Vintage Watch Centre Limited : Passionate about excellence...


As well as a web destination, Vintage Watch Centre is a partnership based in Kensington High Street, London (W8 4SG). Our desire for classic elegance and supreme quality is what inspires our intense passion for ‘fine’ Swiss watches, of which, we have a particular sweet spot for watches from the 1950s and ’60s. We consider this to be the golden age of Swiss watchmaking, when an amalgam of technical greatness, revolutionary design and exceptional craftsmanship allowed for some of the finest timepieces the world has ever seen. Our collection is centred around the watches that we admire most; watches produced by Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Longines, IWC, and Zenith – predominantly, but not exclusively, from the 1950s and ’60s.

Each and every one of these manufacturers have brought their own artistic flair, character, style and unique vision for perfection to the market. Rolex may need no introduction, but we will provide they, whom have meant so much to us personally as watch enthusiasts, the introduction they deserve. Famous for their robust movements and innovative cases, Rolex have written themselves into the history books by associating their brand with some incredible feats of human achievement, Hillary’s summiting of Mount Everest and Mercedes Gleitze’s crossing of the English Channel, to mention a couple. Of course, it’s not just Rolex who have a rich and extensive history, the other brands featured on this site each have their own story to tell, each with their own highlights and claims to fame. In terms of design, refinement and ultimate quality, these brands match, and often exceed that of Rolex; often, these brands present a buyer with incredible value for money, which is yet another reason for offering this carefully chosen portfolio of brands and models in addition to Rolex.

On this note, excellent value for money is one of the many reasons (alongside unmatched quality, design and style) as to why our customers fall in love with our mid-century wristwatches – particularly when they are found in such wonderful condition. When we consider the high prices of these watches when they were initially released, which are then adjusted for inflation, luxury vintage watches undoubtedly offer exceptional value for money, especially when we consider the cost of their modern day equivalents. Moreover, when we begin to factor in double-digit growth investment potential, one will begin to discover that a vintage watch can be more than just something to wear, treasure and enjoy!

We understand that purchasing a vintage watch is a momentous moment, and as such, we strive to make this experience as simple, straight forward and pleasurable as possible. If you choose to put your faith in us, you will soon discover that we take great pride in assisting our customers in understanding the key specifications of each watch, as well as the differences between them so that we may guide you to the watch that will be perfect for you – we are happy to answer questions by telephone or email, however, if this doesn’t work for you, we can always arrange an in-person appointment so that we may talk face-to-face.

If we don’t have quite the watch you’re after in stock, it is always worth enquiring with us as we typically have around 40 watches undergoing restoration at any one time, so it may well be that we have exactly what you are looking for, soon to be available. For example, you may be seeking a watch that was manufactured in your birth year, or perhaps a watch with a particular dial colour or design – size and price are also key considerations. Whatever your preferences might be, we can certainly be of assistance, even if we haven’t got the watch that is right for you in stock. We have strong connections with numerous watch dealers in London, and so, we may very well be able to find you a good example of exactly ‘your watch’ in much less time than you might spend on your own. We can then, if necessary, restore the watch for you using only original parts to make it look as good as the rest of the watches you see on this website.

We endeavour to find watches of the highest quality and with as little wear a possible. Each watch is then beautifully restored as necessary to bring the watch back, as close as possible, to its original condition. Typically, this requires the skills of a minimum of three craftsmen. Our vintage specialist watchmaker will restore the movement and co-ordinate the rest of the restoration. The case will be forwarded to our watch case-maker who will review the structural integrity, attend to repairs and polish the case. Meanwhile, the dial will be sent to our dial restorers who have accomplished fabulous work and are widely regarded to be the best in the UK. This, as I’m sure you can imagine, is a relatively time-consuming process, but each of our customers have agreed that it is always well worthwhile.

Whilst Rolex, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Omega, Longines, IWC and Zenith form the core of our collection, we regularly acquire other watches on behalf of our customers. For further information please add notes to the Enquiry form at the bottom right hand side of each page of the website.

For further information please also FAQs and of course, you are very welcome to call us on 0207 727 7095 or email us at whenever you wish.

A Vintage Watch as an Investment...

