Friday, December 19, 2008

Are there fakes to watch out for with vintage watches?

Yes. Fakes of some sorts have been around for a while. The concept of a watch being totally faked from scratch is fairly modern--mostly in the past 20 years. But fake older watches exist and usually fall in one of the following categories:

A generic make watch doctored up with fake Big Name Brand markings. Most commonly, someone merely repainted the dial with a Big Name Brand logo. Though occasionally Big Name Brand markings were etched or stickered on the movement or inside, too. Usually there is no attempt to match a specific model of Big Name Brand--just to make something else look like it is part of the Big Name Brand brand.

A generic make watch doctored up with some genuine Big Name Brand or look-alike parts added to it. Usually still not trying to exactly replicate a specific Big Name Brand model, but looking like it is part of the Big Name Brand brand.

A *genuine* Big Name Brand watch doctored up with genuine Big Name Brand or lookalike parts to falsely resemble a rarer or more valuable Big Name Brand model. A prime example of this are fairly common 1960s OMEGA Seamaster 120 watches that someone replaces/repaints the dial and adds a diver's bezel to make them closely resemble the rare and much more valuable Seamaster 300 of the same time period.

A *genuine* Big Name Brand watch that the movement failed and was replaced with a generic movement--because the replacement was not available, was too expensive or to cheat the customer. Sometimes a watchmaker would etch the Big Name Brand logo on the replacement movement or salvage the part of the original movement that had the logo or serial number on it and fit it on the replacement movement.

Modern made fakes from scratch to resemble older collectible models.
and finally--this you see mostly with ROLEX--fake 18K gold cases and bracelets with genuine ROLEX movements salvaged out of older stainless steel models.

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