Crazy about vintage watches? Hong Kong is the place to be. Without hefty sales tax for most shopping, the city has long been many tourists’ favorite place to shop for luxury goods and products.
Whether you’re looking to add a shiny new watch to your collection, sell an old piece that has been collecting dust at home, or if you’re looking to repair and give new life to a family hand-me-down, we’ve found the best places to buy, sell and repair vintage watches in Hong Kong.
In this article, we will cover:
- Why Hong Kong is so famous for vintage watches
- How to avoid counterfeit watches in Hong Kong
- What to check before buying a second-hand watch
- Where to purchase vintage watches in Central, TST, Mongkok, and Causeway Bay
Why is Hong Kong so famous for vintage watches?
It’s no real surprise that the vintage watch market is huge in Hong Kong. Historically, Hong Kong has been Switzerland’s largest export market, contributing to approximately 11% of the Swatch Group and Richemont’s global turnover in the past.
With a wide variety of watch brands and retailers for you to choose from, Hong Kong has bred a group of watch enthusiasts and collectors, making it even easier for watch collecting beginners to dive into the world of vintage watches.
While vintage shopping means you never know what to expect when stepping into these independent watch stores, if you’re lucky, you will find rare collectibles from brands such as Panerai, Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Tudor, and A Lange and Sohnes.
How can you avoid counterfeit vintage watches in Hong Kong?
Vintage watches can be tricky, especially if this is a brand new hobby. In Hong Kong—just like everywhere else—counterfeit watches are everywhere.
To protect yourself from counterfeit watches, be sure to buy from a trusted dealer. This is not the time to go budget shopping on Facebook marketplace. When it comes to vintage watches, a trusted, reputable watch dealer is everything.
If you have a friend who is into vintage watches, be sure to bring them along to your shopping trip or do your research ahead of time to ensure you know what to look out for.
What should I check before I buy second-hand vintage watches in Hong Kong?
When you’re buying a second-hand watch, you should get it authenticated by an authorized dealer. The dealer will check if the watch parts are original and ensure the watch isn’t stolen by checking police records.
Even if you’re buying from an authorized dealer, you should be checking everything carefully. Confirm that the official papers such as the manual and warranty card are provided. Even if they have expired, it’s still better than having no documents at all.
In addition, check the box to see if all of the accessories you are expecting are in there. For example, some brands like Panerai might provide an additional strap with the original purchase and Allen keys to change the strap and buckle.
Where to purchase vintage watches in Central, Hong Kong?
1. Raymond Chung
Raymond Chung is a legend in Hong Kong. Arguably one of the best vintage watch vendors on Hong Kong Island, he works out of a tiny one-person workstation on Pottinger Street and is your go-to guy to repair a preloved vintage watch that’s losing its shine while also helping you keep your collection fresh by offering you a selection of top-notch vintage watches.
Don’t expect a glamorous store with lush setups—his humble stall may not look like much, but the crowd that often gathers proves just how well-loved his store is. Consistently occupied with new and regular clients, Chung’s friendly personality makes it a delight to watch him work.
Location: Shop 2, Pottinger Street, Central, 6938 1928
2. The Vintage Concept
Located in Central, The Vintage Concept is run by enthusiasts Thomas Tse and Patrick Tsang. The store stocks a curated selection of watches, trunks, and jewelry that the team sources worldwide.
Clearly passionate about vintage Rolexes, at The Vintage Concept, you can expect to find a large range of second-hand Daytonas, Submariners, GMTs, Explorers, Day Dates, and more.
You’ll also find other rare vintage watches such as 1940’s Cartier 18k YG Santos Dumont Paris. They also accept and buy luxury watches from sellers if you’re looking to sell off one of your prized watches.
Location: G/F, No.15 Lyndhurst Terrace, Central
3. Berne Horology
30-year-old shop, Berne Horology in Central is another go-to spot if you’re looking for rare watches in good condition. Their store is controlled by Johnny Ng, one of the city’s most trusted watch repairmen. If you need any more persuading, Ng is trusted by even big-name auction houses, Christie’s and Sotheby’s, so you can relax knowing that one of the city’s key watch repair specialists has your back.
Stocking everything from the 1950s and 1960’s Rolex, Longines, AP, and Omega, they also offer a decent selection of antique wall clocks if your home needs some extra glam.
Location: 180 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, 2815 5255
Where to purchase vintage watches in TST, Hong Kong?
1. Best vintage watches TST – Classic Watch Repair
Try not to miss this store. This world-renowned vintage watch repair shop has a large assortment of high-quality Rolexes available for purchase. With over 100 vintage Rolex tools and watches for sale, you’d be spoilt for choice.
Need to get a vintage watch fixed? The founder, Michael Young, has your back as well.
Location: Unit A, 11/F, 2 Carnarvon Road, Tsim Sha Tsui (MTR Exit D2), 2151 1777
2. Best vintage watches TST- The Greatest Watches
Not many individuals know Hong Kong’s vintage watch scene better than Ricky Chau from The Greatest Watches. The store is hidden inside CKE Mall, making it the perfect spot for you to stop by after lunch in Tsim Sha Tsui.
Chau has over 20 years of experience with watch gathering and repairs and an exceptionally steadfast following. The reason behind his love of his job? He loves getting into the nitty-gritty of watch mechanics and repairing.
Location: Shop 201, 2/F, CKE Shopping Mall, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
3. Best vintage watches TST – TTF Watches
Also located inside the second floor of CKE mall, TTF Watches is surrounded by an entire floor of luxury watch stores, but their loyal following on Facebook shows just how much this store stands out.
