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Old 17 August 2011, 10:06 AM   #1
cruvon
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List of questions to ask before you buy vintage watches(esp for newbies)

Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so please do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.

General question to ask

Watch is original and has no replacements including service replacements

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial

Dial
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)

Insert
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement

Movement (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown
Original/Service replacement

Crystal
Original/Original service replacement/service replacement


Box and Papers
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written)


Service
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Cheers
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Old 17 August 2011, 10:22 AM   #2
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Good idea.

Somewhere add whether the serial number of the watch macthes the time period the seller is advertised.

Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is a miss.

Degree and type of patina desired.
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Old 17 August 2011, 10:36 AM   #3
cruvon
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Thanks Dan, updated.

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so please do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no replacements including service replacements

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement

Movement (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown
Original/Service replacement

Crystal
Original/Original service replacement/service replacement

Degree and type of patina desired
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written)

Serial number
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)

Service
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith, so "Buy the Seller".
************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
__________________

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’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
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Old 17 August 2011, 11:21 AM   #4
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Ops you tackled the question I posed in my post.
Great questions. Maybe ask seller if he has photo of caseback.

Also papers can be typed too.
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Old 17 August 2011, 11:36 AM   #5
cruvon
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Thanks Philip, updated

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so please do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no replacements including service replacements

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement

Movement (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown
Original/Service replacement

Crystal
Original/Original service replacement/service replacement

Degree and type of patina desired
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)

Service
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith, so "Buy the Seller".
************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
I had to find the passage back,To the place I was before.
’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!
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Old 17 August 2011, 11:39 AM   #6
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I have been buying watches for over 25 years and NEVER have I seen a watch for sale where the seller went down a list of every part to give a description like you have asked for as they cannot be 100% certain. They try and say as much as they know sometimes more than others though. I have also attended many live auction and also never noticed this.They usually let the watch speak for itself. Is this a new trend in collecting or buying and selling watches? Learning the most you can and asking questions before you buy is a must on anything.I would like to say that there are not many people in this hobby that can answer the questions you are asking with 100% certainty and be able to back it up with anything other than a refund if your not happy. Not even Rolex can answer some of those questions so is it a list to ask all sellers? On a 40 year old watch that has been serviced and bought and sold numerous times the answers you will get will be nothing more than opinions or made up stories as they don not know 100%. Unless they are the original owner and never had it serviced can you be sure. Everything else revolves around time spent learning ,experience and if needed opinions of others to make a buying decision on a watch that is acceptable to you. When I buy a watch I look at it 1st and then if I am interested ask questions if I have any. Example :My 1st question is how long have you owned it? Dealer says I bought it an hour ago from another dealer. Do you think he can answer those questions with anything other than his opinion? LOL. I say buy from a reputable dealer your comfortable with or know what you are buying. Happy Hunting
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Old 17 August 2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greekbum View Post
I have been buying watches for over 25 years and NEVER have I seen a watch for sale where the seller went down a list of every part to give a description like you have asked for as they cannot be 100% certain. They try and say as much as they know sometimes more than others though. I have also attended many live auction and also never noticed this.They usually let the watch speak for itself. Is this a new trend in collecting or buying and selling watches? Learning the most you can and asking questions before you buy is a must on anything.I would like to say that there are not many people in this hobby that can answer the questions you are asking with 100% certainty and be able to back it up with anything other than a refund if your not happy. Not even Rolex can answer some of those questions so is it a list to ask all sellers? On a 40 year old watch that has been serviced and bought and sold numerous times the answers you will get will be nothing more than opinions or made up stories as they don not know 100%. Unless they are the original owner and never had it serviced can you be sure. Everything else revolves around time spent learning ,experience and if needed opinions of others to make a buying decision on a watch that is acceptable to you. When I buy a watch I look at it 1st and then if I am interested ask questions if I have any. Example :My 1st question is how long have you owned it? Dealer says I bought it an hour ago from another dealer. Do you think he can answer those questions with anything other than his opinion? LOL. I say buy from a reputable dealer your comfortable with or know what you are buying. Happy Hunting
Hi Nikos, point taken. Is true that we might never be able to tell if a watch had period correct parts put into it over 40 years and so is more a matter of expert opinion. However if for example, I bought a red sub that had service replacement parts or parts that were not period & reference correct and I wasn't explicitly informed about it by a seller because I didn't ask and bought in good faith, think anyone has a right to feel they were let down if was later discovered to be unoriginal. Moreso since a newbie buyer would place all his trust in a seller more than an expert buyer would, when it came to evaluating vintage watch attributes. Offcourse there are some attributes that many of us would overlook or take more lightly compared to critical requirements like having a original dial, case, hands, insert so I don't expect all the questions to be asked to the seller only, but to fellow forumers too out here by way of pictures, etc. based on what's important to them. At the end of the day, the buyer has a right to a watch that he intended to buy be he a newbie or a seasoned expert as much as the seller the right to receive his well earned money.
As for the trend for seeking out originality, I have just collated what has been repeated in these forums over the period I have been here into one place so that we have an idea of what the ideal attributes for an original collector grade watch are. Offcourse as in life, we might have to make compromises on what we finally buy, but atleast have knowledge of the compromises we have made so we don't end up disappointed but happy with our vintage and hence the list above:).
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Old 17 August 2011, 12:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruvon View Post
However if for example, I bought a red sub that had service replacement parts or parts that were not period & reference correct and I wasn't informed about it by a seller because I didn't ask and bought in good faith, think anyone has a right to feel they were let down if was later discovered to be unoriginal..
I am not sure about refference correct as I do not know? Lets assume I am an original owner of a 1970 red submariner and every 10 years I send it back to Rolex for service. I am not a watch guru just a guy that bought a sub in 1970 and sent it back to them for service and decide to sell it to you as my original 1 owner sub.You purchase it and latter after a tear down examination discover the case back is a service 1 the crown and insert and even dial and hands are too.You come back to me and say hey the watch you sold me wasn't original and I say your crazy I bought it new and only rolex has ever touched it. You tell me about the dial and hands etc and I say what are you talking about....take it to rolex and ask them if its original or not here is all the receipts. Who is right and who is wrong ?This is why the BUYER must Do Due Diligence prior to looking to buy and buying.Those that dont spend time in this area are always at risk of the unknown (either unintentional or intentional). I too have made mistakes rushing etc in the past. I learn something new every day now
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Old 17 August 2011, 12:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greekbum View Post
I am not sure about refference correct as I do not know? Lets assume I am an original owner of a 1970 red submariner and every 10 years I send it back to Rolex for service. I am not a watch guru just a guy that bought a sub in 1970 and sent it back to them for service and decide to sell it to you as my original 1 owner sub.You purchase it and latter after a tear down examination discover the case back is a service 1 the crown and insert and even dial and hands are too.You come back to me and say hey the watch you sold me wasn't original and I say your crazy I bought it new and only rolex has ever touched it. You tell me about the dial and hands etc and I say what are you talking about....take it to rolex and ask them if its original or not.Who is right and who is wrong ?This is why the BUYER must Do Due Diligence prior to looking to buy and buying.Those that dont spend time in this area are always at risk of the unknown (either unintentional or intentional). I too have made mistakes rushing etc in the past. I learn something new every day now
Great point Nikos, nothing is more important than doing your own research and knowing what to look for. If you are going to get into this hobby you might as well as its time well spent and will last you a lifetime.
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Old 17 August 2011, 01:01 PM   #10
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Point taken Nikos.

