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Scrapper's Hall of Shame

musicguy

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When I see a movement that looks like it was forcibly removed
from a case(sometimes just pryed out of the case without unscrewing
the case screws) it really makes me sad. But the allure of scrapping GOLD is
very strong.



Rob
 
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Ethan Lipsig

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I am surprised that "Worthy Nominee" sold for $2600. It was an uncased repeater with a damaged dial, being sold "as is" without any assurance that it was even in working order or complete. The movement is a fairly common one, based on a LeCoultre ebauche. Professional servicing of the movement could cost more than $1000. Casing the watch will be difficult because the case will need a repeater slide. A solid gold case likely would cost at least $1000. Thus, the buyer could easily spend $4600 or more buying the watch, casing it, and getting it back into good working order. If the movement was signed by a famous maker, that might be somewhat understandable, but the movement in a private label with no apparent cachet. The buyer could have purchased a working minute repeater in a solid gold case with a good dial for less than he or she likely would have to spend to make Worthy Nominee a decent working watch. I recently sold for $4,250 a signed 14k Touchon minute repeater in good running order and good cosmetic condition; it had essentially the same movement as Worthy Nominee.
 

Bernhard J.

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What a pitty. The winning bid is amazing. Unless I missed something, I would have not paid more than 500.--, if at all, considering the heavy damage to the dial. What the heck did whoever do when removing the dial such that the subdial remains in place?
 
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thesnark17

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Oh, wow, that one is a shame!

In regard to melting gold-filled cases, it's happening all the time. I collect Gruen pocket watch serial numbers from Ebay sales.

Right now, a lot more than half of the Verithin pocket watches that sell are losing their cases to scrappers. I'm not only talking about the gold ones: I'm sure that it's 99% for them; and I'm not talking about the trashed ones either - I'm talking about normal examples in good to great shape.

Since I record serial numbers, it is easy for me to know for certain that the watch case has been scrapped when I record the information for the complete watch, and then find the bare movement for sale, two weeks later... over, and over, and over, from the same sellers.

I suspect that eventually I will be too fed up with watching it happen, and stop recording serials.
 

Jeff Salmon

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On a slightly different note, many years ago, a friend of mine with a jewelry store in Carmel, CA had someone come in with a magnificent, hand made, lady's wrist watch, in platinum, by Patek with about 12 carats of diamonds! The stones were superb quality. The bracelet comprised of a baguette diamond and a round diamond, in separate links, continuing to the case, and surrounding the small dial. The bracelet was designed with the diamonds, in opposing arrangements and wrapping around the dial. It was magnificent. When first seen, the bracelet was severely damaged by members of the family (inheritors) wanted some of the diamonds so they took a pair of pliers to the bracelet, broke several diamonds, then gave up. My friend was able to buy this watch, the bracelet was scrapped, whatever diamonds were left in the bracelet were saved, and there were several, and the head of the watch, still intact was saved. It took several years of trying to sell the head with the remaining SIX carats of diamonds. I was in tears when I saw what was left of the watch. Sorry, I don't have any pictures.
 
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Bernhard J.

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Actually it is quite simple. I make an example. Last year I bid on this watch with a (thin) 18K case. I won at a price, which was just a small bit over the scrap value of the case. The seller had to pay 10% fees, so that it would have made much more sense for him to scrap the case and auction the movement. He would have received several hundred Euros more than what he got from auctioning the complete watch. In consequence, the seller made quite a loss by selling it as such instead of in parts.

Now look at the condition, in particular the original dial. The movement is a good quality movement being a Landeron 248 and in excellent condition. However, "collectors" do not like the brand.


1a.jpg
 

musicguy

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Nothing really too interesting, but I did get part of an original case with a movement
I just purchased. I knew that it didn't come with its case, but I didn't know they would send the
crown/stem. I have gotten them before, and have also received the
crystal too sometimes (without the case, strange yes). This prompted me to
email the seller and ask about the case, and if he had a photo of it (I was curious what it looked like).
He said no it has been scrapped already and didn't have a photo. Interestingly
I am very happy to have this special crown(and the movement is fantastic too).



IMG_8096.jpg IMG_8097.jpg



Rob
 

Incroyable

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I've seen a lot of naked '60s and '70s era Audemars Piguet and Vacheron dials with movements for sale online.

What I assume is that these were originally cased in the gold integrated bracelet cases that later became unfashionable and were then melted down for scrap.