Opened in 2019, TTF Watches sell second-hand, luxury vintage watches with a long selection of Rolexes readily available. Check their Facebook page for the latest watch offerings.
Location: Shop 2-133, 2/F, CKE Mall, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsu
4. Best vintage watches TST – Watch Navi
Derek Wong’s shop “Watch Navi” may be small, but this 20-year shop has grown a steady following over the years. With a collection of more than 100 brands of watches available, the store regularly posts new watch arrivals on their Facebook page. The most recent snags? A 1979 Rolex Sea-Dweller 1665 Mark II rail dial. This watch even comes with a 93150 flip-lock bracelet with 585 end-pieces.
Location: Shop 2-181, 2/F, CKE Mall, 36-44 Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui
5. Best vintage watches TST – Hong Kong Watch Guild Show
Keen to meet other watch enthusiasts who will nerd out with you on the rarest timepiece collectibles? The Hong Kong Watch Guild holds a vintage watch fair once a month at BP International in Tsim Sha Tsui. Entrance is $400 for the morning sessions where all the best watches tend to get picked up first, while casual watch admirers could opt to go during the afternoons, where the entrance is free from 3 pm to 5 pm. Check on their website ahead of time for the location and show details.
Location: BP International – Gordon Wu Hall, 8 Austin Road, T.S.T. (1/Floor)
6. Best vintage watches TST – Tse’s Collection
Tse’s Collection has three outlets across Hong Kong. The organization founder started decades back as a pawnshop specialist, and now, they sell everything from vintage watches, bracelets to hair clips and jade. If you’re looking for limited edition pieces, you might be able to find them here.
TST: Shop 5, G/F., Winglee Building, 29 Kimberley Road, TST, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone +852-9888-6408
TST: Shop H, G/F., 9 Hau Fook Street, TST, Kowloon, Hong Kong. Telephone: +852-9888-4807
Also, Causeway Bay: Shop A1, G/F., Lockhart House, 441 Lockhart Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Telephone +852-9888-6040
Where to purchase luxury vintage watches in Mongkok, Hong Kong?
1. Best vintage watches Mongkok – London Watch
Another one for Rolex-lovers. London Watch has possibly the best assortment of vintage Rolex watches in Hong Kong. If you’re just starting out, their experienced staff will get you right on track, explaining each watch in great detail if you’re interested in learning.
If you feel like browsing online first, they regularly update their available stock on their website, with beautiful, jaw-dropping pieces such as the “After Setting” Daytona, Datejust, and more. All of the reference numbers are clearly listed on the site, so you can relax knowing that it’s an authentic, high-quality watch that you’re purchasing.
Location: Yan On Building, Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok
2. Best vintage watches Mongkok – Grateful Time Company
Founded in 1998, Grateful Time Company specializes in new and second-hand watches and luxury jewelry pieces. Run by a pair of siblings who graciously stepped in following dad’s retirement, the shop updates their Facebook page with new additions every week. If you’re looking for something with a super vintage feel, they currently brought in an 1803 Rolex with a matte black dial and gold detailing that will look snazzy paired with any outfit.
Location: 17A, G/F., Yan On Building, 1 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok, 3188 1292
Where to purchase luxury vintage watches in Causeway Bay Hong Kong?
1. Best vintage watches Causeway Bay – Ken’s Watches
Established in 2002, Ken’s Watches sells everything from contemporary watches to uncommon collectibles. Boasting thousands of watches to choose from, you’ll see global brands including Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Panerai, Rolex, IWC, Cartier, Omega, Franck Muller, Jaeger LeCoultre, and Tudor in their shop.
Looking to renew your collection? They also offer trade-in services.
Causeway Bay location
Causeway Bay Store: Shop No. 26, Phoenix Apartments, G/F, 64 Lee Garden Road, Causeway Bay. Telephone +852 6999 9992
Central Store: Shop B, G/F, Cheong K. Building, 84-86 Des Voeux Road, Central. Telephone +852 679 22222
TST Store: Shop G22, G/F 67 Mody Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. Telephone +852 6999 9993
Wan Chai Store: Shop B5-B6, No. 88 Lockhart Road, Wan Chai. Telephone+852 6999 9996
What are vintage watches?
There is no stringent rule which is used as a measure to determine if a watch is vintage. While some people deem anything that is pre-1980s to be a vintage watch, other people believe that a watch needs to be at least 50 years old in order to qualify to be vintage. However, most people can agree that vintage watches are high-quality, timeless watches that can be worn for generations.
Which are the most sought after vintage watches?
Rolex and Patek Philippe are easily the most sought after vintage watches. No other brand comes close in terms of vintage watch popularity. However, coming a very distant third are brands such as; Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lemania, and Panerai.
Can I trust a vintage watch dealer in Hong Kong if the store is small and nondescript?
The cost of rent in Hong Kong is exceptionally high, so when you go hunting vintage watches in Hong Kong, don’t be surprised that some dealers sell rare, expensive watches from stores that are far from glamorous. Of course, if you are buying vintage watches, you need to know what you’re doing and what to look for. But a nondescript store itself shouldn’t be taken as a sign that there is a problem.
What can I expect to find in terms of watches in Apliu Street Market?
Yes, Apliu Street has popular electrical goods, but high-quality watches and pickings are thin. Don’t expect to find any rare vintage watches here. At times you might find a 1990’s Seiko jump watch or a 1980’s Rado’s, but don’t expect much more. Apliu Street overflows with electronic frenzy, so it’s consistently fun snooping about. You’re likely to find some watch tools and straps.
Why Are Luxury Watches Cheaper In Hong Kong?
The key reason is that Hong Kong does not record sales taxes, except for alcohol and tobacco.