watch collecting

Watches & Pencils #23 – Watch Pools: Now and Future

Teun van Heerebeek
January 23, 2017
Watches & Pencils #23 – Watch Pools: Now and Future

Let’s start 2017 with an old fashioned compact episode. Every year we see that the watch world is changing. Especially collecting vintage watches has become more difficult than around the 90’s or early 00’s. The watch pools are drying out and everybody is hunting after the same fish. What will the future look like?

Besides more fishermen and decreasing fish population, there is another factor that makes collecting vintage stuff even more difficult: sourcing parts. These are becoming more scarce by the day. People already buy their own spare donors to be secure for the next decades. So I asked myself: are we heading to a vintage apocalypse?

New Starting Points

Let’s try to put things in perspective. The future does not look so bad if the watch manufactures would commit to certain requirements. With requirements I mainly refer to new designs and concepts. As long as nothing new starts, we will keep focusing on the ‘old fish from the fifties and sixties’ like those first Submariners or Speedmasters. This is a danger in terms of continuity, as they will become unfindable or too expensive at some point (if they aren’t already). At least, for most of us and otherwise the next generation. Let’s hope Baselworld 2017 presents real newcomers and initiates potential future pools. In my opinion it’s mainly the watch industry who needs to anticipate on this matter.

Omega Speedmaster Tropical Dial

Omega Speedmaster 105.012-65. Example of a 60’s generation.

Impatience? Start altering Today!

Waiting on new icons can take a while, but there are alternative watch pools and spots. Let me sum up ways to other pools with reachable money goals:

  • Go collecting alternative models/series of watches. Focus on less obvious and popular models from brands.
  • Try to catch relative unknown brands. There are tons of brands from the 60s/70s which are less expensive but (almost) equally as beautiful. No, it may not be the founder of the design, but I can live with it when it’s not a shameless copy, a good execution and time correct. For example, say you love the subdial design of the ‘grail’ Daytonas. Very destinctive with their squared lollipop shaped markers and extravagant typeface. If you look carefully you will find other brands with the same subdials. For example, look for brands like Nivada or Wittnauer. Have a look at some of Mike’s #TBT topics for example.
  • Accept less pristine conditions of watches. Find a modus with character and personal acceptance in mind.
  • Forget the real oldies and focus on so called ‘youngtimers’. Sometimes children of icons, sometimes not. There are plenty of worthy 90’s models which have a smaller price tag and will be called vintage in the nearby future.
  • Do not focus on Swiss and German only. Vintage Seiko watches are hot and most models are still very affordable/findable. Find out more in this post.

Examples of 90’s ‘youngtimers’:

Tudor Big Block bezel dings

Tudor Big Block (ref. 79180)

IWC Mark XII contrasting date wheel

IWC Mark XII (ref. 3241)


Yes, first generation iconic watches (1960s/1970s) will become impossible to catch for most of us within the upcoming years. Of course, if the vintage market stays stable. But I’m quite confident it will. In this case, I think you will have most chance by networking (e.g. and not via eBay or other overexposed channels. To stay positive. There is still hope. With an open mind and normal wallet you can keep collecting by altering your targets slightly.

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Watches and Pencils


Teun van Heerebeek
About the author

Teun van Heerebeek

Teun van Heerebeek is contributor and visual artist to Fratello Watches. With his Watches & Pencils illustrations and other articles he likes to explore the vast watch-lands in all its diversity. His love for watches mainly originates from his eye... read more

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