It doesn't hurt to ask. I once asked a prominent internet dealer if he had photos of the serial number/reference number & caseback as he had only one photo on his website. I thought it was a reasonable request.

Instead of saying "no" he told me that he just sold the watch. Now months later I see the watch is still up for sale.
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Old 17 August 2011, 01:05 PM   #11
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Point taken Nikos.

It doesn't hurt to ask. I once asked a prominent internet dealer if he had photos of the serial number/reference number & caseback as he had only one photo on his website. I thought it was a reasonable request.
Instead of saying "no" he told me that he just sold the watch. Now months later I see the watch is still up for sale.
Makes you wonder if he is hiding something
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Old 17 August 2011, 01:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greekbum View Post
I am not sure about refference correct as I do not know? Lets assume I am an original owner of a 1970 red submariner and every 10 years I send it back to Rolex for service. I am not a watch guru just a guy that bought a sub in 1970 and sent it back to them for service and decide to sell it to you as my original 1 owner sub.You purchase it and latter after a tear down examination discover the case back is a service 1 the crown and insert and even dial and hands are too.You come back to me and say hey the watch you sold me wasn't original and I say your crazy I bought it new and only rolex has ever touched it. You tell me about the dial and hands etc and I say what are you talking about....take it to rolex and ask them if its original or not here is all the receipts. Who is right and who is wrong ?This is why the BUYER must Do Due Diligence prior to looking to buy and buying.Those that dont spend time in this area are always at risk of the unknown (either unintentional or intentional). I too have made mistakes rushing etc in the past. I learn something new every day now
True Nikos, like in your example, there might be a seller who was unaware. But in some cases we might have a seller who chooses to keep quiet about it hoping it wouldn't be noticed waiting for an innocent bait and I think that would be entirely dishonest considering in the example that an original red sub dial would set the buyer back by atleast 4k, not to mention the untold misery and time of trying source a period correct dial. And then in a different category and more accountable are commercial sellers who are in the business of selling vintages and it's their business to know what an original vintage is and inform the buyer if it doesn't tick the right boxes.

