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Some thoughts about frankenwatches *PIC*

(this is long, sit comfortably, make a coffee, open a beer or put a glass of wine, depending on the time you read it)

I have done my share of bashing on "Frankenwatches" and their sellers, like most of us in this forum. Now let me share another point of view.

First of all, let's try to judge the intrinsic value of a Frankenwatch and then talk about the trade of such watches.

For a moment forget the market, forget buying and selling. What constitutes the intrinsic value of a watch? Is it the sum of the production cost of its parts? Is the value related to its rarity? To its beauty? To its authenticy? To its sentimental baggage? To its brand? Is it related to nothing from the above? To all of the above? The more I think about it, the more I tend to believe that the "true" value of a watch has many similarities with quantum theory: The observer is of paramount importance. He decides. No absolutes. Maybe not only beauty, but even intrinsic value "is in the eye of the beholder".

People spend money to change parts of their cars and void manufacturers guarantee, because they prefer it that way (it is not always the case of improving performance). Are these Frankencars? Probably. Are they willingly hurting the value of their cars? Probably not. TO THEM their "Frankencar" is more valuable than the original car. Hardcore Panerai (and other brands) collectors are sending their newly purchased watches to PVD firms for a black finish. I'm guilty of liking the "frankenbezel" of the pictured Autavia more than the original bezel.

So, at least for me a frankenwatch is not by definition a lower value watch. I like to look at them on a case by case basis. This kind of thinking is shared by some collectors who (like Jeff has already pointed out) spend good money on franken/fake oversized Heuer chronographs, knowing exactly what they are and what they are not. Of course for the typical collector who likes his watches to be like they were designed to be, a frankenwatch is of very low value.

Now let's go to the marketplace. How ethical is it to sell frankenwatches? Nah, let's leave ethics out of it, let's simplify it. How "bad" is it to sell frankenwatches? I don't thing it is a bad thing to sell them. What I thing is bad is MISLEADING buyers. If you knowingly tell a lie to the buyer you are misleading him. But there is still a lot of gray area.

There are many vintage watch sellers sell their watches as "AS IS" and they shout "as questions first". They are telling you in a way: "here's the watch, here are a few facts about it, what you see is what you get, no more no less." What if they don't mention something they know but the buyer hasn't asked about? What if they really don't know that they are selling a frankenwatch?

If someone is casually looking for a watch and happen to like a frankenwatch, I don't see why he should not buy it. Should he know that it has been "put together"? Does he really care?

I'm not taking any sides here. I have no reason to defend any frankenwatch sellers. I'm just asking questions. Questions that have risen from the situation I'm in right now. Sometime ago, I have bought a "frankenwatch". The watch had the wrong bezel. Now I plan to change its bezel and although I can put the right bezel I plan to put a different bezel I like more... Can anyone please help me on how to change the bezel on my 11630 Autavia? (such a long post just to ask a silly question ;-)


(this is NOT my watch, but another frankenbezel Autavia I like)

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