The two are definitely not the same thing
The moment a brand new watch is bought and leaves the store, it technically becomes pre-owned. It may still have the tag on it and never left the box, but since it has been sold through the original retailer, it is technically a used watch and will be labeled as such.
Furthermore, “vintage” cannot be used to describe any watch that has been around for years. At least in the minds of most collectors, there are very few mass-produced vintage digital models or cheap quartz-powered models that can truly be called “vintage”. When enthusiasts use the term “vintage,” they are talking about a replica watch that has a place in the history of its respective brand and is often an example of superior craftsmanship and engineering prowess.
Reasons to Buy a Vintage Watch
The next question that is often asked by those who are new to watches is: Why buy an vintage watch? Why not buy a brand new model, one that is still shiny and unmarked, with all the latest technology and material developments?
It is a fair question. Even in an industry as steeped in tradition as mechanical watchmaking, the rate of progress and imprgoodovement is still constant. A piece with the very latest advancements may well retain the coloring on its dial and bezel longer, be more resistant to scratches and scrapes, and keep proper time than one produced 30 or 40 years ago – but that is rather missing the point.
Wearing a vintage watch is an expression of special feature. The fact that not just anyone can go into a store and pick one up gives them an inherent individuality – each, by the very nature of its aging, scratches, and scrapes, is somewhat unique. Its discoloration is a symbol of it having lived a life, of it having its own story – something that a new model lacks. It shows a respect for heritage and an understanding of the artistry that goes into each one, from a time when quality and reliability were paramount.
Even on a practical level, there is plenty to recommend going vintage. A watch that has been well looked after will still be greatly sturdy enough for everyday wear and use, as well as having a hugely impressive timekeeping ability. They can’t be hard to find. There are fearsome waiting lists at retailers for many of the latest stainless steel replica rolex watches such as the Ceramic Daytona and GMT-Master II Pepsi, along with waitlists for many other non-Rolex models too, such as the Patek Nautilus 5711. However, vintage watches are sitting waiting for you, rather than the other way round.
And while we don’t recommend it as a financial strategy, there’s no question that certain vintages do particularly well when given the time. A new watch (in most cases), like any luxury item, can depreciate once purchased. The value of antique models is likely to increase over time.