Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces
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  1. #1
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    Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Should I avoid reconditioned watches altogether? Some of the pieces I have viewed look almost like new. I have read that a restored watch is inherently less valuable than one that is completely original which makes perfect sense to me from a collectible standpoint. But does this mean that such a piece is not worth the asking price, assuming it is completely authentic otherwise? I'm not necessarily interested in making a profit as I don't view a watch as a great investment for gain. As many have posted, "Buy watches that you enjoy and don't worry about what others think". I agree completely, but I would still like to know that my purchase retains some value. It's one thing for others to question my taste in a watch and another thing completely to question the intelligence of my purchase. If anyone can comment on the type and extent of refurbishing that is acceptable or unacceptable (i.e. dial vs hands etc) I would appreciate it.

  2. #2
    Member James A's Avatar
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Hi bigo,

    I think at some stage in collecting you have to define for yourself where the line in the sand sits as far as the condition of a watch you find acceptable.
    Below are 2 images. I didn't like the condition of the case and thought it would only get worse. However some people thought it was ok. The hands had a bad re lume so generally everyone thought it best to fix the hands. As a rule of thumb always try to get a watch in the best condition you can. Having said that, if I like a watch for its movement the look of the dial and case is secondary. I would re dial a watch if I thought it warranted it ( I am not in the never re dial camp) but so far it has not happened.




    Regards,

  3. #3
    Member Tomcat1960's Avatar
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    There is no general reply to your question, bigo. There is not just a line between 'new' and 'used', there also is one between 'patinaed' and 'derelict'. And of course there is your personal preference - do you like them old (but still wearable) or do you prefer new or new-looking ones? In the latter case, rehabs are for you.

    One last thing: this devotion to patina is very typical for this forum. There are other fora where they look at you with disdain when you show an old watch, let alone one with vestiges of use. To those fora you may be more welcome with a collection of new-looking watches.

    But again - your taste should govern your steps.

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  5. #4
    Member Marrick's Avatar
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    I agree with everything that has been said so far.

    Just to add - there is high quality restoration and there is low quality restoration. There are a lot more low quality examples out there. As an analogy, think about an old car which has been painstakingly restored and one which has had a load of filler put into the body and a quick respray.

    In many ways its safer to buy a watch which has acceptable age-related defects than one which looks pristine but which may have been treated to a quick and cheap cosmetic fix.
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Some really good answers guys, and JamesA, that JLC is stunning looking. Kudos all round.
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  7. #6
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    It is really down to what you like and what you are will to pay. I bought a 1958 Omega Seamaster that was fully restored because I loved the look of it and I liked that it looked brand new. That said I have other '50s Omegas that are in original condition. As for future value, I couldn't care less. They are for me and me alone.
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  8. #7
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Briefly, what are some major flaws to look for when looking out for low quality restoration?

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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Okay, you asked for it...

    1. Cases shouldn't be 'over-polished,' by which I mean that it shouldn't glow like liquid metal–this just looks too new, too unused. Edges on the case should have sharply defined, crisp edges.
    2. Dials, when restored, should be accurate in colour, style and printing to the original. Very few vintage watch had pink dials. You need to research, research, research to ensure that the style is correct. Some companies, such as Omega, have really helpful databases where you can do this research. When in doubt, or suspicious, ask others on this forum. Apparently there are other forums out there, too, some of which may specialise in brands (ie Hamilton), but you'll have to track them down yourself.
    3. Dealers who are selling restored items should be upfront about it–what's to hide, really?
    4. Be wary of dealer-speak; if it doesn't say 'original' in clear words, it's probably someone trying to distract you with something they've messed around with. One guy here in the UK likes to talk about 'provenance polishing' for example. That doesn't mean original, far from it. There are lots of similar weasel words about.
    5. ASK someone who knows. There are guys here who are genuine world-renowned experts on particular areas. Look at the published advice given by one such member, Dr Roland Ranfft, who has excellent advice on his website (which I won't regurgitate here) http://www.ranfft.de/uhr/info-e.html There are many pages of useful information there, but this link talks about movement condition in particular. Read it, it's worth it.

    Others will chime in…


    Quote Originally Posted by bigo_do5000 View Post
    Briefly, what are some major flaws to look for when looking out for low quality restoration?
    Last edited by Habitant; September 17th, 2014 at 15:08.
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  10. #9
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Lots of good advice here...I would add on the subject of dials that distinguishing between an old (good) redial and an original dial can be extremely difficult - even with the watch in-hand for inspection. So...when a seller says "Original dial" it doesn't mean that it is - honest mistakes can easily happen.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Questions About Reconditioned/Refurbished Pieces

    Indeed. And it's now getting difficult to distinguish factory re-dials from 40-50 years ago and 'original-original.' Presumably 'we' (collectors in general) must have a few watches out there that we have misattributed provenance on.

    Anyway, then there are 'factory NOS' dials, stock dials that have been stored for years, but that some would argue are not truly 'original' as they weren't fitted to the watch at the time of manufacture. And on, and on. Suffice to say there are only so many angels that can fit on the head of a pin. I have a couple of watches that I really don't know about. I hope they are 'original,' but I don't know. I have an Omega dial from 1939 that I think is original (it looks properly aged, consistent with the length of time), but that a really expert Omega collector thinks is an 'old re-dial.' Sigh.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleotime View Post
    Lots of good advice here...I would add on the subject of dials that distinguishing between an old (good) redial and an original dial can be extremely difficult - even with the watch in-hand for inspection. So...when a seller says "Original dial" it doesn't mean that it is - honest mistakes can easily happen.

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