Watches - Buying Guides

Best Vintage Watches on Xupes Right Now

Our watch experts choose their top retro-cool investment pieces from the leading brands.

It will go down as one of the most exciting years to date for vintage watches. High profile timepieces hit more international headlines than ever before, culminating in the sale of Paul Newman’s personal Daytona for a record-smashing £13.5 million.

The industry, once relatively obscure, frequented almost entirely by watch nerds buying Patek Philippes and high complications, has a new-found vantage point which mostly finds its home on Instagram. It has a younger audience and tastes are changing too. The Newman sale confirmed that vintage sports watches are now the most valuable pieces out there. With this in mind, our watch-buying team picked a handful of watches that they would bet on to catch the next wave of enthusiasm.

vintage rolex daytona 6263

1. Rolex Daytona 6263

It may seem like an obvious choice, but in the wake of the Newman sale Daytona prices have been on the charge. This piece, the Ref. 6263, doesn’t quite reach the heights of the Newman Daytonas, but he did actually wear a 6263, albeit with a different dial configuration. This model is from 1978. It’s the classic dial but with the beloved red writing of “Daytona”, which is why collectors call it the “Big Red”. It’s a spotless example and one of the most attractive.

vintage blancpain LIP fifty fathoms

2. Blancpain Fifty Fathoms

Our editor dedicated a whole story to this watch at the end of November. The Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was the original and most respected dive watch and the “LIP” versions are rare and cherished examples. It’s a straight-up, no-nonsense dive watch from the glory years and it has a growing number of admirers.

vintage breitling datora chronograph

3. Breitling Datora 784

During the years in and around WWII, Breitling was one of the biggest names in chronographs and in fact it played a leading role in shaping how a chronograph looks today. Breitling watches from this time had a touch more elegance than modern editions, and on a modern strap they hit the retro-chic nail on the head. This Datora is a stellar example. A Day-Date chronograph in a 35 mm case from the late forties/early fifties. Datora prices have been climbing nicely but they are yet to really drop. This is still very affordable and makes a nice change from Rolex.

vintage jaeger le coultre cocktail watch

4. Jaeger Hermés Ladies 79829

This is an interesting one. Jaeger and Hermés did a lot of work together over the twentieth century. Indeed, their styles are very much aligned—refined, high quality, exclusive. This piece, which dates to around 1960, is made particularly distinctive by its curved crystal but it still works today. It has a mechanical wind Jaeger movement and it’s on a graceful gold bracelet.  

vintage omega speedmaster yellow gold

5. Omega Speedmaster 150th Anniversary

Thanks to their market-leading quality and NASA connection, the Speedmasters will always be on any collector’s hit list. If you can’t get your hands on the early pieces then the anniversary and special editions are the next best bets. This one from 1998 only just scrapes into “vintage” territory but it was made in a limited run to mark Omega’s 150th birthday. In yellow gold with a black dial it’s particularly attractive and very wearable.

For more vintage watch buying guides follow our magazine or for buying options you can shop vintage watches on Xupes.