Bring a Brain XIX
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  1. #1
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Bring a Brain XIX

    Welcome to the 19th instalment in the Bring a Brain series! Today, BaB will cover some truly bad research, and, of course, rancid hype. This is your Bring a Brain! "The game's afoot: follow your spirit, and upon this charge..."

    First of all, witness the "masters" of watch identification at work, with this "1960s" Eterna:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...spillmann-case

    I don't know, I just don't know how lazy and ignorant can one be in order to fail to do even the most basic research. Their panegyrical claptrap about the 1960s style of the watch is beyond laughable, as it doesn't feature a single design feature typical of 1960s chronographs.

    If at least one of them advertorial copywriters would have had as much as an idea to look up Eterna serial numbers, they'd know the serial on the case points to 1937, and the one on the movement - to 1938. That said, the watch is from 1938, north of two decades earlier than their "estimate."

    Also, the case was likely made by Spillmann indeed, but it is hardly the Spillman case that anyone's really after. The waterproof Spillmann cases had a faceted (Taubert-style) case back, this one has a simple - and fairly crude - press-in back.
    "Eterna calibre 703." Surely, Eterna did have their own internally assigned calibre numbers for ebauches, but really, can't they tell a bloody Valjoux 22, one of the most popular chronograph ebauches of that time, when they see one?! By Jove!

    All in all, this watch is hardly anything special - with a non-shockproof movement (back then, the standard devices used by Eterna were their own Eterna-E and Eterna-H) and a non-waterproof case, it sat well below the best that Eterna had to offer in terms of chronographs and time-only watches alike.

    The authentication and identification of this watch has sadly been performed by someone who knows completely nothing about vintage watches, not even the basics of identification. Go work at a grocery store. Although, on second thoughts, no - if I'd ask for a cabbage, they'd sell me a lettuce. This contrasts rather sharply with the heading on the Shop's vintage watch section's site- "a selection of vintage watches carefully vetted by the Shop team." Vetted? Carefully? Their vetting of the Sahara wouldn't result in spotting any sand there, and they're the "I'll take a stroll through the minefield without a detector" sort of careful.

    Now, another example of stellar identification skills:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...=1496171544591

    First of all, the basic knowledge of vintage Rolexes isn't there, especially the part about the inconsistency in movement markings. This is not the calibre 1520, as the calibre 1520 was a no-date. The date version was the 1525. They make this mistake with just about every single Rolex with the date function that they sell. Also, "here we have a version with date and an elegant blue dial?" Ummm...no, this doesn't look particularly blue. The annotations on the photos mention a charcoal dial, so I wonder if the description was written by someone with a split personality, with the other personality being colour-blind. Although it's red-green colour blindness that's the usual type of this particular condition.

    Now, some ordinary fleecing:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...quest-calendar

    Given just how well-documented Longines is, it's - frankly - ridiculous, that they fail to provide an exact date of manufacture, especially that all it takes is either looking up the serial in freely available online resources, or sending Longines an email to get all the facts in 24 hours.
    The price is outrageous, especially for a piece with a case that's been tampered with.

    Next up, this Constellation:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...in-yellow-gold

    First of all, the plating on the rotor looks very different to the one on the rest of the movement, with the conclusion being a fairly obvious suspicion of a replacement part. Second, their take on estimating the production year is also rather unimpressive - the serial just before the 18 million mark suggests late 1960, case from a 1961 batch, the higher number dates the watch, conclusion: 1961.

    Now, this Doxa Sfygmos:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...=1496152080399
    "[...]powered by the Valjoux 23 chronograph movement, which resets to 3 o'clock." Ummm, copywriters, do your watches go backwards? This is 9 o'clock, not 3... Aaaargghhh, back to kindergarten. The movement is undeniably built on the Valjoux 23 base calibre, but it's hardly a standard 23 any longer, given the lack of a minute counter. Also, how exactly is a pulsometer dial "unusual" for the Sfygmos, which didn't exist in any other version than that with a pulsometer dial?

    JLC Powermatic, or when you don't know the difference between rotor and bumper automatic:
    https://shop.hodinkee.com/collection...=1496174362639

    "...and it has the 'bumper' effect, caused by the swinging motion of the rotor." Call it a hammer, an oscillating mass, but don't call it a rotor, because it isn't one. Which pretty much makes the distinction between bumper and rotor automatic movements. A rotor, dear copywriters, as its name suggests, rotates. Which isn't the case with the oscillating mass of a bumper automatic, which doesn't make a full 360 degrees around its axis. And no, the effect doesn't come from the swinging motion, as much as it does from the oscillating mass bumping off of the springs.

