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What The Heck Is A "Franken" Watch?

47477 Views 59 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  DocJekl
HI All,
I have read the word here and on other forums. I have never seen a definition. I suspect I have a Franken Speedy Pro. But I don't really know what is meant by "Franken". It doesn't sound like a compliment.

Thanks, Sparky
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Hi Blue,
Well, its not quite that simple. My Speedy Pro is a Ref. 145.022 manufactured in 1971 with the original Lemania Cal. 861 movement. When I bought it it was completely original except for the hands. How do I know? The tritium lume on the dial was totally used up but the hands glowed nicely. I think the sub-dial hands are original. The replacement hands are the correct style to be original. But the Luminova on the hands is not.

I wanted good lume on the dial so I went web shopping. I found zero dials that were exactly the same as the original dial. Not from Omega, not from Frei, not on eBay, and not from other suppliers others had suggested. Frei did have a beautiful dial that they recommended for my watch (meaning it fit my case and movement and was an Omega product). But it was hybrid dial. It had an applied Omega symbol (looks great; I can see why collectors prefer the applied symbol), no "Professional" designation (it just says Omega Speedmaster) and no tritium lume. The lume designator down by the Swiss Made does not have the double T's. Thus, it is a modern version of the 1965 series of the Speedy which actually did walk on the Moon.

I bought the dial and it is on the watch now. I kept the original dial. The new dial looks wonderful. Only a Speedmaster guru would ever know the dial is not original because it does not match the later case design and the case back. But I know. I'm not sure I care. It was never a true collectors watch which I can only credit to the original Cal. 321 Speedy that did Moon walk. I can say the watch looks new and is beautiful. I also replaced the dented original bezel but the new one is identical to the original.

So, is this a "Franken" watch? If it is, it's all my fault. And I love the result.


Edit: Oh, after all this discussion, I should tell you that the new dial's lume glows like a new watch. I sure am glad!! It would have been a bummer if the dial just went dark at night. :-!
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Hi All,
Thanks for all the replies. I think I do have a much better idea of the meaning of "Franken". It also seems clear that there is no exact meaning to any given person. Some of the "modded" watches shown above are beautiful. I don't think anyone would object to having any of them. If they are referred to as frankin then the term is not always negative.

The one part of the definition that repeats is when the watch is sold-is it being represented honestly? If this definition holds then a franken watch is not a frankin watch until it hits the market and the deal is made. I'm not sure this definition is broad enough. I understand that the case of watches that are not original in all aspects needs a catagory but I'm not convinced that "frankin" is the word. By the way, I love the word frankin. It is so imaginative.

As for my situation, I kept all the pieces so my Speedy could be restored to its original state, grainy, yellowed, disfunctional lume and all. Would it then be declared a reincarnated franken watch? ;-) But, I don't mind it being referred to as frankin-because, honestly, I love term so much. However, I really don't like the negative baggage of the term.

I can tell you that my Speedy is both better looking and more functional than it was when I bought it. Love that applied Omega symbol. And it still looks like a genuine Speedmaster "Moonwatch". Oh, and it also works well too. I have to admit it is a bit of a sham but a very good one.

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HI John in SC,
Does your dial have the applied Omega symbol? I can't tell from the pic. If it does then it is the same as mine. But, no matter. your Speedy looks great.

HI All,
In this thread I have read a wide variety of what people think the term Franken means. There is some agreement and a lot of disagreement. Like many words not in the dictionary, there is no fixed meaning. It is more of a "folk" term. This makes using the term very scary and maybe it should be avoided totally. It is certainly not a definitive description of a watch.

Now, I want to play devil's advocate. I will argue against myself. Clearly, none or most of you all are formal watch collectors. You may own a large variety of watches. You are watch lovers. But you are not Formal collectors. There is a big difference between the two. Formal collectors of anything, from watches, to cameras, to furniture, etc., have certain fixed rules and these have nothing to do with the size of the collection. It does have everything to do with worth. Worth is determined by an items uniqueness, availability, provenance, nearness to original condition, and market demand. Often, the original price is a factor but not always. Collectors will almost never collect modifications of the original piece. They are ALWAYS sensitive to original condition; the more original the better. The more provenances, which documents the history of the item, the better. All these things add to the value of the item. Formal collections are all about value in a very restricted market.

The exception is the odd collector who has a collection based on non-original items; that's its theme. The reason this type of collector is not a factor in the collector world is because other collectors are not interested in the odd collector's obsession. IOW, this type of collection has no value in the collector's world. Thus, I will leave this odd collector alone other than to acknowledge its existence.

Collecting watches is no different than other collections. A watch, such as my "modded" Speedy, is of no interest to the collector. Why? Because it is not original, among other reasons. If my watch had been a truly collectable Speedy, such as the original Moonwatch with the Lemania 321 movement, and the non-Moonwatch case back, and the original case, dial and hands, I would not have modified it. I also would not wear it. And what fun is that? The original Moonwatch is worth real money and will continue to appreciate sometimes in spite of condition. But my Speedy is relatively common, despite its age (1971), and thus, not worth close to the same as on original Speedy. I knew this before I considered the modification. I knew I would not lose much if anything. So, I did the mod.

If I had modified an original condition Moonwatch, a Formal collector would be justified calling the result a "Frankenwatch", a mongrel, an abortion, etc., and his interest in such would be zero. And he would be right. If the collector terms my Speedy a Frankenwatch, I could not object. It really is a Frankenwatch but the collector would not really be concerned. My watch is simply not worth enough to tickle his fancy. My Speedy is just an after thought.

Thus, I think the use of the term Frankenwatch should be correctly limited to the vocabulary of the Formal collector. From his point of view and interests, my watch is indeed a Frankenwatch and its value is limited, as are all the modded watches shown in this thread nice as they may be.

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