vintage Wrist Watches

I get old Pateks once in a while that have an old band on them, but I don’t know if it’s the original band. These watches may come from the 1940s and maybe the band was put on in the ’60s, so it’s still 40 years old. The watch table had lines snaking out the door. We started at 8 a.m. and went until 8 that night, with 15 minutes off for lunch. I had no voice left at the end of the day. The way I do appraisals, I feel I have to open things up to see what’s in them. Not everybody does that.

I bought one Russian watch from that early era, a combination pocket watch and wristwatch. It was silver plated because they couldn’t take gold out of Russia at the beginning of the 20th century. They attached a strap to each end and made it into a wristwatch. Paul Buhre, Henry Moser, and a few other Swiss companies made these oversized artillery officers’ watches. Rolex is another watchmaker that’s popular with collectors. The quality isn’t there, but the designs are. Rolex was one of the earliest large-scale producers of wristwatches to use automatic movements. Other companies did it earlier, but when Rolex developed its automatic movement, they kind of revolutionized wristwatches.

Investment potential is another consideration. Is it a watch that is going to maybe increase in popularity and therefore in value? It’s not like a startup stock where you can buy into a new laser company and all of a sudden they come out with a new product, and the stock quadruples overnight. That doesn’t happen in watches. But I think people maybe look for something that will retain its value and at least keep up with inflation. The paintings of Salvador Dali were probably the inspiration for the Cartier “Crash” from the late 1960s. This 18K gold Churchill version of the same idea is from 1985.

That movement was the 1904 MC. A thin caliber automatic that had 48 hours of power reserve with a rotor set of ceramic ball bearings. It was rather nicely decorated, too. Functionally, it has the time with a subsidiary seconds dial and the date. Cartier made sure that it had enough differences in comparison to most of the base movements offered by ETA. You can see the movement via the sapphire caseback window on the back of the watch. Rolex, Cartier, Patek, and other watches have recently increased their prices, so we will be updating the site to reflect

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