Dial Refinish?

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  1. #1
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    Dial Refinish?

    I'm still a noob at watch collecting and I've been scouring the bay pretty hard as of late. What is everyone's opinion on refinished dials? It almost seems like a necessity on some watches if you want a nice looking watch at a decent price. Been looking at King Seikos and Tissot Seastars. Many with redials. How concerned should I be about what this does to the value of the watch? I'm looking to wear these watches, not collect and resell.

  2. #2
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Most vintage collectors will skip a listing with a redial. No interest at all, so it kills the value.

  3. #3
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Clearly an original dial in great condition would be better than a redial, but what about the case where a watch would otherwise have a pretty scruffy dial. Is it still worth more with the original dial than it would be with a good redial? There are just so many watches out there that have great pedigrees and quality movements ,but the dials are crap. In my mind there is no point in owning a watch that looks outwardly tattered. Part of my problem here is that I don't understand the quality hit you take when you refurbish a dial. Does anyone have any before and after pics, or comparison between original and refurbished dials?

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  5. #4
    Member Ray916MN's Avatar
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    From a collector's viewpoint a redial is a significant value detractor. Most collectors want pristine condition and originality.

    Redials can be done very very well and be very hard to distinguish from the original. A good redial is not inexpensive. For a simple dial, you're going to pay at least $100 and for a typical high end watch dial I'd expect to pay closer to $300. Original dials tend to be finished better too and more resistant to age deterioration. When you factor cost and quality in, typically it makes more sense to pay more and just get a watch with a decent original dial.

    OTOH, as you are interested in buying a watch to wear and not resell, the preceding comments are probably inconsequential, so buy whatever you like and be happy.

  6. #5
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp375 View Post
    There are just so many watches out there that have great pedigrees and quality movements ,but the dials are crap. In my mind there is no point in owning a watch that looks outwardly tattered.
    I think that statement says more than you realize, and it's why some of us spend 2 or 3 years hunting down a mint original example. Like you say, there ARE sooooo many watches out there and no point owning a tattered one.... so wait for a better one to come along.

    Here's a great example: my '60 Longines Conquest. I knew I wanted one long before I joined here. I knew the features I wanted and what the correct dial, crown, medallion, etc all looked like. I researched when the particular model was offered and matched the company's serial numbers to that year to minimize the possibility of a franken. I tracked what they were selling for on eBay and other watch sites. When the right one popped up I was not going to be denied. Total time for the whole process - estimate of 1.5 to 2 years.




    I hunted an Omega Constellation pie pan about as long and had some help from an expert.








    My Longines Flagship took over 2 years - but part of that knowledge was gleaned while cramming for the Conquest.








    I don't want any old watch. I want as perfect a specimen as I can find. "Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity." - Seneca, Roman philosopher and politician


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray916MN View Post
    When you factor cost and quality in, typically it makes more sense to pay more and just get a watch with a decent original dial.

    OTOH, as you are interested in buying a watch to wear and not resell, the preceding comments are probably inconsequential, so buy whatever you like and be happy.
    That's what it boils down to. I would add that you pass on a redial even if you don't consider yourself a collector - because you might evolve into one and regret the purchase.

  7. #6
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Actually as a collector, I of course want a mint condition, original dial, case, hands, movement, etc., BUT, contrary to the statement above, MANY collectors do not mind having a dial redone according to original specifications, or new OEM hands replace old ones, or a gear or two fabricated to replace the old ones that no longer function and are no longer available--of course these restoration notes are included in any sale, trade or whatever. Not everyone needs or wants a beat up old watch just because it has a well known movement, or a rare dial, or whatever--many of us want the old to look like new, or as close to the original as it was first manufactured.
    Here today, here tomorrow...




  8. #7
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Quote Originally Posted by jp375 View Post
    I'm still a noob at watch collecting and I've been scouring the bay pretty hard as of late. What is everyone's opinion on refinished dials? It almost seems like a necessity on some watches if you want a nice looking watch at a decent price. Been looking at King Seikos and Tissot Seastars. Many with redials. How concerned should I be about what this does to the value of the watch? I'm looking to wear these watches, not collect and resell.
    First and foremost I buy watches for the pleasure they will bring me. I'm picky about dial condition and would rather have a very nice redial than an original scruffy, faded and corrroded dial. There are some collectors who feel that the dial and the rest of the watch should be left as is with no restoration performed. To them deterioration on a dial can be seen as beautiful patina and something to be enjoyed. Most of us can live with a little deterioration but when it gets to be an eyesore then most of us would I think opt for a refurbed dial.

    It's worth noting that there are a lot more people who re-paint dials than there are people who do a good job when they re-paint dials. So be very picky and be willing to pay what a re-dialed watch is worth but no more. A re-dialed watch should sell for les than an original one in excellent condition.

  9. #8
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    Re: Dial Refinish?

    Great comments and insight. Considering the cost of a redial, it does seem to make sense to take the time and wait for the perfect specimen. Couple more questions...

    Would it be correct to assume that any dial that is already 40 years old, is going to be in a further state of decay than a refurbished one? And being so, not last YOU the new owner as long as one that has been recently refurbished? After all, inks and glues do break down even under ideal conditions.

    Do modern manufacturers test their dials for exposure to UV, Temperature, Humidity etc? Seems like if the proper modern materials were used, new dials should be much, much more robust than dials from even 20-30 years ago. Is this true, or don't they stray far from the old ways of dial manufacturing.

    Might seem like I'm being paranoid here, but when I think of spending even $1k on a watch, I would like to know that with proper service and care it will still look great when passed down to great grandchildren. Am I crazy for thinking this?

    I would stick to new watches, but many of the vintage watches are much more appealing from a design perspective. (Not to mention, much more reasonably sized IMO)

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