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6 Classic Watches That Won’t Cost You a Fortune

6 Classic Watches That Won’t Cost You a Fortune

When it comes to timepieces, you have a lot of options. Do you want a watch that just tells time? A watch with a computer built-in that can give you altitude, notifications and everything else you used to rely on your phone for? Or, do you want something stylish, unique and built to last long enough to pass on to your grandkids? For our money, and yours, we’d almost always rather have a vintage option from a reliable maker because these options continue to impress.

Vintage Timex Men’s Gold Automatic Watch

Much like Seiko, Timex makes fantastic, everyday watches that you can buy brand new for not that much money. But where’s the fun in that when you can find vintage Timex options that are even more stylish than new because of the stories they tell? Yeah, you’re going to have to do some digging on eBay or other auction sites, but most of the options you’ll find are even more stylish than what’s available now. More importantly, because they’re built by Timex, they’ll still be functional, wearable, built to last and water resistant watches. And even if they don’t run by the time they show up in your mailbox, they’ll be easy to repair because they bear the Timex name. Link

Vintage Hamilton U.S. Military Watch

Hamilton has been watches sine the late 1800’s—more than twelve decades, if you were counting—so it’s safe to say they know what it takes to make a watch that will withstand the test of time. Case in point—any authentic, vintage Hamilton watch you’ll find on eBay. Like all the other options on this list, you’ll have to bide your time for an option that matches your price/style options, but you’ll regularly find great Hamilton options in the vintage U.S. military, gold dress, casual leather and clean automatic watch categories for a relatively small amount of money. You might need to give some of the watches a fair bit of TLC and a fit a new strap on account of the fact they’re twice as old as you are, but all things considered it’s absolutely worth it for a heritage timepiece. Link

Vintage Seiko 5

The Seiko 5 is hands-down one of the most affordable, reliable and stylish automatic watches that can be had for almost any price. You could buy one the many Seiko watches on Amazon starting at around $50, but going vintage allows you to pick up something a little more interesting for prices as low as $20. Depending on the kind of deals you can find and how long you’re willing to wait. Whether you want a square face with blue accents on a stainless bracelet or a white face on a leather band, you’ll be able to find just about any combination if you want vintage Seiko. Link

Vintage LIP Swiss Vintage Mechanical Wristwatch

LIP is a watch and clock company out of France that makes some of the most unique, batshit crazy and absolutely incredible watches you’ll ever have the pleasure of strapping on your wrist—particularly when it comes to their absurd Art Deco creations. While you’re sure to find more conventional options with properly aligned faces affixed to leather bands, our favorites are the unique creations that involve bulbous crowns set against square faces, horizontally aligned faces, and square, digital options that focus more on a clean, stainless container than the ability to actually read the numeric output. You might spend a little more coin on a vintage LIP option than you would others on this list, but if you can find a good deal it will be more than worth it for the uniqueness of the watch. Link

Vintage Longines

In addition to the many other accolades the company has received over the years, Longines holds the record for oldest registered trademark for a watchmaker because of the winged hourglass logo that was registered prior to 1890. In other words, if you have the means to put one of their watches on your wrist you’ll be tracking meetings and conference calls with a piece of history. Better yet, that’s actually a reasonable option if you’re willing to shell out a couple hundred bucks in purchase or repair costs because there are quite a few vintage Longines watch options on all the popular auction sites. We’d opt for a classically round face with the winged logo and dashed hour markers, but the sky is the limit when it comes to available options. Link

Vintage Omega Seamaster

Ever since we read Eric Wind’s Hodinkee piece about buying watches on eBay, we’ve been intrigued by the idea of being able too don a vintage Omega Seamaster watch for less than two Benjamins. As you might expect, owning a piece from a Swiss luxury watchmaker for a price tag far lower than it should be is easier said than done, but there are still plenty of affordable Omega options out there if your budget is a little higher and you’re willing to bide your time. Picking up a vintage Omega for a song is going to require a considerable amount of time and patience—maybe even some sniping—but if you manage to land that killer deal it’s something you’ll be talking about, and wearing, for the rest of your life. Link