Vintage Jewellery- A great addition to your investment portfolio

ON Sunday 22nd January the Mail on Sunday ran a two page feature on why investing in vintage jewellery can be a winner for the investor and the wearer. In essence the feature suggests that over the last decade some vintage jewellery has risen in price by up to 80%. When compared to many other investments this is outstanding, even against the price of gold, which is volatile.
Art Deco continues to rise the fastest at the moment and features bold forms coming from France in the early part of the 20th century. These geometric designs are so popular that there has been a steep rise in price over the past for or five years.
The Belle Epoque era, being the late 1800s is also popular, the ‘Beautiful Era’ as it translates covers the period up to WW1 from 1871.  A time of affluence in Western Europe when platinum and gold with diamonds were mounted in lace like settings, giving the appearance of weightlessness. We have seen a rise of almost 90% in this type of jewellery, a £2000 item in 2006 being worth nearer £4000 today.
Other jewellery periods include the ‘Hollywood Glamour’ retro period from the 1030s to the 50s, including large cocktail rings or sculptural jewellery.
Designer names are always popular, Cartier, Chanel, Van Cleef and Arpels are the leading houses, and jewellery from these houses from any period is a worthwhile investment, although check authenticity as fakes are common. There is also a growing list of British designers, from the 1960s and 70s, including Andrew Grima, John Donald, and Stuart Devlin, designers that use jewellery to enhance sculpture rather than show off the precious stones. They would say they are creating ‘works of art’ rather than pieces of jewellery.
Part of their article also mentioned that those selling gold should beware of sending to online ‘gold dealers’ as rarely offering the best prices, and this is true of some pawnbrokers too. They suggest using a reputable independent jeweller that can be found on the National Association of Jewellers website, as they will invariably offer the best price.  Our sister company, Charles Hart ( based in Frome, Somerset have good advice on this subject and will often give the best price to purchase directly are on commission, and almost always outweigh other methods of selling ones jewellery, as they will often purchase it resell- not scrap!
They also suggest that you should make sure these items are adequately and properly insured, that means All Risks insurance. Do not rely on just your house insurance, rarely does this give you very much cover. Also, many insurers say you do not need a written valuation, but if you need to claim, they almost certainly will require some evidence of value and if you do not have this, then you may well lose out on your claim.  IF your items have not been valued for say ten years, the the above article should suggest that any vintage article could well be under insured by up to 50%.


Movie Vintage

The Heart of the Ocean of ‘Titanic’
Titanic with Kate Winslet wearing that necklace is probably one of the most iconic of necklaces worn in recent years. Titanic has been watched by millions of people raising over $2billion dollars, and this necklace, the Heart of the Ocean played an important role in the story. Supposedly the blue heart shaped diamond belonged to Louis XVI but was actually based on the Hope Diamond now on display in the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution donated by the jeweler Harry Winston, who sent it by regular US mail in a brown paper envelope. Of course in the film, the gem was only imitation. Asprey & Garrard made a copy using real gems. A sapphire measuring 170 carats, and 103 diamonds.





Peridot- the birthstone for August

August is around the corner, so if you wish to give someone a birthday gift, then their birthstone is Peridot. There is a lot of mythology attached to birthstones and whilst Peridot has been seen as the traditional stone for the month, Leos can also wear Diamond, Tourmaline and Ruby. So the choice is a little wider if olive greens are not the preferred option.
However, as peridot has officially been designated to be the stone for August, we will show that this stone has been around for a very long time. 1500-2000BC was the earliest record for the mining of the stone, and was connected very much to Egypt, and indeed in was thought that Cleopatra’s emeralds, were in fact- peridots, no tests in those days.

Most gems are formed in the Earth’s crust, with the exception of diamond and peridot, which are formed much deeper in the Earth’s mantle. Peridot is formed in magma about 20-55 miles deep and brought to the surface by volcanic or tectonic activity. The main source was known as Topazes Island, also known as St John’s Island in the Red Sea, only the stone may have originally been known as topaz. Oddly the exact location of the island was lost for several centuries and only rediscovered in 1905.  Today Burma, Pakistan, China, and the USA are main sources.

Peridot it has been said will protect the wearer from evil spirits, and was thought to cure asthma.

If you go to our other website, you may well find some vintage and pre-owned peridot items.


New Rolex Daytona launched

Rolex Release The New Cosmograph Daytona

Cosmograph Daytona
Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona

As expected, iconic Swiss watchmaker Rolex announced a myriad of new updates to their classic collections, including a perfected Datejust and a distinctive 40mm Air-King. However, it is the Cosmograph Daytona reference 116500LN, the new addition to Rolex’s collection, which has to be seen to be believed! The new stainless steel Daytona has been introduced as a replacement for the reference 116520, which was introduced in 2000 and was powered by Rolex’s first ever in-house chronograph movement, the caliber 4130.

