BUYING CLASSIC WATCHES
I define 'Classic' watches as those made before the 1970's, before the modern era of electronic watches. The history of the mechanical watch goes back to the early 16th century; the development of the modern wrist watch took over 300 years and by the 1940's was complete - there have been no significant improvements since then, despite the claims of the marketing men.
The period from the 1940's to the introduction of electronics was a golden age age of watch making, buying a quality watch was an investment for a lifetime and the best makers vied with each other to produce unrivalled mechanisms of wonderful quality and beauty. Sadly in the 1970's most of these manufacturers found their products difficult to sell in competition with the new electronic models and the era of the mechanical watch seemed to be over. Many great names like Omega, Longines and a host of other well known brands were bought out by large corporations such as the Swatch group who also took over a mid range movement manufacturer ETA who now make possibly 90 per cent of Swiss watch mechanisms. The brand names you see on the high street with a few exceptions like Rolex are not manufacturers, under the dial you will almost certainly find an ETA movement of varying quality and finish to suit the price range.
Fortunately there are still good numbers of watches from the great makers available at a fraction of the price of a high end modern mechanical watch and I am convinced that no modern maker is producing watches of the quality and finish that those same makers did fifty years ago. Providing they are properly restored and guaranteed they will still give a lifetime's service.