Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

Thread: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

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  1. #1
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    Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    I am a true noob to this site as I only signed up today. As a noob, I would usually just keep my mouth shut and do a lot of reading. However, today I would like to solicit some advice.

    I have recently become enamored with vintage watches. As an avid user of ebay (go ahead, slap your forehead) I have spent quite a few days looking at some of those offerings. I have mainly purchased and sold cars on ebay so in general, I know what to look for as far as targeting scams and dirty sellers. In addition, I always only pay through Paypal using my Amex as Amex has always refunded the charges when Paypal drags their feet. I have also been looking at vintage watch retailers. Unfortunately, those guys sell for much higher than what I am looking to spend.

    First, let me start with what I already purchased and then explain what I would like to purchase.

    I am former U.S. Air Force and I like items with military history. I found a WWI era pre Zenith signed Georges Favre-Jacot on the dial. This watch is NOT mint but it has a certain patina that I found attractive. It is a retrofitted pocket watch. In addition, the back is engraved with markings that correspond with... I will just post the ebay description:

    "Vintage example of a men’s ca 1915-1918 timepiece. It is a unique, vintage Georges Favre-Jacot CHRONOGRAPH example of wristwatch.

    ...features original Porcelain DIAL (have some small cracks under bezel) with black enamel Arabic numerals, 30 min - counter.
    Rare original two-hinged case is in excellent-very good condition. Peeking inside I find there is an stamp "19898". The outside of the outer case lid have engraved mark "P.u.W. Jnst. Abtg." and a Propeller with Wings - German Flying Corps Mark.
    This beautiful wristwatch has the original RARE movement. Working very good.
    This beautiful antique wristwatch has the original movement in an excellent status which was very well saved, considering age of this watch. Mechanism has been recently serviced to ensure it winds and sets smoothly while keeping great, accurate time. The winding crown is in very good shape and operates properly."

    I find it hard to believe that this is a fake as faking that type of patina would be difficult. In addition, you probably would not have a fake engraved. My concern is that the movement may not be original.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    Important information missing: what country was the seller from?

  3. #3
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    Another Watch...

    The watch I really want to get is a vintage Patek Phillippe. I either want a converted pocket watch or wrist watch. This can also be a Tiffany or BB&B Patek. I'm looking for something late 1800's or early 1900's. The absolute top of my price point is $4k, but I would like to spend less than that (I know, you get what you pay for). I like things from that era. Besides, how much more is a 100-year-old watch going to depreciate?

    I have noticed that some early Tiffany (claimed) Patek watches do not have any Patek markings on them. How can I be sure that the movement is Patek?

    This is what the seller says about the watch:

    "This timepiece features an ORIGINAL handsome single-sunk white porcelain enamel dial is in excellent to mint condition. It features a 60 minute checkered outer track border with black enamel five minute Arabic numerals, elegant black enamel painted Roman numerals, original blue steel filigree hands and a sunken seconds dial with 60 second outer chapter and “sweep” original blue steel seconds hand.

    Signed TIFFANY & CO in black enamel lettering below the XII and further signed NEW-YORK.

    It is a registered design model that features a three piece CHROMED STEEL case that provides with glass cover of back lid. This watch was converted from pocket watch. CHROMED STEEL case, new custom made, fantastic, build specially for this excellent PATEK PHILIPPE movement. The new winding crown is in very good shape and operates properly.
    Peeking inside via the glass lid I find a spotless and high quality, STRAIGHT LINE DAMASKEENING manual wind nickel plated lever escapement movement with the WINDING WHEELS WITH WOLF TEETH TRANSMISSION, GENEVA PATTERN and IMPRESSIVE LARGE BIMETALLIC BALANCE.

    The impressive large bimetallic balance wheel takes nearly the half of the diameter of the movement. Such large balance wheel is another attribute of a lever chronometer. The timing screws are made of rosé gold.
    The long-arm index riches the centre wheel bridge, which is furnished with an engraved register. That design of the index allows a similar timing of the watch as a fine regulator.

