Vintage watches to have on your wrist in 2014

Even the most stunning newcomers at the SIHH struggle to match the style of the best vintage watches. We've asked several horological experts to select a classic timepiece that they believe will be successful in 2014 – and that perhaps offers investment potential for the future...

Rolex Daytona

"Interestingly, the Daytona was not very popular until it was discontinued in 1985"

"With the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona in 2013, the vintage models have steadily increased in value over the last 12 months," says Julien Schaerer of watch auction house Antiquorum. "This is for two main reasons: first, it's an iconic watch well known to have been worn by Paul Newman – and indeed, the exotic dial version of the Daytona was given the 'Paul Newman' name. And secondly, the watch's timeless design is instantly recognisable, standing out from all other models. Interestingly, the model was not very popular until it was discontinued in 1985. You could buy it at retailers at a discount; yet it has been increasing in value ever since. After a slight slump in the market in 2008 and 2009, the Daytona's value is now stronger than ever. Expect to pay, on average, between 14,000 and 25,000 euros for a 'normal' model, with Paul Newman examples priced from around 56,000 to more than 100,000 euros."

Also Antoine Ruise, owner of Le Collection'Heure, names the 'Paul Newman' Rolex Daytona as the 'one to watch' in 2014: "Demand is stronger than ever and owners are reluctant to let their Daytonas go. Prices are continually rising and it has never been harder to find immaculate examples. Prices are now easily above 100,000 euros for a perfect example of the 'pump’ pusher version, whereas a good 'screw down' pusher example will cost you at least 150,000 euros. A perfect black 6263 just hit 800,000 euros at the Christie's November sale." According to Ruise, quality and rarity are affecting the value more than ever. His tip: "Invest in a perfect black dial ref 6241, the most iconic design, or a nice ‘panda’ ref 6262 – the Daytona produced in the lowest numbers ever." 

Vacheron Constantin and IWC by Gérald Genta

"Gérald Genta can be seen as the godfather of modern watch design"

George Bamford of the London-based Bamford Watch Department believes that Gérald Genta-designed watches are going to be the ones to keep an eye on, specifically his IWC Ingenieur or Yacht Club, and his Vacheron Constantin 222. "Gérald Genta was behind so many iconic designs, from the Bulgari Bulgari watch to the Patek Philippe Nautilus and the AP Royal Oak, that he really can be seen as the godfather of modern watch design. I believe that his IWC and Vacheron Constantin watches are greatly undervalued and have the potential to rise as people begin to realise the extent of his contribution to the watch world. Of course, I could also draw attention to the vintage Cartier, as there weren't many made, or a vintage Rolex. But for me, the Gérald Genta designs are something unique, a snapshot of a certain period and at the same time a statement of forward thinking." Bamford predicts a resurgence in the market for Gérald Genta, reminiscent of that seen for Cartier and the Cipullo Nail designs. 

IWC Mark XI

Adrian Hailwood from auction house Fellows has another tip: "Lovers of ‘tool’ watches, who have had their fill of Rolex, will not go far wrong with an IWC Mark XI. The brand’s long history of military watch production and styling cues that continue into their contemporary collection keeps recognition and demand strong. The calibre 89 movement is widely respected as one of IWC’s best and an example that has survived military issue and the rigours of M.O.D. servicing intact. Original examples will always be a rarity. Fellows began this year with a strong price of around 4,300 euros for a fair example, but the best Mark XIs should do better."

Breitling Navitimer

"Quite simply the rarest watch of its kind, the original Breitling Navitimer, harking back to 1954, is incredibly undervalued," says Justin Koullapis of Watch Club. "Prices are rising as the few remaining good examples get snapped up. Fitted with the important Valjoux calibre 72, its trademark ‘unequal gaps’ show between the crown and buttons. This first style of Navitimer had all-black sub-dials and a bezel with a beaded edge—nothing brash: it’s the gentleman pilot’s tool of choice."

Vintage watches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and other iconic brands can be found for sale in the Classic Driver Market.