Rolex have stayed true to the iconic model and it is remarkable to see just how similar the new Daytona is to the previous models in the collection. The 40mm 904L steel case, the polished centre links on the bracelet, the Superluminova hour markers and the caliber 4130 all remain, yet there is one distinctive feature that truly sets the new Daytona apart from its predecessors.

The Daytona is now presented with a black cerachrom bezel, and save for a few tweaks on the dial, this is the only development that the new Cosmograph Daytona has seen. It is also the reason why there has been so much hype and extensive publicity surrounding the timepiece. Although there can be no doubt that the new bezel will improve the durability of the Daytona no end, the fact that a relatively minor change to the watch has generated so much discussion can be attributed to Rolex’s exquisite brand management.


According to research conducted by the Reputation Institute, Rolex remains as the most reputable brand in the world, so it comes as no surprise that a modification to arguably their flagship collection has been met with universal acclaim.  The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona reference 116500LN will retail in the United Kingdom for £8,700. If you are wishing to purchase a Daytona Vintage, we can obtain a Rolex Daytona from around £10,000.00


Here is some more Rolex History……..


1953 Rolex Submariner ref.6204

 1953 Rolex Submariner ref.6204
1953 Rolex Submariner ref.6204

Continuing the innovative thought process that Rolex would become famous for, the watchmaker would again push the boundaries of water-resistant watches. 27 years after the release of the Oyster, they showcased the 1953 Submariner ref. 6204. Bearing the Oyster Perpetual inscription that is seen on all watches released by Rolex today, the 37mm Submariner was the world’s first watch to have water-resistant qualities of up to 100m.


Sporting a unidirectional bezel so divers could measure their immersion time, the Submariner would go on to become one of the world’s most recognised and emulated timepieces, and it would certainly be interesting to see how many Submariner clones there actually are!
Whilst there can be no disputing the fact that the 1953 Submariner was a great achievement by Rolex, it is quite amazing to see how quickly they progressed with their water-resistant watches, and by 1960 they were in fact reaching the lowest depths imaginable in the oceans of the world.





1960 Rolex Deep Sea Special

ROLEX Deep Sea Special 05
ROLEX Deep Sea Special

The deepest part of the ocean is referred to as Challenger Deep, which is a depression that can be found in the Mariana Trench in the Western Pacific Ocean. In 1960, a Swiss designed, Italian built manned vessel called the Bathyscaphe Trieste descended to the Challenger Deep and reached the maximum depth of 10,916 metres. However, the two men on board, US Navy Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard, were not completely alone during the expedition. Never missing an opportunity to showcase their expertise, Rolex attached a specially built “Deep Sea Special” to the outside of the Trieste, and it returned, along with the men, in perfect working order.
The Rolex Deep Sea Special that reached the deepest point of the world’s ocean was actually in fact the third model produced by Rolex. Throughout the 1950s, Rolex were conducting rigorous tests on experimental Deep Sea Specials, and they used the results to perfect their production process that resulted in the now world famous Deep Sea Special that accompanied Walsh and Piccard. Until 2012, this was the only manned dive to the deepest point in the Earth’s oceans.



2012 Rolex Deepsea Challenge

2012 rolex deepsea challenge
2012 Rolex Deepsea Challenge

In an expedition that echoed the 1960 voyage to the depths of the ocean, film director James Cameron became the first person to descend to Challenger Deep on a solo mission. Cameron, who is known for his record-breaking films Titanic and Avatar, undertook the historic “Deepsea Challenge” expedition in 2012, and like Walsh and Piccard before him, he too was accompanied by a specially designed Rolex. This time, the watch was christened the “Rolex Deepsea Challenge”.
The Rolex Deepsea Challenge, that was waterproofed to a staggering depth of 12,000m, took its name from historical factors that paid homage to Rolex’s diving legacy, such as the 1960 Deep Sea Special and the 2008 Rolex Deepsea, and the name of James Cameron’s expedition of the Mariana Trench. The watch was an even bigger technical achievement when you consider that it was designed, engineered, manufactured and tested in just over 4 weeks. For example, just 17 days before Cameron set off for the Challenger Deep, Rolex were testing the Deepsea Challenge in their hyperbaric tank that is capable of creating pressure that would theoretically be experienced at 15,000m, deeper than any point in the Earth’s oceans. The 51mm watch, which set a record as the deepest diving watch in the world, was attached to the robotic manipulator arm of Cameron’s submersible, and as you might expect it emerged in fully working order at the end of the expedition, which confirmed Rolex as the leading watchmaker in waterproofness.


