A vintage watch is a must have in any watch collection - it is a small piece of history and a precious investment. If selected correctly, such watch opens
the door to a small private world of connoisseurs, being a sign of a true collector. Buying vintage watches may turn out to be a real test, both for nerves and
the budget: a highly-valued ancient model may as well appear to be a cheap modern fake.
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Unfortunately, all these websites are a perfect source of information not only for collectors, but also for fraudsters, who try and coax out the collectors' money and create amazingly accurate replicas of famous watch brands. The same information which helps a buyer determine the genuineness of a watch also helps a fraudster make the scam look exactly like an authentic piece. There are plenty of ways to fake a watch - from simply copying its brand to immerging the dial in tea in order to artificially distress its luminescent markers.
Another popular way to fake a watch is to make a scam using the parts of different years - installing a new watchwork into an old watchcase, for instance. Most often, a buyer cannot tell a difference, at least, without having to open the watchcase and compare the serial numbers of the watchwork and the watchcase, for which he will need either the access to a genuine model itself or the authentic high-quality pictures and the respective information from the producer about the serial numbers. Some companies, for example, Omega and IWC, do provide collectors with such information (their archives store the data on serial numbers for the last few decades). In other cases, where a model's manufacturer might have already gone out of business, the verification of the watch genuineness may become a much more difficult task.
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While at the first glance one might think that a vintage watche is a perfect investment in our time of volatile stock markets, in fact, only few models may really go for such an excellent option. Among them is a vintage Rolex, which was released yet before the advent of sapphire crystals, having replaced the glass, and which is still growing in price. The Submariner model, dating as far back as the 60s and being worth less than 200 dollars at that time, today will cost over 5 thousand. Another guaranteed investment is a vintage Patek Philippe: released in the mid 70s, it used to cost a few thousand dollars, at today's auctions the watch is sold at over 50 thousand. And, finally, the vintage Audemars Piguet and A. Lange & Sohne are also constantly appreciating over time.
Of course, buying a vintage watch for collection has nothing to do with investment activity. The manufacture of mechanical watches is a centuries-old art, the techniques and traditions of which have been passed on from generation to generation. Take a look at a modern watch, and you will find the traces of previous generations. A vintage watch is a miniature copy of the time machine brought to stop at a certain point of history. The old Omega of your uncle may remind you of the 60s when men used to wear hats, and the astronauts were the central characters of the evenings news. The pocket watch of your great-grandfather will transfer you to the times when men wore waistcoats and all people traveled by trains. The vintage watches, therefore, form a unique bridge between the long gone ages and the modern world.
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Omega is one of the world's most famous watch brands. Incredible: over 65% of people all over the world know about this brand. The history of Omega watches dates back to 1848, when Louis Brandt opened an assembly workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Later, his sons transferred the production to another Swiss town Bienne, where the factory is still located nowadays. This place was abundant in necessary resources: people, energy and communications. The company refused from the assembly workshops, which were very common in the watch world of that time, and opted for the modern manufacturing using its own parts. The mechanized mode of production (as opposed to the manual processes), as well as the establishment of the first "divided assembly system" in Switzerland (the possibility to interchange standard parts), allowed the company to create watches of the best accuracy. The timepieces enjoyed increasing popularity.
In 1892, Omega produced the first wristwatch with a minute repeater. In 1900, its timepiece Greek Temple created of pure gold won the Grand Prix at the World Fair. The Omega watches won 93 awards in various world contests for accuracy organized by the leading observatories. Seventy-two world records of accuracy belong to Omega, including the still unbeaten record of 1936: an Omega timepiece scored 97.8 points out of 100 possible. Half of the records and prizes belong to the Omega wristwatches.
While improving the accuracy features, Omega kept developing its timepieces in respect of their waterproofness. As early as 1932, the world saw the sensational Omega Marine with a double removable case, which remained waterproof at the depth of 135 meters. The succeeding Omega Seamaster-600 was successfully used at the depth of more than 500 meters by the Cousteau team testing the human condition in deep waters. After 1932, the Omega watches were the participants and prizewinners at many other world exhibitions. Omega introduced many innovations and even became the spatial pioneer.
In 1957, the Omega inventors created Speedmaster, a unique chronograph. Then in 1965, miracles started happening to Omega - following the most serious test operations, NASA selected Omega's Speedmaster its official chronograph. In four years, when on July 21, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the Moon, the Omega Speedmaster followed him.
The sports and space history of Omega didn't finish at that point. In 1981, Roland Specker, a freediver from France, relied on Omega's Seamaster 120 m, when he was the first to dive to the depth of 80 meters in the lake of Neuchatel without an aqualung and beat his own record of lake diving (by the way, the deep lake waters are much colder and darker than oceans and sees).
Curiously enough, the "depth" tests have impressed the Omega founders so much, that 12 years later, in 1993, the company got back to its idea. Omega realized Seamaster Professional, which has also beaten its record. It was the first mechanical chronograph designed for scuba diving at depths of up to 300 meters.
The outer space has been conquered by Omega more than once - in 1989, the company became the official watch supplier to the Soviet cosmonauts.
One more interesting detail - not only did the Omega watches visit the outer space and the bosoms of seas and rivers, but they also were on the screen -
in the movies together with famous James Bond. The timepieces starred in three movies - "Golden Eye", "Tomorrow Never Dies" and "The World Is Not Enough".