Everyone’s favorite online auction site comes with its fair share of caveats when it comes to buying vintage timepieces — always do your due diligence before bidding or buying and know you’ll need a service down the line — but it’s a great resource for newbies or any watch enthusiast looking for something fun and cheap to wear, rather than something to lock away in hopes it accumulates in value. There are tons of mechanical watches from the 20th century that have been overlooked in favor of more obvious collectors favorites, but that’s good news for you, the frugal watch obsessive.

Seiko Sportsmatic 5 Deluxe

What we like: Though you can buy a brand-new Seiko 5 for less, there are tons of quirky models from the 5’s long history that are worth snatching up. This Sportsmatic looks to be in excellent condition, and the Japanese date wheel and (unoriginal) mesh strap are great touches.
From the seller: Crystal is in fair condition with some minor scratches. The case has some wear. Watch has been wound and hasn’t stopped running; I’m not sure of time accuracy, though.

Enicar Ultrasonic

What we like: Enicar was a Swiss watchmaker that didn’t survive the Quartz Crisis but made a series of interesting watches during the mid-20th century. The “Ultranonic” on the dial refers to the brand’s high-tech lab that opened in 1953, where movements were ultrasonically cleaned.
From the seller: Crystal is in fair condition with some minor scratches. The case has some wear. Watch has been wound and hasn’t stopped running; I’m not sure of time accuracy, though.

Tissot Visodate Seastar PR516

What we like: The Seastar PR516 is Tissot’s sleek diver from the late ’60s and is emblematic of tool watches from the era with its angular case shape, orange seconds hand and thin rotating bezel. The watch has fairly clear patina and scratches on the crystal, case and bezel. Buyer beware: the movement looks like it’s definitely seen better days, but the seller claims it’s keeping moderately good time.
From the seller: Staff balance in good order, starts to move when I shake the movement or rewind the mainspring. Keeps time +/- 30 sec. per day. I have no clue when it was serviced last.

Up Next: Icons, Old and New

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A detailed look at how the Omega Speedmaster, Breitling Navitimer and Rolex Submariner compare to their vintage counterparts. Read the Story

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