Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...
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  1. #1
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    Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    I'm in the process of educating myself about vintage watches - specifically very old English and European pocket watches.

    A large part of my education involves browsing ebay auctons to get a feel for the variety of different watches and models.

    There seems to be a large number of watches coming from sellers in Bulgaria and Eastern Europe. It is claimed many of these watches were awards for bravery or wartime heroics and come with medals and certificates.

    Now perhaps I'm being overly cynical but it seems to me unlikely that these communist governments or dictatorships would fork out big cash on high grade Swiss and English watches.

    Is this a really big obvious scam or are they legit?

  2. #2
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    You're not being cynical about the watches - most coming from that area are frankens or fakes. Whether or not you're being cynical about the politics of defunct Communist governments.... well, that's a forbidden subject here and I wouldn't know anyway.

  3. #3
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    I've bought a couple of wristwatches from Eastern Europe which have been very good. Some of those countries were quite prosperous before the second WW, and no doubt imported many luxury items.

    But one of the biggest opportunities for scamming collectors of anything old is to attribute a false provenance to inflate the price. You are quite right to be cautious - whatever part of the world you're buying from.
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects."

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

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  5. #4
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    I'd need to see some examples to know what you mean. It sounds like something quite different from the Soviet-parts "military award" frankenwatches that are sold by Russian and Ukrainian sellers.

    I've bought from Russians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, and many others. I've had few problems with eastern European sellers because I've been very sellective of what I buy. Ukrainians in particular are excellent photographers and the photos usually expose any inaccuracy in the description of the item.

    Bulgarians have been particularly good to deal with, in terms of communication, packaging, payment, accuracy of listing, condition of item, etc... however I've only bought Soviet-built watches from Bulgaria. There used to be a seller called theoldwatchmaker (maybe he's still around) who waas very honest in his listings and really did service the watches prior to selling them!
    badbackdan and Ard like this.
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...


  7. #6
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    Quote Originally Posted by Navitimer View Post
    Now perhaps I'm being overly cynical but it seems to me unlikely that these communist governments or dictatorships would fork out big cash on high grade Swiss and English watches.

    Not cynical, but off by a several decades. These are all pre-WWII. No communism in these countries then, and they were living in their economic heyday between the turn of the century and the great depression. I am from one of these countries, and I can tell you that what my family managed to hide from the communist regime was on par with the best the west had to offer at that time (what was taken by the regime was too according to accounts, but I never saw it). The rising middle class acquired such items as status symbols of increasing prosperity and sophistication. Just putting in a little historical background -- the stories that go with these watches might still be fantasy, but they are not invalidated by the historical context.
    Last edited by LouS; May 12th, 2010 at 23:23.

  8. #7
    Mod. Russian, China Mech. Chascomm's Avatar
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    A pair-cased verge watch with typically Turkish-styled dial and Turkish medal would certainly be from the Ottoman Empire. As far as I know the Turks did not make their own watch movements but imported them for local casing-up.

    Lange watch awarded to a general...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/A-LANGE-SOHNE-18...item45f1b02475
    I'm no expert, but the Communist-era Glashutte display box is the only obvious jarring note in that listing.

    Again, I'm no expert, but it looks like a pre-Revolution Moser to me. Ask over on the Russian forum and you might get some more info.

    The Tsarist Imperial double-headed eagle and soldier's photograph look plausible to me. Another Pre-Revolution Russian.
    Chascomm
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  9. #8
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    Hi -

    +1 on "theoldwatchmaker", I bought several vintage Russians and a Prim from him. They were spot-on, and I'd not hesitate buying from him again...but he doesn't appear to be on ebay anymore.

    JohnF

    PS: I work with a number of Bulgarians and have found them to be good folks. But as always: caveat emptor!
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    Re: Bulgarian watch sellers....fishy...

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnF View Post
    Hi -

    +1 on "theoldwatchmaker", I bought several vintage Russians and a Prim from him. They were spot-on, and I'd not hesitate buying from him again...but he doesn't appear to be on ebay anymore.

    JohnF

    PS: I work with a number of Bulgarians and have found them to be good folks. But as always: caveat emptor!
    the old watch maker is still around :))

    http://shop.ebay.com.sg/theoldwatchm...&_trksid=p4340

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    I too have bought from 20 year member of e bay from bulgaria
    He accepts all returns and the only thing is buy it now price is twice normal then accept offer is reasonable usually. Auctions of military seem more like the WW2 stiff is vintage,and or redialed most likely after war polish etc made.
    The high end buy or best offers are legit IMHO
    Always buyer beware but this seller has even had movts fixed a year later albiet shipping can be a tad high from US but he will pay of its soon after purchase
    I think its possible to buy from bulgaria and find some great watches
    Again ask questions and never rush a buy unless its a price you can live with if its a watch thats not the real deal 100%
    Most pocket watches have history of parts changed and cases etc other than truly confirmed by records etc
    Then if a jeweler had it made special from original state so...
    badbackdan and Ard like this.

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