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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi guys! First time posting here. Getting older and finally getting a watch. I love the look of simple dress watches and there are some really pretty vintage Omega seamasters, JLCs and Girard Perregauxs for cheap. However, 99% of these watches do not have the original strap. Are these (not having original straps) very common and how much would you think is a good price point i should pay for them? Does 400-600 USD sound good? Thanks a lot guys. :)
 

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Not having the original strap isn't that big of a deal, it's common to swap the original strap for something else. In any case, most of the time when someone sells a vintage watch on eBay they are going to remove the strap if it's a nice one, and replace it with something else. Myself, I don't care what strap comes on a watch, I'm going to put something else on it anyway.

Bracelets are another story, a watch is always worth more when it has the original bracelet. For instance, a SS Seamaster with the original bracelet is worth a fair bit more than the watch alone. If you want an original bracelet try to get it with the watch, because they can be hard to find separately.
 

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Welcome to WUS and the Vintage forum. Straps/ bracelets are consumables in my book and weren't kept necessarily away in box, for future sales by the owners. So are the crystals. Even though some crystals are signed ( like in Omega ) vintage timepieces were being worn daily - not kept in watch-boxes as we do now for collecting purposes, and wear in rotation on occasions, therefore changes can be expected.

You would be able to find a well taken care watch in box and with original strap/bracelet from 70's but the back you go the less would it be available. The price range you mention 400-600 USD vs the brands sounds very reasonable, especially for JLC, so reasonable that it can raise questions of authenticity. If you don't have enough information about the product and brand you will buy, just post pictures here WUS citizens are pretty helpful sharing their opinion. Wish you luck and welcome to the world of vintage time measure instruments.
 

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if you are looking at ones on a bracelet also make sure it has enough links to fit your wrist. it seems that many have almost all of the removable links missing, and it can cost quite a lot of time and money to find links later. it will be very discouraging to do all the research, bid and win, and then finally pick it up at the postoffice only to find that you can't wear it because it is too small.

by the way the research is a very important part of understanding what you are going to bid on and WUS is a great resource.
 

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If you think about it, if you wore a watch every day, how long would a leather strap last before it started looking worn? I think in daily wear, most watch bands last only a few years, so an original band - i.e. the band this particular watch came with - wold be a rare bird indeed! Bracelets last a bit longer, but gold filled ones will wear through, and if they're the expansion type, the springs will wear out. Clasp-type bracelets, the clasps will wear out. As someone above said, band and bracelets, and crystals are consumables - that's why you can get them at those kiosks at the Mall! Even crowns are considered consumable.

That being said, one does sometimes come across a New Old Stock (NOS) piece, either never sold, or never worn, with the box, papers, etc. Those go for A LOT more!!

Regarding buying watches on Ebay, here's my advice, as someone who's bought hundreds - Choose one brand, research it DEEPLY, and stick with it. For most brands, there's at least one guy obsessed enough to put up a website or blog about them. Watch the sales of your brand for at least a month, to get a feeling for the variety of watches available. Note the selling prices, and try to determine why two watches from the same era, and of similar description might sell for radically different prices. Learn what's original, and what's likely a Franken - a watch put together inaccurately from parts, unlike anything the factory ever produced - and there are a LOT of them out there! Knowledge is your shield, and your weapon.

The brands that routinely bring hundreds of dollars for a watch are prone to fakery. For example, there's a whole site about Omega Constellations, largely devoted to helping the collector detect fakes and frankens, because these watches are so highly desired that it's profitable to fake them - usually putting them together from a lower-grade movement, a case that looks ALMOST right, and a dial that also looks ALMOST right. It's all in the details to find them, but you have to know what to look for!

WUS and other vintage collector forums are a great place to look for advice and to acquire knowledge. And you can find the guys who specialize in particular brands and seek their advice on particular pieces. You may want to think carefully before posting about any auction on an open forum, however, since it also alerts everyone else to the listing!
 

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If you think about it, if you wore a watch every day, how long would a leather strap last before it started looking worn? I think in daily wear, most watch bands last only a few years, so an original band - i.e. the band this particular watch came with - wold be a rare bird indeed!
That's true, however I'm a fan of worn-looking vintage straps myself, and straps can actually last a really long time if they are taken care of. However, few people bother to condition their straps and take care of them so most vintage ones are dried out and falling apart. Often they can still be brought back to life with some conditioning and gluing/sewing bits back together. I really like having a worn vintage strap on a vintage watch, it adds a bit of character, so I actually hunt for old straps like this.