A case in point, a few days back I needed add a car that I almost bought. All checks came perfect including the mechanical checks and the car seemed in pristine condition. The lady seller was a perfectly innocent sounding pregnant lady who seemed very trustworthy. She said she lost the cars manuals since she moved houses quite often and had no reason to disbelieve her story. I had done the local state checks which were perfect and came across one final check that I had skipped to do with checking finances owing on the car that I did the night before I was to finalize the purchase(Note most people never do any checks before buying a car and some do only the state checks). What did I find, no issues with the finances but it was in fact a car that was caught up in the floods in Queensland and written off, repaired and back on the market, possibly made note of by her insurance company, she was the only owner. Should she have let me know that the car had been underwater taking a swim, she sure should have since we all know what happens when water enters a car and the havoc that rust will slowly cause it. Was I pissed off, I sure was and thought that was totally dishonest that she didn't mention it. Later found out that if was a dealer I was buying from they have a legal obligation to inform me since guess many innocents have been taken for a ride but no similar obligation to an individual to tell, since buying from a private party, silly. Legally she had no obligation to tell me, I think morally she did. Would I have done the right thing and been upfront with a buyer? I sure would have and would expect the same.
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Old 17 August 2011, 02:49 PM   #13
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Update

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so please do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no replacements including service replacements

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement

Movement (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown
Original/Service replacement

Crystal
Original/Original service replacement/service replacement

Degree and type of patina desired
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)

Service
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith, so "Buy the Seller".
************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
I had to find the passage back,To the place I was before.
’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!
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Old 17 August 2011, 03:11 PM   #14
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Some good points here IMO, but you should definately check out this thread by Orchi, very relevant to vintage.......

"To ALL Newbies/Novices: Here's Orchi's List of TOP 10 Priorities when buying Rolex."

http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=117073
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Old 17 August 2011, 05:05 PM   #15
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I'm sure that most of us collectors on here would be upfront as possible in a sale. I know I am when I sell something. As much as I know anyway.

If the RSC services a watch then its genuine. This is a grey area for some I know. For me, I don't think I'd want to purchase a 40 year old watch that hadn't been serviced at least some point in its life.
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Old 17 August 2011, 05:06 PM   #16
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Thanks Michael, added in Orchi's thread link


************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no/any replacements including service replacements?

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands:/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial:
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert:
Is it original to the watch (Thick font)/ a replacement/service replacement(Thin font)/

Movement: (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown:
Original/Service replacement

Crystal:
Original/Original service replacement/service replacement

Degree and type of patina desired:
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers:
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number:
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)

Service:
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection:
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith, so "Buy the Seller".

Additional Buyer Info Threads

1) "To ALL Newbies/Novices: Here's Orchi's List of TOP 10 Priorities when buying Rolex."
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=117073

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************[/QUOTE]
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
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’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
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Old 17 August 2011, 05:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe100 View Post
I'm sure that most of us collectors on here would be upfront as possible in a sale. I know I am when I sell something. As much as I know anyway.

If the RSC services a watch then its genuine. This is a grey area for some I know. For me, I don't think I'd want to purchase a 40 year old watch that hadn't been serviced at least some point in its life.
+1. As for the RSC, aslong as had specified to the RSC that the visible parts of the watch be kept original, an RSC service certificate would increase a watch's collectible value. If however the RSC ended up replacing dial/hands/insert/lume etc. with service replacements it would loose collectible value. Offcourse nothing wrong with having a RSC serviced watch with service replacements, would infact make the watch fresh and looking new and running longer. Just that it would loose most of it's collectible value since most collectors desire and pay top dollar for the original parts on the watch rather than service replacements (which actually have a different design/look to the originals). Much like any vintage collectible I guess.
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Old 17 August 2011, 05:42 PM   #18
joe100
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Right Cruvon.

