Over the last couple of days, I have visited every reputable watch dealer I know in Ho Chi Minh city and I have to say that the pickings have been slim.
If you are looking for a vintage watch from the 70’s or earlier, there are very few examples left that are 100% original, in decent condition and at a reasonably priced. Minh Quy on Dong Khoi street is now a dealer for Maurice Lacroix watches and sell their classic watches at exorbitant prices at the back of their refurbished shop.
Heaps of other dealers that I have known from 10 years ago have gone out of business and those that are still around only have about 30 – 40 newer watches on sale at any one time. Most of the watches available, I suspect were owned by nouveau riche Vietnamese who have had to sell these timepieces when their budgets could not keep up with their flashy lifestyles or when their fortunes took a turn for the worse.
Tudor Automatic – I came across a mid-size Tudor Automatic from the 80’s with a nice blue dial for about $500. I wanted to buy it for the wife to replace her 60’s mid sized Rolex but she was not too keen as it was the wrong shade of blue! If she was keen on the watch I would have bought it for her even though it was overpriced by about $150 and the fact that it was a Tudor and not a Rolex.
I used to be able to buy Rolexes for about $500, 5 years ago!!!
Omega Moonwatch – This was available at Mr. Minh’s shop at Dong Ho 94A Pasteur Street. A 2007 model with the glass back for only $2200. After we had agreed on the price, he told me that he did not have a credit card machine. The shop where I normally get cash from was closed today and I did not have my passport with me so I couldn’t get currency from a money changer using a credit card.
Both Andrew and Al are in the market for one of these watches so I was going to get it for either of them – or keep it for myself if they didn’t want it 🙂
Rolex Submariner – Half gold pre-2000 model with the black face at only $4300. It had pin holes and the clasp was stainless steel and not the newer model which is half gold. Quite decently priced but I am after the blue faced model as I already half a half gold, black faced GMT Master that looks quite similar.
This is probably the first time I have been to Vietnam in years and will leave not having bought a watch.