Here's a pic of some of my vintage straps, some I found NOS and others I had to piece back together (none of these straps are original to the watches, as GeneJockey said that's almost impossible to find unless the watch was tucked away in a drawer soon after it was bought):

vintstraps.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Thanks a lot for the advice people!!! :) Hahaha I think Omega would be my choice of brand. Absolutely love their Seamaster, Deville & Constellation line up.
When buying, is not being able to see the inner workings/wordings a deal breaker? Quoting from an auctioneer "This is a one piece case and I am not skilled enough to open the watch." Would it be "too mature" for me? Thanks anyway I'd still wear them, as long as they look pretty to me...
Girard Perregaux Automatic Gyromatic 17 Jewel 10K GF Watch | eBay this GP looks stunning :) wondering if i should snag it! It states B1808 is that the reference number that GeneJockey referred to
 

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When buying, is not being able to see the inner workings/wordings a deal breaker? Quoting from an auctioneer "This is a one piece case and I am not skilled enough to open the watch." Would it be "too mature" for me? Thanks anyway I'd still wear them, as long as they look pretty to me...
The seller is not kidding, the only way to open those watches is to remove the crystal and you don't want him/her to do that. There were a number of different movements used in vintage Seamasters, AFAIK they are all great movements, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
You would be able to find a well taken care watch in box and with original strap/bracelet from 70's but the back you go the less would it be available. The price range you mention 400-600 USD vs the brands sounds very reasonable, especially for JLC, so reasonable that it can raise questions of authenticity. If you don't have enough information about the product and brand you will buy, just post pictures here WUS citizens are pretty helpful sharing their opinion. Wish you luck and welcome to the world of vintage time measure instruments.
Oops wrong link... My bad. Here's the right one. http://www.ebay.com/itm/CLASSIC-GEN...es_Watches_MensWatches_GL&hash=item4d153562bf but it's would increase significantly though. HAHAHA i guess you're right! :) Jaegers are above GPs and Omegas?
 

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I don't know much about those watches, but the hands on that one give me an uneasy feeling. The style looks a bit odd for the dial, and the hands seem to be in far better shape than the dial (check out the lume, looks restored). The dial is military-style but the hands are dressy. I don't know, but my gut feeling is that the dial or hands aren't original. Take that with a huge grain of salt though, I don't know what this watch should look like in original condition, it's just seems a bit off to me.
 

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The seller is not kidding, the only way to open those watches is to remove the crystal and you don't want him/her to do that. There were a number of different movements used in vintage Seamasters, AFAIK they are all great movements, I wouldn't worry about it too much.
Personally, I would not pay more than $50 for any watch without seeing the movement. If the seller is not competent to remove the crystal from a front-loader and take pics of the movement, I'd find another seller. Omegas are some of the most faked/frankened watches out there.
 

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I don't know much about those watches, but the hands on that one give me an uneasy feeling. The style looks a bit odd for the dial, and the hands seem to be in far better shape than the dial (check out the lume, looks restored). The dial is military-style but the hands are dressy. I don't know, but my gut feeling is that the dial or hands aren't original. Take that with a huge grain of salt though, I don't know what this watch should look like in original condition, it's just seems a bit off to me.
The eBay seller for that watch (the JLC) does mention that he believes that the lume on the hands appears to have been restored. I'm in the same boat as StoppedClock, though, in that I know next to nothing about JLC watches. To me, the hands look like they match the style of the dial for that watch/time period, but I am a newbie when it comes to vintage watch collecting.

If you ever decide that you can't live without an Omega watch you have found on an auction site, you should definitely check with the people here. When you browse eBay, I gaurantee you that 50% or more of them have been redialed or frankened together from other working Omegas. Also, completely avoid anything from southeast Asia until you are an expert, because most of the watches I have seen from India and other small Asian countries look extremely suspicious (like finding a light blue dial on a watch from the 50s or 60s or seeing a perfect representation of an Omega Seamaster in one picture, then seeing a side view of a De Ville in the next picture of "the same watch").

The members here seem to really enjoy examining a set of pictures of a watch that you are preparing to bid on for signs of authenticity, so throw them a bone to chew on every once in a while. ;) Also, good luck finding the perfect watch (watches!).
 

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Personally, I would not pay more than $50 for any watch without seeing the movement. If the seller is not competent to remove the crystal from a front-loader and take pics of the movement, I'd find another seller. Omegas are some of the most faked/frankened watches out there.
You're absolutely right, but I would be more concerned about a Constellation. I can understand why an eBay watch-flipper wouldn't feel competent to open a front-loader and I kind of prefer that they didn't try. In this case I would ask about the return policy and return if it turns out to not be authentic. If the case and dial on a Seamaster are authentic then I'd be really surprised to find a Seagull inside, but as my handle implies I'm only right twice a day.
 

