Find rare timepieces at Vintage Watch Hunter in Pacific Beach
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 08/22/18 - 03:27 PM | 6552 views | 9 9 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Vintage Watch Hunter specializes in Japanese and Swiss watches from the 1950s-1990s.
Vintage Watch Hunter specializes in Japanese and Swiss watches from the 1950s-1990s.
slideshow
They say a classic is never old.

That saying applies to the wrist watches sold by former English teacher Jonathan Hershman online and at his new secondhand shop, Vintage Watch Hunter, at 2707 Garnet Ave., Suite 2A.

Hershman has traded his lesson plan in for a timepiece. Lots of them, thousands.

“We have stopwatches, watches from the ’80s that measure your pulse, that read altitude or air pressure, dive watches or a TV watch that changes the channel,” said Hershman. “If you want a dress watch, they’re here. If you want a diver’s watch or a chronograph, they’re here.”

Most of Hershman’s timepieces are from Japan, where he previously taught English. He said his collection evolved out of his importing and exporting items from Japan.

“About three years ago, I imported a special watch and sold it,” he said. “Then I bought five more watches and sold them. Then 20. Then 100. Now I have thousands of those watches.”

The collector is off to Japan at the end of August for another watch-buying spree. He said about 500 to 1,000 watches a month pass through his hands. 

Vintage Watch Hunter specializes in Japanese and Swiss watches from the 1950s-1990s, carrying a nearly inexhaustible variety of styles and brands. 

The watch dealer is full-service. Hershman not only buys and sells used watches, but replaces batteries, watch bands, and does some repairs, as well as replacing rare, hard-to-find parts.

Herschman said most of his watchers sell for less than $100. He has some though selling for up to $1,000.

Who buys antique wrist watches nowadays?

“We really have all kinds of clients,” said Hershman. “People come in here looking for gifts. We have people looking for watches like their father gave them, or a style they had previously, or wanted to have.”

Hershman related a personal anecdote. “I ran into an old buddy of mine who was looking for a watch he’d gotten at his bar mitzvah. I ended up having it.”

Hershman has a specialist in England who handles some of his repairs. “I send him 15 watches at a time and he fixes them all, then sends them back,” he said. 

Of the appeal of antique watches, Hershman said, “There’s something to be said for having something real on you. Things are not made to last today. They’re made to break because the companies need to keep selling you a product. I have watches in here from the ’20s that are still running fine. They’ll run forever. You can give them to your kids — and grandkids.”

For Hershman, serving people’s antique watch needs never grows old. “People want watches for all kinds of different things,” he said. “They need a watch for work, or to go out with at night, or just to bang around. The quality of the past — they can get it here.”

Vintage Watch Hunter

Where: 2707 Garnet Ave., Suite 2A.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Closed on weekends.

Info: 858-750-2115.
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