Is this 1945 Longines worth servicing?

jjdaniel

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One of the first vintage watches I bought was a 1945 Longines. I paid 325 on EBay. I thought I’d done my due diligence, but I’ve subsequently learned that it’s a redial. Which no doubt explains how I got it for 325!

I like the watch, and that hasn’t changed since I learned about the redial.

To my eye, it still looks nice. It is the watch I bought and I like it.

However, it needs a service. I‘m waiting for an estimate (from Nesbit’s here in Seattle), but when I dropped it off they said I should expect it to be in the 500 range.

So I’m trying to figure out whether it’s worth the money to have it serviced. I don’t know the service history but I’m sure the seller didn’t have it done. The watch runs fine and keeps good time, but it’s hard to wind the crown.

I like the watch at 325 but wouldn’t have paid 825 for it, especially knowing about the redial.

Any advice? I don’t want to throw good money after bad. Should I just wear it until it doesn’t run anymore and then write it off as a lesson learned?
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musicguy

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If it helps, I have most of my watches serviced. If you use it
or intend to pass it down the family a clean working watch
is always a good thing.


Rob
 

Tim Orr

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Good afternoon, JJ!

In my opinion, and please understand that I don't want to be insulting, this is like asking "How long is a piece of string?" If the watch were mine, and say, an heirloom from my paternal great-grandfather, and with a long family history, the repair fee might be of no consequence – even if it were nothing more than a "dollar" watch. If it had no "family history," I might ask whether or not the total cost was equal to its resale value. That might be learned from an appraiser or some other "expert."

But the truth is, no matter what you do, the question of "What is it worth?" is always going to be hard. If someday this becomes a much sought-after watch or one which nobody is interested in, the "value" could shift radically. I probably paid more for every item in my collection than it is "worth," especially given current market conditions. But I'm not in it for an investment. I collect what I like, what I want. I decide in my own head what I'm willing to spend, based on emotional rather than rational criteria.

Some people don't like this idea, but I also am willing to defer repairs on an item if it is not all that important that it run and keep good time. If all I'm going to do is hold it and look at it from time to time, it doesn't really matter to me if it is a reliable timekeeper. If I want to wear it and use it to tell what time it is, then repair costs have to be considered in light of that. (Although I have known people who wore watches entirely as a "jewelry" item, and did not rely on them to know what time it is.)

I also caution against the "sunk cost" fallacy: It is easy to say, "Well, I already have $325 invested in this. If I don't pay what it costs to keep it running, I lose that." That's the kind of thinking that leads to wars, cost overruns, and unhappy marriages. It's also kind of a definition of "Throwing good money after bad." But the fundamental question is whether it was "bad" money in the first place.

By the way, if the only issue is winding, there are some winding assist tools that, provided you don't force things, can help you wind your watch without spending $500 additional on it, since you've already established that you like it.

Best regards!

Tim Orr
 

Tom McIntyre

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I do not service watches, but I would not expect to pay more than $200 to have that watch servced. I would not have anything cosmetic done to it regarding the dial and case except cleaning some of the grunge off the case. If you have it cleaned and it is still hard to wind a winding tool is a good idea. If you are not sensitive to the crown's "originality" Roughbarked's idea of a larger crown is also good.
 

jjdaniel

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gmorse: somewhere down the road, yes, I’d like to learn to do my own servicing. But right now with a full-.time job, a 5yo son, crummy eyes and shaky hands, it’s not in the cards. (I know, I sound like a real catch!)

Tim: yes that is all well said. I do want to be careful not to fall into the trap of spending more on this watch just because I already spent some. Like you, I’m buying because I want to wear watches I like with a history and a story, not because I have any expectation that I’ll make money on them. It would take a far more savvy buyer than I’ll ever be to do that.

Having a watch also means I don’t have to look at my phone to know the time, and any way I can decrease screen time is all right by me.

a winding tool and new crown are both good ideas and I’ll look into them.

I think where I’m coming down in this is that I don’t mind spending 200-ish to keep this watch that I like running. I do mind 500. So if I can’t find anyone to do it for the lower figure, I’ll just wear it and not about it.

thanks all for your kind and thoughtful advice!
 

Tom McIntyre

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MrRoundel

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I agree with pretty much everything that members have been telling you. From what I see, along with the fact that the watch is running, even with a rough wind, tells me that you have a pretty good chance at getting necessary work done for around the price that Tom M. mentioned. If the watch has gone too long between services, i.e. clean and oil, it may take more extensive/expensive repairs to get it back up to snuff.

One thing to note is that by continuing to run a long interval unserviced watch is making it more likely that it will cost you a lot more than the ~$200 service. If you can't get a service done for a price that you find reasonable, you'd be best off by not running the watch much. Dry pivots and jewels that continue turning under torque will likely start to wear down. That's not a good thing, and it's easily preventable by having mechanical watches serviced at reasonable intervals.

I might be seeing things that aren't there, but it looks to me as if the crown wheel and ratchet wheel aren't meshing well, like they are too far apart. If that's true, I wonder if it could be due to a missing bushing that is sometimes placed under the crown (smaller) wheel ? This might cause the ratchet wheel to push the crown wheel away and cause difficult winding. I'm just thinking out loud, and I could be totally mistaken. Those more expert than I may dispel such a notion. Good luck with your decision on the watch. Enjoy.
 
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MrRoundel

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The OP's comment about being hard to wind went into my "thinking". But yes, in re-reading the post it does sound like he's referring to it being difficult due to a lack of grip at the crown. Maybe I'm just feeling guilty about once leaving that little washer out of a watch that I "repaired". Dang thing hung up in the cleaning basket and didn't make itself known until after I had the one-piece case put back together. :oops:
 
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Dave Haynes

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Is the case steel? Movement looks like a 10.68 or larger. If that watch hits Ebay and an excited buyer has money it would be around $4-500. Longines doesn't make their own movements except to rework an ETA ebauche. They stopped decades ago. Longines was and always will be one of the top brands for sale in the US. Their quality is certainly without question. It is a nice classic watch to wear. I would shop around and try for the mentioned $200. If the case is all steel, it is certainly worth the investment.

FYI: The signs of a watch that needs attention: Initial wind up it appears to run well, after loss of amplitude sets in for lack of lubrication it speeds up, when there is no lbrication at all, the pivots suffer and the jewels start to damage. When that gets worse it eventually stops running.
 

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