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“New vintage” may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s a very real trend. From home décor to vintage-inspired digital watches, the idea of new-vintage is thriving. These beautiful pieces are inspired by older styles, and sometimes modelled exactly after them, but offer the benefits of new technologies and crystal-clear finishes. For those who have been longing for a vintage watch but haven’t been able to find one (or one in wearable condition), new-vintage is where it’s at.

What makes a timepiece special?

Casio Vintage 44mm Men's Digital Casual WatchTime is a funny thing. For many of us, it never seems to move at quite the right pace. As children, we want it to rush by; to speed up so that we can be bigger and older, sooner. Once our 20s come along, we notice how quickly it’s moving; as if it’s racing along without us. By our 40s, all you ever hear is how time is just slipping by; how every month as an adult feels like a day our lives when we were 10.

Watches are often seen as the jewelry equivalent for men. They come with all of the same bells and whistles that a great bracelet or necklace will bring you. Like any accessory, they’re there to make a visual statement: they say I like this about myself, or I care about that element of design. A great watch is both an indication of your values and your status in life, helping chronicle your journey for those you have yet to meet. Even a watch that isn’t trying to make a statement still makes one, like a footnote at the end of a long chapter.

What makes timepieces special beyond their style, however, is the homage that they play to our perception of time. Watches give us the illusion of control. They help us stick to a measured schedule, optimized to help us achieve the most that we can in one day. They let us pretend that, by watching time pass, we have a handle on it.

The rise of “new vintage” and vintage-inspired

Bulova Archive LED Computron 31mm Digital Fashion WatchNew vintage watches are a growing trend, but it isn’t just about watches. “New vintage,” retro-styled, and vintage-inspired looks are popular in many aspects of style. They speak to a cultural longing, and then some—to a sense of nostalgia that’s now stronger than ever before. Having immediate access to all of the stories, news articles, and old photos that you could ever want helps intensify our nostalgic feelings, and makes achieving a vintage aesthetic more accessible than ever.

At the same time, the sources that we use to access links to the past helps educate and connect people. Thrifting and antiquing have been democratized: anyone with a passion for the past and a connection to the internet can find vintage items at their fingertips. That easy access means that there are now also more people than ever who are adding vintage items into their lives, and therefore more people whose collections might appreciate a new-vintage twist to their watches. Even luxury brands are jumping on the vintage train though consignment partnerships and ad campaigns.

The rise in popularity of vintage items may mean that there’s more room for vintage looks in our lives, but it also means that there are going to be people out there who want a certain vintage piece but can’t find it. So, when companies re-release well-loved vintage products, consumers can get the best of both worlds. They’re offered brand new products that they know will be in great condition, but in the vintage styles that they’ve been dreaming of.

(And hopefully, their updated, new-vintage products will continue to circulate in the fashion world for generations to come!)

The appeal of vintage-inspired digital watches

Nixon Re-Run 39mm Men's Digital Casual WatchVintage-inspired digital watches gives you the look of the old, with the benefits of new. That means you’re looking at a watch in great condition, with increased accuracy in timekeeping, and an improved battery life. Importantly, re-released vintage watches often come with excellent water resistance, which will help the new release last for even longer than the original.

One major trend in vintage releases right now is their LCD watch faces. While leather-strapped analogue watches have stayed relevant through the years, LCD watches fell to the wayside in favour of chronometers, smartwatches, and minimalist designs. The original releases of today’s new-vintage watches come straight out of the 1970s and 1980s, and the finishes that they’re being released in today (everything from yellow gold to rainbow duochrome) reflect that.

Vintage-inspired watches often come with an intentionally large watch face, making them ever the more noticeable. As was the style in the 70’s and 80’s, they display the time digitally on an LCD screen, and then share a little extra: things like the date, day of the week, or a countdown timer. They’re there to link wearers to the past, rooting them in their family’s memories and helping them to create new ones. For some, vintage-inspired pieces can even be a way to re-write and re-live the past. You can wear the same watch that your father could never afford, or enjoy the same blissful summer days that your granddad once did.

What to look for in a vintage-inspired digital watch

Nixon Regulus 46mm Digital Sport WatchVintage-look watches are a great way to wear a throwback style with a modern outfit. To find the perfect one for you, keep your personal style in mind. Do you usually wear cool colours with a lot of silver, white gold, and platinum accessories? Most vintage-look watches are available in a silver finish. Do you like the nostalgia of a yellow gold? Those are common, too!

Different styles of new-vintage watches emphasize things like shape and silhouette in different ways. The digital face of one watch might give a geeky twist to a great suit, while the sleek metal front of another will look intentionally mysterious. Keep in mind the look that you’re aiming for, and check your tech specs, too: while most new-vintage watches are water resistant, their submersible distance will vary greatly.

Vintage-styled watches pair excellently with both sharp suiting and relaxed tees. For an extra touch of style, add a second vintage element to your look, like a pair of aviator glasses or a true vintage tie clip.

Explore the past with vintage-inspired digital watches online at Best Buy. 

Rae Chen
Rae Chen covers everything from handbags to speakers here on the Best Buy Plug-in Blog. They can also be found at thenotice.net, where they've been writing about beauty & wellness since 2007.


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