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Why you should use specialist antique watch dealers

Last updated on February 21, 2024

There are numerous sources that an antique watch collector can use to purchase the next addition to their collection. Options range from live auctions to antique fairs and collectable’s markets. There is also a huge presence online. Antique collectors of today are flooded with possibilities of where to make their next purchase. Whether you’re an antique veteran or a first-time buyer, there is always something thrilling about finding and buying an antique watch. However, there are several reasons why we believe that when purchasing an antique, enlisting the help of reputable specialist antique watch dealers is the best way forward.


Choosing to use a specialist antique dealer guarantees that your supplier shares your passion for your next acquisition. With years of industry expertise, antique dealers possess comprehensive knowledge of the trade and often specialise in a particular area, such as 19th-century Swiss pocket watches or World War 1 trench watches. Some antique dealers may even focus on a specific time frame, making them an ideal choice if you plan to buy a watch manufactured during a particular period. In addition, your dealer can offer you fascinating historical details and provenance about the antique watch you intend to purchase. A specialist dealer in antique watches has in-depth knowledge and experience in the field of vintage timepieces. They are trained to spot and authenticate genuine antique watches and can provide you with valuable insights and guidance on your purchase.

Limit pocket watch from Atlam watches. Specialist antique watch dealers
Limit pocket watch from Atlam watches.


Similar to any other business, antique dealers have to maintain their reputation. In this line of business, word-of-mouth plays a significant role, and it is in the dealer’s best interest to provide reliable services. Before buying anything, it is advisable to investigate the reputation of well-established dealers. It is also recommended to verify whether your antique dealer is a member of a trade association. The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) is a trade association for antique dealers in the UK. It was founded in 1918 and is dedicated to promoting and supporting the interests of its members who trade in a wide range of antiques, including furniture, ceramics, silver, jewellery, and antique watches. BADA members are recognized for their expertise and professionalism in the antique trade, and the association has a strict code of practice that members must adhere to in order to maintain their membership.

Authenticity and quality

Specialist dealers can help you to avoid the risk of purchasing a counterfeit antique watch. They are familiar with the tell-tale signs of a fake and can identify whether the watch has been tampered with or restored. Antique watches require specialised care and maintenance. Again, a specialist dealer can offer advice on how to care for your watch and ensure that it is in top condition before you purchase it.

Choosing an experienced and reliable antique dealer guarantees that you have purchased a genuine and high-quality antique, unlike a seller who may rely on hearsay or family stories to explain the origin of the item. If you prefer to conduct research before making a purchase, your dealer can reserve an item for you, and you can obtain an invoice upon purchase.

Electa trench watch from The Vintage Wrist Watch Company. Specialist antique watch dealers.
Electa trench watch from The Vintage Wrist Watch Company.


A specialist dealer will typically have a broad selection of antique watches to choose from. This will quite possibly include many rare and unique antique watches. This can help you to find the perfect watch for your collection or as a gift. This is also useful if you are looking for an investment-grade antique watch. Antique watches can be a valuable investment. Specialist antique watch dealers can provide you with information on the market trends and potential resale value of a watch. This can help you to make an informed decision and potentially earn a positive return on your investment. However, always remember that investment markets can be volatile.

Preferred suppliers

Working with a specialist antiques dealer does not necessarily mean visiting a “bricks and mortar” store. There are plenty of reputable online dealers that can offer all of the advice mentioned above over a phone call or even a video chat. I tend to do my research online, put together a list of questions for the dealer and call them. All of my preferred suppliers have been only too happy to help with the questions I have had. That has allowed me to purchase my entire collection with 100% peace of mind. I have never yet bought an antique watch without taking the time to put together a list of questions and making a call to the dealer. That is not to say that I don’t visit fairs and specialist retailers when doing my research.

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The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA).

One Comment

  1. Leon Leon

    There’s a saying in the antique watch collecting world that you “buy the dealer, not the watch”. It is good advice and will pay dividends in the long run.

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