    One bridge holds the escape wheel; the escape wheel bearing is furnished with a ANOTHER STEELEND PIECE. This end piece is used to minimize the axial clearance of the wheel arbor and enhances the precision of this important element of the escapement. End jewels also protect the stuffs from dirt and dust.

    The movement signed TIFFANY & CO – NEW YORK. Also it signed movement serial number No 79841. This serial number corresponds to 1887 production date as per published records of PATEK PHILIPPE & Co.

    This beautiful wristwatch has the Original movement in an excellent status which was very well saved, considering age of this watch.

    Obviously, this is a much more expensive piece than the other ebay special. I was wondering if this is a true Patek? If it is, are "Tiffany" labeled Pateks as desireable as other Pateks? Anything I should look out for?

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  5. #4
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    Re: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ulackfocus View Post
    Important information missing: what country was the seller from?

    Ah, good point. That was another thing that scared me. Both seller are from Ukraine. The watch i purchased was inexpensive and the purchase was done through Amex. I just want to hear this kind of stuff before I make a much larger plunge with a Patek.

    Are there any countries to watch out for?

  6. #5
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    Re: Another Watch...

    I don't think the case is at all sympathetic with the dial and the movement.

    Also, the fingerprint on the movement is a bad sign re workmanship.

    I believe Tiffany did not let manufacturers sign the movements they sold - so the only way to be sure is to remove the dial, get the serial and query PP at your cost.

    I will repeat some advice from the recent DOXA thread.

    Be careful of big pocket watch conversions, the bigger the balance and the finer the pivots - the more likely they are to break. Pocket watches were designed for a cosseted existence, wrist watches do not enjoy that. That is why old pre antichoc wrist watches were generally small, with small balances - they are tougher although at the cost of timekeeping.

  7. #6
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    Re: Another Watch...

    Also, that engraving on the first one is even depth with no wear obvious, I would say it is recent.

    The chronograph hand is also a modern non sympathetic replacement. Also, the regulator is well over, so it probably was not serviced properly or well or at all. A proper service on a chronograph is EXPENSIVE.

    Countries to watch out for:

    India, Ukraine, Bulgaria - but you need to judge the watch no matter where it comes from.
    Last edited by trim; October 26th, 2010 at 21:19.

  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    Quote Originally Posted by PPLover View Post
    Both seller are from Ukraine.
    Run away. Get a refund. Send it back. These "military" watch listings from Ukrainian sellers are hoping for somebody inexperienced like you. I don't mean to be nasty, but you need to hear it straight - I've NEVER seen a watch from the Ukraine I would buy. They're all frankens and fakes.

  9. #8
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    Re: Another Watch...

    Quote Originally Posted by trim View Post
    I don't think the case is at all sympathetic with the dial and the movement.

    Also, the fingerprint on the movement is a bad sign re workmanship.

    I believe Tiffany did not let manufacturers sign the movements they sold - so the only way to be sure is to remove the dial, get the serial and query PP at your cost.

    I will repeat some advice from the recent DOXA thread.

    Be careful of big pocket watch conversions, the bigger the balance and the finer the pivots - the more likely they are to break. Pocket watches were designed for a cosseted existence, wrist watches do not enjoy that. That is why old pre antichoc wrist watches were generally small, with small balances - they are tougher although at the cost of timekeeping.
    Good points! Would you recommend instead that I look for a 1930+ watch that was made as a wrist watch instead?

  10. #9
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    Re: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    Quote Originally Posted by ulackfocus View Post
    Run away. Get a refund. Send it back. These "military" watch listings from Ukrainian sellers are hoping for somebody inexperienced like you. I don't mean to be nasty, but you need to hear it straight - I've NEVER seen a watch from the Ukraine I would buy. They're all frankens and fakes.
    Not offended at all. That is why I asked and I appreciate the frankness.

    Would you suggest I only purchase for here in the U.S.?

  11. #10
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    Re: Vintage Watch Noob needs help!

    Quote Originally Posted by PPLover View Post
    Would you suggest I only purchase for here in the U.S.?
    Not necessarily. You could post the pictures of what you're considering and let the membership here give opinions. Just leave a few days before the end of the listing to get answers.

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