Depends on the priorities of the collector. I'm somewhere in the middle. I like some originality but I sure don't want the watch to look like it was run over by the Orient Express 20 years ago.

Take the 6542 GMT Master. I want one. Badly. But, I don't think I could walk around wearing it everyday knowing i'm one bump and bang away from destroying a piece of brittle 1950s radioactive plastic that costs more than some of the watches around here. Sure, I could get one and put it in a safe and never wear it. No fun in that though. I could also just get an aluminium insert...but then again, I could have nearly the same look with an early 1675 and save the trouble and cash...

It all comes down to some homework on the part of the buyer and asking questions that are relevant to the collector's interests. If I were buying a 6542, I'd ask the questions I find important to me. I'm one of the few who loves to do the homework. The chase is half of the fun and I like to become a mini-expert when I'm hot on something. The search button around here has taught me more than I could have ever asked a single seller. Buyers need to vet their purchases as much as possible. Too many great resources around here not to. And its FUN!
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Old 18 August 2011, 01:28 PM   #19
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Updated

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no/any replacements including service replacements?

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished/ Both lugs same sized/ not overpolished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished

Hands:/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial:
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert:
Is it original to the watch (Thick font)/ a replacement/service replacement(Thin font)/ Scratched/Chipped

Pearl Dot:
Original/Original replacement/matching to lume on hands and plots or not/service replacement

Movement: (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown:
Original/Service replacement

Crystal:
Original/Original replacement/service replacement/Badly scratched

Degree and type of patina desired:
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers:
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number:
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)

Service:
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection:
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days and in some cases none. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith and post pictures here, so "Buy the Seller".

Additional Buyer Info Threads

1) "To ALL Newbies/Novices: Here's Orchi's List of TOP 10 Priorities when buying Rolex."
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=117073

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************[/QUOTE]
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
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Old 18 August 2011, 07:56 PM   #20
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I believe that's why "buy the seller" makes so much sense. First, only the best dealers will have the required knowledge to answer these questions. In addition, in this small world and at least for premium examples, reputation is everything and a pro-eminent dealer will not risk it to make some $$$. In addition, the best dealers do have the connections that allow them to locate great and rare watches that collectors cannot find by themselves.

Lastly, pick dealers that stand behind their watches, i.e. that do have a no question asked return policy and that we will buy back the watches they sold you with a reasonable bid-ask should you need to sell it later.

Out of this, I am afraid it has to do more with luck than anything else, you can have good experiences and may be make a good deal, but you can equally (or probably more likely) have bad experiences and end up with a watch that is not worth what you paid for it (or even that is worthless if it is a fake).

Totally agree with Nikos' point, and if it is too good to be true...
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Old 19 August 2011, 11:21 AM   #21
sdwtchlvr
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With regards the condition of the watch, that's subjective so I always ask for detailed pics so I can make up my own mind...especially with regards to polishing.

Definitely do your homework and know the watch you are buying. Things change with specific models over the years so make sure that you ask for the serial number of the watch. Then look at several detailed photos on this forum and other well known Rolex forums of the watch you are considering near the serial number as yours. Compare details, most importantly the dial.

Of course ask if everything is original but it's best to take the answer with a grain of salt. Look for yourself. Service replacement parts are generally slightly different from the original. I found this out when buying a white 1680 a short time back. I had a forum friend take a look at it (he's a big time collector) and he spotted that the dial was a service replacement even though it was a tritium dial. These things are important because they affect the price dramatically.

Ask for the bracelet numbers and date code and check them yourself, don't rely on the seller.

If at any point the seller gives you the business for asking questions, walk away. The vintage world is tough and there are so many really good fakes out there and franken watches that are put together with mostly genuine parts or Vietnam cases with individual serial numbers and genuine movements. It's crazy. Just be careful. Stick with well known sellers with verifiable references.
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Old 19 August 2011, 12:23 PM   #22
Michael M.
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Are serial/ ref readable without a loupe.
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Old 19 August 2011, 10:52 PM   #23
TempoKing
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Collectors (with deep pockets) are paying big money for Rolex watches
which in my opinion many are of suspect "creation".
Because of the high dollar amounts changing hands - some see a get rich
quick - opportunity by employing "criminal" methods and criminals to do
their dirty work so they can "create" a vintage Rolex watch for an unsuspecting soul
who wants to be a collector - and it is naive to think that this does not happen.
Laser tech wonders in duplicating fonts, dials, cases papers, and other fine
"Franken" designs are some of the perfect tools they use in order to assemble
a perfect vintage Rolex watch.
Such vintage market belongs only to the idiots who pay the prices
and the con-artists who find...every day A GRAIL (?)...always the "best" "unworn"
and "unpolished"... always with "Boxes & Papers"...ALWAYS "Punched"....
...From an era when writing with a pen the reference and serial number
was the normal thing to do !
I for one... I am not buying any important vintage Rolex for more than $4.000
no matter WHO is selling this watch....Unless I know... that this Rolex has been
in his possession from 30 - 40 years ago.
One good thing is...you now know - what questions to ask...
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Old 22 August 2011, 03:44 PM   #24
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Thanks, updating with you comments guys. Also before these are lost, adding in Jed's writeup in one of the recent threads that describes the correct paperwork for various years, Marcello Pisani describing paperwork for 1675's and Orchi's writeup describing the subtelities of 5512/5513 collecting (all in the "Additional Buyer info threads" section below).