2014 Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller

2014 Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller
2014 Rolex Deepsea Sea-Dweller

James Cameron would go on to produce the 3D film “Deepsea Challenge 3D” in 2014 that documented his journey down to the Challenger Deep, and to commemorate both the release of the film and the expedition itself, Rolex released a special Deepsea Sea-Dweller timepiece.
Whilst the majority of the specifications are identical to that of the existing Deepsea Sea-Dweller, there are a few notable innovations that can be seen on this 44mm watch. The dial is a visual representation of the depths of the ocean, as it changes on a gradient from a dark blue to black, with the lowest points of the ocean being devoid of any light whatsoever. Rolex also added a “Deepsea” insignia on the dial in chartreuse, a shade of luminous green, which was the colour of Cameron’s submersible.


The best Vintage Watches to buy

What are the best Vintage Watches to buy?


We are often asked, what is the best vintage watch I should buy? What a question! What is the best car to buy, what is the best vacuum cleaner, what is the best, well anything!

Firstly there are questions that need to be asked.  Is it just a vintage watch for telling the time, or are you looking for a vintage watch that will just look good, maybe both, or maybe it’s an investment that interests you.

The latter it’s fair to say is where we can advise you the best. The first two questions are easy to answer, any watch will tell the time, but if you want style, then this comes a little more expensive, if its prestige, well you will purchase this from as little as £1000 for a brand new watch from Omega to Tag Heuer , from Oris to Longines.

But if course the point is, its new. So you will have paid the full retail price and it’s doubtful it will A, hold its price, and B, will be an investment until you have kept it for a very long time. So this leaves the investment market.


Buying Vintage Watches as an Investment

In reality to realise an investment in time, needs time itself. If you have purchased from a dealer then you are likely to have paid his profit, and vat on the profit he has made, so it’s possible that if you buy an Omega let’s say for £2000, he may well have had it serviced, that’s £300-£400 for starters, then if he has paid say £1200 for it, there is vat of £160, (20% of his starting profit), so in fact he has only made £240 profit on a £2000 watch, so no one is going to become a millionaire if he deals in watches. It’s true to say that if that dealer is selling 20 watches a day, it’s a good return, or if he is selling a vintage Rolex or Patek Philippe for say £10,000 a time, then again it’s a good return.

Implications of buying vintage watches

As an investor though there are some serious risks to be considered. The first is buying blind via Ebay and other such sites. Many times these sites are fine, but beware, many vintage watches are fakes and it takes an expert to spot one. These days even Rolex copies have genuine looking boxes and papers! Some are also ‘aged’ to make them look genuine, so unless you really know what you are doing this can be a costly mistake.

Then there is the auction route. Much safer, but again, there are no guarantees so a watch that needs work could be very expensive. Rolex will charge anything up to £500, and most other watch houses will be similar, and we always recommend you have your watch repaired or serviced by the maker, as this will enhance your investment. Also boxes and papers help, although not vital , however it helps the investment although you will pay more in the first place.


So what is the best vintage watch for investment?

To be honest, always buy something you personally love, or want to wear. If you like the sports, divers, steel look, then Rolex will always hold their money, especially the Submariners.



Rolex submariner



Classics of course, especially 1950s and 60s will always be just that. Why is it such a classic? Well the origins of the Submariner can be traced back to the Rolex President Hans Wilsdorf. He would listen to his employees and he listened to the ideas of Board Director and sea diver Rene Paul Jeanneret. It was his suggestion that Rolex developed a watch that looked good and was also a practical watch for diving. The company had a range of models, but not quite the right look for Rene Paul. In 1953 the company produced the Submariner along with other bold names like the GMT Master, Milgauss, and Explorer. This saw a huge explosion in Rolex popularity and their watches were suitable for almost any environment or sports activity.

The watch was tested by August Piccard, who strapped a prototype to his Bathyscape deep diving submarine. The vessel dived over 3100 metres, when it rose to the surface, the watch was still working!

In 1960, the submarine Trieste  dived to the deepest point of the ocean, the Mariana Trench. A Rolex prototype with an Oyster case was strapped to the vessel, 10900 metres deep, the watch not only survived  1,125kg/cm pressure but looked as good as it did before its immersion. In essence, the older a Sub is, the more it is worth, with papers and box, anything pre 1970 will be five figures minimum, probably six. Definitely the latter pre 1960s, and good examples 1980s £6-£10000.



