The Best Place to Buy Antique Engagement Rings in Orange County & Surrounding Areas

Antique Engagement Rings – Why Are Vintage Diamond Rings So Special?

Everyone has their own taste, and lovers of antique & estate jewelry are no exception. If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and searching for antique engagement rings for your bride-to-be, you’re not alone. Antique engagement rings are back in vogue — you’ve seen them on your favorite celebrities’ fingers and in major fashion magazines.

But why purchase an antique engagement ring? At Watch & Wares, we like to ask, why not purchase one? Vintage and antique engagement rings are nod to historic style and values, but also incredibly chic and unique. With each vintage engagement ring comes it’s own history and a connection to the past… a time where bonds between lovers were not only sacred, but tough to break. From the Great Depression to the Roar & Bustle of Big Band, Classic Hollywood Stars & Cinema, and who can forget Prohibition? The 1920’s and 1930’s saw a lot of ups-and-downs, but there was a solidarity within the country as well.

As such, there’s been a huge upswing in all things vintage & throwback, antique engagement rings included. We’ve also seen a rise in custom wedding bands made to emulate vintage wedding rings and estate jewelry from the days where radio and newspaper ruled over social media and online videos.

How Much Should I Budget for Antique Engagement Rings in Orange County?

Shop the Largest Selection of Antique Engagement Rings in Southern California at Watch & Wares

Antique Engagement Rings at Watch & Wares. Photo c/o @isaiahvaldez.official via Instagram

While many people have caught the vintage engagement ring bug, there aren’t too many guidelines out there to help you shop for an antique engagement ring. Orange County and Southern California are both havens for estate jewelry and vintage wedding rings come in all shapes, sizes, precious metals and colors.

Some antique wedding bands and vintage engagement rings may look the similar on the surface. The truth is, while most antique engagement rings may have similar qualities, there’s a few things you should look out for. But before we go any further, you’ll want to figure out your budget for the engagement ring. Finding out what you want to spend on a vintage diamond ring is paramount to the process. It provides a guideline for qualifying different pieces and picking your favorite rings.

Budgeting your purchase properly also gives the antique engagement ring store or jeweler insight as to where to start. Since we’re talking about diamonds and precious metals, prices will vary. The great news is that vintage engagement rings can be extremely affordable or on the other end of the spectrum, lavish & expensive. Once you’ve got the budget out of the way, we can now begin shopping for the perfect antique engagement rings that fit your taste & bankbook.

What Should I Look for When Shopping for Vintage & Antique Engagement Rings?

antique engagement ring, vintage engagement ring, antique, vintageWhile some antique engagement rings feature a diamond as the main stone, others may incorporate sapphires or other precious gems. It’s important to buy from a reputable antique engagement ring store in your area. Go to a place you trust, or one that has great online reviews. Furthermore, look for a jewelry store that specializes in antique engagement rings. If you’re ever in doubt, simply ask.

If the jewelry store carries vintage or estate jewelry, ask them about their antique engagement rings. Find out about their selection and vetting process. Ask the vintage jewelry store if they have anyone on staff that inspects or certifies the diamonds. Look into whether or not they restore their antique jewelry and engagement rings. Finally, you’ll want to know about the vintage engagement ring’s appraisal process.

Some other important things to ask when shopping for antique engagement rings includes:

  • What era is the vintage diamond engagement ring from?
  • What is the diamond’s clarity, size and color rating?
  • Is the precious metal rated at 10k, 14k, 24k etc.
  • Where was the antique ring acquired?
  • Did the vintage diamond ring undergo any restoration?
  • Do you have a GIA gemologist on staff?
  • Will I receive an appraisal & certificate with my purchase?

If You’re Shopping for Vintage or Antique Engagement Rings in Orange County, Check Watch & Wares First!

antique engagament ring, vintage engagement ring, pear shaped diamondAt Watch & Wares, we hate tooting our own horn, but we practically wrote the book on vintage, estate and antique jewelry. Our history dates back 35 years with over a century of vintage jewelry experience between our entire staff. Our Owner, William Houchin, is a collector of fine jewelry and vintage & estate engagement rings and has been honing his skills for over 3 decades. We started as collectors and that’s why we only offer the best.

