Why is this done?
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  1. #1
    Member bspargo's Avatar
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    Why is this done?

    Hey, a small question that has been bugging me, i'm sure someone here will know the answer. I've seen this enough times on ebay now to deem it a reasonably common occurrence. Sometimes on a watch movement or caseback, somewhere, somebody has clumsily scrawled the name of the watch brand, in such a poor fashion it is abundantly clear that it was not done in the factory. Sometimes the brand does not even match the brand on the dial. I've seen it enough times now to realise that it must have been a practice to do this a long time ago. But what i can't work out is why???

    Here is a link to show what i'm talking about, see the case back and the chrono bridge.
    Vintage Up Down Chronograph Pilots Wrist Watch WWII Venus 170 Wakmann | eBay
    also not a bad buy at current price i might add lol! (not mine!!)

    thanks,
    Ben.

  2. #2
    Member morris1500m's Avatar
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    Re: Why is this done?

    I have no idea why, but I have also seen peoples scratch there names onto the movement which I assume is an anti-theft device and also people who have scratched "un-adjusted" on to watch movements. I assume that these people must have been extremely bored.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Why is this done?

    actually "correct", as surprising as it may seem. watches imported to the US in the 1940s had to be marked with the actual importer's markings, country of origin, jewel count and "unadjusted" or "adjusted to" (import taxation was calculated based on these values). Theory is that watches that had originally not been produced for export to the US were manually (and often surprisingly roughly) modified, some of the watches even have the original manufacturer marking removed as the OP example shows) marked upon arrival, mid/late 40s onwards these "childish" markings disappear and all US imports are stamped ex works.

    here is an example of an early 40s Breitling Premier, jewel count & unadjusted stamped ex works, "Swiss" and Breitling scratched by a hen.

    Last edited by WatchFred; July 15th, 2015 at 13:13.
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  5. #4
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Why is this done?

    Somebody must have scratched out the original name for some reason and later, someone else (or the original 'scratcher') wanted to make sure that the movement can be identified. I cannot imagine that the intention was to pretend the movement comes from another manufacturer; in this case it would have been done differently. I don't see this as a common occurence, but rather a rare exeption, unlike manipulations on the dial.

    What could also be possible: Perhaps, the watch got a new movement of a different type, and the owner wanted to make sure that this is correctly reflected on the lid.

    What goes to my nerves is that the watchmakers, doing a repair- or service job, often left their scratchings inside the case. Just imagine, everytime you have your car serviced or repaired, the mechanic scratches his initials and repair-codes around under your hood or trunk lid. You have a service booklet for that.

    I have a few very old verge watches. Some of them are full of markings, making the inside look like a bridge peer full of graffity.
    Last edited by Border-Reiver; July 15th, 2015 at 12:54.

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    Re: Why is this done?

    Fred's right, I even have one myself marked in this way on the movement and the inside of the case back.

  7. #6
    Member Border-Reiver's Avatar
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    Re: Why is this done?

    Quote Originally Posted by bobbee View Post
    Fred's right, I even have one myself marked in this way on the movement and the inside of the case back.
    The only explaination I have in this case: The watch got a new movement from a different manufacturer and this was reflected by scratching out the old name, to be replaced by the new one. People, who want to fake another type of movement would not do it in this way. This is too obvious and rather a sign of honesty.

  8. #7
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    Re: Why is this done?

    WISers
    This is a little far afield from the topic.
    But back n tha day, most RR Grade pocketwatches usually had the date of last cleaning and inspection scratched (or sometime etched)
    on the inside of the caseback. As a matter of fact, both my Hamilton RR Grade pocket watches have the watchmakers initials on them.
    RWW (Richard W Wheeler) 8/88. He was RR watch inspector for half of the RR companies in my city.

    X traindriver Art

  9. #8
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    Re: Why is this done?

    Different countries have different import rules regarding the markings required. These markings were designed to a) ensure the proper tarrif was paid and b) ensure that the consumer would be able to verify what they were purchasing. The rules for these marking varied from time to time; the US originally required a count of adjustments (and it had to be a count), and later changed that to allow "unadjusted". Also originally, they required the name of the manufacturer. They later changed that to also allow the name of the importer. Later still, they implemented the import code on the balance cock (and you'll occasionally see watches with these codes scratched in, possibly indicating they're from the transition period). Many other countries (England and various commonwealth countries, notably) had requirements too that were usually a bit less extensive then the American ones, so a watch shipment that was originally bound for (say) Canada could conceivably get redirected to the US in mid transit. That would require the movements to get re-marked on the wharf in New York.
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    Re: Why is this done?

    Quote Originally Posted by Border-Reiver View Post
    The only explaination I have in this case: The watch got a new movement from a different manufacturer and this was reflected by scratching out the old name, to be replaced by the new one. People, who want to fake another type of movement would not do it in this way. This is too obvious and rather a sign of honesty.


    Not this one, it is an unmarked Tavannes 38-1. It is marked at the top "The Rex Co.", and the case back the same.
    I would say it's a small producer/jobber supplying made-up watches for a market in need during wartime.






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  11. #10
    Member bspargo's Avatar
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    Re: Why is this done?

    Thanks everyone! I knew there had to be an explanation. It's too poor to be an attempt at fakery, so i knew it had to be something else. It seems the general consensus is the import rules and markings required. Actually gives me a little more faith when i see some of these sorts of pieces that they are actually genuine! With Watchfred's example for instance, being a top name like Breitling, i (and i think a lot of others) would simply not have bid on a watch like that because of the poorly scratched brand name on it! But now i know a little more, and another one of ebay's little mystery's is solved :)

    Ben.

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