Omega vintage watch
Five Watches Made For Denim and How to Buy a Vintage Watch

Classic wrist watches and authentic denim are actually quite alike in many ways.

Just like so many of the iconic watches, denim is timeless and not affected by fashion; timeless and ever so elegant like a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers, a pair of Red Wings or a Burberry trench coat.

We asked the Danish watch aficionado and expect Kristian Haagen to point out five watches that match your denim outfit.

About the author
Kristian Haagen writes about watches for several Danish and foreign media, online as well as print. Kristian also runs a blog about watches and since 2009 he has published the free monthly e-mag Timegeek. In additional he works for Bruun Rasmussen Auctioneers as external estimator of wristwatches. He has four books about watches under his belt and a fifth in the pipeline.

Rolex Submariner

One of the most celebrated and rugged watches. It was introduced in 1953 and still looks pretty much like the original, although today it’s a little bigger, has a better bracelet and now a ceramic bezel insert.

The Submariner is still offered with a distinct black dial and solid steel case with matching bracelet. It’s the Levi’s 501 of watches.

 

SUBMARINER_06

Omega Speedmaster Moon

There is probably not a single kid who had not at some point wanted to become an astronaut. The Omega Speedmaster is as close to the moon as most of us will ever come.

OMega-Speedmaster

 

Panerai PAM111

Oversized, rugged and with a military back-ground.

The brand origins from Italy, but is owned by a conglomerate (Richemont) and produced in Switzerland. A bit like jeans made in Japan by old American machinery.

pam_111

IWC Big Pilot

The pilots of WWII often wore large 55 mm watches like the Big Pilot on the outside of their jackets.

Today, the Big Pilot watch is slightly smaller, but it’s still a very masculine watch of 46 mm with an impressive wartime story. Looks great fitted on a weathered leather strap.

IWC-Big-Pilot

Hublot Big Bang Jeans

This is where it gets a little silly.

Hublot recently launched a collection of watches with denim dials and straps.Completely over the top, admittedly, but a watch with a unique connection to denim.

Hublot

Kristian Haagen's tips about buying a vintage watch

In addition to his five watch recommendation we asked Kristian what inexperienced first-time watch buyers should look out for when in the market.

In your personal opinion, what do you consider a quality watch?

“A quality watch is a watch that has been made for assembly. Meaning a mechanical watch that can be repaired to work flawlessly again. Vintage Rolex sports watches are a great example. They were launched as tool watches back in the 1950s and 1960s. And you can still wear them, not only because the design is so timeless but also because the movements are rugged and easy to adjust and service.”

If I want to buy a vintage watch, where should I begin to look?

“If you want to look into the world of vintage timepieces then you should make sure that all parts are original. But also make sure that the watch can be repaired. It is getting harder to get spare parts for certain vintage watches.”

Based on which criteria should inexperienced buyers evaluate a watch?

“An inexperienced buyer should always consult the experienced counterpart. Go to a vintage watch dealer instead of a retailer of new watches. The vintage dealer should be able to take you through periods of time (pun intended) whereas the retailer is only able to sell you a new watch.”

What are you looking for when you evaluate a watch?

“When estimating watches I also check for authenticity. Of course I check the brand of the watch as most older watches are emotional products. Meaning a watch of gold is much more than a watch of gold, if it is made by Patek Philippe. Emotional values are an undefinable currency that are obvious on auctions when for instance Patek Philippe and older Rolex watches are on offer.”

Who do you consult when you’re in doubt about the details of a specific watch?

“When in doubt I contact foreign experts. I also consult with heritage departments and museums as well as look through my massive collection on horological literature. The internet, of course, is too a great help once in a while, lots of info there, yet too much sometimes and too often doubtful as discussion forums often offer fierce verbal fighting between dealers and collectors. Watches are indeed very sensitive subjects and I rarely partake in any online discussions at all.”

Watches appeal to men because it’s one of the few pieces of jewellery that is accepted by other men. Denim is like that too.

If the style is classical and the quality is high, then most men can wear denim from top to toe without having fingers pointed at them. This accounts for wrist watches as well.

Wrist watches however also represent storytelling and men love to tell a good story. Without a good story to tell, you are just a man. With a good story to tell you are an entertaining man.