Tokyo may not be known as a watch shopper’s dream, but the culture’s of vintage/second hand style has led to an emergence of a growing Vintage Rolex Tokyo Watch scene. There’s no one street or area but they tended to be concentrated around the Shibuya area. You definitely need to seek these stores out, as they are near impossible to find without knowing about them.
Top Pick – CrownManiax
GTE has been been folloing Hibi-san for over a year on Instagram now (@CrownManiax) and was excited to check out his store. Located on the second floor a lifestyle boutique, Crownmaniax is a nice and small shop that specializes in vintage Rolex’s and Tudors. Hibi-san was super friendly and brought his complete collection out for me to view and try. Watch shopping, especially vintage is 100% a relationship business and stores like this hit the mark in terms of making the experience feel more like sharing a hobby than a pushy sales experience.
The selection of watches when I went was quite unique including:
Ref 5513 “Bart Simpson” Submariner
Ref 1680 “Single Red” Submariner
Ref 1650 “Great White” Seadweller
Ref 1016 Explorer 1988 “R” Code
Ref 1675 “Pepsi” GMT Master
Ref 1655 “Steve McQueen” Explorer II
They get new watches every week so their inventory constantly refreshes. Their website is also update to date and I verified that the conditions of the watch actually look better than in the pictures on the website.
One thing good about shopping in Japan is that they there is very little bargaining and they are very honest in their pricing. At stores like Crown Maniax, you are able to find watches at all prices ranges, from barely used unpolished full set watches to ones on watch only on consignment. Those yield the best prices as the seller sometimes is willing to accept lower than market prices to move the watch.
One thing to note on pricing is that the price listed is cash price. They charge 5% credit card fee (standard is about 3-5%) and also as a foreigner you still have to pay the 8% sales tax because the business is less than 3 years old.
Straps / Bezels
Most noteworthy, this is the area where stores like Crown Maniax set themselves apart from other vintage watch shops that I have visited. They have a large selection of high-end vintage straps. Ironically, the leather straps are made by the boutique shoemaker Alden(Send link). They even have straps made of Alden’s famous Shell Cordovan(put link). I purchased one for 10000 yen ($90 USD)
As a vintage watch collector, the most interesting thing that I saw at the store was their vast selection of vintage bezels. This is great for a collector who say happened to was able to purchase a vintage piece at a fair price because the bezel or bezel inserts was worn / damaged. Or, if you had a newer piece and wanted to swap out the insert to give it a more vintage look, they had plenty of inserts for you to chose from. Amazingly, they also had full bezels and crowns also if you were looking to complete your look,
Other Stores To Consider
Item – tucked on a side street in Shibuya, this store has been in business for a very long time. The store has a huge selection of vintage Rolex, Omega, Cartier, Seiko, etc.
Vintage Rollies – They are active on Instagram (@vintagerollies) and have just started physical location in Tokyo. They are very responsive and have a unique selection of very good condition Vintage Rolexes Tokyo.
If you are still interesting in more watch shopping, Read GTE’s Guide on Rolex Shopping in Hong Kong.
Until Next Time,
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