Watches & Jewellery | Need To Now

A very timely watch sale

A vintage hub turns its hand to timepieces in the run-up to Christmas

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A very timely watch sale

December 06 2011
Robert Cook

While “something old” and “something new” get equal weighting in the wedding rhyme, at Christmas thoughts of the old are crushed underfoot in the rush to buy the latest gadgets, toys and other must-haves of the moment.

Fortunately, there’s no literal trampling of vintage goods. As How To Spend It’s Past Masters column shows, many decades-old items look as pristine as the day they were made. Not that there’s anything wrong with a healthy, character-forming patina either.

One retailer with a classic take on present-purchasing is VandM, a US-based online source for vintage items. International dealers sell antiques, design, fine art, furniture and jewellery via the site, and can ship anywhere in the world. Currently, the focus is on its first InTheMoment watch sale, running throughout December.

Rolex predominates in this 21-watch assortment, dating from the 1950s to 1980s, though Breitling, Omega and Tag Heuer also make an appearance. Maybe the best approach is to compare them to the sort of mixed chocolate box typically given at Christmas. (I’ll spare you the Forrest Gump references.)

The Classics category – the temporal equivalent of dark chocolate – features dignified examples in metallic tones and sober leathers. An Oyster Perpetual Datejust ($3,050) is topped with a white-gold bezel and silver dial, while a ladies’ Oyster Perpetual Date ($2,450) has a vein of yellow gold running along the strap and around the dial.

Higher-octane, liqueur-chocolate equivalents can be found in the Flight + Diving section, which includes several flavours of GMT Master, crafted to help pilots keep track of multiple time zones. Two have black and gold livery (first picture, from $5,100) and another pair have distinctive red and blue “Pepsi” bezels (from $5,350). Meanwhile, packing a more powerful, whisky-like punch is the sporty Tag Heuer Carrera (second picture, $3,200), with its whorl of chronograph subdials.

Rounding off the assortment are eyecatching examples, like those soft-centre chocolates that come in shiny wrappers. Under “Color”, there are golden-champagne and cool-blue dials. Meanwhile, Preppy watches sport bright fabric straps, such as the black, grey and orange Oysterdate Precision (third picture, $2,300).

The sale ends on December 31, so would-be customers will have to buy before time runs out.