This is a tale of woe, posted here so that others won't get ripped off in the same way as I did.
I bought a FL Sea Chief from one of the Indian sellers on ebay. It wasn't very expensive at £27.55 shipped, so I wasn't expecting very much. Despite this, the seller still managed to disappoint.
Here's a screendump of the sellers advert :
Firstly, the seller tells porkies.
I paid for the item on the 18th April. On 13th May I emailed the seller asking where the watch was. On 14th of May, I got the following reply from the seller:
"hi sir your watch despatch on 25th of april as our despatch time is 5 working days and it takes 2to 4 weeks to recieved ,i will give complete postal details tomrow thansk".
The watch arrived on 24th of May, postmarked, wait for it 14th May.
Here's an odd thing. At the top of the ebay listing GENUINE VINTAGE FAVRE LEUBA GENEVE SEA CHIEF WINDING SWISS WRIST WATCH | eBay delivery time is quoted as 15-27 days, that's the ebay field that the seller fills in about delivery. Yet in the text of the ad. Sareemaster states dispatch is 5 days and delivery is 4 weeks. I believe that 27 days is the maximum ebay allow a seller, yet Sareemaster is quoting 33 days. My watch actually took 36 days to arrive.
So what? Well, the deadline for raising a dispute with your seller is 45 days from payment. Given that it only took 10 days from the time of posting to the time of receipt, you have to wonder whether Sareemaster is deliberately limiting the amount of time his customers get to raise a dispute through ebay. If you'd like to know why he might want to do that, read on.
Here are some pictures of what actually arrived :
Attachment 737519Attachment 737520Attachment 737521Attachment 737522
Well at first glance it looks OK. But closer inspection shows that the restoration job is shoddy.
The placement of the hour marker blocks is hapahazard at best. They're not regularly placed, they don't sit in a circle and some of them are skewed. Expand the first picture and you'll see what I mean. I've placed a grid over the picture to show where the markers should be.
The chapter ring minute markers don't align with 12 o clock. It's actually loose. If you tap the dial, the chapter ring spins around.
Despite what the sellers advert says, the winder is not signed - I knew this already from the sellers pics.
The hands are bent, but clearly original. I think they're right for a Sea Chief. I think they've been bent to clear the haphazardly placed hour markers.
The case and caseback are interesting. Perhaps a Favre Leuba expert could enlighten me. I think they're fake.
Firstly the caseback is marked water resistant, yet there are no seals anywhere, winder, acrylic or case back.
Secondly, the case back marking isn't centrally placed. I don't believe that a watchmaker deveolping their own innovative movements could screw this up - therefore I'm thinking fake, but I'm happy to be corrected.
The case was advertised as "Steel well polished." It's steel, brushed.
I'm happy that this is an original FL253. It's a twinpower, from the colouring of the bridges, it's not a mish mash of parts. Looks unmolested.
However, It lost 5 minutes in the first 12 hours and stopped. I took it to my local watch repairer for a peek. And that was the point that I realised I'd been scammed.
Despite what the seller says, this watch doesn't appear to have ever been serviced. My watch repairer got it going again and this time it's fast by 10 minutes an hour.
The bearing at the bottom of the balance staff is knackered. The keen eyed amoung you may (not) spot the retaining spring on the balance staff upper inca-bloc bearing. It's completely missing.
The hairspring is sitting at a crazy angle, and is decidedly off centre.
My watch repairer did not look at the rest of the movement, he didn't need to, it's pretty obvious from what he's shown me that the watch is long past the point of no return.
Now if you've read this far, you're probably wondering if my expectations were realistic. Well I expected a frankenwatch. I expected +/- 2 mins a day. I expected the hour markers and the chapter ring to line up.
More fool me - don't make the same mistake yourselves.
But the story does not end there. After my experiences with the watch, I left the seller (Sareemaster in case you need reminding) negative feedback. He wasn't very pleased.
To stop this being the worlds longest post, I'm going to stop here...