Watch collecting is an incredibly diverse and personal hobby, with each enthusiast drawn to different aspects of timepieces. While some may be captivated by the hype surrounding popular watches, others focus on design, history, or sentimental value. In this journal entry, I'd like to share my own journey into the world of neo-vintage watch collecting, the unique characteristics of these watches, and how they offer a distinct and satisfying experience for enthusiasts like myself.
My interest in watches has always been present, thanks to a combination of personal fascination and exposure to various watch-related content on platforms like YouTube. Channels such as Worn & Wound, Hodinkee, A Blog to Watch, and more recently, You're Terrific and Teddy Baldassarre, have all contributed to my passion for watch collecting.
Initially, I was captivated by the aesthetics of proper vintage sports watches from the 60s and 70s, such as Rolex models like the reference 5513 Submariner or the reference 1675 GMT-Master, Heuer chronographs like the Autavia, and Omega Speedmasters with the legendary 321 movement. With their beautiful and tasteful designs, as well as the unique aging of tritium lume on the dials, these classic pieces offered a timeless appeal. However, the high prices of these vintage pieces, particularly from renowned brands, led me to discover the world of neo-vintage watches.
Neo-vintage watches, typically produced from the early 90s to mid-2000s, offer a similar look and feel to vintage timepieces, but with more modern features such as stronger movements and sapphire crystals. These watches often have case dimensions and dial sizes reminiscent of their vintage counterparts, which appealed to me as a collector who appreciates the aesthetics of older watches.
My Neo-Vintage Collection:
As I ventured into the world of neo-vintage watches, I began to acquire pieces that resonated with me. One of my first acquisitions was a Heuer Carrera CS3110 re-issue of the 60s Carrera. My collection continued to grow with a two-line no-date Submariner from 1995, a 1995 Royal Oak, and an early 2000s Pepsi aluminum bezel. While many of these examples are Rolex-heavy, I believe the world of neo-vintage is as diverse as the collectors themselves, and each individual can find their own unique pieces that speak to them.
One aspect of collecting neo-vintage watches that I particularly enjoy is the ability to wear them with confidence, without the need to baby them as I might with a more delicate vintage piece. Furthermore, I love the opportunity to pair these watches with interesting leather straps, allowing me to personalize my timepieces and showcase my unique style. As a part of the Ryokō community, I've been fortunate enough to design custom straps for myself and many of our customers. In fact, I often found myself inspired by the bespoke strap designs and watch combinations our customers created, leading me to experiment with similar looks for my own collection.
Adding to My Neo-Vintage Collection:
In addition to the watches I've mentioned earlier, my collection has grown to include an Omega Dynamic Chronograph and a variety of vintage-inspired pieces. I'm particularly fond of the Speedmaster '57 Trilogy Edition and the Seamaster from the Trilogy Edition as well. Although these watches aren't necessarily neo-vintage, they align with the aesthetics that initially drew me to watch collecting.
My Backstory and Personal Connection to Watches:
Like many watch enthusiasts, my passion for watches began with the timepieces my father wore in the 90s. I still have one of his beautiful Panda Dial Citizen watches with me, and it serves as a constant reminder of the deep connection and memories associated with these timepieces. As I've ventured into the world of neo-vintage watches, each piece in my collection offers a unique combination of design, personal significance, and history.
The Evolution of Watch Collecting:
As the watch collecting landscape continues to evolve, with newer models being released and preferences shifting based on the year of production, I find solace in my appreciation for neo-vintage timepieces. These watches, which I believe are the vintage of tomorrow, tell a story that is just as compelling as their older counterparts. By collecting them now and allowing them to age with me, I hope that my collection will stand out as a testament to my passion and personal connection to these beautiful timepieces.
The world of neo-vintage watch collecting is an exciting and deeply personal journey, with each collector finding their own unique connection to the timepieces they choose. For me, it's been about the aesthetics, design, and personal significance of these watches, as well as the opportunity to make them truly my own through custom straps and thoughtful curation. As the Ryokō community continues to grow and evolve, I look forward to sharing my passion for neo-vintage watches with fellow enthusiasts and inspiring others to explore this fascinating and rewarding facet of watch collecting.