A vintage wristwatch is far more than a mere timepiece. It's a bit of wearable history, a touch of subtle flair, and a knowing nod to classic style. Ideally, it can set you apart from the crowd, but in a way that's neither overbearing nor forced. Finding that perfect watch, however, can be challenging to say the least. Enter George Aloi of Tempvs Fvgit. A purveyor of fine watches for over twenty years, George knows his timepieces backwards and forwards, clockwise and otherwise. Eager for advice on how we might find the perfect watch, we stopped by George's store on Manhattan's 25th Street and asked him for some tips. And George, ever the gentleman and consummate professional, was kind enough to oblige.
George's Vintage Watch Tips:
1. It's all about trust
Buy from someone you trust—someone who will connect you with a model you really like instead of selling to you. You should be purchasing the watch that you want, not the watch that the salesperson wants you to buy. It's more like match-making than selling.
2. Go with your gut
Buy what you like. Your vintage watch should say something about your personality and set you apart. Everybody wants a Rolex Air-King, but don't be afraid to go against the grain if you're making the investment. And speaking of which...
3. It's not about money
Don't buy a vintage watch strictly as an investment. It's impossible to tell how trends will affect value, like smaller watch faces going out of style for men, etc. Stick to a model and make that you personally value. If all goes well, it should stay with you for a long, long time.
4. Serviced with a smile
Evaluate the condition of the watch. Make sure it's in good working order. Be on the lookout for water stains on the dials and scratches on the case. Only buy a vintage watch that's already been serviced—it should run like new, even if it isn't.
Five Great Vintage Watches to Consider:
Here are the watches that George personally recommends. No, they're not inexpensive per se, but if properly cared for, they will last you a lifetime.
1. Rolex Air-King
Extremely popular, this is the watch that everyone wants. It's not going to set you apart, but it's a classic for a reason.
2. Omega Constellation
James Bond wears an Omega, and with good reason: they're sharp, dependable, and always in style.
3. IWC Automatic
"Elegant simplicity" is often used to describe these watches, and that's exactly what you'll get. It does the job with subdued panache.
4. Rolex Bubbleback
First made in 1933, this is the first reliable automatic watch—the thick bubbleback design accommodates the rotor movement quite nicely.
5. Movado Chronograph
A brilliant watch from the '70s, ideal for sharp suits and rides in the Camaro. It's more modern, without being at all showy or gaudy.
Photography by Weston Wells