ROAMER vintage undervalued?
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  1. #1
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    When talking about the value of vintage watches (and collector's items as a whole) we have to keep in mind, that the 'value' is what the next collector is willing to pay for it, nothing else (leaving aside material value of the case, often giving the axe to the rest of the watch anyway). And as 'the last shirt has no pockets' and the children often have other interests, the price might be determined at a sale 'from estate'. I recently heared a sarcastic joke at a watch-seminar: There is an index figure determining when you should start selling your watches: (age) x (number of watches) = > 1000, start selling!

    Whatever, the vintage ROAMER watches, in my opinion, appear to be somewhat undervalued (if you take the idiotic prices in the present bubble as a benchmark). Especially some of their cases are really timeless.

    Shown below, one of my Roamer watches: 1960s model LimeLight Automatic with probably one of the best (most effective) automatic movements around, MST (Roamer) cal. 479 (ETA cal. 2622 f=21,600 A/h). Changing the date is not so effective with the most basic 'quick set': changing between 20:40 and 24.00 (better going a bit further after the date has changed in full to avoid any damages).

    When I bought this watch from a lady, I wondered how you can give this watch a pre-wind with the crown so far in. You could also see on the case, that someone has often tried to get a grip on the crown with tweezers or pliers. I asked her, how the prewinding on this watch is done and assumed that it most likely doesn't have the right crown. It was the watch of her husband, so she couldn't answer that question, but she said, that her watchmaker told her that the watch must be worn on the wrist to get the windings.

    Well, what do you know? Every automatic watch must be worn on the wrist to get the windings, but I was talking about PRE-winding.

    I got it anyway, because I liked the good condition and the looks and in any case, I have my (mostly unused) collection of watch winders.

    MY watchmaker told me the same thing. The watch does not need any pre-winding and I soon saw what he meant. Just when taking it out of the box, it starts immediately and after 5 minutes on the wrist, you already have acceptable readings on the timegrapher.

    The crown is really just for setting the time and date when pulled out.

    The watch got a new, not original but nicely fitting crown (the old one had also suffered profoundly) and a complete service. A couple of hours on the wrist, it has a good amplitude, a beat error of 0.1 m/s and a straight line across.

    Roamer also became a victim of the quartz crisis. In the 1990s, the company had been re-activated as a Swiss company in Switzerland under foreign ownership (Hong Kong). Their new products are good Swiss quality in the medium priced sector.

    As with all watches to collect: Stay away from any crap floating around on the market and look for specimens in acceptable condition, technically and optically.
    My favorites models: Anfibio, LimeLight, Searock and Stingray.

    Be aware, that f.i. the Anfibio (with patended watertight case) is a front loader, which means, that a simple look into the movement or and adjustments are something for the experts only, that's why some collectors shy away from it.

    More info here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roamer_(watchmaker)
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    Last edited by Border-Reiver; April 18th, 2018 at 15:27.

  2. #2
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    I'd like a Searock myself - nice watches.
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  3. #3
    Member georges zaslavsky's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    Roamer made in the past some very decent quality watches, eying myself for a valjoux 72stingray powered chrono
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  5. #4
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    I have never seen a Roamer that I didnt love (that is except India fakes/redials) it is a seriously under valued brand but keep it on the down low so us poor people can enjoy them.

  6. #5
    Member demonfinder's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    Hi Border,
    many of the Roamer models that used the patented "watertight" cases (that appeared in their first generation around the early-mid 1940`s ) can be opened with just finger and thumb pressure applied at the right places on the crystal which pushes the main case (complete with crystal ) through the back of the outer bezel casing.
    The split stem can then usually be removed with a gentle but sharp tug or with a pair of covered grips/pliers to avoid damaging the crown.
    Once the inner casing is removed you can usually lift off the tight fitting crystal by hand to clean or replace it and then remove the movement by gently removing a snug fitting retaining ring (some of which can feature the minutes markings) before lifting out the movement/dial.
    On many vintage examples however a build up dirt and grim can make them more tricky but I`ve found a light application of something like WD40 (and leaving to work for a few minutes )often helps with releasing the more stubborn examples..if in doubt don`t try brute force or you may well break the crystal.
    The original Roamer company shut up shop around the mid 1970`s but was revived again not much later I believe.
    Many un-named slightly more expensive Roamer watches used this type of case as well as the more well known Mustang,Anfibio,Rockshell,Stingray lines.along withtheir early in-house Automatic watches
    As long as the crystal on these types of cases hasn`t be broken or the crown separated/and lost they seem to generally give a good level of protection against general dirt,water penetration.
    I certainly wouldn`t swim in them though
    The bonus to the cases is the great case back design- Swiss Cross with 2 patent numbers,later refined case with 4 numbers and the final refinment post 1966 with the new "r" logo but also with a model number detailing which calibre movement the watch had (also model numbers on some late 2nd genration cases)Name:  IMG_20170915_224055369.jpg
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    last picture shows the case back of the improved type 2 design which now covers the entire back area of the watch and protected against the degredation of the less expensive chrome plated models which in previous versions suffered from pitting or plate loss due to sweat/moisture being trapped against the wrist.
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    Attached Images Attached Images

    Last edited by demonfinder; April 18th, 2018 at 14:40.

  7. #6
    Member Sansoni7's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    Mine:



    With a MST 360 from 1950.


    Step by step i will be there.

  8. #7
    Member bubba48's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?



    Anfibio Rhodesian Army






  9. #8
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    @demonfinder: Yes, you correctly pointed out, that some of the Roamer cases are not 'front loaders' but you press everything through the back, from crystal to the bottom, after removing the rip-crown. These models have also been called 'watchmaker's darling', as you can do everything without any tools (although watchmakers don't mind, as the usually have all the tools at hand anyway). But the process is still more complicated than removing a snap-on or screw-on back to get to the movement and the first attempt of removing such a crown takes some courage and overcoming and certainly you wouldn't want to do that everytime the forum community cries for a movement shot.
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  10. #9
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    Quote Originally Posted by KasperDK View Post
    I'd like a Searock myself - nice watches.
    Here is my 1960s Roamer Searock, movement AS 1901 with screw-back. Came to me with these funny 'fast-change-springbars'. I had to cut a slot into the leather of the new wristband for that (I know, I could have used regular ones. but I wanted to keep this curiosity).
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  11. #10
    Member demonfinder's Avatar
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    Re: ROAMER vintage undervalued?

    yep..a bit of courage is sometimes needed.
    Your nice Searock seems to have a stop-gap movement either just prior to Roamer having their last in-house 52x calibres ready for sale or possibly after they finally stopped producing their own movements.
    Although Searocks weren`t one of Roamer`s top lines they did some really funky dial versions as well as the nice electronic versions too.
    I believe they also used some slimline Peseux movements in another of their dress watch lines the Pall Malls not sure about Limelights .
    I`ve seen both lines on the web produced in solid gold cases btw.
    busmatt likes this.

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