Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

Thread: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

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  1. #1
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    Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Hi, everyone. After weeks of deliberation, I've decided to dive into the vintage watch world with my first purchase. Problem is, I have limited funds and don't know anything about vintage watches. I am considering either an Omega, Longines or Jaeger LeCoultre, largely due to their classic simplicity and price levels, in silver and/or steel only. I've read up on what to look for and have a general idea, but I still need some help. Basically, my priorities are simplicity (no/minimal date function), classic styling, versatility (dress/casual), and price (under $500). So far, I've found the following on eBay, but I'm open to suggestions. Also, any input as to whether any of the following are fake would be appreciated. Thanks for your help!

    Longines

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=160413206495&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280477278605&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110508091853&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260567723091&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=110508488197&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

    LeCoultre

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230449901214&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT (my favorite)

    Omega

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=230450404769&ssPageNam e=STRK:MEWAX:IT

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Oh you are an evil person - all those wonderful watches. Any of them could do. You might also look at Tissots of this era - more bang for the buck with watches that are comparable.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    First, every one of them are redials except for the LeCoultre. A refinished dial hurts the value and desirability to most vintage collectors. Maybe, and it's a slim chance, the 3rd Longines is original but the font of the Admiral Automatic looks off to me. Most have replacement crowns - not a big deal as correct logo crowns can be found. Of the Longines, the 1st one has a nice manual wind 30L (one of the best of the era) and the 3rd one is interesting because it's a high beat 431 - but be warned they need more frequent servicing by a watchmaker familiar with the proper lubrication for such a fast moving caliber. In all honesty, I'd pass on every one of them.

    The LeCoultre is a nice watch, but may go over your $500 limit. It isn't really a Jaeger LeCoultre. JLC and VC partnered with Longines to create LeCoultre watches by shipping movements to the New York Longines / Wittnauer plant to be installed in American made cases. This went on from after WWII into the 70's when LeCoultre disappeared. Collectors differentiate between LC and JLC - with JLC usually a slightly higher quality and therefore bringing higher prices.

    That Omega is a redial, and in all honesty I'd stay away from the brand without gaining much more experience. Vintage Omega on eBay is a minefield - and you will get ripped off. Sorry to sound so direct but it's better to hear it now rather than $500 later, you know?

    Hopefully some more comments will come along from more knowledgeable members. Dumb luck that I happen to know a little about each of the brands you're after - at least enough to keep from losing my shirt!


    ps - there's a nice gold plated Geneve on this sales forum for $220. It looks all original to me - and I checked it against the Omega book. Search "GENEVE" there; it's worth the time.
    Last edited by ulackfocus; March 20th, 2010 at 04:57. Reason: typo

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  5. #4
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    The thought just occurred to me to give a little tip on reading eBay listings. What they DON'T say is more important than what they do. Be careful of a description where the seller goes out of their way to tell about each part of the watch, but then omits a key thing like the dial. Or even worse, they say "original dial" - meaning the metal dial is the original piece that was in the watch, but the paint is not. "Original finish" is the wording you want. Many eBay sellers omit certain details on non-original parts because 97% of the buyers are inexperienced. Technically they aren't lying - they're just not telling you everything.

    *stepping off soap box*

  6. #5
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Is the case on the LC refinished?
    Crystal a replacement??

  7. #6
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    I just looked at the above listing for the Longines Admiral. I'm even more suspicious of it now. It should say "Ultra-Chron" on the dial - or at least have the jagged symbol for the 36K bph caliber 431 inside. Also, it's a "C" case and the Admiral series in the 60's almost always had traditional round cases with normal lugs. After 1970, there were a few Admirals with that case but they only came after Longines lowered the bph to 28.8K and then the Admiral and Flagship series with those movements said "High Frequency" on the dial to my knowledge.

    Ultra-Chron jagged symbol on caseback:



    on dial:




    High Frequency denotation on dial of a 1972 Olympian:




    The more I look at it, the more I think it's a franken with a better than average redial.

  8. #7
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Wow... you picked up a lot more than me. I just skimmed through. Yeh, I don't buy in this end of the market. I satisfied my Longines lust a while back.

    I believe Longines to have been one of the best Swiss makers in this era... better than Omega... but I really don't want to start a flame war on the topic!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  9. #8
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Wow... you picked up a lot more than me. I just skimmed through. Yeh, I don't buy in this end of the market. I satisfied my Longines lust a while back.
    No worries Jim. We all specialize in our own favorite areas.

    ...and if you ever decide to part with that chronometer UC you know who to PM first.


    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    I believe Longines to have been one of the best Swiss makers in this era... better than Omega... but I really don't want to start a flame war on the topic!
    I'd have your back there, but I'd call Longines a little ahead of Omega through the 50's. By the early 60's Omega's automatics were about the same quality as Longines.

  10. #9
    Member Barnaby's Avatar
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    Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    I believe Longines to have been one of the best Swiss makers in this era... better than Omega... but I really don't want to start a flame war on the topic!
    I doubt you'd actually get many people disagreeing with you on that one - or, if they do, they probably don't know that much about vintage watches.

    I'm a serious vintage chrono lover, but must admit that I wouldn't buy a lot of the stuff on eBay - especially with a more famous name on the dial. I don't know how many fake/franken redialled Omegas or other big names I've seen with bog-standard Landeron 48-type movements inside - once or twice even with Seagull ST-19s! Guess many buyers can't tell. For me, it has to have a column wheel and be something I am relatively sure about. Then again, I buy largely for the movement anyway and don't care so much about the name on the dial.

  11. #10
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    Lightbulb Re: Help Me w/ My First Vintage Watch

    Wow! Thank you all for your responses. I wasn't expecting anything near that level of detail. You guys really know your stuff! Can you explain what a redial is exactly? Does it mean the dial is an original branded dial that has been repainted, or an new aftermarket dial from some other company? If the former, is that really so bad? I'm not looking to collect at this point, but rather something to wear as my daily watch. With that said, I'm glad to hear that the LeCoultre has an original dial. That one is my favorite of the group. I emailed the seller, and although he does not have the papers or service history, he claims that the watch does not need servicing. How much of that should be believed? If I were able to talk the fiancee into letting me spend more than $500, would the LeCoultre be a decent buy at somewhere near that price? I'd expect a few years of sturdy use at that price. Also, I'll keep my eye out on a Tissot, but feel free to point me in the right direction. Thanks again!

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