Are Today’s Vintage Watch Buyers Killing Watchmaking?

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Are Today’s Vintage Watch Buyers Killing Watchmaking?

Post by koimaster » September 16th 2019, 10:35am

A few months ago, I attended a watch event on the United States West Coast that, among other things, featured a “collectors’ panel” of folks talking about their watch assortments and interests.

The star of the show was a young enthusiast whose name I didn’t know, but who seemed to be very well known and admired by the audience made up largely of younger collectors (of course, at this point, the term “younger” applies to the majority of enthusiasts and collectors wherever I go!).

It was when the conversation turned to the contents of the panelists’ collections that I started to puzzle a bit. The featured collector was wearing a “Paul Newman” Daytona and a “Steve McQueen” Explorer II, both vintage pieces by Rolex.

And as he ticked through the top pieces in his collection, I didn’t hear him mention a single contemporary-production watch. And as the discussion unfolded, my sense was that this was seen by both the panelists and the audience members as somewhere between perfectly normal and highly desirable.

As I reflected on the session, I started thinking about the significant number of watch lovers I’ve met who are just starting out on their journeys and whose tastes center very much on decades-old pieces from brands including Rolex, Heuer, Universal Genève, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and Patek Philippe, sometimes to the exclusion of modern timepieces.

To the extent that these new enthusiasts represent the future of the watch market, is it possible that their enthusiasm for the past will prove highly damaging, or even lethal, to the industry’s future? ... tchmaking/


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