Pre-owned watches are intriguing thanks to their history. You can often find treasures amongst vintage watches whose values have only increased over time. Moreover, pre-owned models are often significantly less expensive than their new counterparts.
Purchasing a used watch no doubt has its charm. On the one hand, it helps you save money on many luxury watches. On the other, scratches or faded bezels or dials add character to a wristwatch. Collecting vintage watches can even become a hobby, especially for Rolex lovers, as there are so many popular and unique Rolex watches for men. Many old watches are so rare that they sell at astronomical prices. A Rolex Daytona Paul Newman from the 1960s or 70s, for example, costs at least 90,000 euros, even though it originally didn't even sell well.
Another rare vintage watch, the Rolex Submariner, has undergone a similar price development. So-called "Big Crown" versions from the 1950s, one of which James Bond wore in the 1962 film Dr. No, cost between 60,000 and 400,000 euros, depending on their condition. This Rolex watch with a big crown and no crown guard can be found via reference number 6538.
Two other variants of the Rolex Submariner are just as rare and sought after: the COMEX and Red Sub models. The Red Sub watches, produced from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, can be identified by a red "Submariner" inscription on the dial. The COMEX models are professional diving watches that Rolex developed for the Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises, who specialize in diving and other deep sea work. The price for a COMEX Submariner ranges between 50,000 euros and 215,000 euros. A Red Sub costs significantly less – between 12,000 and 46,000 euros – making it the perfect introductory timepiece into the world of vintage Rolex watches.
|Model||Price (starting at)||Features|
|Rolex Daytona Paul Newman||90,000 euros||Extremely coveted vintage watch with an incredible increase in value over the past few years|
|Rolex "Big Crown" Submariner||60,000 euros||1950s diving watch, large crown without crown protection, extremely rare and highly sought after|
|Rolex "COMEX" Submariner||50,000 euros||Very rare vintage watch, predecessor to the Rolex Sea-Dweller|
|Rolex "Red Sub" Submariner||12,000 euros||Red Submariner inscription on the dial, highly coveted and comparatively affordable vintage Rolex|
Like new watches, second-hand watches are found in every price class. Prices range from a few hundred euros for a pre-owned Omega women's watch to a few thousand for a pre-owned Rolex to hundreds of thousands of euros for a pre-owned Patek Philippe in very good condition. You can often find good deals on newer models from brands such as Breitling or TAG Heuer which haven't yet made it into the "very desirable" vintage watch category.
With a little luck, you can find a pre-owned Navitimer, one of Breitling's most famous chronographs, with an automatic caliber for around 2,000 euros. A new Navitimer 01 with an in-house caliber costs around 5,000 euros. The legendary TAG Heuer Carrera, originally developed for car racers, is similarly priced. Pre-owned automatic watches without a chronograph function go for less than 1,000 euros; the chronograph version costs at least 1,500 euros. For new versions, you should be prepared to spend about 1,500 euros for a three-hand variant or 2,500 euros for a chronograph.
Another iconic TAG Heuer timepiece is the Autavia, which the company re-released in 2017. There is a small selection of pre-owned Autavia re-releases, but there are many older Autavias in the vintage market. You can purchase a 1970s Autavia starting at 3,800 euros. Rarer models from the 1960s can cost you over 25,000 euros.
|Model||Pre-owned price (starting at)||Features|
|Breitling Navitimer||2,000 euros||Pilot's chronograph with slide rule|
|TAG Heuer Carrera||1,500 euros||Racing chronograph|
|Heuer Autavia||3,800 euros||Racing chronograph|
|Omega Speedmaster Professional "Speedy Tuesday"||8,500 euros (new)||Limited to 2,012 pieces, special edition, will possibly increase in value|
|Omega Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award||9,500 euros||Limited to 5,441 pieces, special edition, will possibly increase in value|
|Omega Seamaster 300 "Spectre"||7,000 euros||Limited to 7,007 pieces, special edition, will possibly increase in value|
|Omega Speedmaster Professional||2,500 euros||Legendary chronograph, first wristwatch to reach the moon|
|Omega Seamaster Diver 300 M||1,500 euros||Diving watch with unidirectional rotatable bezel and helium escape valve|
|Audemars Piguet Royal Oak||6,000 euros||Legendary sports watch with a 70s design|
|Panerai Radiomir||3,500 euros||Swiss diving watch with an Italian design and 45-mm case|
|Panerai Luminor||3,400 euros||World famous design with crown-protecting bridge and two hands|
|Panerai Luminor Marina||3,600 euros||Luminor with a subsidiary seconds dial at nine o'clock|
|IWC Portugieser Chronograph||3,900 euros||Classic, elegant chronograph|
|IWC Classic Pilot Mark XVI||2,500 euros||Classic pilot's watch with a simple design and excellent legibility|
|IWC Ingenieur (Automatic)||2,500 euros||Sports watch with a technical design|
|Cartier Tank||800 euros||Elegant dress watch with a rectangular case|
|Cartier Santos||800 euros||One of the first pilot's watches ever made|
|Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso||2,500 euros||JLC's most famous model, innovative rotatable case to protect the display|
|Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin||3,300 euros||Extra-thin dress watch|
The most famous models from Omega are the Speedmaster Professional, the first watch to reach the moon, and the Seamaster, a diving watch. A quartz Seamaster Diver 300 M with a unidirectional bezel to keep track of your dive time can be found in very good condition for as little as 1,300 euros. The version with an automatic movement costs more, about 1,500 euros. A highly sought-after collector's piece is the limited edition Seamaster 300 Spectre, introduced in celebrati