Help with vintage Roamer

Thread: Help with vintage Roamer

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  1. #1
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    Help with vintage Roamer

    Hi there,

    I was wondering if anyone could give me some help with a vintage Roamer I just bought from ebay. It was advertised as dating from the 1930's and looks fairly art deco, but as a complete beginner I don't know if this is true or not.

    The number on the back says 2384 and on the sides are the letters GDR, and 20 on the opposite side. The picture might not show this but it's 17 jewels and the face says 'anti magnetic'.

    I've attached some pictures but my camera's not great so it's hard to pick out the details. It keeps good time, but needs a really good clean up. The glass is quite scratched and a bit green around the edges, and the face is dirty and mottled. The case is also very discoloured.

    I bought it for about 17. I'm not asking for a valuation, but do you think it was worth it?

    Also, how would I start to find a good watch repairer?
    Sorry for all the questions, I really am a beginner but am trying to learn as I go!
    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    I'd say it's from the 1950s. It'll cost probably 3-4 times what you paid for it to service and restore it. It's worth it if you really like it or if it's a family heirloom. Otherwise no.
    There should be plenty of watch repair shops in the London area. Just look for one that does repairs on the premises and isn't just a place to get a quartz battery changed. Perhaps some of our UK members can suggest a good one.
    Last edited by Ray MacDonald; September 21st, 2009 at 18:30.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  3. #3
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    Thanks for that. Bit of a shame, as I was really hoping it would be older and worth restoring! Is it not worth doing because of the condition of the watch, or because of what it actually is? I really like it but will have to have a think about whether I want to spend the money on this.

  4. #4
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    Because of what it is. It's probably featuring a nice enough 17 jewel movement which is in need of cleaning and service. That will normally run you around $100 US or 60 GBP.
    Ladies watches of this era are not particularly sought after or valuable. Hence the low price.
    Most new collectors just think about getting a bargain watch and neglect the cost of service which is inevitable when you buy off eBay.
    I don't think it's worth paying less than the cost of service for any Vintage watch unless it really appeals to you and you don't care that you are spending more than you'd ever get back to get it in decent running condition.

    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  5. #5
    Vint. Forum Co-Moderator Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    If you search 'Roamer ladies' in the wristwatches section on ebay and then tick 'completed listings', you will see that - excepting the solid gold examples - they have fetched between 99 pence and 4.99. Apart from one (16.75) which I think is the one you bought. If you spent, say, 35 getting it serviced, it would be unlikely that you would get your initial money back.

    Ladies' vintage watches are not collected by many people because:

    • most collectors are men
    • the modern style for women is for much larger watches

    This means that you can build up a really nice collection for very little money. Really top brands - (e.g. Omega, Rolex) do fetch higher prices - but still a lot less than the male equivalent. Its supply and demand. But you can get lucky. Attached is a picture of a Tudor watch I got my wife for 26. Male equivalent - 5 to 6 times that. I also got her a Certina for 99 pence. So ordinary brands don't fetch much.

    But you got a lovely little watch for a modest price.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

    Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

    Many of my pictures were posted via Webshots which has now closed - and so have disappeared from WUS. Sorry.

    Please don't PM me to ask for a valuation - I won't attempt one.

  6. #6
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    Oh that's really nice, I love that

    To be honest I think I just got in to a bidding war with the Roamer and felt stubborn!:oops: I haven't spent more than about 6 on a watch and often less, but I liked this one and believed the vendor when they said it was 1930's. I think if I could have seen how much work it needed I probably wouldn't have got it, but I guess that's the downfall of using ebay.

    I really want to get something that's genuinely older as I have several 50's/60's era pieces. Any tips of what to look for?

    Really appreciate all the advice!:thanks

  7. #7
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    Ray thanks, that's sound advice. As I think I said elsewhere, at the moment I'm buying things I like and want to wear and trying not spend too much since I don't have much knowledge. I really did like this little one and will look in to getting it serviced simply because I want to wear it - but I will definitely be more cautious in future!
    I have fallen in love with these old watches though - I don't like the larger modern styles and like the fact that each vintage watch has a history behind it.

  8. #8
    Moderator Emeritus Ray MacDonald's Avatar
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    You can look for men's watches from the 1930s and 1940s as well, since they tend to be quite small and can easily be worn by women today.
    US brands that I like for ladies are Elgin, Waltham, Bulova, Gruen. Tissot and Longines would be good choices as well. Just remember that the older the watch the more likely restoration will be needed.
    Here's a 1936 men's Bulova that would work just great as a ladies watch today.
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    There are fathers who do not love their children; there is no grandfather who does not adore his grandson. ~ Victor Hugo

  9. #9
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    That's such an interesting looking watch, I would definitely wear something like that

    I've already seen a few Longines and Bulovas that I like so will keep looking out for those, and the other brands you mentioned. That's a good tip about looking for men's watches from that period too, I hadn't thought of that.

  10. #10
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Help with vintage Roamer

    You might want to get yourself a copy of Shuggart's price guide. The prices themselves aren't necessarily useful as a guide, but seeing the price of a given watch relative to other watches can be helpful to determine what you want to look for.

    On ebay, I find its best to only bid once or twice, and then walk away. Unless you <really> want it, in which case you're best to not bid at all until about 10 seconds before it ends, and then bid as high as you you're willing to spend for that item. Bidding wars just tend to make you pay more then you should have, which lowers your enjoyment of what you won.

    As for what to look for; what do you have already, and what are your "collecting" goals?
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

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