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.
Shop for Functionality: Breitling Navitimer World Chronograph
Both functional and stylish, this Breitling Navitimer World Chronograph has a 46mm diameter, a 42-hour power reserve, and a red-tipped central hand that serves as a 24-hour hand for the second time zone. The case back has all of the major world cities engraved, along with their time zones.
[Usually retails for $3,000 – $4,000, crownandcaliber.com]