************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no/any replacements including service replacements? Include detailed pictures.

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished/ Both lugs same sized/ not overpolished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished/Bracelet number and date codes

Hands:/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial:
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert:
Is it original to the watch (Thick font)/ a replacement/service replacement(Thin font)/ Scratched/Chipped

Pearl Dot:
Original/Original replacement/matching to lume on hands and plots or not/service replacement

Movement: (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown:
Original/Service replacement

Crystal:
Original/Original replacement/service replacement/Badly scratched

Degree and type of patina desired:
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers:
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number:
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)/Are serial/ ref readable without a loupe

Service:
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection:
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days and in some cases none. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith and post pictures here, so "Buy the Seller"/ No questions asked returns Policy/Buy back

Additional Buyer Info Threads

1) Orchi's List of TOP 10 Priorities for newbies when buying a vintage Rolex
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=117073

2) Refer to Jeds pictorial writeup of the correct paperwork for some of the vintages in this thread (Page 4)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190394&page=4

3) Refer to Marcello Pisani's paperwork pictures/comments on the 1675's (Page 3)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190394&page=3

3) Orchi describing things to watch and know on 5512's and 5513's (Page 2)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190309&page=2

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
I had to find the passage back,To the place I was before.
’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!
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Old 22 August 2011, 11:17 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruvon View Post
Hi Nikos, point taken. Is true that we might never be able to tell if a watch had period correct parts put into it over 40 years and so is more a matter of expert opinion. However if for example, I bought a red sub that had service replacement parts or parts that were not period & reference correct and I wasn't explicitly informed about it by a seller because I didn't ask and bought in good faith, think anyone has a right to feel they were let down if was later discovered to be unoriginal. Moreso since a newbie buyer would place all his trust in a seller more than an expert buyer would, when it came to evaluating vintage watch attributes. Offcourse there are some attributes that many of us would overlook or take more lightly compared to critical requirements like having a original dial, case, hands, insert so I don't expect all the questions to be asked to the seller only, but to fellow forumers too out here by way of pictures, etc. based on what's important to them. At the end of the day, the buyer has a right to a watch that he intended to buy be he a newbie or a seasoned expert as much as the seller the right to receive his well earned money.
As for the trend for seeking out originality, I have just collated what has been repeated in these forums over the period I have been here into one place so that we have an idea of what the ideal attributes for an original collector grade watch are. Offcourse as in life, we might have to make compromises on what we finally buy, but atleast have knowledge of the compromises we have made so we don't end up disappointed but happy with our vintage and hence the list above:).
Sorry pal, this list seems a tad unreasonable, and at this rate; you would never find a watch. You also dont have a scale to rate "chamfer"
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Old 23 August 2011, 10:04 AM   #26
cruvon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by STEELINOX View Post
Sorry pal, this list seems a tad unreasonable, and at this rate; you would never find a watch. You also dont have a scale to rate "chamfer"
Thanks, will add in chamfers too. True the best attributes in the list are more idealistic but should be almost always found in original NOS, close to NOS or mint watches with NOS/mint condition Box and papers, which is rare to find but not impossible and is only for the most discerning of buyers amongst us. Offcourse there are compromises to be made if is anything short of NOS, such is life:), and is best a newbie like me knows what compromises we can live with when we purchase vintages short of an idealistic scenario and make an educated purchase, hence the list:).
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Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
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’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
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Old 23 August 2011, 10:20 AM   #27
STEELINOX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruvon View Post
Thanks, will add in chamfers too. True the best attributes in the list are more idealistic but should be almost always found in original NOS, close to NOS or mint watches with NOS/mint condition Box and papers, which is rare to find but not impossible and is only for the most discerning of buyers amongst us. Offcourse there are compromises to be made if is anything short of NOS, such is life:), and is best a newbie like me knows what compromises we can live with when we purchase vintages short of an idealistic scenario and make an educated purchase, hence the list:).
Gotchya
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Old 19 October 2011, 03:15 PM   #28
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Bump, back to this thread, any more to add in here?
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Old 19 October 2011, 05:09 PM   #29
cruvon
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************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
Hi guys, just thought would list some questions I found especially useful to ask when buying a vintage watch with inputs from you wonderful guys here, hopefully helps some newbie collectors like myself get the watch they looking for. Is esp for those seeking originality and collector grade pieces or those willing to compromise on some parts so that we can become informed buyers rather than end up finding we purchased an unoriginal watch in good faith "assuming" it was all original. Important in cases where not enough information was provided or because the seller had a "Ask and I'll tell" policy rather than an upfront one. Offcourse again, please ask the knowledgeable guys here and send them pictures before you buy a watch. Also sometimes, if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is ,so do conduct your own due diligence before buying.

