what is your pet peeve about describing pocket watches?

Discussion in 'American Pocket Watches' started by Jeff Hess, Jul 2, 2017.

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  1. MrRoundel

    MrRoundel Registered User
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    Dec 28, 2010
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    My girlfriend scored a fine mechanical watch, for a great price, because the seller figured it needed a battery and didn't want to mess with it. I happen to be familiar enough with the brand that I was almost certain it had a mechanical movement in it, as the dial was not marked "Quartz". All others I recalled seeing of the brand (that had quartz movements) were so marked. I also knew that the brand uses very fine Swiss movements. So if it was indeed mechanical, it was likely a good, and serviceable one. I just hoped the staff was good, etc.

    When she received the watch she told me it was indeed very nice but the band sucked. But we knew by the images that the band would need replacing. I asked her if she had wound it. She said, "It's running." I asked again if she had wound it. She answered, "Well, if I hadn't wound it, how would it be running?" Yeah, she's a pistol, that one. 10 lashes towards my "reward" of 50 for the good deed. :rolleyes:

    When I got the watch to consider servicing it, I removed the back and found a high-grade mechanical ETA movement in it, in very clean condition, with nice motion to the balance. But it was smaller than I thought it would be. I figured with the size of the watch it would probably be a 10 1/2 ligne. It is, however, a mere 7 3/4 lignes, and may be under my minimum size requirement to tackle. Those small ETAs have the tiniest, and slipperiest, end-stones in creation. I "fired one off" into the ether on a larger ETA a few months ago, and had to order replacements from overseas. Live and learn. Since the new one will only be worn a few times per blue-moon cycle, I may let run non-serviced. We'll see.

    So the ignorance to which you refer is often just the blessing one needs to get a good deal. Granted, it doesn't always work out that way. You look at the whole package, assess the risk-to-reward ratio, and "spins" the wheel. That said, it is hard to believe that the seller didn't try to wind the watch. If they had they would have tripled what they got for it by selling it as "running". But they would have sold it to someone else. Cheers.
     
  2. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Jan 12, 2017
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    #82 musicguy, Jul 13, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2017
    MrRoundel Great story!(and nice wife :smile:)


    One of the "peeves" that I've read about on this site (many times) is about blurry Photographs
    in auction listings. If I were to give any advice to prospective online auction sellers(to maximize sales)
    it's to take good clear photographs. That being said, some of my best purchases
    on eBay I've had to make educated guesses on weather to buy a watch
    that has blurry photos. I don't really have the budget(with 2 kids in college) to buy
    some of the watches I would like to, but eBay gives me a second chance with
    some blurry photo listings.
    I find it's like a treasure hunt(even though I don't buy them to re sell)

    Also, as was said above(sorry don't remember who) when I buy on an online auction I've
    learned that I can't get too excited about a watch, I have to keep my expectations
    low.

    I saw one of these this morning that was about to end, and there still weren't
    very many bids on the RR watch. I bid, and won. Now I have
    to wait to see what I bought. LOL


    Rob
     
  3. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mar 2, 2012
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    I snagged a very nice Lord Elgin wrist watch for $8 once, because the seller took pics using a flatbed scanner instead of a camera. Nobody else was willing to take a flyer on it, but for $8, how far wrong can you go?
     
  4. Fred Hansen

    Fred Hansen Registered User
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    Aug 18, 2002
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    Why?

    I hear this occasionally but don't understand how the benefit of this approach outweighs the options it might reduce.
     
  5. onsite

    onsite Registered User
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    Mar 6, 2011
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    It doesn't out outweigh them but sometimes it sure is fun.

    This auction house was just trying to be honest and talked a few people out of bidding with the following description:

    Waltham 17 Jewel Pocket Watch w/ Banner gold filled case, inside on the movement it reads, "Made for Canadian Railway Tim Service", note ; this is a stem set watch, so not usually used as a Railroad Watch, and also they did'nt put the 24 Hr. numbers on the face so they are not trying to pass if off as a Railroad watch . The case is worn but it appears to run fine and c/w nice little chain.

    Here is another, from lots of reading and just a picture of the dial I was 99% sure this would be a Gallet Interocean, Bingo!

    Fortune A.W.C. Co. 23 Jewel gold filled Pocket Watch, lever set [ some wear, runs, missing the top "Carry" ring ]

    I admit to having picked up a few turkeys but all in all I like a bit of a gamble.
     
  6. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mar 2, 2012
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    You will never get a bargain from somebody who knows what he's selling better than you know what you're buying.

    The thing about me is, I'm mostly a bottomfeeder. My resources don't allow me to go after rare watches, or pristine examples, or the like. As a result, my interests and my collection are pretty mundane - I collect Elgins, after all, which many sneer at as too common. But I've spent a LOT of time studying my prey.....
     
  7. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mar 2, 2012
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    One example: about 5 years ago, I saw a listing for an 'Elgin Calendar Wristwatch', but I could tell from the picture it wasn't a calendar watch at all. It was a 24 hour dial. I bought it for $12. It turned out to be an Elgin consumer watch, that they'd sold briefly in about 1960. Never really caught on, so they didn't sell many. Bulova sold one, too, around this time.

    I've seen maybe 3 in the intervening 5 years, and they all sold for well over $100. I got mine for $12, because I knew what it was and the seller didn't.
     
  8. topspin

    topspin Registered User

    Dec 14, 2014
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    Correct... I would generally be hesitant to buy from a collector, partly for this reason, and partly because of the likelihood that they will have swapped bits around, etc.

    That said... a watch which is properly described and sells at fair market value, could still be a bargain to me if it happened to be filling the last gap in one of my sub-collections.

    Another peeve - random mixed lots of watches, containing 1 Waltham.
    Another peeve - listings that are not for a Waltham, but have been seeded with "Waltham" so they come up in my search results anyway.
    Another peeve - selling either a random mixed lot of rubbish or one perfectly good watch, describing it as good for "steampunk".
     
  9. musicguy

    musicguy Registered User
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    Jan 12, 2017
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    deleted post
     
  10. Jeff Hess

    Jeff Hess Super Moderator
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    Sep 3, 2000
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    All great points. I might add tht there is indeed a fine line between "Salemanship" (which is ok) "sales hype" (which is borderline) and "shysterism" (which is not good... at all). Back in the day, my mail order list, was a tedious process. SB&B? or pop off? LS or PS? HC or OF? enamel, painted, metal or "ceramic" or melamine? RR or not RR? 16 or 18? gf or G?

    Adding to the confusion was the "star" system of one of the books as to "Rarity" and the grading system from a prominant list seller who tried (successfully to some folks) to set a "Grading standard" that was nonsensical ("superb dial" meant tons of hairlines etc)

    When you ad, for ebay anyway, the 80 character limit and a person trying to highlight ("SALESMANSHIP) the good points will naturaly use some "shortcut words". Minty, near mint, scarce, runs strong, blazer whatever. Of course those precious 80 character in the title are used for accentuating the positive. no one would look if you put just the negatives in the title. IOW a strong running near mint watch with some minor surface scratches and one tiny dent in the dustcover and tiny edge chip on the dial that runs stronly but for sure needs cleaned would not get any looks if described as "Chipped dial, scratched dented antique pocket watch that needs cleaning". To prevent people from trying to get partial refund we ALWAYS add to our auctions "COA at owners expense recomended for optimal time keeping".

    Jeff
     
  11. GeneJockey

    GeneJockey Registered User
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    Mar 2, 2012
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    I think this may be one advantage of collecting less-sought-after watches - less likelihood of bodging and Frankening. The disadvantage is that sometimes the watch hasn't been serviced in decades!
     
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