What exactly makes an antique watch?
An antique watch is simply a watch that has “survived” the years, making them a “target” for watch collectors; the older, the better (of course, in good working condition).
Given this, it isn’t surprising that antique watches have the “look” and “feel” of something vintage. They are a piece of history, as they have faithfully served their owners for the years they’ve functioned, and aside from just being, antique watches basically represent the brands that made them.
The most notable of antique watches would be antique Rolex watches. As Swiss watches are known for their durability and accuracy, Rolex clearly satisfies this given standard. Priced to thousands of dollars (some even pricing millions), antique Rolex watches are among the most commonly found today.
Back then, as a symbol of gratitude, companies would give retiree employees gold watches, as retirement gifts. This tradition paved the image of wisdom equated with the ownership of a gold watch. Considering that Rolex watches were quite packed with “the best” features, companies chose to give Rolex watches as their “symbol of gratitude” timepieces.
Rolex came up with the first breed of waterproof watches. This eventually became a standard among watch brands. The brand also came up with the first watch with date indicators (another standard), as well as the first chronometer integrated watch. Only the best qualified as retirement gifts, and Rolex watches were the best.
Descendants of those bequeathed with Rolex watches kept them as family heirlooms (as family jewels), thus the abundance of antique watches bearing the Rolex insignia.
Authenticated antique watches can be bought from antique dealers, as well
as watch specialty shops. The wisest move would be to get an antique watch that comes with a verifiable history, meaning a traceable record of how the watch got to the dealer.
Wind-up watches mostly comprise the bulk of antique watches. Considering that watches then were mostly wind-up watches, it isn’t surprising to note that most antique watches are wind-up powered. Self-winding watches come in second, in filling up the population of antique watches. Self-winding antique watches are somewhat more “functional” today, noted that self-winding watches don’t require as much maintenance (regular winding) as simple wind-up watches do, making them functional, aside from just being collectibles.
Of course, these elements don’t define what an antique watch is or isn’t. Time is. The length of time a watch has been up and about makes it an antique, to usual standards, at least 90 years.
All in all, the very thing watches keep track of transform them into antique watches.