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Are "vintage" watches commonly faked?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
I've seen some very nice-looking ones on EBay. I'm not really interested in the Pateks, VC's and others that cost a mint; I'm more interested in, say, Omegas from the 1950s that generally sell in the under $1000 range. Are these generally pretty safe from being faked?
post #2 of 5
To loosely quote Mr. Clinton: it depends on what the meaning of the word 'fake' is. I would venture to say that most of the 1950s-1960s Omegas, Rolexes, and the like that are on eBay weren't purchased out of a suitcase.  However, the history of the watch is often more important than its origin (the manner in which it was purchased). If a watch changes hands (or wrists) many times over the years, chances of all the parts being original are slim.  A lot of times, somethings gets broken or scratched and the owner just takes it to the local mall and has some generic replacement parts put on.  I recently acquired a beautiful 1960s Omega Seamaster from someone who bought it off eBay.  I knew the parts weren't all original, but the parts of the watch that I cared about (the movement, the case, the face, etc.) were all in immaculate shape.  So I got the watch for a steal and purchased the original bracelet and crown, the only two parts on there that weren't genuine, from Omega.  I got exactly what I expected in my purchase because I knew what was needed to bring it back to its original state and no really important parts had been replaced. So, in short, I don't think that are many 'knock-offs' out there like there are of modern watches, but you do have to keep an eye out for watches that aren't all or mostly original. Usually with these sorts of watches, the lower you go in price, the more the watch has deviated from its original state.
post #3 of 5
It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which it would make sense to acquire a pricey vintage watch sight unseen.  And that's what you're being asked to do on eBay. Instead proceed exactly as you would when purchasing a vintage car or rare first edition.  Buy from a reputable dealer, and demand the opportunity to have the item vetted by an expert whom you personally know and trust. (If you nevertheless can't resist the blandishments of an eBay dealer, contact him or her directly and make arrangements consistent with the above advice.)
post #4 of 5
I suggest that anyone contemplating a vintage watch purchase peruse the vintage forum at Timezone. You will quickly read numerous tales of chicanery and find that many Timezoners refer to Ebay as "E-prey." Bear in mind you have ZERO qualitative protection through Paypal. The seller can ship you a Timex with a band-aid for a strap, and Paypal will still wash their hands of you if you received any goods.
post #5 of 5
A Timex with a band-aid strap.  Hmmmm. . . .  Do I hear the hoofbeats of the SoHo trend-spotters?
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