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History Or Cheat

  • History

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  • Purposeful Cheat

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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought the collective wisdom of this forum would illuminate the following. While purposefully making a Franken may bring in some useful pocket money, it still takes some effort to create something convincing and I don't see how it could provide a living (please correct me if that's incorrect). So I wondered how many of the Frankens seen are really the result of Soviet hard times where people did whatever they could to keep their watch running. That meant if I had a useful case and dial but my movement was well and truly dead, past fixing, just put in another that fits, and so on. So in your opinion, how much do we see are current purposeful cheats vs historical artifact? I'm putting a poll just to keep tabs, but a good value to the discussion is if any patterns emerge to aid identification.
 

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Mod. Russian, China Mech.
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I'm sure those high quality reproduction dials that we see coming out of the former Soviet states have been created to enable 'restoration' of vintage pieces, but of course the demand for such items probably lies mainly with traders looking to fix something up to sell for a better price. When I see such a dial on a vintage watch being sold as 'NOS' I have no doubt that the seller is a regular trader of vintage watches who puts together whatever parts will secure the best price. And where it is one of those fantasy dials ('Death to Spies', Stalin's portrait, Shturmanskie with sub-dial, etc), that's a dead giveaway that the seller is playing fast-and-loose for the tourist trade.

As for those watches consisting entirely of mismatched vintage parts, there is usually no way of knowing if that was done as historical repairs, or is just another shady trader. I imagine an aging watch repairer in Eastern Europe may have a large inventory of old parts with a decreasing local customer base who will need those parts, so to put together a few frankenwatches every week for eBay would be useful income supplement.
 

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I would estimate as 50/50. Agree with Chascomm: fake dials is a deliberate act. But old beaten watches with wrong balance or some other part: probably a normal result of the repairs. Many soviet watches have interchangeable parts and watchmasters know what fits. Preserving the watch original setup is never a priority for a non-collector. If the watchmaster offers to put a shockproof balance instead of an old broken non-shockproof nobody would decline...
 

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To be fair at the time of hard times former Soviet Union was flooded with cheap Q&Q type of watches. There was no incentives to keep old watches running.
 
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