How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?
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  1. #1
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    Cool How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Hi All,

    I posted my first thread weeks ago in the main forum, and I have gotten so much help, and have been just browsing on eBay and different websites almost everyday. I've read articles suggesting to "buy" the seller, not the watch. But I have found out that some sellers who sell fake watches are still getting 99+% or even 100% positive feedback. I guess a lot of the buyers (well, it will include me) have no clue that they are getting a fake watch. They are happy as long as the watch is running and looking pretty.

    So, my question is, what will be the simplest way to spot fake watches on eBay? My main focus is a vintage chronograph (preferably made prior to the quartz crisis), and my budget is pretty low ($300). I'm not looking for the big brand names like Rolex, Omega, etc. Will that reduce my chance of getting a fake one?

    Any feedback will be much appreciated

  2. #2
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    You are absolutely correct that this glib advice "buy the seller, not the watch" is pretty much useless on eBay, since many terrible sellers have mastered the art of preserving 100% feedback ratings. We will be happy to help you evaluate watches on eBay.

    I am now about to give you highly subjective personal advice, and I hope others will chime in so you can get a broader perspective.

    A $300 budget will not get you a decent vintage chronograph, even on eBay. Moreover, you will need to have another $300+ to invest in a service. I would wait until you are ready to invest $700-$1000, which would allow you to buy a chronograph for $400-$700 and have it serviced. The low end of that range will be smaller no-name chronographs with entry-level movements in plated cases. The higher end of the range will get you into stainless cases with a recognizable entry-level brand name.

    If you have $300 to spend, I suggest you buy a nice vintage time-only watch from a high quality mid-tier brand for $200, and invest the remaining $100 in a service.
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  3. #3
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    I'm not sure of a simple way, but if you decide on a brand or movement of watch that you are looking for you can research those and learn what they are supposed to look like, what an original dial and case might look like, etc.

    There are fake watches which are attempts to fool people into thinking they are entirely something else, then there are poorly restored watches, also sometimes meant to fool people. There are also Franken watches, put together from various parts and pieces, these can be from repair jobs in the past, when a movement was replaced if parts couldn't be found, or they can also be attempts to fool people. If you aren't looking for exact historic accuracy you might not be as worried about these. You'll probably get to the point after a few years of collecting where it matters to you more, or not, I don't mind a nice Franken watch.

    Have fun on the hunt!
    Heckflosse likes this.

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  5. #4
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Quote Originally Posted by badbackdan View Post
    You are absolutely correct that this glib advice "buy the seller, not the watch" is pretty much useless on eBay, since many terrible sellers have mastered the art of preserving 100% feedback ratings. We will be happy to help you evaluate watches on eBay.

    I am now about to give you highly subjective personal advice, and I hope others will chime in so you can get a broader perspective.

    A $300 budget will not get you a decent vintage chronograph, even on eBay. Moreover, you will need to have another $300+ to invest in a service. I would wait until you are ready to invest $700-$1000, which would allow you to buy a chronograph for $400-$700 and have it serviced. The low end of that range will be smaller no-name chronographs with entry-level movements in plated cases. The higher end of the range will get you into stainless cases with a recognizable entry-level brand name.

    If you have $300 to spend, I suggest you buy a nice vintage time-only watch from a high quality mid-tier brand for $200, and invest the remaining $100 in a service.
    Great advice. Thanks


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Heckflosse likes this.

  6. #5
    DON
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Just be sure to stay away form those pin lever fake chrono's with dials at 8 and 10. Seen people bidding like crazy on some restored ones and they're garbage

    Some can look very expensive, but not



    DON
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    The golden rule is to research the watch your buying. There is simply no substitute to learning all you can about a model before buying it.

    There are however a few general things you can do. I take a holistic approach. The biggest clue is the sum of the parts, the parts of the watch must match. For example if there is rust on the steel movement parts, you wouldn't expect to see a pristine dial.

    As you learn, you'll pick up other clues. Dial reprinters are currently wrestling with alignment. If there is a subdial, it's easy to spot. They also struggle to match the texture of the original finish, especially if the original is a lacquer. I'm sure there are redaillers out there who have mastered these techniques.
    Fonts can also be a giveaway. But you really need to know your stuff here.

    Another give away is the movement. Do the bridges all match? Often frankenwatches will have been assembled from many movements. The parts age slightly differently, giving them a different coloUr tone.

    Does the movement fit the case? Is the case/dial/ hand/ crown combination right? Omega case numbers can be decoded to tell you about the original watch.

    Lastly, buy the seller. A 50's watch in pristine condition is a rare thing. Take a look at the seller's other items. If an ebay seller has an unending supply of new old stock vintage watches, all in fantastic condition, then that should ring massive alarm bells.

    Don't pay any attention to ebay feedback. It's too easily faked.


    And lastly Badback is right. $300 won't get you a decent mechanical chrono. You'd be lucky to buy a bag of nails for that. I suppose it could happen, but it'd be the deal of the century. If you must have a chrono for $300, go quartz. Or if you really must have sub dials, ditch the chrono feature and pick some other cheaper complication to fill those subdials.

  8. #7
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Thanks to everyone for the help!

    I'm quite conservative on my budget, since it's going to be my first vintage watch (I have an old pocket watch, but I didn't do much research back then...)

    My main goal here is to find something that I really like (one that I want to wear whenever I go out). The second goal is, if, for some reason that I had to resell the watch, I'd be not take a big loss. I'm not hoping to make money, but at least I don't want to lose money. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to make that I'd not be buying a fake watch. That being said, I can go to the $500 range if that range is going to better fulfill my goal. I assume the entry level vintage watch is not that popular, so it may be harder to resell it for a good price.

    Let's say if I bought a watch for $500, and spent $300 on servicing. Will it be unrealistic to expect that I'll be able to sell it for $800 down the road?

    Please let me know if I should start a new thread, because I feel that my response is a little off topic...

  9. #8
    Member Carl.1's Avatar
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Nothing from India!

    It is true, whatever you buy you will have to get it serviced regardless of what the seller says...'serviced, yes sir' mmmm I doubt it.

    The problem then lies in whether the watch needs parts and the joy of finding those parts. Don't let me put you off but the joy of a vintage watch can cost a bit. Do not think you will get your money back, you will not. The reason there are vintage watches out there is often because they are worn and shonky and people are moving them on or people have bought them and then realise they can not get it serviced as they want and shift them on.
    Don't buy the seller, what a crock, buy the watch.

    An an old watch will always be an old watch.

  10. #9
    Member Dan S's Avatar
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heckflosse View Post
    Let's say if I bought a watch for $500, and spent $300 on servicing. Will it be unrealistic to expect that I'll be able to sell it for $800 down the road?
    I wouldn't count on it. You should not expect to recover the cost of servicing in a resale price, and there can be significant unexpected costs that arise during repairs. While high-quality entry-level and mid-tier vintage watches can be very satisfying to own and collect, as investments they have the problem that service and repair costs are a high percentage of the purchase price (and don't forget sellers fees).
    -- Dan (formerly known as @badbackdan)
    ------- @oldwatchdan on Instagram -------

  11. #10
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    Re: How avoid/spot fake watches on ebay?

    it can be done.

    you can get 7733/7734 Valjoux chronograph for a bit more money. I sold a few of mine for 300-400$ ..and they were all serviced. avoid ebay, look at WUS sales .
    badbackdan likes this.
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