Please help me fill in the missing bits.


General question to ask

Watch is original and has no/any replacements including service replacements? Include detailed pictures.

Individual part questions

Case:
Is it Polished/never polished/unpolished/over polished (since these definitions can mean different things to different people)/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Rusty

Caseback:
Caseback photo/Some have a timestamp like quarter/year

Lugs:
Thin/Thick/Polished/Never polished/ Both lugs same sized/ not overpolished

Bracelet:
Is it period correct/Original to the watch/Service replacement/Polished/Refurbished/Bracelet number and date codes

Hands:/
Are they original to the watch/replacement hands/service replacements/relumed/ tritium matches the plots on the dial/ tritium doesn't match the plots on the dial/Cracking tritium

Dial:
Is it original to the watch/ a replacement/service replacement/refinished/relumed/tritium matches the one on the hands/ tritium doesn't match the hands/ % perfect (eg 100% perfect dial)//Cracking tritium

Insert:
Is it original to the watch (Thick font)/ a replacement/service replacement(Thin font)/ Scratched/Chipped

Pearl Dot:
Original/Original replacement/matching to lume on hands and plots or not/service replacement

Movement: (doesn't impact collectability much unless a different movement is used)
Original/Service replacement/a different movement


Crown:
Original/Service replacement

Crystal:
Original/Original replacement/service replacement/Badly scratched

Degree and type of patina desired:
There is a 0-6 patina type, please see the different types of patina from link in sticky here http://rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=145962

Box and Papers:
Original to the watch/Period correct but not original to the watch/none/Chronometer certificate (punched/double punched/written/typed)

Serial number:
Serial number of the watch matches the time period the seller is advertised. (Note that this can have a variance of 1-2 years because might not be exact)/Are serial/ ref readable without a loupe

Service:
A recent service/RSC service/no service

Returns & Buyer Protection:
Period of time the buyer has to return the watch if something is amiss/ Will the seller stand by the watch after that time to safeguard his reputation since in most cases the return period is usually about 3-7 days and in some cases none. But a buyer discovers a watch is unoriginal too late as we have seen many times when new guys buy vintages in good faith and post pictures here, so "Buy the Seller"/ No questions asked returns Policy/Buy back

Additional Buyer Info Threads

1) Orchi's List of TOP 10 Priorities for newbies when buying a vintage Rolex
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=117073

2) Refer to Jeds pictorial writeup of the correct paperwork for some of the vintages in this thread (Page 4)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190394&page=4

3) Refer to Marcello Pisani's paperwork pictures/comments on the 1675's (Page 3)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190394&page=3

3) Orchi describing things to watch and know on 5512's and 5513's (Page 2)
http://www.rolexforums.com/showthrea...=190309&page=2

************************************************** ************************************************** ************************************************** *******************
__________________

Last thing I remember, I was Running outta sight
I had to find the passage back,To the place I was before.
’Relax,’ said this Rolex place,We are programmed to receive.
You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!
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Old 19 October 2011, 05:51 PM   #30
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Nikos makes a valid point. to buy pre-owned or vintage without doing any homework would be wreckless, i bought my 1st Rolex 5/6 years ago but i'm still learning now & when searching for my Red 1680 i spent close to a year reading all i could find to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible. knowing what questions to ask is ok but knowing how to identify original parts yourself is far better, plus you'll spend more time on TRF & having a laugh while you learn too....bonus
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