Interestingly you don't see many naked Patek movements around the presumption being that the cachet of the name saved otherwise unfashionable watches from being scrapped.
 

Jerry Treiman

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I show here a watch in my collection that is still intact. It is a Waltham 10-size Colonial-A with a 21-jewel Maximus movement. They only made 200 of these before they switched to a 23-jewel movement. Of those 200 only perhaps the first 50 had a gold train and diamond endstones. They dropped both of those enhancements with the rest of the 21j models (see second example here) and all of the 2,000 or so 23j movements. The carved solid gold case has about 22g of 14K white gold.
22280043f3.jpg 22280043_m.jpg
22280137_m.jpg

Just recently a nearly identical example from those first 50 was on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $999.99. Considering the nearly $800 in gold and the rarity, quality and condition I thought that was a very fair price. It was offered for a couple bidding cycles but no one took the deal. Shortly afterwards the naked movement came up on eBay and sold for $76. It will be difficult to case and very difficult to case correctly. The scrapping created a loss in real value.
 

Incroyable

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I wonder if more American watches or English watches fall prey to the scrappers.

I've seen a lot of naked English movements for sale on eBay and other places. The English propensity for a rather large heavy watch no doubt contributes to their demise.
 
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musicguy

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I see a seemingly never-ending flow of movements.

Rob
 

John Cote

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Just recently a nearly identical example from those first 50 was on eBay with a buy-it-now price of $999.99. Considering the nearly $800 in gold and the rarity, quality and condition I thought that was a very fair price. It was offered for a couple bidding cycles but no one took the deal. Shortly afterwards the naked movement came up on eBay and sold for $76. It will be difficult to case and very difficult to case correctly. The scrapping created a loss in real value.
I wish you had pulled my coat to the original listing (no big deal...can't say for sure that I'd have bought it anyway...). I am a member of a small group of wristwatch nerds who maintains a list of cool watches for sale with a dibs/no dibs system. Maybe we could do that here.

That said, and I don't want to be seen as a rare watch scrapping advocate, who can blame the non-watch-nerd owner of a gold watch for getting the most value out of it, especially if he/she has tried to sell it intact with no success first. We can have all of the honorable intentions in the world but a watch is property and if someone needs to cash out of property who can condemn him from getting the most out of it. (OK, everybody, now yell at me.)
 

Jim Haney

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John,
I completely agree with this reasoning, I would not want someone telling me what I can and can't do with my property.

I believe the Bigger problem in Scraping is the strippers who part out every watch for profit, Again, it is their property so they are free to do what they wish, but we have tried for years to discourage this, however, if someone sees a Dial or case or Hands or whatever they will buy it to improve or repair their watch, so we can not scold people for doing it but it will eventually hurt collectors.:thumbsdown:
 

Ethan Lipsig

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I've been keeping track of C.H. Meylans for a dozen or more years. While these are Swiss, I am only mentioning them to illustrate the extent of case scrapping. My serial number database, see link below, lists what I estimate to be 1,250 Meylans. I am distressed regularly to see uncased Meylan movements for sale that I'd seen for sale before with their original cases, all solid gold 14k or 18k high quality cases, mainly by Jeannot & Shiebler, AWWCo, or Cress Arrow. Today's posting here led me to total up that recent scrapping. I was surprised to find "only" about 35 instances. However, of the approximately 1,250 Meylan movements in my database, about 435 no longer have their original cases, most of which haven't been recased. Thus, I estimate that the cases of about 1/3d of C.H. Meylan pocket watches in my database have been scrapped, but only 10% of this 1/3d were scrapped in the last dozen or so year. This 1/3d scrapping estimate only is for C.H. Meylans that are still in existence in whole or in part. The actual percentage must be far higher because a great many of the approximately 50,000 watches I estimate C.H. Meylan made (all cased in solid gold or platinum as far as I know) no longer exist at all.
 

John Cote

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Ethan,

It's a shame. I agree. My dad told me about scrapping he saw in the '50s. I have been told about scrapping during the depression of the '30s and during both world wars. I am sure people have scrapped gold watches since there were gold watches. it's a shame. It is a shame people need money more than they need a watch and it is a shame there have always been people who will melt gold. I suppose it is a shame that gold prices are at all time highs lately.

I can tell you though, that I do buy-to-save gold watches, as I know you do. I know though, that I don't buy them all. None of us, no matter how wealthy, seems to have the will to run an ASPCA for watches...and even the ASPCA has to give up on more than a few.
 

