People start collecting watches for various reasons. Some are interested in watches as a fashion item, wanting a collection that includes a watch for every occasion and outfit. Others are more interested in collectible watches as a financial investment, hoping that the items in their collection will increase in value over time. Others still find the history behind a watch the most fascinating thing – whether it is an antique, a vintage item or perhaps just associated with a famous person.
Of course some watches will fit into any of these types of collections. Paul Newman’s own vintage Daytona Rolex watch recently sold at auction for a record breaking (and eye watering) $17,752,500 including buyer’s premium. It was originally bought for Paul Newman by his wife Joanne Woodward when he began auto racing in 1972 and bears an inscription from her saying ‘Drive Carefully Me’.
Paul Newman Daytonas are the most coveted types of vintage Rolex, referring to a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Oyster with reference number 6239, 6241, 6262, 6263, 6264, or 6265 and one of four specific dial colour combinations. So these type of watches are considered highly collectible even when they aren’t actually the one that belonged to Paul Newman himself!
Collecting more affordable Watches
Not everyone can stretch to nearly two million dollars for a collectible watch, however it’s still possible to build up an interesting collection without spending a fortune. What you will need however is time and patience, as you may be doing a lot of hunting and research before you find what you’re looking for. For many watch collectors though this is exactly what makes the hobby so rewarding.
There are some things to keep in mind if you are hoping to build a collection that is considered interesting and possibly valuable. The manufacturer is important to collectors, with Rolex, Omega, Patek and Vacheron all performing well in auctions, however it can be worth taking a risk on some smaller brands, as long as they are good quality, as you never know which brand is going to become the next big thing.
The case metal is also important if you are buying the watch as a possible investment. Certain types of metals are more sought after in different brands, so do your research to find out what to look for.
If you’re considering going vintage, you can start out with a reasonably low budget. With vintage the more work you put in and the more research you do, the better the rewards.
Ideally vintage pieces should have as much of their original parts intact as possible – this is particularly true of visible parts like the face or the dial. One that has never been serviced or repaired is the holy grail for collectors of vintage watches.
Unless you are collecting purely for investment purposes however, don’t always be led by what everyone else considers collectible. If you are going to enjoy your collection, each piece should be something you appreciate yourself. And funny enough, the Daytona mentioned above used to be Rolex’s most unpopular sports watch!