Buying a brand new watch is intimidating. The most worthwhile ones can cost well over $10,000 – and they immediately lose value once you buy them. If you're just starting a watch collection, or are looking for a little less risk, consider going vintage. The advantages are many: They're more affordable, already have depreciated in value, and may have a look that is no longer available.
"I'm a sucker for vintage watches," says Hamilton Powell, who founded Crown & Caliber, an online luxury watch consignor based in Atlanta. "They're gorgeous, rare, and they feel like lucky finds."
New watch collectors shouldn't feel pressured to spend a fortune on their first timepiece. In fact, Powell says it's smart to keep a lower budget in case you decide the watch isn't for you. For those who are just getting started, here are six kinds of vintage watches to look for, all priced under $5,000.
Get a Well-Known Brand: Rolex Speedking 6430
If you want a foolproof way to start a collection, go with a classic piece from one of the most well-known luxury watch brands. This 1966 Rolex Speedking 6430 is small in diameter, and its black dial and leather band make it easy to dress up or down. Powell says the Speedking was made famous during World War II when the German watchmaker Hans Wilsdorf allowed all British POWs to pick out a Rolex and pay for it later, taking each man upon their word. Many chose this model because it was one of the brand's least expensive options.
[From $1,000, crownandcaliber.com]