Buying vintage watches in not for the weak of heart. My companion Paul Boutros regularly says that regardless of who you’re managing, you (as the purchaser) are “at war” with the seller. It’s a clash of who knows more about the specific attractive quality of the watch, who can suss out the over all condition comparative with others, and who can play the game better. Even when you’re purchasing a watch from a known and confided in element, it’s every one of the a struggle. Sometimes you win, some of the time you lose. In this close to home post, I will inform you concerning the absolute last watch I purchased, and how it very well may be the ideal example of how in any event, when you win, you never win as much as you think.
I had been searching for an old Longines chronograph for quite a long time. Presumably four years. I recall the first occasion when I at any point went over an incredible, tempered steel 13ZN at an Antiquorum preview and I fell in love. Since at that point, I’ve come near purchasing a few gold 13ZN’s on numerous occasions. But, I have a few economical gold vintage chronographs from any semblance of Universal Geneve and Zenith, so I truly wanted to wait for steel. Obviously, steel is much more wearable for me as a person who wears a suit precisely one week of the year (SIHH in January).
So, in my daily browsing for vintage watches, I discovered what a seller depicted as a 1950s Longines 13ZN. I looked nearer, and to me, it didn’t appear as though it was from the 50’s by any means. I would’ve speculated the mid 40s. And at that point, I looked even further, I saw that there was a particular pusher on this case at 2 o’clock, and nothing at 4 o’clock. This was a mono-pusher 13ZN. I sent an email to the vendor, who was a huge European vender of both old and new watches, however one I’ve never managed either actually or professionally. I didn’t hear anything back for one week. I sent a note through the contact structure on his website, still nothing. I was going to give up.
I sent one final email to this seller from my own email account and the following morning, I heard back from somebody at the shop. They answered my questions about development and case numbers, condition, and so forth to my satisfaction. I at that point took the information they had given me and did quite a touch of research. I originally saw John Goldberger’s book on exemplary Longines watches (you can see a pictorial showcase of it here ) and saw that 13ZN mono-pushers didn’t represent a considerable lot of seemingly the biggest assortment of uncommon Longines in the world. That affirmed my doubt that this watch was uncommon, and likely, early. Then, I reached out to Longines to ask what information they may have on the watch. Longines has perhaps the most dynamic legacy offices around, and on the off chance that you send them a note with your development and case numbers, they generally hit you up within 24 hours. It’s an astounding assistance accessible to all.
The next morning, I had affirmation from Longines that this watch was invoiced on November 23, 1939 to their Argentine specialist Perusset. So, while the seller was sure it was from the 50s and an ordinary 13ZN chronograph, I now knew it was a mono-pusher chronograph and much, much sooner than advertised. This, obviously, makes it more valuable.
Having this information close by, I consented to purchase the watch – site inconspicuous – a common practice in case you will be a forceful vintage watch buyer. I wired the cash, and waited for it to clear. Then, similarly as the watch was going to deliver, I was told they were not content with how the watch was performing and would get a kick out of the chance to support it prior to sending it to me. Sounds adequately guiltless, positively, yet a help by a vendor who mislabeled a watch by 20 years could mean trouble. I was purchasing this watch in the condition I had seen, so I would have been gutted if in the assistance the dial had been touched up, or the case cleaned – the two things that happen way too often.
Finally, after three weeks, I got my watch in New York. It had been six weeks since I sent my first email to them (which went unreplied) and a month since I had first connected with them. I was so energized opening up the case, and I had just wanted to put it on one of our a wesome 18mm unlined Horween ties . I pulled the 1930s Longines out of its crate and saw it had a nylon NATO tie on it. Strange, I thought, on the grounds that even the most dull vendors attempt to put a watch on a lash that would bode well, so I expected to see it on some kind of calf or alligator. I pulled the economical NATO off the watch and saw the full story. The spring bars of this watch had been bound into place. Why? I have no clue. However, it occurs every once in a while. Furthermore, the seller didn’t tell me.
I had one of two choices here – send an emphatic email to the vender thrashing them for not uncovering this reality or take my watch and move on. I chose the latter. Because, I do trust I got quite an arrangement on this watch. It was named and evaluated as a 1950s two-button Longines, when truth be told, it is an exceptionally uncommon 1930s one-button. The seller may have won the fight, selling me this watch without revealing the spring bars had been fastened, however I think I won the war. And in all honesty, I love this watch, and think it works fairly well on a meager calfskin NATO.
Like I said, purchasing vintage watches isn’t for the weak of heart.