Patek Philippe




*** An example of price for a Patek Phillippe would be the Complication range, usually from £12000 to £85000.  A 2002 model Complication in rose gold would be in the £25k range. The model 5035 was the world’s first production annual calendar model. The new movement was so complicated, yet the maker’s managed to produce something so elegant and collectable at the leading edge of design and technology.



Vacheron Constantin


Vacheron contantin 47040



*** Vacheron have to a degree found life difficult in trying to have an iconic look, yet many of those who really appreciate prestige and class will own such a brand and care little for something ‘iconic’.  They have introduced the ‘Overseas’ collection which will cost the collector in the region of £5-£12000. One such model is the steel 47040. An automatic Swiss movement water resistant to 150 metres.

Jaeger Le Coultre


*** 1833 saw the first watch from this maker, Antoine Le Coutre. He produced high quality time pieces and in 1937 it was Antione’s grandson who joined forces with Parisian watchmaker Edmond Jaeger who produced ultra thin timepieces. (More history within this website- see vintage watches) Lets concentrate though on the Reverso range.

Jaeger Le Coultre invented this ingenious idea more than 80 years ago, and is still faithful to the original idea. Originally the company was asked by a group of polo players if a watch could be invented that would protect the dial and glass. The company invented a clever swivelling case that would turn 180 degrees and thus protect the case front with a plain solid back. This was both casual and dressy, and ideal for any sports purpose. This watch has been a great success for the company and it was popularised by polo players, skiers and racing drivers.


A bit out of the ordinary are


Audemars Piquet



In 1874 Jules Louis Audemars and Edward Auguste Piquet, watchmakers extraordinaire created a company with the idea of creating complex watches. Their company now over 140 years have been innovative and one of their earliest creations being the first minute repeater watch, a watch that chimed the time down to the nearest minute at the touch of a button.

In 1921 they were producing watches for Tiffany, Bvlgari, and Cartier.  Today each watch is created by a small team in Switzerland and one of the few companies not conglomerated into a huge patchwork of companies. As an investment, if in good condition with box and papers, this watch house will always hold its value.





Can their be a more iconic brand than Omega? In truth it is not really an investment brand as with Rolex or Patek Philippe. However, many vintage Omega, that is pre 1960 will certainly have not gone down in value, and a good watch in fine condition with original box, and maybe papers will still be sought after by collectors. Older Seamsters and Speedmasters are desirable and whilst they may not top fine collectors lists, they fall into that nice bracelet of being quite cost effective at between £500-£1500 for vintage strap models, and £1500-£2500 for chronograph models, and Seamasters from around £1700 up to £2800. There are exceptions, the Seamaster  Ploprof will be around £4000 (rsp £6000) , and some James Bond or moon landing Speedster may fetch a higher price if with box and papers.


Omega Speedmaster


The Speedmaster was introduced in 1957 arguably Omega’s most famous watch. It had a large black dial with contrasting white hands and an external tachymeter dial. The Professional came out in 1965 , and it was the 321 calibre version that was taken on the Apollo moon landing mission.




Lindbergh Longines



Another watch probably not for the investment collectors. However on saying that this watch house produces some very stylish watches. Like Omega fine vintage specimens will still be sought after and will attract collectors who will pay over the odds for a good vintage Longines watch. Most famously though was the watch created for Charles Lindbergh. Called the Hour Angle he actually designed this watch in 1931. This timepiece would aid Lindbergh with navigation enabling him calculate a precise location when taking his historic flight over the Atlantic.  The Hour Angle was in fact the improvement required to calculate longitude based on GMT. In addition to markings on the dial and bezel he could now confidently navigate over open water.

The watch has been produced by Longines as copies of the original for many years, and good pieces from the 1990s would fetch around £2000, but a pre war model would cost considerably more


Military Watches

Vintage WW2 Regulateur


Usually collectors specialise in this area collecting watches from WW2 through to present day. Pilots watches, especially Luftwaffe are highly prized. For example a German military watch- Revue Sport- black dial with luminous hands and arabic figures would cost around £300.

However it would cost one a lot more to purchase Heuer military chronograph watch, WW2, with Swiss Military markings could cost around £3000. One can pay just a few hundred pounds for a 1960s military watch, but if a box and papers are included, then the price can double.

The British Army only really started to purchase large numbers of watches for military use after 1944. The same criteria of black dial, steel case, luminous hands, jewelled movement, shatterproof glass. Makers included Omega, Cyma, Buren, IWC, Longines and Jaeger Le Coultre. The Germans did issue watches in WW2, and the initials DH were engraved on the backs of these. The U boat commanders were issued with high grade chronometers and these are highly collectable.


