Vintage Watch: Understanding Their Beauty And How to Make Them
There is something about buying a watch from the old days that has a unique and romantic kind of feeling.
The watches that were used by James Bond, Steve McQueen, and guys throughout the 20th century are examples of cool, timeless watches that never go out of style.
With Seiko mods, you can use a mix of vintage watch parts and modern Seiko spare parts to make an amazing watch that will work flawlessly, while bringing back old design trends and giving them new life.
If you’re looking for a high-end timepiece, go vintage instead of with the flashy boutiques. Let us show you why!
What’s Considered a Vintage Watch?
Generally what qualifies as vintage will shift from one era to the next, but there are always telltale signs of antiquity. Decades old watches show their age with patina, fading, and tarnishing, which may make them undesirable to untrained eyes while simultaneously making them more enticing to watch enthusiasts.
The vintage vibe includes some key design features, including the watch type, dial color, case shape and dimensions, and hand style. The hour markers, numerals, bezel, bracelet, and materials also matter.
You can see differences between several of the brands. For example, watch brands like Cartier, IWC, and Patek Philippe have pieces close to mid-century designs while Rolex, Grand Seiko, and Tag Heuer incorporate modern elements to a higher degree.
Also, Tudor launched most watches with the snowflake handset and the uber-80s bicolored materials. Brands like Breitling and Zenith peaked around 1970 with their classic racing-type chronograph designs.
Old-school features are other interesting things about vintage watches. As people had to rely on their watches for multi-functionality before they have an app for everything, vintage timepieces can have some cool features designed with a specific purpose in mind.
For example, watchmakers like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Omega, and Longines made chronographs with built-in “pulsation dials” for a stint in the 50s and 60s to help doctors take easy and accurate pulse reads on the job. Meanwhile, other watches were designed with pilot navigation tools or racetrack stopwatches.
Why Should You Make One?
A vintage watch is similar to a classic car. Although it may not offer modern amenities a vintage classic car will always turn heads whenever it’s out of the garage. The same is for watches, if you have the right piece.
It can also be likened to fashion, where trends from a certain decade may get a “comeback” or go back in style many years after it was considered a thing of the past.
Vintage watches have that authentic one-of-a-kind vibe. People often like the worn-in details that make a watch all the more beautiful. A 1950s watch with scratches, minor dial discolorations, and a unique patina will make itself totally unique from anything else in the market. It is a watch that has been on an adventure, and people will be curious about the stories that this timepiece (and its wearer) has to tell.
Simple Part Swaps
You can make minor tweaks on your watch by upgrading some of its parts, while at the same time giving them that old-school look. Those subtle design differences can be a cool nod to history and set you apart from the pack of people wearing the same models.
At namokiMODS, we offer parts that give a vintage vibe, in particular our top hat crystal stands taller than other crystals with a rounded edge, typical of crystals in watches from the 1950s and 60s.
Glass bezel inserts made of bakelite also became popular around this time. If you want some of the best watch mod parts out there, we can help. You also want to try our vintage bezel inserts in a variety of colors and styles for your Seiko Sub homage.
We also have dials and hands that have yellowish lume which is how old lume looks like, so you can make a new watch that looks like it was first worn in the 1960s. Otherwise, new leather straps are a great addition to retro mods.
More Patina Options
Source: @nhdivers35 on IG
While natural patina on watch parts occurs over time due to exposure to elements such as air, water, and oils from the skin, it is possible to give watch parts an artificial patina to achieve a vintage look. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Use liver of sulfur: Liver of sulfur is a popular patina solution used in jewelry making. It can be used to give metal parts an aged, dark patina. Simply mix a small amount of the liver of sulfur in hot water and dip the parts you want to patina in the solution. Rinse the parts in water after a few minutes and let them dry. This method can result in a dark, aged patina on the metal parts. It can also create a mottled effect on the metal, which can add to the vintage look.
- Use vinegar and salt: Mix white vinegar and salt in a bowl and place the parts you want to patina in the solution. Let them sit for a few hours or overnight, and then rinse them with water and let them dry. This results in a light, subtle patina on the metal parts and also creates a slightly uneven or speckled effect.
- Use baking soda and water: Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply it to the parts you want to patina. Let it sit for a few hours or overnight, and then rinse it with water and let it dry for a light, even patina or add a slightly matte finish to the watch part.
- Use heat: Use a torch or lighter to heat the parts you want to patina. Be careful not to overheat or damage the parts. Heating the metal causes it to oxidize and develop a patina and may also give it a slightly rough or pitted texture.
It's important to note that the results can vary depending on the type of metal and the duration of exposure to the materials. Additionally, using these materials can potentially damage the watch and its functionality, so it’s better to save these techniques for when you are confident that you can do it correctly, or for use with watches that are about to go in the broken pile. Needless to say, we do not advise giving artificial patina to expensive or collectible watches.
The Trends of The Past Make Modern Fun
“Everything old is new again” is true today, when celebrities and designers have borrowed style cues from the past for current fashion trends. For watches, brands sometimes even skip the whole borrowing thing and just go straight to reissuing a vintage watch just so people can enjoy it anew.
Retro fashion has managed to constantly appear in new, innovative ways including vintage accessories like watches. Wearing a retro-style watch not only can be a good addition to any outfit but also help to blend retro styles with modern ones in a subtle way.
A SKX007 mod can look as vintage as you want it to, and we have a huge selection of SKX007 parts and other watch spare parts to choose from. Seiko Mod Watches let you create just about any look you want, and namokiMODS gives you access to some of the best watch parts in the modding scene!