a rant...

bruce linde

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ok, so i have a really ugly weighs-a-ton french slate clock with a gorgeous fully restored square movement, dial, bezel, hands, gong and pendulum. i'm considering dumping the case since it's falling apart and everyone looks at it grimaces nd no one wants it because they can't see how lovely the other components are and don't look at clocks the way we do... but that's not what the rant is about.


[BEGIN RANT]

the rant is about seeing a case... or any part of what looks like it was once a special clock... on ebay and then finding all of the other components being sold separately... ALL of them... none missing.

if there were even one part of the clock missing, ok, maybe... but these sellers dismantle perfectly functioning and complete clocks just to sell the pieces separately... killing all originality unless someone is willing to pay a premium (multiple premiums?) and can actually win all of the separate auctions happening within minutes of each other.

i find this beyond obnoxious, and counter to our charter. personal opinion. YMMV.

[END RANT]


this is not the first time this has been discussed on the MB, and won't be the last. it's a seller's prerogative to do whatever they want... but that doesn't make it right. it's none of my/our business... but that also doesn't make it right. between seller fees, taxes, and the extra time it takes to pack and ship multiple pieces, i can't believe there's really that much profit in it... seems like a hard (and disrespectful) way to make a buck

(wait... maybe i'm still ranting? can you tell it bugs me?)

:)
 

chimeclockfan

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Yes this is what happens when certain clock-mongers decide that clocks are worth more as parts than complete clocks.
Then come all the 'repairmen' who buy those parts and keep the business floating. Nothing done to stop the dirty work.
The lack of good quality new parts simply fuels this trade. You are probably familiar with the chime rods scenario for the past 3 years.
Those seeking total originality are not impressed either: they want their clock repaired, not swapped around with leftover spare parts.

Oh and of course money's involved.

clockmonger.jpg
 

novicetimekeeper

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I know a clock breaker who does this to English longcase. He mainly splits off the movement and dial then sells off the case, pendulum, and weights. Sometimes he breaks the case for the hinges and lock. He claims he only breaks marriages but we know that isn't true. I've also caught him adding a nameplate from a lesser clock to a more interesting one to increase the value.
 

Bruce Alexander

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Hey Bruce,

"Salvage" is just an economic reality.

As a collector, I definitely don't like to see it, especially when it involves clocks I'm most familiar with.

Chop shops do irk me. If I see a Seller destroying intact antique clocks, I will not buy from them.

As a repairer/restorer I try not to contribute to the "Chop" market, but I know that I'm a potential buyer.

The fact of the matter, I think, is that some experienced sellers are better at hiding their sources than are others. Some don't care. They won't be losing any sleep over my collection/market decisions.

What really bugs me, though, is when an intact clock is poorly shipped and arrives in damaged parts.
That is another well discussed gripe or rant but I think it may be a contributing factor.
For most clocks, shipping is always a significant, hidden factor.
Parts are less expensive to ship than an intact, working, fragile clock.

Regards
 
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bruce linde

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What really bugs me, though, is when an intact clock is poorly shipped and arrives in damaged parts.

i just bought a banjo clock off of ebay and sent the seller some requested 'please pack it like this' notes.... they took the ball and ran with it... i have never received such a well--packed clock before... the exception that proves the rule.
 

Bruce Alexander

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exception that proves the rule
That would be when professionals pack like amateurs and vice-versa. I've seen that on more than one occasion.

If I don't see a history of clocks in a Seller's background/feedback, I generally do ask about shipping precautions.

Then there's always the possibility of very rough handling which exceeds the limits of most practical packing precautions.

One thing about eBay, if it doesn't arrive as listed, it can go back for a full refund. That takes us back to parts sellers; lower shipping costs and much lower liability.
 

Tim Orr

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Good evening, all!

I bought two chronometers. In both cases, I sent the seller a link to a site with detailed instructions on how to properly cork and pack. Neither followed the instructions. The first was so badly damaged it would not run. The seller – believe it or not – tried to tell me that chronometers are "self-winding," wound by the motion of the ship and that I should just shake it a bit. I finally got a refund, but had to make some thinly veiled threats.

In the second, the movement had completely flipped over in transit and broke out the glass. Fortunately, that was the only damage, and it was relatively easy to repair. In this case, however, the seller tried to blame the shipper. Finally, he agreed to refund the shipping, which covered the new piece of glass, which was cut and installed by a friend who collects lots of chronometers.

And that unnamed auction site didn't always rule in my favor: I bought a pocket watch, and when it arrived, unscrewed the case back to check the serial number. It was a marriage. As soon as I complained to the seller via e-mail – which is the course of action the auction site recommends – he immediately opened a case against me for "altering" the watch. After going back and forth for several weeks, the auction site insisted that by unscrewing the back, I had altered the watch and could not return it.

Fortunately for me, it turned out that the movement was somewhat rarer than the one I thought I was buying, and more valuable. There was no movement picture in the listing. I was taking a chance, I suppose, but I was banking on the auction house's reputation for insisting on fair dealing.
In retrospect, if they had allowed me to return it, I probably would have lost money on the deal.

None of this has anything to do with parting out clocks, I suppose. Of course, if the seller would have the decency to offer the parts, one by one, on successive days, it might not be so obvious. But, by having the parts show up, one after another in the listing, I suppose it tips me off who I'm dealing with.

I heard R.T. Custer of Vortic tell the story of buying a 5-gallon pickle bucket full of movements that had been stripped of their cases. When life hands us lemons ...

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

Walt Wallgren

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Bruce, I am so TOTALLY with you. I believe I know exactly who you are referring to. It makes me sick. It makes me want to put him in an operating room and harvest his parts to sell with NO anesthetic. I emailed one such individual once to see if we could come to an agreement so I could buy all the parts at once. He basically told me to pound sand. Oh, well, nothing I can do but seeing all these pieces of history destroyed for a buck, makes my blood boil.
 
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Schatznut

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Bruce, I share your pain, frustration and anger. My clock interests are primarily in torsion pendulum clocks and most of them are so inexpensive they're not worth the trouble to break them up. But the Atmos is a torsion pendulum clock, and the parts butchery there is so blatant it is enough to make one physically ill. I benchmark certain parts to gauge their price points, and it appears the get-rich artists are not having their way - some of the items have been available seemingly forever. As a supply chain manager of mine says, they're priced to keep, not priced to sell.
 
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