage models are: T0194301105100, T1194051603701, T0194301603101
Tissot’s Visodate Heritage T0194301105100
On the other hand, the Heritage Quartz are almost (and in some cases they are) squared looking watches whose whole design is very traditional looking. Stand out models are T1175093605200, T56161379, and T56168379.
Most of these heritage models can be easily purchased for under $500
Tissot’s Heritage T56161379
Tissot T-Classic: The T-Classic is a modern collection that encompasses series of watches with different designs but two common traits; a vintage and minimalistic design. They are also very affordable watches and look more expensive than they are. A great collection for casual fans of watches.
Tissot’s T-Classic T1096101603700
Finally, If you want an even more traditional design and don’t mind spending some more, the original chronograph line produced in the 1930s has great designs and great vintage value. Notable models of this are 1938 Tachy-Telemeter, 1935 Tissot-Omega Monopulsante, and 1932 Tissot-Omega Balbo.
Tissot’s 1938 Tachy Telemeter
If you have a passion for aviation or simply like chronographs and similar watches, Breitling is the brand for you.
Founded in 1884, Breitling has been known for its wristwatches designed for aviators, although these have been popular in the mainstream too. They are characterized by their large watch faces designed to facilitate readability.
During the mid-XX century, two of their collections were widely popular.
The Chronomat is a military-style watch with a circular slide rule. It is highly praised for the amount of detail the watch has, both manufacturing and appearance-wise. In terms of price, you can find watches both over and under $1000.
Among the top vintage Chronomats we have the Venus 175, 217012, and Venus 188
Due to its success, a new Chronomat was launched in 2009.
Breitling’s Chronomat 217012
The other widely popular collection is the Navitimer. It also featured a circular slide rule, but it’s designed more like a naval style watch rather than a military one.
Watches with references 806, 809, and 816 encompass some of the most sought watches for vintage fans, however, most of the time these will exceed the $1000 mark.
Breitling’s Navitimer 816
Last but not least, we have Longines, loved by many due to them providing both very high quality and affordable prices.
A Swiss brand founded in 1832, Longines began producing wristwatches around 100 years later. As with other brands getting into the wristwatch market during the 1920s and 1930s, the aviation sector was the primary beneficiary of their services.
A few years later, chronographs were a central piece in Longines’s catalogue, however, one of them was special. Legend says that decades later, a collector presented to Longines with one of their chronographs but there was no registry of it. This watch will become a central piece for Longines in the future.
Later, during the 1960s, Longines released their diver watches. With dive watches being widely sought out during this period, their models sold like crazy and remained in the hearts of a lot of people.
These three watches (among others) defined Longines history, so the brand decided to launch a collection called Heritage where these watches are brought back to life with modern technology and materials, but keeping their traditional vintage look.
Thus the Avigation A-7 (Inspired by the early aviation models), Big Eye (Inspired by the legendary chronograph with no registry), and Legend Diver (Inspired by their 1960s diver watches) was born and incorporated into this collection.
Longines’s Heritage Aviation A-7
If you like vintage-looking watches but don’t like them being used/worn-off, this collection is for you. Their models are all brand new and high quality, however, most of them are over $1000. If you are looking to save some money, you can find these models slightly used at a much cheaper price.
On the other hand, you should be able to find some original Longines from the mid-XX century online.
Finally, be sure to check out the whole Heritage collection they also have military and dress watches, all with that vintage look going for them.
Stick to the basics when purchasing watches
When looking to purchase a watch (vintage or not) you quickly find out that there are literally thousands of models and collections out there. This, in combination with the high price and all the technical stuff surrounding a watch, such as design, movement, display, materials, etc… can make you reverse your decision of purchasing one.
To make the task a lot simpler, just stick to the basics. Make sure you like the design of the watch, verify that it is original (this can be done through paperwork, an expert’s opinion, or by purchasing through verified sites), and look for a better price.
Unless you are a watch guru, thinking about every possible detail of the watch becomes a strenuous and discouraging task, so avoid that if possible.
And with that said, we are wrapping up this post on vintage watches for men. Make sure to check out our first post to know about other brands and models.
Stay tuned for more information on all types of vintage and retro apparel here at Vintage Shape. You will not want to miss what comes next!
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