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Credit Crunch Hails Beginning Of New Vintage Era

Apr 16, 2008
There isn't anyone who isn't currently feeling the credit crunch. Not just us average folk but also those high fliers and celebrities. In fact, those very celebrities probably have the right idea. You don't get rich by flashing your cash around.

A trend that comes and goes, and you'll probably find this happens amid a credit crises, is the one of buying up old stuff and calling it 'vintage'. Of course, this is the sensible thing to do. For far too long we have been held ransom to this idea of having to have the biggest, the best, the newest, the flashiest and often the most garish just to show off as a status symbol.

My old grandmother always looked the bees knees but never even went in a new clothes shop. She always shopped second hand, or 'vintage'. One man's rubbish is another man's treasure, we all know that. Look in the press to celebrities and you will see several of the saner ones re-using and even shopping in trendy flea markets, although Helena Bonham Carter probably takes the bag lady look a little too far.

And this trend doesn't just apply to clothing. It also applies to jewellery. Vintage jewellery is becoming common place in second hand shops and these stores now have their own requirement for locked cabinets to house luxury watches and designer pieces. Many bargains are to be had this way if you know what you are looking for.

It is becoming popular in our modern society to have more than one luxury watch. They are no longer a purely functional item but also a fashion piece that says a certain something about the style of the wearer.
Luxury watch manufacturers discouraged the buying up of old watches in the past due to the competition that this created for the new market. They did this by making it difficult to get parts for reconditioning.
However, they have now seen the potential in this market for themselves and are even reconditioning old luxury watches themselves to then sell on.

If the age and provenance of these timepieces can be proved, then these watches fetch a tidy sum in the range that most of us would pay for a house. And the prices are reaching ever dizzier heights. In the last decade alone, the price for a vintage luxury watch has increased over a thousand per cent and is likely to continue to rise.

One buyer who couldn't believe his luck recently, paid 200,000 pounds for a luxury watch of vintage qualities. Knowing full well that in another ten years this could well be worth over a million pounds, he bagged himself a bargain.

There are many shops and websites now setting themselves up to deal purely in vintage luxury watches. One of these claims to have the biggest collection of vintage Rolex's in the world and prices start at a thousand pounds rising to the 'if you have to ask, you can't afford it' price tag.

Do people that can afford 200,000 pounds for a watch really need to worry about being frugal with their finances? What would they make of my twenty pounds high street watch, I wonder? It hasn't let me down so far but I'm guessing it's nowhere in the realm of vintage luxury watches.
About the Author
Expert buyer Catherine Harvey looks at the market for luxury watches of vintage descent.
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