Favre-Leuba vintage help
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  1. #1
    Member Thomas_Gage's Avatar
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    Favre-Leuba vintage help

    Hey guys, I bought this as part of a 3-watch batch from eBay, and the seller said it is not working. I love the subdial and old look of it and was thinking of getting the movement repaired by a pro in Chicago (Father Time) to give to my mom for her birthday but I am not sure if it will be worthwhile or not. Any help on this is well appreciated! Sorry, no pics of movement.


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  2. #2
    Member Paul_S's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    That's a charming little watch.

    As for whether it is worth it, I guess it all comes down to time and money. Many watchmakers won't touch the old ones; some will quote a high number just to discourage you.
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    There is something more to the art of watchmaking and repairing than that of merely assembling a watch and making it 'tick.'
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  3. #3
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    What specific information do you want to help you decide if repairing it is "worthwhile"? The watch appears to be legit as far as I can tell from those limited photos. The plated case and lugs are in rough shape, but the dial and hands seem ok. Obviously you need a new crystal. Overall, I'd characterize it as a mid-tier vintage watch in fair-to-good condition. Even if you are lucky and only a simple repair is needed, the cost of the repair will be many times the value of the watch, so it is not financially worthwhile, strictly speaking. But since you are considering it as a gift, it's really a very subjective decision on your part. Do you like it enough to spend a few hundred dollars on as a gift?
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  5. #4
    Member Thomas_Gage's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    I guess I'd be willing to throw $200 at repairing it and extra for getting a band, but I haven't taken it to Father Time to ask for an estimate yet. Do you think this will be sufficient or, in your opinion would it be more? I've read that sometimes the movement is pretty simple to take apart, but this does have a subdial complication so it might be more complicated. Thank you for inspecting it and saying it's legit, I also read somewhere that many "vintage" favre-Leubas are being reproduced/repainted in India, which to my understanding has something to do with the fact that a subsidiary of Tata motors bought the watch company in 2011


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  6. #5
    Member Thomas_Gage's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    As a follow up: any idea of the age of this watch? I feel like the older it is, the more I'd want to repair it. Is this correct thinking?


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  7. #6
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    The fixed lugs suggest 1940s to me, but age is only one factor in putting a value on a watch. There is no certainly shortage of surviving watches form the 1940s; some were originally sold as high-end watches with well-known brand names in SS or gold, and others were sold at a lower price point in plated cases from mid-tier brands. While we all would like to see as many vintage watches repaired and preserved as possible, it's probably obvious that some are more worth preserving than others, but this is a very personal choice, and as I mentioned before, your decision about repairing this example is pretty much a sentimental one.

    I don't know that particular repair place; if you're very lucky you might get away with $200 for service and repair, but something tells me it could be quite a bit more since it is Chicago and the watch is not running at all. But hopefully it will be something incredibly cheap and simple and you will be lucky.
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  8. #7
    Member Paul_S's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    This is about as simple as a mechanical watch will get. The subdial isn't a "complication" per se. The second hand just sits on top of a gear (the 4th wheel) that rotates once a minute. A center-seconds hand is much more complicated.

    You could find an indie watchmaker to prep the watch for under $200, including a new mainspring, crystal, and such.

    As for age, some old watches are old and crappy (like all the bad 1-jewel and 7-jewel pin-lever movements), but this is probably a solid watch inside.
    badbackdan and Thomas_Gage like this.
    There is something more to the art of watchmaking and repairing than that of merely assembling a watch and making it 'tick.'
    ---Walter Kleinlein, Rules and Practice for Adjusting Watches (1940)

    Member, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors

    My blog about precision timing: AdjustingVintageWatches.com


  9. #8
    Member Thomas_Gage's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    Thanks you two for all your help. I think I will go for it, barring a discouragingly high price from the shop.

    Paul, any suggestions on how to find an indie watchmaker in case I can't follow through with option A?

    And badbackdan, I was hoping you'd say 1940s, that is awesome. I really like the lugs on the F-L. Thanks again, and I hope your back is doing well :)


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  10. #9
    Member Thomas_Gage's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    Update: Jim at Father Time said he'd have to see it in person, but a simple cleaning would likely cost $350, while a complete overhaul would cost $1000


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  11. #10
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: Favre-Leuba vintage help

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_Gage View Post
    Update: Jim at Father Time said he'd have to see it in person, but a simple cleaning would likely cost $350, while a complete overhaul would cost $1000
    Those are crazy prices. As Paul_S indicated, a complete overhaul (otherwise known as a COA for clean, oil, adjust) should cost less than $200 for such a simple watch movement.

    Edit: Maybe search the forum using the keyword "Chicago" because I recall a thread a while back where someone from Chicago asked for and received a referral to a local watchmaker.
    Last edited by badbackdan; March 8th, 2017 at 21:38.
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