|The largest independent, non-commercial, consumer-oriented resource on the Internet for owners, collectors and enthusiasts of fine wristwatches. Online since 1998.|
I wouldn’t think that there is sufficient money is completely faking basic Omegas from the 60s and the expert counterfeiters usually spend more time of the face than on the works, as the face sells the watch to the public.
More to the point, you raise some difficult and interesting points: If I cobble together a watch from parts from other watches from the same model, is the result a fake, a deception, either, neither or both?
If any one part is beyond saving, can I renew it? Can I renew it with (if available) a factory produced spare part or one from a broken movement or do I throw the watch away?
If I can replace a worn crown, for example, can I replace a face? If I could re-coat the crown with gold, can I replace the face with a re-dial?
And where are we with leather straps, which wear out?
To take a car analogy, I remember years ago I had an old MG TC 1947. To restore this to a position where it was fit to be driven, I had to raid salvage yards and use parts from other and similar models. Then it had to have a re-spray to look good. I even had to change the way the headlights went from high-beam to low-beam as the Traffic laws ceased to give an exemption to cars produced after the Second World War… that Mr Hitler has a lot to answer for!
When I came to sell it (and that was a mistake; they are worth a fortune now), everyone assumed, by the condition, that it had been re-sprayed, the upholstery had been renewed and that it must have had a few new/second hand parts attached - but it was still an MG TC 1947.
I think my main objection is to sellers who do not say what work has been done on the watch. Their defence seems to be (a) you can always ask (b) if it says nothing, they have not made a false statement (c) the knowledgeable buyer would see and know. Selling on Ebay should be “warts and all” utter good faith with the bad points as well as the good.
I think that the problem only becomes serious when the seller knowingly offers something specific to a particular model that could never have been part of that model. The commonest of these bastardisations is using a non-chronometer movement in a chronometer or, worse still in the case of Omegas, only using the bridge with the “Adjusted…” words there for all to see.
I think the worst offender as far as re-facing is concerned used to be “Whitelotus24in” (see http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Wrist-Watch-Ocean ) who excelled in getting old Omegas and other quality brands and putting vile and garish faces on them. However, he has a competitor in tastelessness and artistic vandalism in “Outlook33” (see http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/GENUINE-Rare-Vintage-OMEGA-Seamaster-30-from-1963-watch_W0QQitemZ140112253678QQihZ004QQcategoryZ31387QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem).
Now, even though both the above declare that they have refinished (or should I say “finished off”) the dials, the result is enough to make grown men weep.
I think what we are looking at here is the difference between a good restoration and an amateurish, slap-dash restoration. The former is often uneconomic but can be really impressive, but the latter pays only attention to turning a quick buck, often dishonestly.
One fault lies with Omega themselves – they do not produce dials for out of date models. I can only assume that (a) they intend that watches will become unwearable after a time and that the owner will then go out and buy a new Omega and (b) that producing and keeping large quantities of old stock is uneconomic.
As an example, I have a pie-pan Constellation the face of which is showing “the delightful patina of age.” – it looks like dandruff to me. However, if Omega supplied new pie-pan faces, I think I would be tempted to get one fitted, almost regardless of cost.
I sometimes wonder why, like the honest after- market in car body parts, some enterprising, reformed, expert dial-faker does not start up a trade in quality-finished rare parts – including dials.