“How to” on Beginning to be a Vintage Rolex Collector

I have always been a fan of Rolex watches, specifically the Rolex Submariner 16610. It was a model that was produced for about 15 years and it has a vintage and modern look in one. Recently, I have been bit by the vintage Rolex bug and began learning more about vintage Rolexes to prepare myself for my first purchase. Let me explain how I have become more knowledgable on vintage watches, so I didn’t make a mistake purchasing my first vintage Rolex.

Depending on your budget you can find a vintage Rolex for between $1300.00 and $500,000.00. So, it is best to start with research – instead of your credit card. The watch forums are a great place to learn from. Either http://www.rolexforums.com or http://www.vintagerolexforum.com. Both have some amazing members that will impress you with their knowledge and expertise, but also help guide you from some common pitfalls that a newbie might fall into. I suggest getting an account with both and begin by reading and asking questions. Realize there are jerks everywhere including online. These cyber bully’s are just like one’s on the playground during middle school. Do not be put off because you are new, the cyber bully was also newbie one day also. I have made quite a few new friends from these wonderful forums also!

Second place is to look at some online vintage watch blogs. I have always found that the Rolex Passion Report was an excellent source of information. There is also a small marketplace on the blog. Supposedly, genuine Rolex and other high-end vintage models are guaranteed to be completely authentic. Another benefit of this blog is that it has a group of watch enthusiast group meetings, called Rolex Passion meeting. Here you can find out quite a bit about Rolex, Patek, Omega, Panerai and other fine timepieces from the club members. Do realize this group only brings the “the good stuff.” They are true enthusiast, but if you have the means it can be a whole lot of fun and enlightening.

Once you have become a little bit dangerous with knowledge, it is time to hit the open road. I suggest going to a IWJG meeting! These are wonderful watch swap meets that meet once a month and bring out a huge amount of watch collectors, sellers and enthusiasts. Plus you can physically touch the watches you have been ogling at online! If you find that perfect vintage piece, do not be scared to haggle a little. Realize that cash is king here also.

Here are some things to look for when buying a vintage Rolex, or fine timepiece in general: 

  1. Does it have all original Rolex parts?
  2. Does it have period specific parts? For example Rolex’s policy on servicing watches was to replace certain dials and hands over time. This can seriously reduce the value of a Rolex watch.
  3. How beat up is the watch? Depending on how damaged the watch is can also increase or reduce its value. Watch out for absolutely perfect older watches – this can be a sign of a fake.
  4. Who is the seller? This maybe one of the most important questions to ask. Are they respected in the field? Do they seem overly pushy? If you smell a rat, then you are dealing with one.

Hopefully this will help you become a Rolex Vintage collecting expert, It is a modest start though. The best thing is to start learning and researching online through some of the resources I have suggested. They will help you begin to love the art of collecting vintage Rolex watches.

All photos were taken by either a Rolex Forum member, a Rolex Passion Member, Watchonista.com or a Rolex Enthusiast not by Everest

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