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Vintage Watch Thread (Pre-1990's watches only)

DavidLane

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My biggest gripe is polishing. It can be done really, really well, check out lapinist_watchrestoration on Instagram. It can also be done terribly. If I can find a piece that has the original bevels, sharp lines and original finish I am all in. Even if there are replacement parts, most of the time you can find a source for parts. Rolex is getting tougher and more expensive to find, but most of the 40-70's movements were "generic" enough to have made tons of extra parts that are original.

I actually like the hunt for parts. My Cyma was purchased with no dust guard and the wrong crown. I found a guy in England that had original parts and had them installed. I know the hands are re-lumed, as well as the dial at some point, but I am okay with it because the case is crisp. Plus I can keep sweeping ebay and MWF for them which keeps the thrill going.

The one pet peeve I have is people asking about or requiring the original crystal. It holds very little value and is likely a bigger risk to causing further damage to the watch, especially if it is crazed or cracked than they are worth. Crystals were swapped out all the time and very, very few are original anyway.

Today an old Croton "Thumper" automatic with a nice patina to the dial and blued steel hands.
IMG_7913.jpg


-DL
 

Opethian

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Redials are the worst Imo, problem is most of them are made to flip a watch, not to restore an old beauty. Redial completely ruins it for me.

Close second is polishing, as @DavidLane said, if done correctly it looks great, but this is rarely the case in the vintage market imo.

My biggest gripe is polishing. It can be done really, really well, check out lapinist_watchrestoration on Instagram. It can also be done terribly. If I can find a piece that has the original bevels, sharp lines and original finish I am all in. Even if there are replacement parts, most of the time you can find a source for parts. Rolex is getting tougher and more expensive to find, but most of the 40-70's movements were "generic" enough to have made tons of extra parts that are original.

I actually like the hunt for parts. My Cyma was purchased with no dust guard and the wrong crown. I found a guy in England that had original parts and had them installed. I know the hands are re-lumed, as well as the dial at some point, but I am okay with it because the case is crisp. Plus I can keep sweeping ebay and MWF for them which keeps the thrill going.

The one pet peeve I have is people asking about or requiring the original crystal. It holds very little value and is likely a bigger risk to causing further damage to the watch, especially if it is crazed or cracked than they are worth. Crystals were swapped out all the time and very, very few are original anyway.

Today an old Croton "Thumper" automatic with a nice patina to the dial and blued steel hands.
View attachment 1358822

-DL
Beautiful Croton Dave!
 

LA Guy

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My biggest gripe is polishing. It can be done really, really well, check out lapinist_watchrestoration on Instagram. It can also be done terribly. If I can find a piece that has the original bevels, sharp lines and original finish I am all in. Even if there are replacement parts, most of the time you can find a source for parts. Rolex is getting tougher and more expensive to find, but most of the 40-70's movements were "generic" enough to have made tons of extra parts that are original.

I actually like the hunt for parts. My Cyma was purchased with no dust guard and the wrong crown. I found a guy in England that had original parts and had them installed. I know the hands are re-lumed, as well as the dial at some point, but I am okay with it because the case is crisp. Plus I can keep sweeping ebay and MWF for them which keeps the thrill going.

The one pet peeve I have is people asking about or requiring the original crystal. It holds very little value and is likely a bigger risk to causing further damage to the watch, especially if it is crazed or cracked than they are worth. Crystals were swapped out all the time and very, very few are original anyway.

Today an old Croton "Thumper" automatic with a nice patina to the dial and blued steel hands.
View attachment 1358822

-DL
I agree about the crystal. Some scratching bothers me not at all, but some older watches, the acrylic crystal is just more britte from exposure to the climate, so I've had them switched out with OEM crystals.
 

DavidLane

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Redials are the worst Imo, problem is most of them are made to flip a watch, not to restore an old beauty. Redial completely ruins it for me.

Close second is polishing, as @DavidLane said, if done correctly it looks great, but this is rarely the case in the vintage market imo.


Beautiful Croton Dave!
Thank you. Here's a better shot of the dial in the sunlight. Much nicer in person.
IMG_7914.jpg


-DL
 

jiredell

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Agree with all that's been said so far. And crystals, it's like, pretty much every manufacturer pre-mineral glass and sapphire, used acrylic, so it's not like they're worth anything. So replace away, I say. But sometimes, crystals can have have "good scratches." Example: it's hard to tell from pics, but @DavidLane's Cyma is a beautiful watch, with all kinds of character. I'm assuming that most of that is light and the natural patina on the dial, but, if there were some scratches on that crystal--I'd say they're doing the look favors, not detracting from it.

I have a Citizen bullhead, and it's always suspect to me when I see them for sale online and the finishing is "perfect." You can usually see when they've been polished (the lugs are all worn down). But on top of that, there were relatively few made with the matte black finish, etc. But you see these for sale on eBay all time.
 

jiredell

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Also, I cannot lie: I saw that Croton and immediately got on Chrono24, so the addiction is real . . .
 

Ambulance Chaser

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If you've got some free time (and these days, who doesn't?), this is a great talk on collecting vintage watches by Eric Wind:

 

DavidLane

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Agree with all that's been said so far. And crystals, it's like, pretty much every manufacturer pre-mineral glass and sapphire, used acrylic, so it's not like they're worth anything. So replace away, I say. But sometimes, crystals can have have "good scratches." Example: it's hard to tell from pics, but @DavidLane's Cyma is a beautiful watch, with all kinds of character. I'm assuming that most of that is light and the natural patina on the dial, but, if there were some scratches on that crystal--I'd say they're doing the look favors, not detracting from it.

I have a Citizen bullhead, and it's always suspect to me when I see them for sale online and the finishing is "perfect." You can usually see when they've been polished (the lugs are all worn down). But on top of that, there were relatively few made with the matte black finish, etc. But you see these for sale on eBay all time.
Not sure if the Cyma crystal is original or not, but I strongly suspect not. The crystal is definitely scratched and polished, possibly several times, and I agree this is a watch where it works to the style and history of the piece.

I do have a Gallet "Snow White" that if there is even a tiny scratch on the crystal looks as though there is a gouge on the dial. In that case I don't think it plays into the history of the watch.

Here are the two together:
IMG_7938.jpg


-DL
 

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