Incroyable

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I've seen a number of late 18th/early 19th century pocket chronometers recased in mid to late 19th century silver cases. I suspect most of those were originally in gold cases and had been scrapped by owners who fell on hard times.

Otherwise I would see little point in recasing silver watches.
 
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Incroyable

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The only watch I can think of that has escaped scrapping is Breguet.

Even Patek isn't safe from scrapping since you often see orphaned Patek movements but I've yet to see an orphaned genuine Breguet.
 

Jeff Salmon

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There are so many watches and clocks being parted out. I wish some of my clocks had gold in them. I have a 16 size Illinois, 23 jewel, model 174 (1 of 300). The movement is in a plain, but mint, 18K rose gold case. The case weighs 64 grams. The scrap value is so high, I can't sell the watch complete, with the movement for free. It's a problem for me. It is even difficult to put it on auction as I would want to add the auction fees, just so I can get the gold value out of it.
 

Incroyable

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It's tough with heavy gold cased watches because the intrinsic value of the gold case is often several thousand dollars but the market for a complete watch very small.

When you have a watch with a case that's worth $3-4k in itself the amount of people willing to pay that plus the value of the movement becomes quite narrow. I see complete gold pocket watches laying around on dealer websites sometimes for years before they sell.

The only place where such things sell readily are at horological auctions.
 
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Bernhard J.

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In the recent years I have developed a habit of "protecting" unloved watches in gold cases by bidding a little bit above the gold scrap value. One cannot do wrong, simply because the gold value will rather increase in the future. Luckily I am overbid in most cases :D. Where not, others will have to decide what to do with these at some future juncture.
 

Incroyable

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English watches seem to do particularly bad.

People who do collect English watches rarely want to pay several thousand dollars for a heavy 18kt half hunter with a generic lever movement by the likes of Mappin & Webb, J.W.Benson, etc.
 

John Cote

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English watches seem to do particularly bad.

People who do collect English watches rarely want to pay several thousand dollars for a heavy 18kt half hunter with a generic lever movement by the likes of Mappin & Webb, J.W.Benson, etc.
I agree and all you have to do is walk down Portobello Road to see the establishments which have been melting cases for generations.
 
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Jim Haney

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A well know scrapper bought this one yesterday from me on eBay.You will see this movement soon........

It is hard to watch this kind craftsmanship detail going down the the tubes........

 

Allan C. Purcell

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I have just spent a couple of hours reading this thread, and though it is really interesting, there is nothing really new. l think we all know we don´t like scrappers, or do we? What about the collectors of movements only? I have as many movements as I have cased watches. This is no excuse for Scrappers, though, for research they make life easier. Some of these little jewels have been cased, I would love to put them all in cases, but I would need another lifetime.

This one, you could be sure it was in a gold case. Probably made by Nicole Neilson.

IMG_2022.JPG IMG_2021.JPG


These three are from the Litherland firm in Liverpool.

IMG_2024.JPG IMG_2023.JPG

This watch could have been in a rolled Gold or Silver case, do not forget scrappers, scrap them too.

IMG_2028.JPG IMG_2027.JPG

One more photograph, and then I will move on. I could of course go back to Verge's and their movements, but the point is made.


IMG_2025.JPG Spot the London watch.

Early in this thread, Ethan mentioned mementoes and such engraved or scratched-on watch cases putting people off purchase, I do agree with that. Fancy these on a Patek.
"From Man & Dad for Christmas," "For 25 years honest work" "The Lord's Prayer" plus many others. Yet of all of those watches and movements in my collection, it´s this one that stands out. It's a Longines 12s, 14K (Sorry it's not American but the owner, was. Sid Grauman ) The watch comes in at 50 grams, and the button 14K chain at 5 grams. That makes a few dollars today-but!


IMG_2019.JPG IMG_2020.JPG IMG_2029.JPG

I put this on the board in 2018, and you can see in the photo above that LloydB was kind enough to find out who the Gentlemen were, who bought the watch for Sid, as a Christmas present in 1920-21. Gold, Silver, Jewels, regulators, damascene, and golden wheels, all go out the window, "THIS WAS SID GRAUMANS POCKET WATCH" and I am looking after it. :emoji_snowman2: Yes, it´s Christmas every day. All of us, I hope have this feeling when we buy an antique pocket watch.

While writing this, I changed my mind. (More than once) and decided to include very old watches. All four have been repaired and Serviced by Seth Kennedy, they are now just waiting for cases. Another one is away having a pare-case made for it, will show it when it arrives.