Our customers know us as the premier destination for vintage, designer and antique engagement rings in Southern California. Our selection of vintage diamonds and wedding bands is staggering, and we’re proud of that. We’ve earned a reputation as the best place to buy antique engagement rings for many reasons, but our commitment to our customers is our favorite.

We’ve sold thousands of pieces on eBay, where we hold 100% Feedback since the early 90’s. We cross-sell items on Etsy and have an immaculate 5-star rating on Yelp through all of our 3 locations. Our flagship jewelry store in the Orange Circle features hundreds of antique engagement rings and vintage settings. If you’re looking for a custom engagement ring or would like to replace a cherished heirloom that was lost, we can do that too!

Watch & Wares Has the Best Selection of Estate & Antique Diamond Engagement Rings in SoCal

Best vintage rings, vintage rings, vintage and antique ringsWatch & Wares has a GIA gemologist on staff and every vintage piece of jewelry we acquire undergoes a well-practiced restoration process. Not only is every antique engagement ring and vintage wedding band appraised properly, most look brand new.

We’ve served hundreds of beautiful couples that have tied the knot in Southern California. We’re proud to be a part of a legacy and tradition that keeps these beautiful antique engagement rings alive. We know that every customer is unique in terms of taste, budget and needs. We offer a 12-month layaway with no interest on all of our vintage wedding bands and diamond engagement rings.

Give us a call at 714-633-2030 or come by the store today! Speak with one of our Engagement Ring Concierges and let them walk you through some of our pieces. Ask us questions — we love answering them. In the end, we want happy & satisfied lovers making educated decisions. We want you to love the jewelry you wear and nothing is more cherished than an engagement ring.

Make the gift you give her on this special occasion one she’ll remember and covet forever.


*for more information about precious gems & diamonds used in antique engagement rings, visit the GIA Gem Encyclopedia.

*if you’d like to sell us antique engagement rings or other jewelry, you can come by or stop by our Tustin, CA location!

Do I Need to Wind My Automatic Watch?

Do I Need to Wind My Automatic Watch?

Part of what draws many people to purchasing a watch with automatic movement is the belief that they will never need to wind the watch in order to start its movement or charge its power reserve. Do I need to wind my Automatic Watch? At Watch & Wares, we get this question fairly often. The short answer is yes, you do need to wind your automatic watch. We understand that part of the reason most people purchase or wear an automatic watch is because they just want to set it and forget it. Let’s explore how the automatic movement in a watch works and

Why Do I Have to Wind My Automatic Watch?

While an automatic watch doesn’t require you to wind it while you are wearing it, it definitely helps to understand how the movement functions, and how a watch mainspring works. As you may or may not know, there is weighted rotor, which is sometimes also referred to as a pendulum, which spins inside most traditional automatic watch movements. If your watch features a skeleton case back, you can view the rotor spinning or if you put your ear to it, you can hear your watch’s rotor moving inside the watch. The watch rotor’s job is to help charge the automatic watch’s mainspring through energy, not all watch rotors are built to work the same way.

How Does the Rotor Inside Your Automatic Watch Work?

Some rotors will wind your watch only when spinning in a certain direction, others will charge your watch when spinning either way. Some rotors are weighted in order to enhance their spin or add some energy to it to keep it going with each move of your wrist. Other movements are extremely light so that they can spin around with even the least amount of movement as you wear them throughout the day. This proves useful for people who are not as active and might be sitting at a desk for a long time, but still want to keep their automatic watch ticking.

Some automatic watch rotors are connected to heavy gear trains (which can all vary) with different numbers of wheels depending on the type of watch movement as well as how many hours the watch can run between windings. As a result, each rotor will charge the respective watch’s mainspring with a different amount of energy.

Do I Have to Wind My Automatic Watch Even with Regular Wear?

