How to Afford a Designer Vintage Watch

How to Afford a Designer Vintage Watch

Emily Song and vintage watches
Emily Song © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

Have you ever noticed that the one piece of jewelry or accessory that never seems to go out of style is your watch? It sits on your wrist everyday and discreetly matches whatever you’re wearing. A wristwatch is a timeless piece in your wardrobe.

For many of us, as we grow older, acquiring a designer watch often represents a symbol of having grown up, having reached a certain level of success. We dream of the Cartier tank watch, a Chanel Premier, or Hermès wraparound classic, the Cape Cod. But let’s be realistic, many of us cannot afford one.

Collection of designer vintage watches
Photo © Alexis Duclos for INSPIRELLE

Meet Emily Song, a Shanghainese-born fashion entrepreneur now living in Paris, the capital of luxury goods. Born into a family of watchmakers and repairers, Emily appreciates the precision of a good watch, understands its value and knows where to find them.

She travels to Japan three times a year to scour vintage shops in search of designer timepieces from Japanese escort girls who receive luxury goods as presents.

vintage shop in Tokyo, Japan
Photo © Emily Song

Emily explains, “It is traditionally and socially acceptable for high school girls to escort business men to functions to finance their studies or living expenses. And they are very smart.”

“A girl will go out with about three different Japanese men and she will ask for example, a Chanel 2.55 bag (chain bag) or an Hermés watch from each of the three men. She will wear one of them when she escorts a man and sell the others to consign shops to earn money.”

The smart entrepreneur resells designer vintage watches which she finds in new or mint condition for up to 20 to 70 per cent off of its retail value on her business website. LUXE & EM. Each watch is inspected by a certified Parisian watchmaker she works with who also polishes and installs a new battery if necessary. LUXE & EM sells the designer timepiece in its original packaging with a one-year guarantee from date of purchase.

Hermès Cape Cod watch.
Photo © Emily Song

One of the most popular coveted watches in Emily’s collection is the Hermès Cape Cod watch with its leather wraparound strap. A buyer can save up to 600 euros by purchasing second hand from LUXE & EM.

Her most remarkable find? Emily says it’s most probably the Chopard Happy Diamonds wristwatch with three floating fishes on its face. “It’s very hard to find because it is no longer sold. I found one, polished and revised it completely. The market price for this model sold for 7000 euros in a boutique. I was able to buy it for 600 euros and sold it instantly for 2300 euros.”

Emily sells an average of 20-30 designer vintage watches a month. For fall, she just returned from Japan with a Chanel 18k premier watch and a whimsical Chopard Happy Moon and star piece. Her business has also expanded to include designer handbags and fashion accessories.

Anyone have a big birthday coming up?

To find that special gift for someone (or for yourself), check out Emily’s collection on her business website:



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