Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials
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  1. #1
    Member DC guy's Avatar
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    Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    I came across this Hamilton on the bay and it blew me away at first, as I had never seen such a thing before.

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    Vintage Mans Hamilton "Tyrone" Manual Wind Red Dial Fully Serviced | eBay

    But when I checked out the seller's other items, I saw tons of other vintage watches with similarly new-looking dials in red, blue, green, yellow, etc. They are obviously modern-day replacement dials, not originals. I doubt they are authorized or licensed by the manufacturers (some of whom no longer exist).

    The movement and case shots make this look like a real vintage watch, but this "Extreme Makeover" restoration gives me pause. What do you guys think about this practice -- is it like defacing the Mona Lisa? OTOH, if the original dial was completely ruined and not restorable, would you consider this type of restoration acceptable?

    I could see it going both ways -- the modern enhancement could either add or detract from the resale value, depending on who you tried to sell it to. Personally if I weren't concerned about resale value, I would love to wear a watch that looks like this. It is a real "show-off" watch and to me that is part of the appeal of buying vintage in the first place.
    Last edited by DC guy; February 21st, 2015 at 17:20.

  2. #2
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    People are gonna have different opinions of this common practice, but in general, these "restorations" are to be avoided. My personal opinion: it's not vintage, it's not new, it's not even Hamilton anymore, it's just an attempt to make a buck from a broken down old watch that was once legitimate. I'd rather have a watch that is ugly and broken but 100% original. If I want something that looks new, I'll buy a new watch.

    I personally see this as the vintage equivalent of a fake.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    It is a real "show-off" watch and to me that is part of the appeal of buying vintage in the first place.
    Unless you run in a radically different crowd...You will be amazed how seldom anyone notices/comments on the watch you are wearing. If you are looking to get noticed - the current trend of wall-clocks worn on the wrist is a better bet.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Most of these redials in strong non-original colours come out of India. They are painted like that because its easier to cover up blemishes with dense colours than it is to refinish them properly. Sorry, but I don't like them at all and would not want to wear one.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Quote Originally Posted by Marrick View Post
    Most of these redials in strong non-original colours come out of India. They are painted like that because its easier to cover up blemishes with dense colours than it is to refinish them properly. Sorry, but I don't like them at all and would not want to wear one.
    Frankly, I don't think they belong in the vintage watch category on ebay. It's extremely frustrating to have to wade through the 20-30 that pop up daily when going through my saved searches.
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    Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    No way these should be classified as 'vintage' - I came across this seller when I first started this hobby over a year ago and had a similar initial response.

    Then I pretty quickly decided they were pretty garish - 'to each his own' in the end - but 'tacky is as tacky does' - IMHO Scott


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    Last edited by Sdasurrey; February 22nd, 2015 at 10:36.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Those dials are not generally replaced. They're repainted. The figures and the sub-dial are still there. Sellers differ in whether they redo the original print in different colors - as in the example the OP posted - or don't even make that nod to originality and just put the name on in some other font.

    Mostly they do it to second-tier brands, like Hamilton, Elgin, or Bulova, which would normally not sell for the prices these tarted up ones fetch. That's what I find galling. If I took the same watch, painstakingly restored it, polished the hands, hand-polished the case, with a NOS dial, the proper glass crystal, a NOS crown, and a period correct band, I might get 1/3 of what they get for this dolled up rubbish.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Like SDA, I remember when I first saw this guy's stuff - only a few short years ago, but now they fill me with revulsion. They are disgusting. I know it's nice to say 'to each his own,' but these things are aesthetically unbalanced, clumsy and profane. None of the original designers of the watches would have been so ham fisted. Hideous cack. And it fills me with anger, too, to see the prices he appears to attain (for who can say what the real final prices are) for these abominations. To paraphrase Monty Python, he is a '…pig dog, I spit in his face, I fart in his general direction.'

    Happily though, the value of these watches longer term will be negligible, unmeasurable... just wait 'til you see them coming up in estate sales, see what they do and smile to yourself.
    Last edited by Habitant; February 22nd, 2015 at 18:12.
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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Quote Originally Posted by Habitant View Post
    Like SDA, I remember when I first saw this guy's stuff - only a few short years ago, but now they fill me with revulsion. They are disgusting. I know it's nice to say 'to each his own,' but these things are aesthetically unbalanced, clumsy and profane. None of the original designers of the watches would have been so ham fisted. Hideous cack. And it fills me with anger, too, to see the prices he appears to attain (for who can say what the real final prices are) for these abominations. To paraphrase Monty Python, he is a '…pig dog, I spit in his face, I fart in his general direction.'

    Happily though, the value of these watches longer term will be negligible, unmeasurable... just wait 'til you see them coming up in estate sales, see what they do and smile to yourself.
    I applaud the "...Holy Grail" reference.

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    Re: Vintage watches with colorful replaced dials

    Quote Originally Posted by GeneJockey View Post
    ...Mostly they do it to second-tier brands, like Hamilton, Elgin, or Bulova...
    Yes, this is common, however there are so so many butchered Omega on the 'bay too - a lot being garish and crass like the Hamilton above, but also faked (and yes, they are faked) black dials, 'military'-esque dials - see a black dial with far too much lume applied - and railmaster/ranchero style dials. These are not military, they are not railmasters, they are F A K E
    specto magis

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