No matter what type of rotor you have in your automatic watch, keep in mind that a rotor will never be as efficient at winding your watch using the crown. So while wearing your automatic watch should keep it wound and running while it’s being worn, you’re basically relying on the energy you stored throughout the day to keep it ticking throughout the evening and when you take it off periodically. What this means, is that if your timepiece did not start out with a full charge (meaning a mainspring that is wound with full tension), then it will often not end the day with a full charge, simply because you were wearing it and kept the rotor spinning… eventually your mainspring will completely unwind and you’ll need to wind your your automatic watch in order to get the mainspring ready to get those wheels moving again.

How Does the Mainspring in My Automatic Watch Affect the Watch’s Power Reserve?

Every automatic watch movement’s mainspring is a little different from one another. On some watches, the first three quarters of its mainspring’s charge will often be the most accurate, keeping the best time. The final quarter of tension on the mainspring (25% of power reserve) will often cause the movement and watch to speed up slightly but this differs from movement to movement.

Because of this small tendency to speed the watch up during the last quarter of the watch’s power reserve, it is also important for your to ensure that your watch is as close to fully-wound every time you wear it… that is of course unless your timekeeping isn’t too important to you, but we have yet to meet a watch fanatic where this is the case!

If you don’t manually wind your automatic watch every morning using the crown, you really won’t know if your watch is at the last 25 percent of its power reserve causing it to speed it up slightly. Some watches have a power reserve window with a gauge in the movement indicating how much power is left in the reserve.

Check out the Panerai Luminor Marina 8-Days Acciaio. It’s also known as the PAM00510 and it features an 8-day power reserve!

Contact Watch & Wares with Questions About Your Automatic Watch

Why won’t my rotor wind my automatic watch for me?

While the spinning rotor on your automatic watch will buy you a little time between wear, for best results, wind your automatic watch a little bit each morning or when you have a break throughout your day. Believe it or not, many horology fans and watch collectors enjoy winding their automatic watches each day. For some, it’s a connection with an amazing piece of our past. It brings to light hundreds of years of watchmaking that has made the small miracle of the contemporary watch or vintage watch on your wrist possible. For others, winding an automatic watch can be a break from an otherwise mundane work day or long commute.

We’ve been working with automatic watches for the last 3 decades Watch & Wares. We love getting questions about their specific movement and the characteristics of each timepiece we sell. We have the largest pre-owned watch selection in Orange County, California and sell more pre-owned watches than any watch store in the SoCal. If you have a question about a particular watch or have your eye on a specific timepiece in our eBay store or in our shop in The Orange Circle, please contact us or call us at 714-633-2030 and ask for our owner, William. He’d be happy to walk you through our biggest pre-owned watch inventory in OC as well as answer any questions you may have!




Vintage & Antique Pocket Watches

antique pocketwatch

Origins of the Pocket Watch (Pocketwatch)

While pocket watches (or pocketwatches) did not reach the height of their popularity until the mid to late 19th Century, pocket watches have been around since the mid-1400’s and crafted regularly by master watch makers in Europe in the 1500’s. The early pocket watch was crafted from a variety of metals, including nickel, brass, silver and gold. The high-end vintage pocket watch was often crafted from gold or silver, with gold or stainless steel gears, while more affordable pocket watches were crafted from brass or nickel, with a thin layer of gold or silver on the outer case. The number of jewels on a pocket watch dictated its movement and thus its lifespan and value. The more jewels on a pocket watch, the less grinding of metal-on-metal within its gears, thus also resulting in the pocket watch keeping better time.

railroad pocketwatch1

Early Use of Pocket Watches

Before wristwatches became popular after World War I, and prior to the development of the trench watch (which was a transitional design for a timepiece used on the battlefield), the pocket watch was the most common method of keeping time. Pocket watches were carried by aristocrats, noblemen, wealthy businessmen, traders, captains, and of course railroad engineers — who needed to carry a well-made pocket watch that would keep almost perfect time, in order to adhere to their rigid train & track schedules. Pocket watches soon saw their popularity decline during WWI, where the first trenchwatch was affixed with a wrist strap, and led the way for development of wristwatches which eventually replaced the common pocket watch. The very first wrist watches were produced by Girard-Perregaux in 1880 for the German Navy and During WWI, several well-known watch makers, including well-known brands such as Omega, Longines (and others) produced wrist watches for the military, which led to a streamlined design and the demise of popularity for the once-coveted pocket watch.

