Opinion: Just Wear Your Vintage Watches, Already
At the Curated Wrist, we regularly correct the misconception that vintage watches are pure investment pieces destined only for carefully-climate-controlled safety deposit boxes--away from the same types of wrists and conditions they occupied for many generations.
Guess what? Vintage watches are meant to be worn--and regularly so--not just admired. Sure, you can tuck a watch away for years at a time and treat it like an asset, but let's be honest--you can wear it and still achieve the same result using your common sense.
The misconception is silly, if you take half a moment to think about it. Yes, vintage watches often lose their water resistance, due to the degradation of gaskets on the case back or crown. That happens to modern watches, too--even Rolex, with its "oyster" case.
(Yeah, some vintage watches have screw-down case backs, too.)
And, a lot of new high end watches aren't water resistant at all, and don't purport to be. If you really want to swim or shower with an older (+20 years) watch, you need to get it water-resistance tested. That's regardless of the brand. Also, if your goal is to swim or dive with a watch, you should get one for that specific purpose. News flash--it's unlikely to be vintage.
And yes, watches created before a certain date (usually, before the 1950s) often lack the same type of shock protection that you'd find in modern watches, but nonetheless work like a charm.
(This gorgeous chrono movement is from 1949, but still works like it was sold yesterday.)
Here's a question for you--if you intend to go spelunking, sky diving, or if you intend to demolish some buildings, what watch do you think you'd wear? A Casio G-Shock quartz watch, maybe? Or nothing? Also, when was the last time you truly smashed your watch against something--especially a high-end watch with a small profile that doesn't even protrude from your wrist? I'd guess never.
(Especially if your watch is like this glorious sub-6mm-ultra-thin-watch that would rather pass through subatomic particles than slam a door-knob.)
If you're anything like us, you'd wear your high-end mechanical watch during your day-to-day life. That includes, what? Work, travel, cooking, cleaning, typing, "desk-diving"? A decent vintage watch can handle that, and more, assuming that it's in OK shape to begin with (which ours are). The fact that these watches are still going strong after multiple decades of use without any concern over the details we described above only confirms this fact.
So, think again if you're concerned about wearing a vintage piece on a daily basis. Common sense is key--unless you're sure the watch is water resistant, take it off before you shower, and don't submerge it in water. That's mostly it. Oh, and maybe don't play contact sports wearing a vintage watch.
Just wear the darn thing, already! I promise it looks so good on you.