IMG_2033.JPG

To finish, You will have often seen, but worthwhile


This is a movement sold by Hunt & Roskell c1848 (Nicole & Capt?) put into a Sterling Silver & 18K gold case, by Hermann Lüdke here in Germany.

IMG_2034.JPG IMG_2035.JPG IMG_2036.JPG

I only wear it when I get that Christmas feeling. You know what I mean.

Allan.
 

Allan C. Purcell

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perhaps even the majority but I haven't counted--are orphaned.
I could not agree more, the sad side is they will do nothing with them, and they still have over four thousand unrecorded watches. They are asking for help. I do have that book, but it is also hard to read or understand.

Allan.
 
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John Cote

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Just got this in the mail, never seen one before, says they pay top dollar, Im guessing everything that can be melted will be….
I don't know these guys but I do know some people in my part of the world who do the same thing. Some of them will sell me watches.
 

Jeff Salmon

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These flyers are very deceptive, in my mind. The 'hook' is that they tell you they pay 'the highest'. My experience is the exact opposite. I once took a set of silver flatware for 12 and they offered me way less than scrap value of the silver, after telling me over the phone how much they wanted the set. Another example was of a solid gold pocket watch. They offered me less than half of the scrap price for the gold, and the movement was free. I didn't even trust them to remove the movement professionally. They didn't have the tools. These 'hotel buying events' seem to bring many seniors who may not have the ability or knowledge to tell what is a good price. These buyers take advantage of a lot of people.
 

butlercreek

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These flyers are very deceptive, in my mind. The 'hook' is that they tell you they pay 'the highest'. My experience is the exact opposite. I once took a set of silver flatware for 12 and they offered me way less than scrap value of the silver, after telling me over the phone how much they wanted the set. Another example was of a solid gold pocket watch. They offered me less than half of the scrap price for the gold, and the movement was free. I didn't even trust them to remove the movement professionally. They didn't have the tools. These 'hotel buying events' seem to bring many seniors who may not have the ability or knowledge to tell what is a good price. These buyers take advantage of a lot of people.
This sums up my thinking as well………
 
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Incroyable

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To be fair it's no different from selling to an antique store or pawn shop.

They're never going to give you market price for gold. Otherwise how would they make profit?
 

179

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To me it sounds like % of profit, many are not happy with anything less than 100 %.
 

grtnev

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To me it sounds like % of profit, many are not happy with anything less than 100 %.
Any retail business, at a minimum, exoects a 40% profit margin.

So if you are selling precious metals, gold spot price - 40% is what you should expect as a starting point.

Richard
 

Jeff Salmon

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A

Any retail business, at a minimum, exoects a 40% profit margin.

So if you are selling precious metals, gold spot price - 40% is what you should expect as a starting point.

Richard
If you have enough scrap, selling to a refiner can get you over 90%.
 

butlercreek

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Any retail business, at a minimum, exoects a 40% profit margin.

So if you are selling precious metals, gold spot price - 40% is what you should expect as a starting point.

Richard
I pay 10% over spot for gold coins and sell for 10% under………no where near 40%
 

Benny69

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This is an interesting but sad thread as it is ultimately about the destruction of history. In the past I have started a thread about scrappers and was completely surprised as to whom was participating.
Apparently NAWCC members freely engage in this practice?
I am not a paid up member of the NAWCC but have merely signed up to access the forums to educate myself on my hobby, collecting pocket watches.
I can’t imagine any other organisation on the planet allowing its members to openly participate in the destruction of one of the elements it sets out to covert.
Once it’s gone it’s gone. Think about that.
Sad stuff guys.
 

watchbob

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This is an interesting but sad thread as it is ultimately about the destruction of history. In the past I have started a thread about scrappers and was completely surprised as to whom was participating.
Apparently NAWCC members freely engage in this practice?
I am not a paid up member of the NAWCC but have merely signed up to access the forums to educate myself on my hobby, collecting pocket watches.
I can’t imagine any other organisation on the planet allowing its members to openly participate in the destruction of one of the elements it sets out to covert.
Once it’s gone it’s gone. Think about that.
Sad stuff guys.
100% agree !!!!!!!!!
 

Jim Haney

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This is an interesting but sad thread as it is ultimately about the destruction of history. In the past I have started a thread about scrappers and was completely surprised as to whom was participating.
Apparently NAWCC members freely engage in this practice?
I can’t imagine any other organisation on the planet allowing its members to openly participate in the destruction of one of the elements it sets out to covert.
Once it’s gone it’s gone. Think about that.
Sad stuff guys.
Benny,

The purpose of the NAWCC is education and ALSO preservation, the problem is that the members who do this are also protected by their right of ownership.