pocket watch

The Collectible Antique Pocket Watch

Like all things that were once a world-standard and have now been replaced by other means, the antique pocket watch has solidified its place in watch making history. Pocket watches were the headmost method of timekeeping prior to the advent of the standard wristwatch, so it’s no surprise that high-end, classic antique and vintage pocket watches are highly-sought after by timepiece collectors worldwide today. Early pocket watches had a “hunting case” design, which allowed the front of the metal case to flip open when you pushed a button, usually at the top of the timepiece. As time wore on in the 1900’s, open-faced pocket watches became more common and later replaced the hunting case design entirely. Today, there are many factors that separate the high-end pocket watch from less collectible models. These factors include (but are not limited to): the number of jewels, precious metals used for the case, its general condition (whether it is complete with chain, grade of patina, etc.) and of course, its movement. Much like classic cars and other restored items of value, one of the final determining factors of a particular collectible antique pocket watch’s value would be whether the pocket watch is entirely made up of its own original parts.

antique pocketwatch parts

Where to Buy Antique Pocket Watches

Given that there are so many factors that can contribute to the value of a antique pocket watch, it’s vital to work with an industry professional that has the knowledge and eye to appraise and value the vintage timepiece and its components in its entirety. At Watch & Wares, we’ve spent the last quarter-century traveling and delving into antique pocket watches and vintage timepieces (and their respective parts), establishing a relationship with reputable dealers, well-known auction and estate houses as well as employing master watchmakers on our team. We have a rotating inventory of quality vintage pocketwatches for every budget in stock and know what to look for when it comes to making sure their history checks-out. As avid vintage and antique watch & timepiece collectors, we also keep a substantial collection of original, unopened stock from high-end, popular, vintage, antique and contemporary watchmakers. So whether you’re looking for an antique pocketwatch for yourself or that special someone, or you need your pocket watch repaired/restored to its original condition, using OEM certified parts, we hope you’ll stop by Watch & Wares in the Downtown Historical District of Orange, California (Orange County) and meet with our owner, William Houchin, who you can learn more about by clicking here.

Picking the Perfect Engagement Ring for the Season

The holiday season is once again upon us…

Man looking at woman's ringAlong with being one of the busiest times of the year for most of us, Christmas and New Year’s Eve is also one of the most exciting and popular times to pop the question. Did you know that one in four grooms propose to their bridges during the holiday season? November and December account for over 26 percent of marriage proposals, according to a survey of 1,131 brides sponsored by the Fairchild Bridal Group, the publisher of “Modern Bride.”

That being said, if you’re planning on proposing to your significant other either this Christmas or on New Year’s Eve, you’re going to need the right engagement ring… and that means going to the right jeweler. The first destination for most guys are your run-of-the-mill, mall jewelry shops with a pretty standard (and slightly boring) selection of your standard diamond rings. Prices are generally high and there is often very little variety.

What makes Watch & Wares in Orange, CA different? Well, for starters, we carry all types of unique diamond engagement rings… from classic vintage engagement rings with brilliantly-cut stones and unmatched craftsmanship, to a stunning selection of sapphire and fancy-diamond rings that have also stood the test of time.

Looking for a special cut or a vintage diamond engagement ring? Watch & Wares carries an unrivaled selection of vintage & estate rings and jewelry that are sure to dazzle even the most discerning brides-to-be.

xmas engagement ring 2So if you’re planning on being one of those four grooms that pops the question to the love of your life this Christmas or New Year’s Eve, let one of our Engagement Specialists at Watch & Wares help you choose an engagement ring perfect for not only the occasion, but for your dream girl as well. We’ll take our time and ask questions that help you make a decision based on your exact needs and specific budget.

We understand that everybody’s different and that it’s your special day, so we stock diamonds in generally every shape — whether you’re looking for an emerald-cut engagement ring or a classic solitaire, or want to go for something a little less traditional — we’ll make sure you leave happy and confident, knowing she’ll say YES!!! We look forward to meeting all you future fiancés soon, stop by our store today or call us at 714-633-2030 to make an appointment today!