A new showroom at an Exeter jewellery shop is putting classic vintage watches in the spotlight
They are elegant, precisely engineered, and if you buy one it will probably increase in value – is it any wonder that quality vintage watches have such prestige?
Roo Doble is certainly an admirer and that’s why he’s just opened a dedicated watch room above the jewellery shop his grandfather Ivor Doble opened in Sidwell Street, Exeter, half a century ago.
The room is part of a major refurbishment scheme that has transformed the upper floor of this well-known jeweller’s.
It’s a calm, peaceful space, the dark maroon walls and polished display cabinets a world away from the frenetic digital world outside.
There are models of old racing cars and fighter planes for sale, plus signet rings and tie pins.
But it’s the display of vintage watches that lures most people to this room. The famous names are here: Omega, Rolex, TAG and Breitling to name a few. Some date back to the 1940s or 50s, while others are more recent. Roo picks one from the display, explaining why it carries a price tag of more than £5,000. “This is an Omega Speedmaster, the same type of watch the Apollo astronauts wore in the 1960s. This one is special – it dates from 1969, the year of the moon landings.” Speedmasters made up to 1969 are known as pre-moons, he says. The ones made after 1969 carried the inscription: “The First Watch Worn on the Moon.”
For someone celebrating a 50th birthday next year, this watch would make a magnificent present.
Customers in the watch room are often looking for something unique to mark a special birthday or significant anniversary. A classic watch with a bit of history is hard to beat.
So what sort of watch does Roo wear?
He smiles and pulls back his shirt cuff to show the face of an Omega gold wristwatch dating from the late 1940s, featuring slim gold hands and ‘train track’ edging around the circumference.
It’s an elegant timepiece from the Swiss maker but Roo admits one of reasons he loves it is the engraving on the back: “Arthur R Potts, for faithful service 19281948, from HJ Heinz Company.”
We don’t know what work Mr Potts did for the famous baked bean producer but – like many of his customers – Roo loves the fact that these vintage watches have a unique history and each has its own story. doblejewellers.com