The Case for Vintage Wristwatch Collection
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The Case for Vintage Wristwatch Collection

- By Keith Lehman (PA) 12/14/16

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Bulova 1943 16 jewel Air Force hack watch. KEITH LEHMAN.

Yesterday I was listening to the second episode of the podcast The Grey Nato. The hosts, James Stacey and Jason Heaton, who are modern watch collectors, discussed their thoughts about vintage timepieces. Basically, their sentiment is that while owning a vintage watch is interesting because of its history, owners can have adventures and make stories with new watches that are exclusively their own. They note that many times owners of vintage pieces don’t even know the original owner of their watch or its particular history or personal story.

Admittedly, I am guilty of filling in the historical gaps when wearing a vintage timepiece. This week I wore an original 1943 Bulova A-11 military hack watch. The watch, loaned to me by the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, PA, is part of my review of Bulova’s re-issue of this historically significant timepiece. I couldn’t help but wonder about all of the adventures it might have had and places it had actually been. Who was the owner? Did the watch ever have an owner?

Although I can see Stacey’s and Heaton’s points, I think you can make your own memories with a watch regardless of whether it is new or vintage. I find inspiration and even courage in a vintage watch. This year I attended a Vietnamese wedding where the reception was held across the street from the original Hamilton Watch Co. building in Lancaster, PA. I wore a 1928 Hamilton Tonneau model and a Hamilton pocket watch. It was exhilarating to sport original pieces made so close to their birthplace. Now these watches serve not only as interesting relics of a time gone by but also as friends who share cherished moments—together.

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