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I have been looking around eBay for the past week or so, seeing if there are any gems to be had - and it would seem that there are as many gems as their are pieces of junk.

I do find it interesting and funny that almost every vintage watch is marked as "Rare" despite the fact that there may be 10 of them on auction at any one time.

I found a very rare 1940's (c) Chronograph that has a Landeron 48 movement - I think there were over 4 million of those made - does that really make it a rare find? I have to laugh a bit.

If everything is rare, then nothing is.

Cheers all!
 

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sorry, I guess that was more of an observation than it was a question.
Very true. One of the things I learned was that a lot of ebay sellers are very ignorant about watches - whereas others feign ignorance to sell problem pieces by using phrases like 'I know nothing about watches' when their feedback shows that they are prolific buyers and sellers and know a great deal.
 

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For certain the words like 'rare', 'mint' and 'recently serviced' must be taken with a pinch of salt.

That said, there are some bargains on eBay to be found, there is also some outstanding pieces that crop up.

Its just a matter of learning.
 

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For certain the words like 'rare', 'mint' and 'recently serviced' must be taken with a pinch of salt.

That said, there are some bargains on eBay to be found, there is also some outstanding pieces that crop up.

Its just a matter of learning.
Some of my best bargains came completely from my "knowing my brand". One was a very uncommon civilian Elgin with a 24hr dial. The seller saw the numbers on the dial went higher than 12, and called it a "calendar watch", but I knew what it was when I saw it. Got it for $8. i've seen them go for >$100.

Another was a Lord Elgin listed as 'gold filled', with a Buy It Now price of $59. I recognized the case and dial as one of the solid gold models from the 1940s, and bought it. Yep, solid 14k. The seller had even seen the mark, and STILL thought it was gold filled.

Those bargains are rare, of course. Mostly knowledge is what saves you from overpaying! BTW, the advantage of focusing on one brand or type is that you can watch the sales of that brand for a while. I think it was you who said you were interested in WWII military watches? Well, watching Elgin sales taught me a valuable lesson. There's a seller who lists one or two "NOS WWII Military Elgin" watches every week. They look really good, and generally go for $200 or more.

They're faked.

Every couple months, the same seller sells lots of 8/0 Elgin cases and dials, from civilian watches from the 1940s and 1950s. He's scooping up 8/0s, recasing the movements in NOS A-11 cases, and selling them as the genuine article.
 

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Hi there,

If everything is rare, then nothing is.
Not actually nothing: I can't remember to have ever noticed a watch on ebay which was claimed to be volume produced. Consequently such watches must be ultimate rarities.

But seriously, what do you expect from ebay? Their fees are gained by high prices and fast turnaround. So they support the most efficient liars among sellers and the greatest fools among buyers. Moreover a really collectable watch will stay in a collection for many years, while junk is kicked back into the puddle pretty soon. So trash is by far the better business.

Of course ebay is also a mirror image of all available objects, also attractive items though. But it needs some knowledge and some patience to make them out.

May be I should advise newbies to ask here before buying a dubious watch, but this may block the server, and therefore I better don't do it.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 

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Hi there,


Not actually nothing: I can't remember to have ever noticed a watch on ebay which was claimed to be volume produced. Consequently such watches must be ultimate rarities.

But seriously, what do you expect from ebay? Their fees are gained by high prices and fast turnaround. So they support the most efficient liars among sellers and the greatest fools among buyers. Moreover a really collectable watch will stay in a collection for many years, while junk is kicked back into the puddle pretty soon. So trash is by far the better business.

Of course ebay is also a mirror image of all available objects, also attractive items though. But it needs some knowledge and some patience to make them out.

May be I should advise newbies to ask here before buying a dubious watch, but this may block the server, and therefore I better don't do it.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
Well, Roland can't say this, but I can! A good place to buy vintage is Dr. Ranfft's bidfun website. I have never gotten anything there but it sure is interesting.
 
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I have a lot of years into old watches and a lot of old watches too. I can honestly say that I have bought a couple of the very best and more then a few of the very worst of them on ebay. Now...if you ask me when I bought the worst and when I bought the best? That requires some explanation.;-)
 

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I suppose there are still deals to be made, but they are certainly hard to find. With hundreds of thousands of watch buyers always poring through the listings, you have to have a solid knowledge base and a quick trigger finger to snap them up.

As for rare, they are certainly hard to find models. Try looking for a Gallet sextant watch. I've only seen a small handful available anywhere over the last 4 years, and a couple of those were questionable (wrong hands, no movement photo, etc.).
 

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I suppose there are still deals to be made, but they are certainly hard to find. With hundreds of thousands of watch buyers always poring through the listings, you have to have a solid knowledge base and a quick trigger finger to snap them up.

As for rare, they are certainly hard to find models. Try looking for a Gallet sextant watch. I've only seen a small handful available anywhere over the last 4 years, and a couple of those were questionable (wrong hands, no movement photo, etc.).
I still manage a 'great' deal every 3 or 4 months.
That said I have about 50 saved searches?
 

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Hi there,

may be you frightened people with the length of your post and the number of items to be examined.

But now it's half past four in the morning here, and I'm too tired to produce an accordingly long reply. But as I'd not buy any of the linked items, there is no hurry, and I'll be back later the day or on Sunday.

Regards, Roland Ranfft
 
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