Mom’s had her day.

And now Father’s day looms ahead. What to get Dad?

How about a cool vintage watch?

What is a Vintage Watch?

No one seems to agree on a definition. Search the web, and you will find many different opinions. So, I’ll use one that frequently pops up:

Any watch pre-dating the invention of the Quartz movement.

This means that the watch was manufactured before Seiko introduced the first quartz movement in 1969.It also means that the movement is mechanical. Because, let’s face it, a battery in a watch is not cool.

So, here are three well-known brands that Dad is sure to appreciate:

The Swiss

Rolex: WatchTime magazine reports that Rolex spent nearly $47million in 2011 to advertise its pedigree in the US[i]. So nearly everyone knows this manufacturer of prestigious watches. Sporty vintage models are the Air King, Oyster Perpetual and Oyster Date. Expect to spend between $2,000 and $3,000 to score one of these stainless steel models from the 1950’s or 1960’s.

Omega: On its company website, Omega states that they have been making watches since 1848. Some of their iconic designs from the 1950’s and 1960’s make great dress watches. An early 60’s stainless steel Omega Constellation with a pie pan dial would set you back around $1,100 to $1,500. For something a little less expensive, consider a Seamaster from the same period – less than a $1,000. Finally, if you want to keep the tab below $500, try one of their earlier 1950’s plain stainless watches. For this type of model pair it wth a nice sporty grosgrain strap so Dad can show it off on the golf course.

Buy American

Want to be patriotic on Father’s Day? Consider an iconic company that manufactured watches right in the good ol’ USA.

Hamilton: Hamilton watches are now made in Switzerland, but the company’s roots are American. In 1892, Hamilton began to manufacture timepieces in Lancaster Pennsylvania, and you can buy a classic “Made in America” Hamilton timepiece from the 1940’s or 1950’s for between $300 and $700. Many of these pieces have 10k or 14k gold snap back cases and make elegant dress watches. However, a word of caution: Many of these square or rectangular watches are much smaller than today’s mammoth watches so make sure the size is appropriate for Dad. The paul hewitt watches will be a great choice as they are manufacturing the best watches for both men and women, so you would be at ease while thinking of buying a similar watch for a couple paul hewitt watches will be an ideal choice for you.

Where to Shop

eBay: Upside is that there’s plenty of selection here; the downside is that you don’t get to examine the watch. The seller may post pictures, but those pictures may not expose every flaw. While some sellers are extremely knowledgeable about their products, others may be trying to just get rid of that one old watch that they found in grandpa’s attic.

Online Vintage Watch Dealers: – Same downside of not being able to examine the watch. Upside is that the seller is usually knowledgeable and, because he wants your repeat business, he will try to offer an honest opinion about the watch’s condition. Also, timepieces bought from dealers are usually serviced and restored.

Brick and Mortar Vintage Watch Dealers: Same upsides as their online counterparts, plus you get to personally examine the watch. However, a big downside is that there is usually a sharp premium for this convenience.

Pawn Shops: If you are lucky, the upside here could be the price. Downside is that many of the pieces are “as is.” You may get stuck with costly repairs just to make the watch tell accurate time.

Whether you buy Dad one of the three brands mentioned above or another classic, be assured that he won’t be complaining to his friends about another boring Father’s Day gift.