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Vintage Or Refurbished

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Hi guys. I'd be very interested in your opinions on this subject. After messing with rep watches, eta movements etc.. I've finally turned to the darkside & purchased my first few vintage watches.

My first thought was to follow Marks lead & buy a vintage chronostop f5b5951b87fed90a23753752561e0ece.jpg865c75968f6b466fcc8d4ad28b902b5b.jpg & then I came across a sweet little longines for the wife 88e3a1fe6260b37e1f8bfe1bacdecca6.jpgthis was reported to be running fast. I'm hoping an easy fix as it's housing a eta2671.

However, my questions relate to the chronostop & other vintage models. What's the general feeling on leaving the watches looking aged & tired. I see many adverts for watches stating case scratched commensurate with age etc.

Would repolishing/refinishing the case on a vintage watch detract from its value. Also, looking at the chronostop in marks video, specifically the lume 8d06867837ccb773ffcef38eec318bec.jpgWould reluming with superluminova, effect it's value.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

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It,s a matter of choice really some like them to be absolutely original and other like them to look new. Personally I try to get them to look as presentable as possible without in-depth re-furbishment. But some watches that have real high value then this would be appropriate to increase it's re-sale value.

I have re-lumed dial hands but not dials it looks to delicate for me. There is a vid by Mark on you tube to show how to re-lumb of hands.

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I'm just unsure what to do with the chronostop. The longines I'll get polished, but the omega is the one I'm not sure whether to leave original. As I only paid £320 for it I may try to locate a genuine strap & box.

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I see no problem refinishing a Chronostop case, if it is done properly. Re-Luming the hands is always good if the old lume is tired or cracked. Personally I think any dial work is best left to a pro dial restorer and even then, it will always look like it has been restored so unless it is really really bad then my personal opinion is that I would suggest leaving it alone. 

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I see no problem refinishing a Chronostop case, if it is done properly. Re-Luming the hands is always good if the old lume is tired or cracked. Personally I think any dial work is best left to a pro dial restorer and even then, it will always look like it has been restored so unless it is really really bad then my personal opinion is that I would suggest leaving it alone.

Could you please tell me Mark, what was the tool you used in part 1 to remove the cannon pinion?

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Personal, if it's a vintage or classic watch, I'd like it to look as if it's been worn and loved and not as if it's just come out of the factory workshop.

I'd be happy to replace a badly scratched crystal , get any dirt on the case cleaned off and a light polish but not much more.

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All sorts of factors at work here, such as:

  • date of manufacture
  • rarity
  • condition
  • keep/sell on
  • type/style

I don't think it's possible to generalise - much depends on the product and your attitude to it. I have a few watches which date from the 1930s and 1940s, such as my 1940 Unitas ATP military watches. They aren't in bad condition but have obviously seen some wear in their time. The only change to them I've made was to put leather Zulu straps on them as the old ones were manky - otherwise, nothing done except a good clean and service. They stay as they are - a piece of history.

 

I've just bought a 1930s 9ct gold Timor cushion watch - just 28mm across - with the original strap. Just a good clean and service for this one. The original strap is worm but is totally of a piece with the watch itself - no change at all there, as it's also a piece of history.

 

I've also got a 1950s Gradus which I bought as cheap as chips. There's nothing special about this, so it's being cleaned and serviced, with new crystal, new strap, bars, etc. Luckily the dial's not too bad.

 

My Luxor chronograph from the 1960s (Landeron 248) needs a thorough clean - case and movement - because, in spite of keeping excellent time (strangely), it's absolutely filthy! The dial has also been seriously nibbled and worn. The face on this is very typical of it's type - with the usual sub-dials, etc. - and looks in poor nick. New dial for this one, I think - it's nothing out of the ordinary.

 

My Gruen Precision Curvex from the 1940s had been completely restored from top to bottom when I bought it - it looks great and absolutely authentic.

 

Horses for courses!

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I've had a Chronostop in bits for too long now. I am refinishing the case, but it will be done is such a way to ensure that the original specifications are adhered to. As it stands, the case has been polished by hand to keep profiles and edges correct, and the next stage will be graining the bezel. This will also be done by hand, but first I'll make a fixture to ensure accuracy.

Unfortunately I have far too many distractions due to house decorating and the like, but when I finish it I'll let you know.

