So you want to buy an older watch but you are unsure what is a good buy. Why are some listed as pre-owned while others as vintage? Is one less valuable or in worse condition than the other? Worry not, we are here to help with this week’s blog post on the differences between pre-owned and vintage watches.


What makes a watch vintage?

Watches that are being resold are in essence pre-owned, but in the watch world, the distinction from vintage watches is important. A vintage watch tends to be anything older than 20-30 years. So in this case, the watch needs to be from the early 1990s to even be considered vintage. Vintage watches can have many owners over the years, especially watches that are very old. An old watch never becomes ‘unvintage’, this is to say that once a watch is vintage, there is no reason for it to lose that status.


What is a pre-owned watch?

Pre-owned timepieces, in contrast to vintage, tend to be newer and their production date tends to be closer to your time of purchase. Pre-owned can better be understood as a more modern watch. They tend to be in better condition then their vintage counterparts considering the better, more modern materials that went into them and the limited exposure to time. 


So what does this all mean?

A vintage distinction is somewhat up to interpretation. It depends on time, history, and context. What is vintage to one person might not be vintage to another. But a good rule of thumb is that the older the watch the more likely it can be classified as vintage. Another tell-tale sign is a watch showing its age. Watches with tarnish and fading are more likely to be vintage. This is not to say that one is worse than the other both have value. Both types of watches have a value awarded to them. The distinction also tends to be left up to the one selling the watch. As such, be sure to ask why the watches seller is classifying the watch in a certain way.


Our watches might not be vintage or pre-owned, but you can build your own brand new one and eventually it can become vintage with time. Go check out our store today to get your own build your own watch kit.