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Discussion Starter #1
I have an old JLC from 1953 or earlier which I inherited, but it is in a bit of a sorry state. I've attached a picture. It loses 2 minutes a day, the case is scratched and the dial is flaking paint/varnish. I wondering if it is restorable and if so who could do a decent job. BTW I'm UK based (South Bedfordshire).

IMO this is an attractive design, and the gold hands and markings are in good condition though for some reason they look poor in the photo. The small second hand looks a bit wonky though.

Advice appreciated. Thanks. Leif
 

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Hi -
Get that watch to a decent watchmaker! :) It is one of THE classic JLC designs from the 1940s/early 1950s: the case design points to Bauhaus influences. Great, timeless design. Certainly needs a trip to the watchmaker for a good cleaning and oiling, as well as timing. You should be able to get excellent results from a JLC watch after taking care of it.

Seriously, JLC are eminently restorable. Since you're in the UK, you might want to check out one of the folks who sponsor this here web site:

http://www.satintime.co.uk/

While I have no experience personally, they do seem to have some seriously satisfied customers.

JohnF
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hello John. Thanks for the comments. Would you recommend I go for dial restoration, by which I mean repainting etc? Or do people prefer to clean an old dial, but leave the wear as a sign of honest ageing?
 

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That is very, very nice. Quite a piece and well worth some expense and effort to improve it. A service of the movement is a must. Bry at Satintime is a good bet, as is Chris Heal in Sussex:

http://www.chealwatch.co.uk/

Both have very good reputations.

I would ask the restorer's advice. The dial looks pretty evenly aged to me, so you could leave it. Bear in mind that an over-restored watch will actually lose value. Both Bry and Chris will give you very sound advice.

keep us posted - I would love to see the progress of this one.
 

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Hello Quoll.

Thanks for the info. I'll see what those people say. As an aside I'm more interested in having a nice result than value per se given that it came from a relative, and I like the look of it.

BTW I don't suppose you or anyone else has experience of these people:

http://www.watchdoctors.co.uk

I ask as they are down the road from me, which makes them convenient.

Leif
 

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Hi -

I wouldn't get the dial restored.

Why?

Because it is perfectly legible as is.

Sure, there is some spotting on the face and there is a nice patina at the edge of the dial. But other than that it is in excellent shape.

When you have work done it, you can ask to see if some of the spotting can be removed, as it may be something as simple running a soft brush on the face of the watch. If the spots are embedded, i.e. at some point the crystal was smashed, say in an accident, and there is debris embedded in the face, then you can't easily remove it.

I'd leave it as is. Shows the age very, very nicely.

JohnF
 

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I own four of these beauties from Le Sentier. Three US market LeCoultre and one JLC -- all made during the 1950's.

All are excellent timekeepers, well within COSC specs by today's standards. No reason to believe that yours would be any different.

BTW, JLC can restore vintage watches as well. They are expensive, but they do very good work. You may contact them through their website.

http://www.jaegerlecoutre.com

Once you have the case and movement number, they can also give you the exact manufacture date of the watch as well.

Enjoy it,
gatorcpa
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks again for all of the comments. I've attached another picture which shows the dial more clearly. I'll get some quotes, including (for fun) from JLC. I'll go for a dial clean, rather than a repaint. After all, a repaint can always be done, but not vica versa.
 

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I would go along with John and quoll in recommending that the dial not be restored. I believe that a 50+ year old classic watch should look its age as long as the dial is legible, and this one certainly is. A great piece and thanks for posting it.
 

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Just in case anyone is interested, I asked JLC how much restoration would cost, and they quoted between £1,000 and £2,000 depending on the work required. Wow! It's a tough choice.
 

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Ouch! That is a pretty penny indeed.

Given that, I'd just have it serviced: a complete restoration would be overkill...

JohnF
 

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Just in case anyone is interested, I asked JLC how much restoration would cost, and they quoted between £1,000 and £2,000 depending on the work required. Wow! It's a tough choice.
Not worth it unless it's a treasured family heirloom - and even then I'd have to think a long time about it. A local watchmaker should be able to repair it for far less than that anyway.
 

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I thought JLC would be expensive, but up to US$4,000!? That's a bit ridiculous for that watch, treasured heirloom or not.

I'd say find someone local to help. If you have trouble, please contact me via private mail. I have someone I use in the US who would be able to do the work at a tiny fraction of that price, if you don't mind dealing with the Royal Mail/USPS and e-mail.

gatorcpa
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes that price is absurd. I can't imagine they get many takers, apart from rich Arabs, royalty and so on who want a treasured heirloom repaired.

I'll send it to a watchmaker after Christmas, once the postal service is back to normal. Thanks to everyone here, and Ole on another forum, I have some good names to try.

I was surprised to see NOS dials available online for not too much money, so I might even get a replacement dial if I can find a match. With a bit of luck, you never know.

Leif
 

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Hi -

Well, I wouldn't consider it absurd: after all, it is a full renovation of the watch, meaning that you basically get a new watch back from JLC. It's not of interest for anything but an heirloom watch, one that has family meaning or some other sentimental meaning.

But knowing what other top-tier Swiss watch companies want for the same service - complete overhaul and restoration - then the price is *not* out of line.

It may not be worth it for the average owner, but JLC was always a tad on the high side...

JohnF
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Hi -

Well, I wouldn't consider it absurd: after all, it is a full renovation of the watch, meaning that you basically get a new watch back from JLC. It's not of interest for anything but an heirloom watch, one that has family meaning or some other sentimental meaning.

But knowing what other top-tier Swiss watch companies want for the same service - complete overhaul and restoration - then the price is *not* out of line.

It may not be worth it for the average owner, but JLC was always a tad on the high side...

JohnF
Yes of course you are right. They are a premium brand and would do first rate work, though surely they could not remove the deep scratches from the sides. I really meant that it would be absurd for me to pay that price, since it does not have sentimental value. Leif
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was taking a look at the scratches and dings on this watch, and the only obvious ones are on the side. I thought this was user damage, but I think it unlikely given the location. Now I'm convinced the marks were caused by 'watchmakers' opening the case. Lord knows what damage these cackhanded idiots have done to the movement.
 
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