Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado
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  1. #1
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    Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Hi there,

    I am new to this forum and not particularly schooled in the world of watches. I'd greatly appreciate advice on this matter. I have a vintage 60s Rado Voyager that needed a new movement because the old one rusted. I took it to a repair shop and the guy replaced it with a movement that he told me at first would be Rado but then when I noticed the color or the day/date was gold and not white (as was the original movement) he said it was not Rado but a comparable Swiss movement. I just noticed when changing the day that the alternate to English is now in Japanese. I also hear a rattling sound when I gently shake the watch next to my ear. I don't remember that from the old movement. I think I got taken. Can anyone shed light on my situation? And if I was taken, what should I say to the watch repair shop?

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    Last edited by Idamae; August 2nd, 2014 at 17:50.

  2. #2
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    IN legal matters, the most important thing is, what was in writing? If you got a quote that says he was going to replace it with a vintage Rado movement, then you have the right to give him the movement back and get your old movement. Otherwise, you're in a much grayer area. In terms of if you got taken, how much did he charge for this? Take the watch to another watchmaker and get pics of the movement; if he just stuffed in a Chinese clone (worth about $20) and charged you +$100 plus, then yeah you might have been taken. If he put in a vintage Swiss movement, it may depend on the exact movement he used and if he did a service on it. As for the rattling sound, is it an automatic? Many automatic rotors become loose over time, and the Chinese ones sometimes are loose right out of the factory; all depends on what exactly is rattling.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    I was quoted $450 from a reputable Swiss watch repair place and then took it to this other guy who told me he was going to replace it with a Swiss movement but that he was giving me a discount at $380. It might be Japanese lettering, not Chinese, not sure. Nothing in writing but I feel like if he told me Swiss and I ended up with Japanese that is a problem and I should at least confront him on it. I want to be prepared for his response. Is he going to say its a comparable, quality Japanese movement? I want to know if the rattling is also something I should bring up.

    Also, he told me I need to wind it every day-as well as wear it to keep it from stopping. I thought that was weird. He said he hand winds his automatic Rolex everyday and that is how you make sure it is keeping good time. Is that true?

    I feel like a total sucker...

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    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Can't say until you get a movement pic. But it sounds like you got a Japanese movement. While that is not necessarily bad, it isn't what you were told. If you take it back and get him to open the case, you should see "Swiss" on the movement.

    The Better Business Bureau accepts complaints. At this level, a lawsuit is not worth it.
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    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Update: I asked him about it, said I am not happy and suspect it isn't Swiss and he said that the new Swiss movements sometimes have English/Chinese. Does anyone know if this is true? Can I open the back or is that not advised?

  7. #6
    Member Tomcat1960's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Well, a Japanese movement is nothing belonging in a Rado. Period. Regardless of whether it is 'of comparable quality' or not. Moreover I believe, it's not even a Japanese one but a Chinese ETA 2836-clone. This would be both cheaper and of inferior quality to the genuine Swiss 2836.

    All said, I recommend to re-read lesson 1 of vintage watch collecting (which deals with the acquisition of knowledge, more knowledge and even more of it), followed by lesson 2: see to it to find a good, trustworthy watchmaker who will give you a fair deal for their work.

    Edit: the guy should at least tell you which Swiss movement he put into your watch. As for whether it's advisable to open the back yourself - in most cases it isn't. If the guy gave you a proper invoice you can check out the conditions of his work - sometimes they explicitly prohibit opening of the watch at your risk of losing their warranty.

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    Last edited by Tomcat1960; August 2nd, 2014 at 18:19.
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    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Well, the day wheel could be in any language; that doesn't tell you anything at all. However, remember that you can't just drop different movements into a watch and expect the dial to line up correctly and the movement to fit properly; different movements have different dial-feet locations and retention screws. Rado (like most companies from this era) just used standard movements from the big movement companies; the difference between a Rado and a more generic brand is the quality of the finish and things like custom finished rotors. That's not a trivial difference though. Technically, any movement that uses the same ebauche will fit the watch; including the generic chinese made movements. Such movements can often be bought new, or can be picked up from old watches.

    The only way to know for sure is to look at the movement. As Tomcat says, you don't want to open it yourself; that'll just further muddy the waters. But if you take it to a qualified watch person, there shouldn't be any issue with them opening it up for you with the proper tools. And if the movement isn't what it was represented to be, then who cares about the warrantee, it's a question of misrepresentation.

    Having said all that, that doesn't necessarily mean he was trying to "take" you; he may feel that the movement (whatever it is) is a suitable quality replacement for the money, so don't go calling fraud on him. If the movement was cleaned and serviced before he put it in your watch, then the cost isn't bad. Remember that a new ETA automatic is in the 2-300 range.

    Everything here depends on what the movement is; without that critical piece of information, it's all speculation.
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    Member Shum's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    I just got two working Rado watches for junk money so why he coulden't find a Rado one is beyond me.

  10. #9
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Possibly because for a watchmaker to "find" a junk movement and then turn around and sell it to a customer means spending the time and effort to A) find the right movement B) do a complete COA on the movement to make sure it actually works (since if it dies two months later, guess who's coming to dinner?) and C) repeat steps A and B should the movement turn out to be unsuitable. Collectors like you and I can do this because it's just our spare time hobby. Someone trying to make a living as a watchmaker has to have different standards. This is why you almost need to make a clear distinction between watchmakers who work on "vintage" watches and watchmakers who work on "modern" watches.

    A good approach these days is to source your own "junk" movement and present it to the watchmaker when you bring your watch in.
    Last edited by AbslomRob; August 2nd, 2014 at 19:05.
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  11. #10
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    Re: Suspect a cheap knock off movement replaced in vintage Rado

    Rado only used A Schild or ETA movements so anything else does not belong in that case. Ask him to name the movement he replaced yours with and, if necessary, to open the case and show you the movement with the correct markings as proof.
    ETA movements are common and relatively easy to work on for a reasonably skilled watchmaker so I think you have reason to expect genuine parts for the price you were charged.
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