Vintage watch collecting tends to focus itself on owning the rarest, most obscure and most valuable pieces, but it’s the cheap, ubiquitous pieces that get you into the hobby in the first place: The Bulovas. The Seikos. The Timexes. They may not have much to offer in the way of rarity, but they’re still charming watches in their own right and will get you well on your way to snatching up as many old-school watches as you can. Here are three you can get right now, in great shape, available for $500 or less.
Tissot Seastar Seven
What we like: With a sleek steel case, a radiant dial and a date complication, the Seastar Seven is a simple, autoamtic watch that you can wear everyday. As an added geeky bouns, this one is branded “Türler,” which is a notable watch retailer form Switzerland. Not bad for just under $400.
From the seller: Notice the asymmetric date aperture, pencil hands and very clean original dial. The 35mm. steel case with recessed crown and down-turned lugs looks very good. The automatic winding TISSOT movement was just cleaned and is accurate.
Bulova Sea King “A”
What we like: This water-resistant, time-only watch from Bulova is about as simple as they come. We love the big, legible Arabic numerals, the off-white dial and the watch’s slim and compact stainless steel case. This one will require hand-winding on a daily basis, but that only adds to the charm.
From the seller: Fantastic original condition overall with only minor honest wear consistent with age and light use. Solid stainless steel case is razor sharp and completely unpolished with the original finishes intact. Beautiful original eggshell dial with attractive yellow patina to the Tritium luminous elements.
What we like: Once a poorly-kept secret amongst watch nerds, old-school Seiko tool watches are growing in popularity and value, but you can still get them at reasonable prices for the time being. This 6309 is the original variant of the brand’s recent (and well-received) “Turtle” and has the faded rotating bezel as proof of its age and utility.
From the seller: Original black Seiko and Suwa-signed dial. This 6309 has the lesser-seen dial variant, the “Suwa” dial. Original hefty 44mm stainless steel cushion case in pre-loved condition. Matching original caseback, which has scratches on it from previous misguided attempts to open it before it arrived to us.