An investment which one may actively enjoy is rare, classic cars and property spring to mind, and we believe that watches are no different. It is often surprising that these miracles of micro-engineering from time-honoured Swiss watch houses, that radiate such intense beauty and immortal elegance, can be acquired for such relatively little money! Whilst we would advocate against choosing a watch purely for its potential for investment, a factor that might otherwise distract you from the watch your heart wants, its always reassuring to know that your vintage watch will continue to rise in value from the moment you take it home! This intrinsic value is solid, reliable and as perpetual in fact, as the timepiece itself.

When we take a look at market trends from 2010 to the present day, we have witnessed double digit growth each year from all the Swiss watch houses seen on this website. This growth is expected to continue, especially when we consider the ever expanding demand for high-quality Swiss watches in China and across the developing world.

Although it is not very widely known, for the collector or the serious investor, there are some special tax advantages associated with buying vintage watches for those residing in the UK. Specifically, HM Revenue & Customs UK regard these items as “wasting assets” and so cannot charge Capital Gains Tax on the profits made from them when they are sold (provided they have not been used in the course of business) – for the private investor, this strange anomaly is actually something of a gift from the taxman. For example, if money is retained in a bank account, the small amount of interest earned is taxable. Regarding property, if a second property is purchased and then sold, again, there will be tax to pay on the profit generated by the sale. The same applies for shares and other financial investments. However, if the same funds are used to purchase a collection of vintage watches and then, in due course sold at a profit, no Capital Gains Tax is owed to the Revenue. Of course, we need to add the usual disclaimer not to treat this as ‘advice’, but purely background information for you to check with your financial advisor or HM Revenue & Customs. This situation is not unique to vintage watches – antique guns, classic cars and motorcycles, antique scientific instruments and some mechanical toys also qualify as ‘wasting assets’ in the same way. However, to reiterate, ask your financial advisor about this. Perhaps, at the same time, you might also ask why they have not mentioned this before? We could suggest, although of course, we wouldn’t, that there is no potential commission here available for the advisor if you buy a vintage watch or a small collection, or perhaps grow a large one over time!

A Vintage Watch in everyday use

As aforementioned, one could draw parallels between owning a vintage watch and owning a classic car. For instance, a high quality classic car which is well maintained and cared for can be relied upon for day-to-day use for years at a time – and a vintage watch is no different! Whilst a Swiss watch is superbly engineered with legendary Swiss reliability, it is still an example of micro-mechanical engineering which will often exceed 50 years of age. Therefore, one may not expect the ultimate performance and reliability of its modern equivalent, just as it would be with a classic car when compared to today’s automotive standards. A vintage watch may still require winding every so often simply because a vintage automatic movement will not be as efficient as a contemporary one. Moreover, typical accuracy may vary by up to +/- 30 seconds per day. However, please note that when we restore a vintage watch, we strive for an accuracy better than +10 sec/day when it leaves our hands.

The age of a vintage watch will also make it more vulnerable to the elements; water, dust and dirt have the potential to inflict serious damage upon a watch, particularly when that movement is protected by a vintage case that is unlikely to be fully sealed. Therefore, water and dust must be avoided as these will undoubtedly cause harm if they come into contact with the movement.

Need some extra help finding your watch?

If you can picture your ideal watch but hunting for it has proven to be unsuccessful, or perhaps it is taking up too much of your valuable time, why not let us do the searching for you? We have fantastic connections within the watch industry, and we need not mention how much we love the hunt for a particular vintage piece! We are particularly good at finding watches which have dates which coincide with a special birthday or special anniversary. Please see our FAQs for more details.

Need a little time to pay for your watch?

If you have seen just the watch you have been searching for on our website, but it has come along at the wrong time in terms of your cash flow and you would prefer to avoid interest on your credit card, then take a look at our ‘Layaway’ service? We will take a 20% deposit and provide you with a sales invoice for the watch at full price. The watch is then marked as sold on our site so that no one else can buy it from under you, but we will look after it in our safe while you settle the balance over up to eight months in equal 10% payments. No interest is paid because no ‘loan’ is made!

For more background about Vintage Watch Centre and our services please see our FAQs