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This is a very interesting topic, and opinions vary widely as you can see DJT2.

 

Here's my Brass Farthings worth :)

 

About 15months ago I got my Omega Flightmaster serviced at Brisbane Vintage Watches.  At that stage I didn't have the skills, or courage, to tackle a calibre 911, and I still don't think I'd like to risk it.  I've owned the watch for over 15years and would be devastated if I stuffed it up.  It's in excellence condition, all original hands and dial ... and as you can see below they have a lovely old Patina

 

post-246-0-88985300-1429880637_thumb.jpg

 

I asked about replacing hands while it was being serviced, as the lume only glows for a few minutes ... this is what I was told, and is the attitude towards vintage restorations in Australia at least; it could differ else where.

 

If the watch is a "Dress Watch", then making them look as new as possible attracts the highest re-sale value.  Which means new hands, replacing the dial with NOS, and polishing/brushing the case to restore it to "As New".

As for "Sport/Dive and Chrono Watches" replacing or reluming the hands, or replacing the dial is a HUGE no no!  Patina on the hands and dial actually increasing the value of the watch.  Refinishing the case is fine; but you will devalue your watch markedly if you touch the hands or dial.  So my Flightmaster was serviced, all crowns and pushers replaced; but dial, hands and case where not touched.

 

I'd be interested in hearing from other vintage watch collectors and dealers to hear their opinions and market perceptions elsewhere in the world.

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I would leave the dial as it is , a new crystal and clean up will make the world of difference to what is a reasonably scarce and sought after watch and yours being the "drivers" version with the 12 marker at the 3 o clock position is that bit scarcer  still

Edited by Andyclient

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Hi Lawson, generally an all original watch in decent nick will see higher prices then a refurbished one..but I would like to raise these points.

 

1. Lume degrades and pieces will fall off into the watch. Not good. As lume is relatively easy to replace (on hands at least!) and it can be matched to the appear as "aged" as the dial I would consider this a worthwhile 'repair'. Re-luming dials rarely turn out well.

2. On chronographs, the hands, especially the seconds counter, take a lot of punishment. After a while (after several overhauls) the hand tube becomes loose. The only solution is new hands.

3. Crowns are supposed to be a 'consumable' and need periodic replacement if you want to retain its water-tightness. All those branded used watch crowns you see on ebay were probably removed by a watchmaker years ago and are now finding a second life but these should only be for cosmetic purposes.

 

Of course if you just want to keep it 'as is', safe and secure you dont have to do any of the above but for something you would wear frequently it may avoid further damage to the workings.

 

On polishing the case.. as Geo said, hand-polish.. no buffing wheels!...I suggest using some fine sandpaper stuck to a flat craft-stick (or ice-cream stick!) with double sidedtape and ensuring that this polishing stick stays flat to the surface being polished.  watch the corners ..Nothing puts off a collector like rounded case edges.. !

 

Anil

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Thanks guys. This has been a very interesting read & it's kind of steering me down the path of keeping it as is. I'll have more of an idea when it arrives from the seller. As soon as it does & if you guys don't mind, I'll post pics of its condition & ask for abit of guidance.

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Sorry to revive this thread, but the chronostop arrived in the mail & I'm pretty blown away by its great condition. TBH I'm reluctant to do anything to it. Love to know you guys thoughts.

3ac7a0c35754be19916a7f647a65588a.jpg623998a5508002fb28578b0396519f4c.jpg669417678d71919f146c8d4413d0163e.jpgf9ab589da50715e3fb47e2d4af40add6.jpgea91cf024731d10ed9e283055536749a.jpgae45603e9822d09c1b37d932bc79fbe4.jpgc072f7f818c869339f08b0a2c3161cab.jpg

Sorry about the poor quality of pics. I'll do better with movement shots in a few days

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That's a really nice looking watch Dave. Do you know when it was last serviced? I don't know what level of experience you have regarding chronograph servicing, but I wouldn't recommend you start on such a nice and valuable piece. Pick up an old chronograph movement and practice on it before servicing this beauty.

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If you've worked on the above you will be well capable, but I would still practice on something else. Remember that a lot of the screws in a chronograph are actually eccentrics for adjusting the operation of the chronograph and shouldn't be touched.

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