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Time Is Money

11th November 2021


Stephen Farthing Auctioneer and Valuer H&H Auctions talks about the rise in popularity of gentlemen’s vintage wrist watches and what to look out for.

A good watch has always been a status symbol, you just have to look at James Bond films to see how watch makers have competed to be 007’s watch of choice - Rolex was replaced by Seiko, which was then replaced by Omega. 

Some watches are beyond the aspirations of any but the super-rich - rapper Jay-Z has a Patek Philippe rumored to be worth $2.2. million, but fear not there is a watch out there for every taste and pocket.

What to look out for:- Costs will vary wildly, but whatever you’re buying ensure that the watch is in good condition and  that you know the history of the watch. Those with an unusual or historically important provenance can fetch more than the same watch without provenance. A good make is also key to your investment potential.

The famous five

There are of course many different makes of gentlemen’s vintage watches but the top five to look out for are:

  • Rolex
  • Omega
  • Cartier
  • Patek Phillippe
  • Jaeger LeCoultre


The important thing is not only to buy for investment, but for pleasure.  A watch is something that you wear every day and so you want to feel comfortable with your purchase both physically and aesthetically.  The lovely thing about vintage watches is that they have their own history, patina and personality so buy what you really love, not just what you think will go up in price.

The Classic Oyster Perpetual came in many designs this Gold version with 9ct strap sold recently for £1750.00

This elegant dress Rolex came with paperwork and original box which helped the watch reach its upper estimate of £1500.00


The watch market has continued to be buoyant throughout lockdown and appreciation for these pieces is ever increasing, so if you buy well you should not only have years of pleasure but also a valuable nest egg.