On the second hand... Watches

A watch tells you a lot about the person who wears it; it is a fashion accessory. People are now realising that this century's mechanical watches are highly collectable and stylish. The movements are beautifully engineered, sophisticated pieces of equipment often made in small numbers. The outer case represents the time in which it was manufactured: elegant in the Forties, functional in the Fifties, spot-on in the Sixties and chunky in the Seventies. Rolex, Omega, Heuer, Jaeger, Vacheron, Patek Philippe: it has to be Swiss made.

Personally I would always go for stainless steel: they are cheaper, more discreet and far less nickable then gold. To get anything good, look at starting at pounds 200. Second-hand watches represent great value. For example, in the Seventies Omega made a watch for the Apollo space crew, known as the "Man on the Moon"; these can be picked up for around pounds 500. The same watch has been reissued and sells new for pounds 1,400. I know I'd prefer the original. There's no stigma in second-hand: the maitre d', as he checks your wrist and gives you a good table, is not going to know. Watches keep their price: something good and rare will always have a resale value, sometimes above what you paid for it. If you buy new, as you walk out the shop it will lose at least a third of its value. And that is if it has a proper movement; if it's quartz, then the resale value is hardly worth bothering with.

As with any other commodity, the price of watches fluctuates with fashion. The current market favourite is the chunky, black-faced diver's Rolex known as the "Submariner", available at about pounds 1,200; new price pounds 2,070. In fact, diver's, yachter's and driver's watches from the Seventies are much in vogue. So much so that Tag Heuer, formerly just Heuer, are planning to reissue Steve McQueen's favourite, the "Carrera". No price yet, but second-hand they are available for around a grand. The gnomes of Switzerland have at last woken up to the fact that there is a market outside the Gulf, and the reissue of old models is all the rage. The classic Jaeger-Le-Coutre, known as the "reverso", because this oblong baby has a face on both sides, is another to see the light of day again. Current price in stainless steel pounds 2,154, about pounds 1,200 used.

It's best to be clear about what you want before parting with the folding. Most independent jewellers sell old watches and they usually come with a guarantee; however, it is the dealers who are most likely to get what you really want. Track them down at Antiquarius and Chenil Galleries on the King's Road in Chelsea, the arcades of Portobello market (Saturdays only) and the shopfronts in Hatton Garden and Clerkenwell Road. All in London, sadly. And, finally, condition and working order are everything with watches, so only bother with the best. Good Luck

Picture above: Heuer Monaco as worn by Steve McQueen in the 1968 film `Le Mans'; current second-hand value, pounds 700.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Trust Accountant - Kent

    NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

    Geography Teacher

    £85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

    Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    £17000 - £18000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: If you are a committed Te...

    Day In a Page

    Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

    Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

    and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

    The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
    Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

    Last chance to see...

    The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
    So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

    Truth behind teens' grumpiness

    Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

    Hacked photos: the third wave

    Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
    Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

    Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

    Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
    Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

    Education, education, education

    TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
    It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

    It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

    So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
    This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

    Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

    Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
    We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

    Inside the E15 'occupation'

    We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

    Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

    The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
    Witches: A history of misogyny

    Witches: A history of misogyny

    The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
    Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Meet the most powerful woman in US television

    Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
    'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

    Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style