Some make a good living out of parting out watches & clocks, their claim is that the item are not Rare, just common goods,however that has been proven false.

In reality there is no way to enforce this by rules, etc. We have discussed boycotting these people who sell scrapped parts,etc. however that doesn't work,because whenever someone sees an item they need they will buy the part.

It is sad but true and their is no way to Ban members who do this ,:cop:so it it just a problem that we have to live with.:argument:
 

MrRoundel

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I pay 10% over spot for gold coins and sell for 10% under………no where near 40%
Ah, we must have a real gold bull in our midst. ;)

I'm sure that scrap gold prices are virtually always less than a coin price. At least that's what I'd expect of gold coins minted by well known and reputable operations and/or countries. There's more uncertainty in buying scrap in the form of watch cases. Unless there is a market for trading scrap cases in their manufactured form, there are obviously costs for melting and transforming into a more trade-able object with some sort of assay assurance. So I don't really think it's a great comparison between gold coin prices and gold watch cases and such. And I don't think that most coin dealers are consistent scrappers. JMHO.
 

PostwarO27

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Actually it is quite simple. I make an example. Last year I bid on this watch with a (thin) 18K case. I won at a price, which was just a small bit over the scrap value of the case. The seller had to pay 10% fees, so that it would have made much more sense for him to scrap the case and auction the movement. He would have received several hundred Euros more than what he got from auctioning the complete watch. In consequence, the seller made quite a loss by selling it as such instead of in parts.

Now look at the condition, in particular the original dial. The movement is a good quality movement being a Landeron 248 and in excellent condition. However, "collectors" do not like the brand.


View attachment 712382
You don't seem attached to this and you also don't seem to mind scrapping out parts so I'll ask....would you consider selling this case if you still have it? I'm looking for one for a L248
 

Bernhard J.

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You don't seem attached to this and you also don't seem to mind scrapping out parts so I'll ask....would you consider selling this case if you still have it? I'm looking for one for a L248
You may not have understood what I was trying to say.

This lovely watch is now in my collection and will remain there. I will for sure not sell it in parts, even if you would offer double or triple of that what I paid for the whole watch, let alone the gold value of the case.

I do not mind that "serious" collectors disregard these Chronograph Suisse, even in excellent condition. Perhaps I am not "serious" in this sense. Their problem, my advantage ;)

Cheers, Bernhard
 
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MrRoundel

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The upside is that we'll probably be seeing another wave of nice movements become available to those who care about them. If the gold watch wave doesn't happen, it might mean that the supply is getting pretty thin. At some point, after so many waves have passed, this has to happen, right? All that will be left will be in our collective, collecting, hands. Cheers.
 

Bruce W Sims

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I realize that this thread is old. All the same I wanted to dredge up something I mention a little bit ago. To wit:
Why is it that we are so reluctant to break with the traditions of the past and avoid modern replacements to the cases these movements come with? There is no good chance of finding an age-appropriate case, and the one that comes with the movement may easily be a recase anyhow. I understand the animus towards scrappers and the quick-profit motive, However, while we are discharging our grief and misanthropism more and more movements are lying derelict in someone's workshop.

Are we really doing all that we can?

Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
 

179

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I realize that this thread is old. All the same I wanted to dredge up something I mention a little bit ago. To wit:
Why is it that we are so reluctant to break with the traditions of the past and avoid modern replacements to the cases these movements come with? There is no good chance of finding an age-appropriate case, and the one that comes with the movement may easily be a recase anyhow. I understand the animus towards scrappers and the quick-profit motive, However, while we are discharging our grief and misanthropism more and more movements are lying derelict in someone's workshop.

Are we really doing all that we can?

Thoughts?

Best Wishes,

Bruce
I have no problem finding appropriate cases for movements I buy. As to derelict movements, with the ever increasing shortage of material, they will serve as donors.
 

MrRoundel

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Bruce W Sims , I'm not opposed to vintage movements being returned to some use by placing them in a modern case of some sort. As far as avoiding them, I do so mostly because those who make such cases have been supplying them for watch movements that are way to big for me consider wearing as a wrist-watch. If is start seeing replacement cases being made that will accommodate movements in the 10 1/2-13 ligne range, I might consider such a case. And I'm guessing that others might feel the same way. Cheers.
 

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