Vintage Watch Blog

Over the years we have published a number of articles to assist collectors and enthusiasts to get the best out of vintage watch ownership.

How do you know if it's a fake?, Fakes, dogs and marriages
Vintage Watch FAQs / Aug 12th, 2017 3:49 pm     A+ | a-
How do you know if it's fake?

Sometimes potential customers are worried about fakes, particularly of well known brands such as Omega.

Fakes of vintage models are actually surprisingly rare.

In the case of fake Omega's it would be incredibly difficult to find a 1960's fake and most are very easy to spot. That said, current sports models are extensively faked - although in the case of the Omega, the genuine article is still relatively easy to distinguish from a copy.

Rolex have the hardest time in proving their authenticity, mainly as a consequence as being the world's most famous watch brand and the attention that attracts, good and bad.

Marriage made in where?

A 'marriage' is the dealer name for a watch of dubious origin; where the watch has been constituted from a movement or case from different eras, models or even manufacturers.

Take a look at this frightful specimen watch we acquired through our normal trading roots - and I should add we bought it knowingly for spare parts.

The dial and movement are completely genuine Omega but the case is from an unknown mass market Swiss maker.  It's an attractive watch but a complete fabrication and therefore worthless as a vintage Omega.

The next one is one is a bit more subtle ...

 

This lovely looking 1960s Seamaster was actually serviced by a well known national watch repairer at massive cost with no mention of the problem with authenticity being reported to it's previous owner.  It came as a bit of a shock when we gave him the bad news. Again we bought it for spares. It takes a while to spot this one as it's all genuine Omega; case, dial and movement. Detailed inspection reveals though that the case is ref. 166.012 designed for an automatic movement, most likely calibre 552 but it's actually housing a manual wind calibre 420 movement.  Most traders would have sold this watch anyway without further explanation, as it's 100% Omega. For us though, this watch is 'marriage' of different parts from the Omega catalogue - therefore not acceptable for sale under our certified Omega programme.

What is acceptable though?

New, genuine spares are now rare for vintage Omega pieces so it's perfectly acceptable to harvest donor parts from spare or broken Omegas. The easily broken items like stems, mainsprings, pallets, balances etc. can all be freely interchanged with other watches of the same calibre such was the engineering tolerance of Swiss watch production. Many parts are also interchangeable across different Omega calibres too. This is a really great reason to own an Omega in that if the worst happens, there is a good chance of sourcing spares and fixing the watch. This isn't so easy with vintage Rolex.

The fitting of generic items like glasses and mainsprings is also fine, as all service parts tended to be generic in the heyday of the mechanical watches with large companies like General Resorts (GR) supplying service parts.

Dial restoration is a thorny issue and really comes down to the skill of the artist restorer. A good dial job is perfectly acceptable and always uses the original dial and batons if fitted. In the majority of cases, the dial is completely stripped and repainted and the better restorers use the authentic finishes and graphic fonts for the period - which is crucial for the watch to maintain it's value.

Nothing harms the value of a watch more than a botched dial job and we've seen some horrors where the same generic Omega 70s font and 'Halfords spray can' silver paint finish is applied to everything from the 1930s onwards.

What's not acceptable?

Bad dial jobs, dials with no feet from different calibres, stuck onto the movement. Vintage movements rehoused in 'alternative' cases.

Dogs - self explanatory?

Here we are quite simply talking about watches in poor condition sometimes dressed up to look good for sale. Some things to watch out for are: over polished cases, garishly coloured dials and online auction sites!

Over polished cases are characterised by all the sharp edges being buffed to a round profile and the original brushed finish being lost. We can restore the brushed finish using original Omega specified tools,  but we can't put back a sharp edge on a case that's been ground to within an inch of it's life on an industrial polishing machine. Garish dials are often seen on vintage Dynamic models seemingly conjured up to make them look wacky and contemporary. Movement faults are numerous and can consist of stripped winding gear, worn out jewels, corroded hairsprings, and worn rotors. These can all be present even if the watch appears to work on first inspection.

Authenticity is only the beginning of the story and particularly with vintage Omega models it should not be your biggest concern when you shop with a well known dealer such as PoshTime.

Do you have a question about your own watch?. Please Contact us
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