A final precaution before buying a vintage watch

Remember one golden rule- condition is everything. Our advice is that unless you know this market inside out try to buy or do a deal with a reputable dealer, that way you may pay more to start with, but you will know that your investment is safe and you have a guarantee. It’s a bit like buying shares, blue chip companies will be a little more expensive and wont perform in a spectacular way, but you know your investment is safe, or go with a small AIM listed company, in oil maybe, you may win big, but you are more likely to lose. The wonderful thing about a vintage watch as an investment is that compared to many other forms, you get the pleasure of wearing it, so much better than staring at a share certificate!


I like to publish interesting industry news and articles weekly here from my blog at If you like what you see then please share, or ask a question. We are to help answer your vintage watch questions, we also buy vintage watches and vintage jewellery so get in touch by email or call us directly 01373 462089 (Charles Hart, Jewellers)

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Diamond- THE birthstone for April!


The word diamond is thought to originate from the Greek word agamas- means invincible.


Thought to date back to biblical times when priests would wear twelve gemstones on his breastplate and these became associated with the zodiac and the months that this represented, and this started a tradition of wearing one’s birthdate to bring luck to the wearer and derive its greatest benefit, and many would then wear this stone in jewellery for the entire year, and a tradition still strong in with today’s jewellery wearers.
However it was not until 1912 when a list was created by the American Jewellers Association and this list would show various stones that could or should be worn by those born in any particular month. A little controversial as many did not agree with their findings, but it seems to have now been widely accepted.

The Birthstone for April

As told through the Encarta, Sanskrit texts dating back before 400 B.C. found that people associated significant value and wonderment with crystals. There is also significant research dating back to 1330 showing diamond cutting in Venice. The diamond trading business flourished towards the 15th century with the opening of Eastern trade routes.

Ancient theories touting the magical powers of diamonds were prevalent: some thought lightning bolts formed diamonds, while other theories asserted that diamonds were the tears of god. In the Middle Ages it was thought that diamonds held special healing powers stemming from the pituitary gland and the brain. By hearing the crystals and taking to one’s bed it was thought that this would draw out any harmful toxins. It was also thought that the powers could help one’s balance and boost energy.

But mostly it is thought that a diamond is the king of all jewels, and once given it is ‘forever’ and fosters a long a loving relationship



Rising demand for coloured gemstones

There has been a surge in demand for coloured gemstones prompting rapidly rising prices, according to Bonhams.

The auction house said sapphires have seen a particular rise in popularity, with consumers purchasing sapphire engagement and wedding rings. Bonhams said its clients are looking for something “a little bit different” from a diamond engagement ring.

It said classic diamonds remain popular, but there is a growing trend for people choosing coloured ‘statement stones’ like sapphires, rubies and emeralds.

Sapphires, which come in a variety of colours including pink and yellow, are in demand from serious jewellery collectors and investors, meaning the stones are experiencing increases in their value.

This has demand has been helped by celebrities such as Hollywood actor Javier Bardem – who presented a 3-carat sapphire ring to actress Penelope Cruz – and Victoria Beckham, who has added a large oval cut sapphire to her collection of engagement rings.

Traditionally, sapphires symbolise truth, sincerity and faithfulness – so they make the perfect ingredients for an upcoming marriage.

Bonhams said part of the growing interest in coloured stones is due to the renewed supply of material along with rejuvenated mining activities in traditional areas. While the older material typically achieves the higher prices at auction, the auction house reports the price for new material is also increasing.

It said it is seeing “superb” examples of coloured stones coming on to the market due to the rising demand, with new mines opening in countries such as Mozambique, Madagascar and Zambia.

Examples of price increases at auction include the recent sale of a pair of 19th Century earrings set with Kashmir sapphires – which previously belonged to a European princess – and weighing a little less than 8-carats, each sold for £1,538,500. The price was more than triple its pre-sale estimate of £500,000.



Emerald cut diamond rings

We at Vintage Tom have today purchased a most beautiful gem ring set with an almost perfect diamond. The stone, set into a platinum setting is an emerald cut. That is a stone which is also known as a step cut and has a broad flat plane with truncated corners.  It resembles stair steps when viewed from above  and has 57 facets, 25 on the crown and 32 on the pavilion.

Its true that an emerald cut does not have the brilliance of a round brilliant cut diamond the broad flat plane of the stone does highlight its clarity. Therefore it is usually the better stones that are cut this way, and this is an exceptional example of just how an emerald cut diamond should look.

The history of this cut  has been traced back some 500 years, but it is the Art Deco period that saw it first used in commercially available pieces. It was called the emerald cut as stone cutters were used to cutting emeralds in this fashion. They liked to cut emeralds in this fashion as it would lessen the pressure on the stone.

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