Loading Spinner

Vintage Watches

Commemorating the history of horology, the vintage watch is a symbol of 20th century innovation. While the pocket watch was the time-telling device du jour for several centuries, the arrival of the wrist watch in the early 1900s revolutionized watch wearing and offered a much needed solution to those who struggled with managing their pocket or pendant watch.

Arriving on the European market in the late 1910s, the wristwatch soon drew high demand because it allowed the wearer the freedom from the chains and fastenings that complicated earlier watch formats. This freedom was particularly appreciated during the era of the World Wars, as soldiers heading into battle found more facility in the wristwatch when ensconced in the trenches.

Since these early years the wristwatch has become commonplace, yet its vintage ancestors from earlier in the 20th century come imbued with this history and also, in some cases, luxury as well.


Quick Facts

  • The first wristwatches were known as bracelet watches and were initially panned by both European and American clientele. Once their utility was realized, however, the wristwatch rapidly usurped the pocket watch’s consumer control
  • Rolex, a name synonymous with reliable timekeeping, revolutionized the field of wristwatches in 1910 with the introduction of its first waterproof Oyster model
  • One of the most expensive watches to sell at auction in recent years was a Patek Philippe stainless-steel perpetual calendar model from 1944. Appearing at a Christie’s auction late in 2007, it sold for $2,260,000

Read the Invaluable Guide to Vintage Watches to learn more.

Recommended Items at Auction

See all items

bp parity badge
COLLECTIBLE VINTAGE & MODERN POCKET WATCHES
Mar 09, 1:00 PM EST
COLLECTIBLE VINTAGE & MODERN POCKET WATCHES
by Florida Estate Sales Inc.
Est: $50- $10,000
$608 Bids
bp parity badge
TWO OPEN-FACE POCKET WATCHES
Mar 14, 9:30 AM EDT
TWO OPEN-FACE POCKET WATCHES
by Eldred's
Est: $200- $400
$1252 Bids
Vintage Waltham Ladies Pendant Watch
Mar 25, 7:00 PM EDT
Vintage Waltham Ladies Pendant Watch
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$50 Bids
Lot of 2 Vintage Elgin Automatic Watches
Mar 10, 10:00 AM EST
Lot of 2 Vintage Elgin Automatic Watches
by World Auction Gallery
Est: $75- $100
$300 Bids
UNSIGNED, AN 18 CARAT GOLD KEYLESS WIND MINUTE REPEATER HALF HUNTER POCKET WATCH
Mar 07, 10:30 AM GMT
UNSIGNED, AN 18 CARAT GOLD KEYLESS WIND MINUTE REPEATER HALF HUNTER POCKET WATCH
by Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales
Est: £2,000- £3,000
£1,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell Vintage Watches


Eldred's

Eldred's

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales

Dreweatts 1759 Fine Sales

World Auction Gallery

World Auction Gallery