It's Wednesday, and Wednesday is (occasionally) the Bring a Brain day! As always, I'm bringing you a fine compilation of our favourite fleecers' fails and sordid writing, for your entertainment, education and the laughs. Lads and lasses, behold: this is your Bring a Brain!
First, some stuff from the Shop. First of all, that Eterna:
First of all, it's massively overpriced. Five times, at least. Second, no picture of the movement, and the movement has not been identified. "Manually wound Eterna-signed movement." Well, that description fits a few dozen movements. By Jove. Third, it's an Eterna from the "lower end" of Eterna's offer back then- as it has a press-in back. Then again, even if it was a screw-back, it wouldn't justify that price. The watch dates to 1955, at least the case number is for 1955- but someone was too lazy to look up the serial numbers chart. I'm also not very sure, if that font is correct- it's a late 1950s-early 1960s one, and I'm not sure if it was already in use in 1955. The letters appear out of proportion, growing from left to right.
The listing also contains something completely conjured up from thin air- no, Eterna did not make their first automatic movement in 1948! Where did they get that from? The first rotor automatic from Eterna, with the Eterna-Matic System, was introduced in 1948, but Eterna made automatic movements- bumper ones- for a few years already then. The first mass-produced family of Eterna bumper automatics, (calibres 833, 834 and 835), was introduced in 1939.
Next, this chrono:
That's quite much for a Landeron. Oh, by the way, which Landeron? Because again, they haven't identified the movement. Landeron 11? Landeron 13? Something else?
Massively overpriced Zenith Respirator:
Again, the hype. No, it's not a Heuer-bloody-Monaco!
Longines 7150 diver:
Longines is one of these brands, which are fantastically documented, and which provide info for free in a day or two. So what does it really hurt them to send Longines an email, and get all the info?! "Early 1960s" doesn't cut it, not with a Longines. Another thing is the case description. It's a Piquerez Super Compressor alright, which means, that it's a bayonet, not screw-down back!
Looks like they have Louis on the job again, because again I have something to write about. For the last few months, they barely gave me any reason to rant about the offer of the Shop, now the distinctive lack of research and a ton of mistakes is back.
That's it for the shop, now let's get to their writing, which I find dreadful no less. Especially this one:
First, there goes asking the wrong question- "when will restored watches become OK to own?" They are OK to own, it's not OK to blag big money for them. Of course, that would probably be his dream to make people think otherwise, the Shop would then sell redials, which they already did, only now they'd sell all these lemons openly. What's next, a campaign for overpriced frankens?
"Before we vilify Christie's..." But vilifying Christie's is inevitable here, my dear redial-selling friend. They have sold a watch with an incorrect dial, without having it properly verified, and now they're selling it with a replaced dial, with the estimate being ten times the selling price the first time they sold it! The estimate shouldn't go even near 50% of one for an untouched specimen. The comparison with cars is not exactly a good one, as not even vintage, but contemporary pre-owned cars with no history of crashes sell for way more than ones, where the paint thickness indicator doesn't show different results all throughout the car... I believe we have tried that comparison here in the forum, and I don't remember it working a single time.
The thing with restored dials is, that they will never be fully identical with the real thing. Never. Which is why telling the redial from the real deal is possible. Repainting a car and restoring a dial are two very different things. It's more like with restoration of paintings. Let me show you an example:
Yep, that's the "restoration gone wrong", done by an amateur in a Spanish church. Redialing is a bit like making a copy of a piece of art alright, and the thing is, that if we compare that to art forgers, a David Stein or a Han van Meegeren happens once in ten thousand unknown authors of Dogs Playing Poker. Not that the kitschy pooches don't evoke some sympathy by how kitschy they are, only they're hardly anything of a masterpiece.
And that sums up the majority of redials out there. The original dial and original finishing are the very essence of a vintage watch, and the trick is to tell the cherries from the lemons. Which is why that article stinks of a dilettante trying to cut corners by making lemons acceptable.
There's also the point about transparency. Yes, it is important, and you'd do well to remember that- if it were really that important to you as you say, I wouldn't have written half of the Bring a Brain rants. The thing is, that it doesn't matter if a bottle of blended Scotch has "blended" or "single malt" on the label- the contents stay the same. That said, redials will be redials. The guy really became a lampoon of himself.
Next, a piece, which is long overdue for a proper shelling. Not exactly Hoodwinkee, but it does concern them. I think that it would be a shame to waste an opportunity to share my thoughts about that piece of graphomania.
Confessions of a Watch Geek - The New Yorker
Mr. Shteyngart's writing style is not bad, it's the story that's stupid. Starting from non-Hodinkee things, the part about the subway. "Sir, I feel like I'm dying." Reminds me of a story that a certain paramedic once told me. Their ambulance was speeding through the town, as someone phoned the emergency about an "unconscious person." Upon arrival, they have met an elderly woman, who said "Such a relief that you're here, I've been feeling very unconscious today." By Jove. That crew could have been needed elsewhere, to someone really in a need of help- someone with a heart attack, a stroke, or whatnot.
The part about splashing the fat on the strap in a restaurant made me laugh. Mr. Shteyngart, have you heard of these two simple tools, known as "knife and fork?" Or do you eat with your wrists (not even with the fingers)?
"...all roads led to one Internet site: Hodinkee..."
All roads? Looks like you have taken the wrong turn somewhere, Mr. Shteyngart. U-turn advised.
The part about gluten-free Martinis also has me somewhat gobsmacked. Not sure what I like less. Forster's pseudo-philosophical talk, or the idea of a gluten-free Martini. Matters of significance, if anything Hoodwinkee-related could ever aspire to that title, are better off discussed over a proper Martini, or Scotch. Gluten-free martini. So uncivilised.
And from that part of that story, it becomes very hard to read. Especially the part about the VC Cornes de Vache LE for Hoodwinkee event. The "secret event" and black Lincoln straight out of a cheap novel aside, I don't like the "see no evil" approach there. The entire cooperation was rather unsavoury from a journalistic point of view- especially that Hoodwinkee has included VC watches in comparative reviews. It's a bit like if a journalist would be writing about a relative or someone close to him/her. Be it a financial or an emotional relationship, it's just something a journalist shouldn't do. And which is pretty nasty coming from a site run by someone with a degree in journalism- and who apparently skipped some lectures about the basics of ethics in that line of work.
I have struggled to read it from the beginning to the end. A bit sad, truth be told- upon seeing such a gullibility fest, I don't know whether to hate the snake or to pity its prey. With Hoodwinkee as his oracle, he won't get far- then again, they're a magnet for the rich and naive.
That's it for this Bring a Brain- hope you have enjoyed it, and as always, Bring a Brain will return if necessary!