VWO: Please introduce yourself
I am Simon Stern the owner of Watchsmuggler.com -an online vintage watch store. Once being a lawyer and a passionate watch collector, one day I realized that this passion needs more development and must turn into my full-time job. In the beginning of my horology expertise I joined a German vintage watch dealer’s company as a partner. This company used to have one of the leading eBay accounts in Germany. Finally, inspired and driven by the idea of creating a brand which will differ a lot from many ‘old-fashioned’ brands my watchmaker friends and I have created and developed what can now be seen at Watchsmuggler.com. My idea is to develop a modern and controversial brand which will help to share, promote and develop a culture of vintage watch collecting among a wider audience. In fact, I want younger people to understand the value and the idea of vintage timepieces. You could say I am a little bit of a missionary.
VWO: Please tell us about your offering?
We are dealing with mainly swiss vintage watches from the period of the 1920s to early 1980s. We are trying to collect and offer near-NOS (editor’s note: new old stock) quality timepieces. Our watchmakers have more than 25 years of expertise restoring, maintaining and servicing vintage watches. Our credo – to provide affordable timepieces in outstanding condition with complimentary warranty. Currently our stock is being renewed, though even now you can find some stunning timepieces by IWC, Rolex, Eterna etc.
VWO: What is your favorite brand/watch and why?
I love many brands so it is quite hard to distinguish one. I would say Omega, because I am totally in love with ‘Pre-moon’ Speedmasters.
VWO: What is critical for beginners when buying vintage watches?
First of all – confidence in the seller. As authenticity and condition of watches is crucial, the beginner should find a seller he trusts who can guide his first steps in the world of vintage watches. I would recommend to enter the world of vintage with buying an affordable and not super-rare timepiece which is easier to check and to value. Surely newcomers shouldn’t start with a ‘Paul Newman’.
Beginners (though experts as well) must be careful to avoid non-original timepieces. It’s all about details. Beginners must be passionate but should not stop thinking, so they shouldn’t be overexcited as it can lead to wrong decisions. Be passionate and patient. Continue searching for what you really want.
VWO: What characterizes good investments when it comes to vintage watches?
It all depends on affordable amounts and the risk you are ready to accept. It has something in common with the stock market; the more risk you take – the more profit you can make. However if we are talking about secure ways to invest in vintage watches – I would recommend to buy some iconic (but not super-rare) models by leading brands. As an example I would also recommend vintage Patek Phillipe from late 1940s – early 1950s of minimum 34 mm in size in all original condition and with papers. Those elegant watches are timeless.