July 26, 2016

The men in my family were left vintage pocket watches handed down by my father who loved pocketwatches, wrist watches, vest chains, stick pins and all the adornments that the 30’s and 40’s offered a man. But my brother’s sons particularly loved their grandfather’s white gold open faced pocketwatch for the classic style and period scrollwork on the case and the beautiful delicately decorated mechanical movement which the boys thought looked like a work of art. They appreciated that you could never replace a vintage watch with one of todays. I was thrilled that they realized the worth,
quality and appearance associated with a watch from another era. These watches are now family heirlooms.

My son, born in 1974, during the beginning of the quartz revolution had never seen a mechanical watch and when he did, he thought the movement was so “alive” and finely crafted that he resolved never to wear another quartz watch.

A mechanical watch (which by definition must have more than 120 parts) is powered by a mainspring within what is called a barrel; the mainspring is wound by hand or automatically by a rotor’ transmitting power to a complicated set of interconnected wheels; This is called the gear train. The train, in turn, is connected to the escapement mechanism which consists of a wheel and a pallet fork, which again transmits impulses to the balance wheel, making it oscillate. This oscillation provides the “tick” of the mechanical watch. The rotor on an automatic watch incorporates a weight which swings backwards and forwards whenever the wrist moves – converts to a rotary motion which winds the mainspring.

Besides the vintage appearance and charm of these watches, many collectors enjoy the complications of the older chronographs, calendars, alarms and of course the military watches. Some buy and collect as investments as well as for their inherent beauty and style. Vintage watches from fine Swiss and US makers generally hold their worth and often appreciate in value many times over.

Young urban professionals are realizing they can distinguish themselves by wearing a rare vintage timepiece.

Vintage and antique watches have become so popular today and even modern clothing designers are incorporating them into the look of the well-dressed man or woman of today. Many of the older established watch houses have reverted to the classic vintage styles of wrist watches in order to try and capture that modern element of buyers who appreciate yesterday’s styles but in a brand new watch. Prices of these new watches, however, are much higher than of the actual vintage watches available today.

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