Antique and Vintage Women's Watches - Information and Where to Buy

As the saying goes, old is gold. Vintage women's watches are always hot! Whether you love the actual watches of the past or retro modern watches inspired by vintage and antique styles.  

Vintage and antique watches are valuable as collectors' items but also due to their craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal. Most of the watches were handcrafted by skilled artisans who gave each piece love and attention that contemporary watches can't match. They don't make them like they used to. 

Most vintage watches are unique one-of-a-kind or limited in edition.  You'll be wearing a piece of history that exudes originality. They are classic and refined timeless styles. They can demonstrate taste and class adding charm and interest to your style.

Antique vs. Vintage Women's Watches

Antique and vintage ladies watches are watch styles from the past eras where designs were highly influenced by the prevailing events, youth culture, norms and attitudes in society and styles and tastes of the ages. So what is the difference between antique and vintage watches? 

Antique Ladies Watches

Antique watches have been around for centuries- at least 100 years. Most antique watches are pocket  and pendant watches as these were the popular styles of antique eras. The first wrist watches to be made are also antique styles.

The first wrist watches ever made were for ladies. Watches from this era were more jewelry pieces with diamonds and other precious stones than they were accurate timetellers. They were costly custom made bracelet watches.

They were dainty and delicate. Petite in size with small faces and bands. They were also elaborate pieces made out of yellow and multi-colored gold and platinum and adorned with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, ruby, enamel, floral and mesh designs. 

The first known wristwatch was made by Abraham-Louis Breguet for Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Caroline Murat in 1810. Another first wristwatch was made in 1868 by Patek Philippe for Countess Koscowicz of Hungary.  

Vintage Women's Watches

Vintage watches are typically decades old, at least 25 years old. Vintage is also used to indicate the period in which the watch became popular. The two terms also overlap and a watch can be both - an antique in age and vintage in design or era.

Vintage watches include wrist watches that came about and were popular in the 1930s, 40s, 50s, 1960s, 1970s 1980's and 1990s.

Modern Vintage Style Women's Watches

Want modern watches made in the style of past eras? There is something appealing about modern vintage inspired watches reminiscent of the 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and inspired by popular bygone eras such as the Art Deco era.

Retro style ladies watches are all about looking backwards and forward at the same time. Classic styles with modern updates offer the unique styles of the past and the benefits of the modern age. 

Combining timeless designs that evoke bygone eras with the latest features and functions, and modern reliability, you get the old fashioned appeal that shows your great taste while at the same time benefiting from the latest watchmaking technology. 

The Top Vintage Watch Brands 

The top vintage watch brands are watch makers with a long history, recognized for their high standards of craftsmanship and materials and highly coveted today:

Bulova, Hamilton, Omega, Cartier, Rolex, Longines, IWC, Boucheron, Tiffany, Gruen, Jaeger LeCoultre, Patek Philippe, Vacheron & Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Breguet, Breitling, TAG Heuer, A. Lange & Söhne

There are also jewelers who purchased watch movements from Swiss manufacturers such as Tiffany & Co. and Van Cleef & Arpels.

There are also watch makers who no longer make timepieces such as Elgin 1864-1964   and American Waltham 1882-1957.

Vintages women's watches are a great way to find a great timepiece by highly esteemed prestige watch brands at significantly lower prices than new models. You've got to really know your stuff though to be able to discern authentic from fake and make wise picks worth the money.

Where To Buy Vintage Ladies Watches Online and Tips for Buying

Langantiques: Has a selection of beautiful antique and vintage timepieces for women. 

eBay is popular place to buy antique and vintage watches online but not all the sellers have authentic watches. eBay offers an extensive selection of antique and vintage watches. You can find great watches at great bargains provided you know how to spot authenticity.


Direct Bid  

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Fellows Auction House

Vintage Watches Buying Tips

The price and value of vintage and antique watches depends on the quality, condition, age, style, brand, materials and rarety.

Check the condition of the timepiece. These are old and preowned timepieces and so will have signs of wear and tear including scratches and nicks.

Verify the materials. Check for markings indicating the purity of silver or Gold used 

It is important to buy only through a reputable dealer as there are plenty of fakes out there. For peace of mind, buy from sources that authenticate the realness and condition of the watch.

Buy from a genuine seller and go home with a genuine product by doing your homework first.

Take care of the timepiece to ensure it stays in good condition and looking great. Have them serviced and cleaned by a professional every few years to keep them working and valuable.

Antique and Vintage Eras and Their Styles

The Retro Modern Era

Spanning from the mid-1930s through the 1940s, the retro modern era involved looking both backwards and forward at the same time. Designs of the Victorian era with modern touches making them bolder and more elaborate. Also influenced by cultural changes and World War II. Europe was at war so this was an American style.  

Materials used: Gold, multi-tone gold, color gemstones and synthetic stones such as rhinestones, crystals, plastic, lucite, wood, woven mesh and fabric tassels. Feminine details such as stars, bouquets, birds, hearts and bows. 

The Art Deco Era

The Art Deco movement lasted from about 1915 to 1935 and was influenced by the styles and taste of the Jazz Age, industrialization and trends in fine art.

Styles featured sharp lines and geometric shapes, large, eye catching jewelry adorned with emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, or made of elaborate metalwork with no decorative gemstones.

The Art Nouveau 

The Art Nouveau movement lasted from 1890 to 1910. It was heavily influenced by both nature and Japanese art. Styles were elegant, and streamlined. Pieces featured elaborate metal work, elaborate enamel work, muted palettes, opals, citrine, moonstone and amber

The Edwardian Era

The Edwardian era occurred during the reign of King Edward VII of England, from 1901 to 1910. Jewelry and art from this time were elaborate and decorative. Classic, feminine patterns decorated with hearts, flowers and lacy filigree.

The Arts and Crafts Era

The Arts and Crafts movement occurred from 1880 to 1820. It featured simple lines and a lack of ornamentation. Pieces featured single gems in plain settings or no gems at all. Metalwork was incredibly popular and twists of gold and silver pieces.

The Victorian era 

The Victorian era refers to the reign of Queen Victoria of England, which lasted from 1837 to 1901. Jewelry styles were varied influenced by events in the life of Queen Victoria. Designs were feminine and featured elaborate mosaics and fanciful designs.

The Georgian Era

The Georgian era was between 1714 and 1830 in England. Jewelry was elaborate and regal, sets of matching pieces. Gold was the main metal. Use of large and colorful gemstones such as rubies, emeralds, topaz, and amethysts as well as diamonds. Designs inspired by nature from flowers, vines, and birds.

Explore More Ladies Watch Styles

Home Page: Even More Gorgeous Ladies Watches

As the Chinese Proverb goes: ''An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold''. Well, you can buy a great timepiece to help you manage the precious gift that is time while expressing your style!