Finds or fakes

Sometimes in auctions you might come across a box lot of assorted “stuff” and rummaging through it all you stumble across a number of watches.  When I see these I usually move on, as invariably these have been checked by the Auction House and there’s little of interest. or indeed real value.  However, a friend of mine, not a watch collector as it happens, tends to take a chance of a small profit as an amateur reseller of such stuff.  And recently he paid the princely sum of £55 price for such a box lot at a very provincial Auction sale. There were 28 watches, some without straps, lug pins and one or two without glass and mixed together with some rusty watch accessories. Most looked the worse for wear, obviously well used (abused), mostly common makes that barely survived the owner – in this case sadly departed.

Rolex Oyster Mk 1 – maybe?

However, and why he phoned me, in amongst the bits and pieces, almost hidden and covered with brown tobacco dust? were three odd ones, which once cleaned up, appeared to be in almost perfect condition.  Now were these missed or just passed over, I have no idea, but if these were what they seemed to be, then the Auction folk were very remiss – which I doubt.  And if they were not what they were purporting to be, then probably shouldn’t have been in the sale – I don’t know the legal aspect of this these days.

However, it is at times like this you’re suddenly brought face to face with reality – regarding fakes. These are still very much around. Never forget that the Fake or Replica market has not gone away – far from it! – and in fact it’s grown exponentially over the past few years. Just doing a short trawl on the Internet with my friend I pointed out over 100 web sites devoted to selling this stuff.  I was totally surprised – far more than I ever dreamed of when I started looking.

But back to his watch box – which did incidentally make him a profit – he put the others, not these three, one at a time as single items to another auction and sold them collectively for £320 after commission! – not a bad return on his investment. (I’m in the wrong job!).

The nice condition – Rolex – shown above – looks like the Oyster Perpetual Explorer Mk1 1016 that I first saw back in the 1960’s, though of course I have my doubts.  Close-up it’s remarkably good, dial and case wise and I’ll have to remove the back to check if it’s Rolex or something else inside. (I don’t have a tool for this – not being a Rolex man). Personally I’m not really keen like buying one specially. I’ve suggested he can though (with his profits). I did note the bracelet whilst signed was poorly indented with the Rolex crown, and the deployment mechanism was thin and sharp, not good quality at all, so Im pretty sure this is NOT genuine.

Wemp Glashutte ?

Patek Philippe Jump Hour – question mark!

There were two other ‘good’ models in the box – supposedly a Wempe Glashutte and a Patek Philippe Jump Hour (I’ve never even seen one of those). The Wempe had a tonneau shaped case, which I do recall seeing maybe 20 years ago (not currently) and the PP was and is a complete mystery to me.

The thing is after 20 or 30 years, it’s tricky to confirm the models and I suspect there are some folks who collect them as novelties – good or bad as they are. In this case, whatever they’re supposed to be faking, superficially good, but on closer inspection, they’re both poor.  A bit clunky I’d say with numerals poorly applied and in the case of the PP, the jump mechanism is poorly made.  Both are manual wind and annoyingly work rather well. In fact the PP large sweep seconds hand looks great moving – with no name or another generic name on it and it would be a novelty watch – possibly a copy, possibly not. But with PP on it – bad business.

I attach images of them, without comment, so make of them what you will.

I’ll update this Post once we find out more about them, but especially the Rolex – assuming I have the time – so as ever – watch this space.

Note I did see recently an article where a registered Cartier Dealer received a watch for service. He was sure it was genuine and only when looking to service the movement, realised it was a high-end Japanese movement and the watch was indeed a Fake – everything about it externally he simply could not fault.  So it appears the fake market is way better then it used to be and a real and present danger to the originals.  Another reason these days that I don’t entertain buying pre-owned top models – unless backed up by absolute proof of authenticity from the Brand themselves.
It’s a real problem.

Categories: Commentary


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