At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

Thread: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

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  1. #1
    Member watch origins's Avatar
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    At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    I propose this scenario. I buy a ...Walthum and replace the crown with a similar one. I buy 2 watches and swap movements and cases to make one watch.Is it as simple as anything to alter the structure is franken or is the line broad?

  2. #2
    Member Outta Time's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    I think there are a few ways to draw the line. The correct movt, from the same year, company, etc etc, in the same type case it would have come in originally, is usually not considered franken, but an alternative movt from the same company would be, especially to collectors looking for original condition. Putting a watch together from spare parts would be considered franken, as there could be issues with finish on the movt, and just things looking cobbled together. Is a re-dial a franken? It certainly isn't original. I've had two identical watches on the bench, and one needs what the other has, and have combined the two to make a running watch with all the best cosmetic features, ie., dial and case. At an authorized service centre they replace what is broken with something new usually, but at a watchmaker's shop the repair may be something used in good condition, depending on the watch, or how rare or hard it is to get parts. (some companies refuse to sell parts to anyone) There are high end watch companies that simply trash your movt when sent in for service, and install a new one, and I'm not talking about quartz here. This would mean that your watch no longer has the original movt, but maybe a variant, something slightly newer. They also do not tell you this, and I have this on good authority from a contact within the company itself.

  3. #3
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    There is a difference between 100% original, 100% authentic and a franken. A franken can be 100% authentic but not 100% original.
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

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  5. #4
    Member AbslomRob's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    The main thing is the plates/bridges/cocks. Those typically have to stay together to have any claim on "original". Everything else (gears, springs, even the balance) can usually be replaced without offense. Its not "original", but its still true to the original.
    My growing collection of "affordable" vintages: http://www.abslomrob.com

  6. #5
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBaeker View Post
    There is a difference between 100% original, 100% authentic and a franken. A franken can be 100% authentic but not 100% original.
    I agree with you, but would like to add my opinions on your terms.

    Original = Zero identifiable replacement parts, with the exception of wear items like mainsprings and leather watchbands. This means original (not NOS replacement) crown, dial, crystal, buckle, etc. Very rare to find a vintage watch like this. Usually requires factory documentation not normally found with watches on eBay or in jewelry stores.

    Authentic = Contains replacement parts which are made by the manufacturer for the particular caliber. Wear items may be replaced with non-original items (particularly crowns, bands buckles and some crystals). Non-wear items, like gears, rotors and bridges may be replacements but must be OEM parts intended for the model or caliber. Watches that are otherwise 100% Authentic may be redialled, but should be identified as such. Factory restorations would fall under this category as well.

    Frankenwatch = A watch that contains non-wear parts not intended for the particular model or caliber. Replacing the incorrect parts with correct ones may upgrade a frankenwatch to 100% Authentic, but not 100% Original.

    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa

  7. #6
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    This is the best way to word it. I'm going to owe you royalties because this is getting saved for future reference (credited to you when used of course).

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    Original = Zero identifiable replacement parts, with the exception of wear items like mainsprings and leather watchbands. This means original (not NOS replacement) crown, dial, crystal, buckle, etc. Very rare to find a vintage watch like this. Usually requires factory documentation not normally found with watches on eBay or in jewelry stores.

    Authentic = Contains replacement parts which are made by the manufacturer for the particular caliber. Wear items may be replaced with non-original items (particularly crowns, bands buckles and some crystals). Non-wear items, like gears, rotors and bridges may be replacements but must be OEM parts intended for the model or caliber. Watches that are otherwise 100% Authentic may be redialled, but should be identified as such. Factory restorations would fall under this category as well.

    Frankenwatch = A watch that contains non-wear parts not intended for the particular model or caliber. Replacing the incorrect parts with correct ones may upgrade a frankenwatch to 100% Authentic, but not 100% Original.

  8. #7
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    And so would it be fair to say a fourth category is: Outright Forgery/Fraud?

    -A watch that has been assembled with authentic non-wear parts with intent to deceive a potential buyer into believing the watch is either 100% original and/or Authentic and rare? (e.g. sticking a rare authentic Seamaster Chronometer dial on top of a cal. 505 from an old Constellation and fitting it in an old authentic SM case.) Somehow to me this constitutes more than an ordinary franken and rises to the level of fraud.
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

  9. #8
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaBaeker View Post
    And so would it be fair to say a fourth category is: Outright Forgery/Fraud?

    -A watch that has been assembled with authentic non-wear parts with intent to deceive a potential buyer into believing the watch is either 100% original and/or Authentic and rare? (e.g. sticking a rare authentic Seamaster Chronometer dial on top of a cal. 505 from an old Constellation and fitting it in an old authentic SM case.) Somehow to me this constitutes more than an ordinary franken and rises to the level of fraud.
    The watch you describe is a frankenwatch, the description is fraudulent. That can happen with any watch.

    For example, if I had a nickel for every authentic LeCoultre watch marketed as a "Vacheron" due to the VXN import mark on the movement, I'd be a gazillionaire!

    Take care,
    gatorcpa

    P.S. - Vacheron & Constantin and LeCoultre shared nothing more than a US import company (Longines-Wittnauer, Inc.) in the 1950's. In fact, LeCoultre made many of the movement parts for vintage V&C, rather than the other way around.

    See this article from SteveG for more info:

    http://ninanet.net/watches/others12/...s/mjlc125.html
    Last edited by gatorcpa; January 10th, 2011 at 17:33.

  10. #9
    Member DaBaeker's Avatar
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    Re: At what point does a restored piece become a franken?

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    See this article from SteveG for more info:

    JLC's Classic Ebauche
    wow! those close-up shots are brilliant. I see a family resemblance in some parts but not enough to say siblings. Check out the finishing and tapering of the pallet stone holder(I know its called something else) on the VC. damn!
    :ROLEX OMEGA LONGiNES ♦ SEIKO Aquadive ♦ ELGIN ♦ hamilton O&W imexZodiac......

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