The watch magazine for pocketwatches, antique watches, vintage watches and modern watches

5 ways to spot a ‘Myth watch’

by Michael Weare
9 October, 2010
1 Comment | Discuss this article

About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

fake-watches-sign

There are rogues, thieves, robbers – and vintage watch peddlers. Just as surely as the mechanical watch has made a significant come back, the spectre of the dodgy vintage watch peddler has returned to a market stall near you. They prey on eager yet ill educated collectors of vintage wristwatches, and it’s big business too.

Did you know…

Did you know that fully 50% of so called vintage watches sold on the open market are a shoddy hotch-potch of movements, cases, dials and raided parts cobbled together and sold as the genuine article, sometimes for thousands of pounds? These watches, for obvious reasons sometimes known as ‘Frankenwatches’ – are snapped up by unsuspecting buyers who have not taken the time to pore through the books and do their homework on the piece they are buying. In vintage watches, as in antiques of all kinds, a little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing.

5 Top Tips on how to spot a Frankenwatch

Here are some of the tricks of the trade that will rob you blind and unwittingly place an inferior, often worthless ‘mythwatch’ on your wrist:

1. Different movement

Different movement in a genuine case or re-dialed model. Get to know the brand you are collecting; learn the calibre numbers of movements that power particular models. Calibre numbers are different to serial numbers. If it’s the real deal the calibre should be inscribed on the movement. Some calibres of a particular brand are more collectible than others, so it pays to know what’s what.

2. Similar movement

Similar movement series but with replaced part that has the calibre number. Some watch brands have numerous models and you pay more for the more superior movements in the range – or at least that’s the theory. If the expensive movement is replaced with a cheaper version you are being cheated. Look out for this type of fraud by looking for colouration contrasts or the newness of the parts that contains the calibre number.

3. The wrong watch case / watch back number

High end dial and movement in the wrong case. Many of the higher end vintage watches have case back numbers that can be checked with serial numbers to see if they match. Check carefully.

4. Worn watch hands or a worn watch crown

Worn hands and crowns replaced with non-genuine or non original hands and crowns. They’ll tell you the watch is 100% kosher, but it’s another mythwatch. This little trick significantly reduces the value of a vintage model but you’ll still be paying top dollar. Before buying, build up a library of pictures of watches that you know are genuine and match a prospective purchase against them. If in doubt hit the online forums, there are several knowledgeable dealers out there happy to show pictures or impart information.

5. Badly executed dials

Badly executed dials and re-dials. That’s the importance of super-sized pictures when buying online. You must be able to examine the quality of the printing and also the placement of lettering. A bad re-dial will wipe as much as 30 percent off the value of the watch. Go back to the forums or hit the books.

Do you have any tips?

Do you have any extra, useful tips on how to spot a ‘myth’ watch? Use the free comments area below to add your thoughts.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

Discuss: 5 ways to spot a ‘Myth watch’

1 Comment


  1. Tips For Buying A Watch | ArticleZ

    […] your bank account to get it. Learn the secrets of home staging and paint color mixing chart. Jewelry watch shopping doesn't have to take a lot of time or be very hard. With the right informatio… Decide which types of watches interest you the most and look for pictures of those. A simple […]

Add your comment