    That's all for this instalment of Bring a Brain. Hope you have enjoyed this round of horror stories, and as always, Bring a Brain will return if necessary!
    Last edited by mkws; December 14th, 2017 at 04:35.
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
    Edgar Allan Poe

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    George Orwell

    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    I like the way this installment had a clear theme, identifying rampant confusion between not only watch movements, but mundane things like colors, numbers, and times of day.

    The Eterna listing really bothers me. The case may have been made by Spillman, but I don't see any direct evidence for it; and various other companies made cases that duplicated the bent/faceted lugs. And there is no chronograph movement that is more immediately recognizable than the Valjoux 22. (That said, I really need the "fat" pushers from that watch to complete a project I am working on. :-0)

    I like the Conquest; I will need to look for one where the price is not entirely insane.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  3. #3
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by badbackdan View Post
    I like the way this installment had a clear theme, identifying rampant confusion between not only watch movements, but mundane things like colors, numbers, and times of day.

    The Eterna listing really bothers me. The case may have been made by Spillman, but I don't see any direct evidence for it; and various other companies made cases that duplicated the bent/faceted lugs. And there is no chronograph movement that is more immediately recognizable than the Valjoux 22. (That said, I really need the "fat" pushers from that watch to complete a project I am working on. :-0)

    I like the Conquest; I will need to look for one where the price is not entirely insane.
    Yeah, this time it was - in a way - back to the roots of Bring a Brain.

    As to the Eterna case, that's why I've said "likely made by Spillmann." Could have been, but indeed the facets on the lugs don't necessarily make it one. Besides, with this case not really having any of the practical features of the waterproof Spillmanns, even if it was Spillmann who made it, it's not all that relevant. It's on the lower end of Eternas of that time, and as such, has little significance or collectible value compared to other pieces from the brand.

    The ridiculous price tags on Longines watches are, pro maiori parte, The Advertorial Site's doing.
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
    Edgar Allan Poe

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    George Orwell

    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

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  5. #4
    Member VESPASIAN's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    I'm starting to think you don't like them...
    GhostlyProduct likes this.

  6. #5
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by VESPASIAN View Post
    I'm starting to think you don't like them...
    Yeah, something like that
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
    Edgar Allan Poe

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    George Orwell

    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

  7. #6
    Member VESPASIAN's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    Maybe they could sell my Rego Sport?
    pb9610 likes this.

  8. #7
    Member demonfinder's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    I`m no expert on either Eterna or chronographs but even with my limited knowledge I was able to see that thanks to Hodinkee at least putting more pictures on its listing ( no doubt thanks to your and others great efforts mkws) the word staybrite is clearly visible on te rear of the back cover.

    Even us relative newbies may know this is the early name for what later became known as stainless steel -and would therefore must date the watch to well before the 1960`s!
    Hopefully if pressure is maintained for Hodinkee to provide more pictures it will give more potential clues for potential buyers with more money than knowledge to go off to Google and investigate before pushing the button and buying their over priced and mis-described wares.
    mkws, pb9610 and georges zaslavsky like this.

  9. #8
    Member Watch That Sweep's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by badbackdan View Post
    I like the Conquest; I will need to look for one where the price is not entirely insane.
    If the conquest is to your liking, Longines have done a reissue which is very nice. It's even the original size!

    https://www.longines.co.uk/watches/h.../l1-611-4-52-2

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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    I'm amazed that you didn't comment on the spectacular "unique" dial Seamaster that Theo&Harris put up for sale two days ago !

    It should be right up your alley @mkws :)
    pb9610 likes this.

  11. #10
    Member mkws's Avatar
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    Re: Bring a Brain XIX

    Quote Originally Posted by MaiLollo View Post
    I'm amazed that you didn't comment on the spectacular "unique" dial Seamaster that Theo&Harris put up for sale two days ago !

    It should be right up your alley @mkws :)
    Just had a look at their site (didn't check it for a few days, it takes a week-long mind reset after diving in that sewer of a site) - you mean this one?
    https://theoandharris.com/vintage-wa...-seamaster-27/
    Obviously a redial, with a truly ghastly font and badly misaligned minute track.
    pb9610 likes this.
    I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it.
    Edgar Allan Poe

    If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.
    George Orwell

    (...)but that's what mankind is like: they only prize what they no longer possess.
    Erich Maria Remarque

    For any inquiries regarding vintage Doxa watches, please read the highlighted text in my vintage Doxa thread. Sorry, but I will not respond to PMs on the matter.

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