Looking for the Perfect Watch? Why Not Try Vintage?

25/10/2012 14:20 BST | Updated 18/12/2012 10:12 GMT

I am not asking you to throw away your fitted shirts and shaving brush in favour of an ironic t-shirt and a moustache worthy of an unkempt Tom Selleck.

I am humbly suggesting, when looking to purchase a watch, to consider a stroll down Burlington Arcade or a cheeky visit to the various vintage watch specialists dotted round London. A vintage watch could be the real answer to your horological dreams rather than a modern counterpart. Would you not like to walk away from the jewellers with the gentle weight on your wrist worthy of the likes of Cary Grant, Sean Connery or Steve McQueen?

The Debrett's guide for the modern gentleman sets out various points of consideration for the acquisition of the perfect watch. It puts forward a valid argument that you must be able to build a rapport with the watch in question; this includes researching the mechanics of its movement and the heritage of the brand in question. A watch from a much vaunted brand such as Rolex or Omega holds sway over many a gentleman; a vintage watch with its own individual history can offer an even greater appeal for the discerning chap.

To put it another way, look at buying a dream watch as if looking to buy a dream car. If you want all the up to date gizmology of a Lamborghini Aventador, a 1957 Omega Ranchero probably isn't for you. However if you would buy an Aston Martin DB4, then a mid 20th Century watch is most likely the ticket for you.

A good vintage watch only requires servicing every few years and should offer real investment potential. Indeed, many today look not to property or Art but to the safer investment of a vintage Patek Philippe to guard their hard-earned savings.

Am I painting too rosy a picture...perhaps. With a vintage watch age can be a weakness with potentially reduced water resistance and shock absorption. Many vintage watches contain manual movements and require to be wound nearly, if not, every day. These factors should be considered otherwise the quirks of a vintage watch could dissatisfy rather than entrance.

Buying a watch should never be an unemotional or logical decision. It should be fraught with worry, with sleepless nights debating the merits of each watch. A watch that is still stylish after 50 years is a great bet to be just as dastardly alluring 50 years from now.

A good watch like a good woman is hard to find and should be uniquely suited for the individual gent of quality. Think long and hard about the watch on your wrist, will it still make you happy in a decade or two...can you go to a black tie event or to the pub and know it's just right...if not get a divorce, race to the Burlington arcade, and try on a dozen or so watches. Get a feel of how well different watches suit your wrist before hitting Langans, ordering a bottle of claret, a steak and contemplating your momentous decision.