I’m always on the look out for a bargain–being in this business, you have to be. One of my favorite places to go hunting is by looking just slightly off the beaten path. In vintage watches, knowing a little about a company’s history can prove valuable. If one knows that Leonidas merged with Heuer in 1964, which itself later became TAG Heuer, you can sometimes find pieces from the transitional time period that are badged with an unfamiliar name, but for all practical purposes were produced by a high end maker. In my eyes, watches from these time periods are some of the most interesting collectibles precisely because of the unique history that they represent. Similarly, one can look for certain Wittnauer watches with the knowledge that the A. Wittnauer Company was the exclusive sales agent for Longines. When the Wittnauer family sold the company in 1936, the name was changed to Longines-Wittnauer Co. Though Longines and Longines-Wittnauer watches have distinct movements, this bit of historical knowledge can inform your hunt for a quality vintage watch.
Some of the earliest pieces made by Rolex were in fact sold under the Unicorn and RWC badges. It wasn’t until the introduction of their popular Oyster model in 1923, the first waterproof wristwatch, that Rolex really solidified its name and brand on its way to becoming the behemoth that we know today.