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You're absolutely right, but I would be more concerned about a Constellation. I can understand why an eBay watch-flipper wouldn't feel competent to open a front-loader and I kind of prefer that they didn't try. In this case I would ask about the return policy and return if it turns out to not be authentic. If the case and dial on a Seamaster are authentic then I'd be really surprised to find a Seagull inside, but as my handle implies I'm only right twice a day.
Unless you're a 24 hour clock, then it's only once...;-)

Regarding Constellations - reading Desmond's website on Constellations helped convince me to stick with Elgins. Nobody's going to bother faking a watch that only brings $50! :)
 

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Oops wrong link... My bad. Here's the right one. Classic Gents Jaeger LeCoultre C 1940 's Vintage Orig Dial Gold pltd P469 A | eBay but it's would increase significantly though. HAHAHA i guess you're right! :) Jaegers are above GPs and Omegas?
Here is an example that shows all the dangers of buying on eBay without knowing what you are doing.

1. The dial and movement are original. That's the only good news.

2. The hands are totally incorrect and also relumed.

3. The case likely never saw the inside of the JLC factory. It is a replacement, and not even close to the original, which was either stainless steel or possibly chrome plated (as some WWII era JLC's were).

Here's a picture of the real thing:



The seller very carefully doesn't state anything regarding the replacement case. This really bothers me. This shows that there is no substitute for hours and hours of research. I don't buy anything without doing my homework first and I've been at this for about 10 years.

On the positive side, the final selling price was probably market correct for a clean JLC movement and dial.

I usually caution new buyers to not bid on anything on eBay for at least a couple of months until you get the feel of the place.
gatorcpa
 

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I usually caution new buyers to not bid on anything on eBay for at least a couple of months until you get the feel of the place.
gatorcpa
This is excellent advice, but if you find you MUST buy a vintage watch on Ebay while you're still in the learning stage, just stick to the shallow end of the pool. Buy something you like from a less popular (thus expensive) maker.
 

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You have excellent taste, if I may say so...

_MDH7686.jpg
Here is an example that shows all the dangers of buying on eBay without knowing what you are doing.

1. The dial and movement are original. That's the only good news.

2. The hands are totally incorrect and also relumed.

3. The case likely never saw the inside of the JLC factory. It is a replacement, and not even close to the original, which was either stainless steel or possibly chrome plated (as some WWII era JLC's were).

Here's a picture of the real thing:



The seller very carefully doesn't state anything regarding the replacement case. This really bothers me. This shows that there is no substitute for hours and hours of research. I don't buy anything without doing my homework first and I've been at this for about 10 years.

On the positive side, the final selling price was probably market correct for a clean JLC movement and dial.

I usually caution new buyers to not bid on anything on eBay for at least a couple of months until you get the feel of the place.
gatorcpa
 

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Both GeneJockey and Gatorcpa make good points. eBay is also known as FleaBay to some, and there's good reason for that. I think there are a couple of good dealers in there, but...

There's a specialist Omega Forum that has more comment on that company's offerings, for example. And there are other forums specific to other brands. By and large, most members are super helpful and are trying to advance the cause. After following the Omega Forum for a year or so, I'm starting to get to recognise the danger signs of faked and over restored watches. I mention a 'rival' forum only because it's more specialised, this is more general.

Strictly speaking, for example, my own JLC posted here, had a case in poor condition, which I had restored. It's quite amazing how such a prestigious manufacturer seemed to have such poor quality cases - a quick look on eBay on any day will yield a few of this vintage with poor cases. So I had mine restored by a specialist, with the result that the case is better, but probably too polished for a true collector. Compare mine to Gator's, note the sharp edges of his case, the smooth of mine. But in my opinion, it was unwearable as it was, so I took the decision knowingly and in the spirit that the watch lives on, gets used and is much loved.

This is excellent advice, but if you find you MUST buy a vintage watch on Ebay while you're still in the learning stage, just stick to the shallow end of the pool. Buy something you like from a less popular (thus expensive) maker.
 

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Unless you're a 24 hour clock, then it's only once...;-)

Regarding Constellations - reading Desmond's website on Constellations helped convince me to stick with Elgins. Nobody's going to bother faking a watch that only brings $50! :)
Gene and I think a lot alike...

Every watch I have bought off eBay has been one not worth being faked (yet still my preference). BUT, there is nothing wrong with buying expensive on the site. Just use a bit of logic and reasoning.

Why is it prices are lower than retail on eBay? Risk.
If you have money to take a gamble on watches you like, have at it. I have come out on both ends and never been in danger of losing much either way.

If you're going to buy a valuable car, would you look at a picture of it in the lot and send in the money? Of course not. If you're trying to buy a $100 jalopy, does it matter as much? Surely it doesn't.

You'll risk more to win a valuable, yet questionable, watch, so it is all according to how educated you are on the item.

I enjoy my Bulovas that keep dead on time, though. :)
 
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