New Orleans is justifiably famous for its antique stores, and you can find almost anything you want there, from duelling pistols to crystal chandeliers, in an older, more genteel form than about anywhere in America. If your interests include timepieces, you’ll have fun walking through the French Quarter. Almost every jewelry store has a few vintage watches, usually Rolex, sometimes something more interesting. I once had a long conversation with the now-owner of New Orleans Watch Co about his beautiful new old stock Zenith El Primeros in the window. But if you want to buy a vintage watch, and congrats if you do, the place to go is Quarter Past Time on Chartres St.
Quarter Past Time isn’t a large store, but it’s full to the rafters with old watches and other interesting antiques. There are some old pocketwatches, but not too many. The majority of the cases are full of vintage Swiss and American wristwatches.
Buying vintage watches can be tricky, especially online, and most especially on Ebay. Fakes are everywhere, and you have no way of knowing before you pay if the watch is right more than twice a day. The best way to shop is in person if at all possible, so you can see it, hold it, watch it run, and hold the store accountable if they sell you a counterfeit watch. Ideally, that store should have a variety of watches to choose from, so you can balance cost, condition, name, style, etc. Quarter Past Time has been in business for 25 years, and has a great selection. They wouldn’t have lasted that long without a good reputation.
Quarter Past Time has a terrific selection of old Omegas, which are some of the best buys in vintage watches. They also have other great brands that are tougher to find, like Vulcain, Wakmann, Lord Elgin, Girard Perregaux, Zenith, and Illinois, just to name a few I handled the other day. There are also plenty of cool Rolexes and a Patek Philippe or two.
Mr Canosa is a generous host, and he’ll show you anything you’d like to see. Be careful, of course; you’re holding history.