Menta Watches - Remarkable Vintage & Modern Watches
An Interview with Founder Adam Golden
Written by Jamie Agoglia
The Miami based company Menta Watches is a collectors dream for buying and selling modern and vintage watches. Founded by watch aficionado Adam Golden, their mission is to modernize the way collectors buy rare and exotic watches online. Adam’s passion and enthusiasm for rare timepieces is palpable, and that passion is poured directly into Menta.
Elevated Magazines: Why Menta Watches?
Adam Golden: There is actually an amusing story behind the name! As I was starting this business in 2014, I was trying to come up with a name. A friend of mine had suggested “Menta”, as it translated to “mint” in Italian. Italy has played a major role in the vintage watch world, often credited as the birthplace of the industry. As I started the business with the intent of only offering world-class watches for sale, I thought it was a fitting name. A year later, I was sitting in my office, when an Italian colleague stopped by, and asked why I chose the name “Menta”. I told him, “well, you should understand yourself, as menta means mint in Italian…like mint condition!”, to which he replied: “no no my friend, menta means mint…as in the flavor! Like menthol!” At that point, it was too late to change the name as people had increasingly grown aware of my operation and business, and I had grown fond of the name…and now fond of that story!
Vintage watches are clearly a huge passion of yours, can you tell us where that started for you?
I actually began my watch-life as a collector of modern watches. When I began collecting watches, I was living abroad, practicing law in Moscow, Russia. Considering that the first Swiss brand opened a store in Moscow in the 1990s, there were not many “vintage” watches to be found in the country. As I lived there, I would research and read about vintage watches online, and while periodically back home to visit in Miami, Florida, I would dabble in vintage watches with relatively inexpensive purchases. There was something about owning a piece of history, or something with heritage, patina, a story and a life of its own that drew me in - it was something a modern watch just does not give you. Finally, I made the decision to trade-in a couple of my modern watches for my first “substantial” vintage watch – a 1969 Rolex Daytona – and as soon as I put it on my wrist, I was absolutely hooked. Shortly thereafter, I sold every modern watch I owned at the time, turned my focus entirely to vintage, and really never looked back.
What is your favorite aspect of what you do?
My favorite aspect of what I do is the hunt of these rare, arcane, and often forgotten treasures, and the people I meet along the way. For example, I am often tasked with flying across the globe to meet with someone who inherited a relative’s discarded wristwatch, or even someone who picked up a $50,000 watch for $5 at a yard sale with no clue as to what they own. A lot of the time, they have no idea that the watch they now own or inherited is a valuable and important piece of history, and hearing their story and surprising them with often life-changing amounts of money [in exchange for their watch] is always a pleasure.
What was the catalyst for creating Menta Watches?
I created Menta Watches with the ethos of putting the client/collector first, and providing an avenue for everyone to be able to purchase a vintage wrist watch that has already been inspected and vetted for authenticity and condition. Purchasing a vintage watch can be a minefield, and I clearly remember the pitfalls of purchasing online or from an unscrupulous dealer -- often being extremely disappointed in receiving a watch that was not as advertised or wholly authentic. As these watches are quite old, over the years many of them were restored or altered. While a restored or altered watch wasn’t a big deal in the early days of the vintage watch market, as a lot of the watches didn’t command such huge prices as they do now – it is very important in the market status quo, as replaced/service parts or improper restoration of a vintage watch can severely affect its value…and often, these shortcomings on a particular watch are not disclosed to the buyer.
How has the watch supply chain changed?
The watch supply chain has changed a lot as the market has increased exponentially over the past several years. With more people interested in the market, supply is gobbled up, making it much harder than before to source marquee and rare watches.
The collection of watches that Menta carries is so well rounded and a true collectors dream. What are some of your top picks for collectors in 2023?
Right now, the market has entered a period of uncertainty, shadowing overall global financial markets, causing many popular models to fall sharply in price. One of the most popular models over the past few years has been the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and in particular, Royal Oaks with a perpetual calendar function, which they began to produce in the 1980s. Those models saw massive appreciation – in interest and in price – over the past few years, and due to the current unrest, has also led to a swift and sharp decline in price. Audemars Piguet produced a variety of perpetual calendar Royal Oaks between the 1980s and early 2000s, although in extremely limited quantities. These watches offer tremendous value, as you are getting a large/jumbo sized Royal Oak (arguably the most iconic and important design by legendary watch designer, Gerald Genta) with incredible functionality (a perpetual calendar, which tells you the day of the week, date, month, moonphase indicator, and can even often adjust for leap years, without needing to be reset). While prices have decreased substantially from their all-time highs in late 2021 and into 2022, shrewd collectors should strongly consider adding them to their collections before prices go back up, which I personally think they will. I know I have!
What are favorites from your personal collection?
In my own collection, my favorite pieces are the ones that I have a personal connection to – a Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso Duo that my father gifted to me upon graduating law school, and the first watch that really got me interested in watches overall, a first generation Rolex GMT-Master (which is my favorite model by Rolex), reference 6542, which I acquired from the nephew of the original owner and had to travel and work hard to purchase, and a 1960s Universal Geneve Tri-Compax with an “exotic” dial, which was one of the very first proper vintage watch that I saved up for and purchased.
What do you envision for the future of Menta?
I hope that we are able to continue offering the world top-class, amazing watches at fair prices, and the ability to buy a watch with the peace of mind that our clients are getting what they pay for. Our watches are backed by a lifelong authenticity and “as described” guarantee. Menta has seen excellent growth year after year, and I hope we can continue to source and unearth some of the best watches in the world.