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For all of those who are thinking about buying a vintage watch of high class need to know a few things to look out for. There are, unfortunately, many pitfalls and it can all end up with you paying a lot of money for a watch worth less than half of what you have paid. To make things easier Marcels Watch Group will here give you a few pointers.

“Frankenwatch”

means that you put together a movement or a whole watch from many different watches. It’s a common way to repair old watchers to which it can be tricky to find the correct spare parts. Thus, even if the watch is running well this way of working is not very reliable since different parts suits different movements in a certain way. Problems will arise when someone uses parts from the same size movements but different calibers. As stated above, the watch may run well for now just like Frankenstein himself did, but in the long run this is not reliable. The best way to avoid this is to make sure that the stated caliber in your watch matches the model its supposed to be. If this is correct you look at the color match inside the movement (the movement should have almost identical color through all parts (of course, some exceptions do exist)). If this seems ok you should make sure that the texts match the certain caliber, for instance, an Omega CAL 564 should not have any text stating other than “24 jewels”. You need some fundamental knowledge to be able to do this.

“Re-dial” or “Re-printed”

means just as it states that the dial is remade. Maybe not the entire dial but the varnish and or the texts, index, logos, etc. The dial is one of the most valuable parts on the old watch. Is it remade the whole watch will lose value. There are several companies and persons who today working with reprinting dials but most of the time the result is not as good as the original and most of the times you can spot it. Some pointers to find redials are:

  1. Check the numbers and letters in all prints, do they look the same throughout the whole watch?
  2. Look at the index markers (not the index themselves), are the evenly spread and are the positions straight in front of the index?
  3. Are the texts centered compared to the rest of the parts of the dial or do they seem to be crooked or tilting?

“Polished cases”

are cases that are grinded to get rid of scratches and other traces of use. It can be ok when it is made by the authorized watch shop for the certain brand. The main issue with polishing arises when the watch is over polished. The size and form of the watch changes and markings like case number or serial number are thinned or in all disappeared. Sometimes even logos are erased.

Judging condition

Since 2019, Marcels Watch Group has started to use a grading system that has been thorrowly evaluated during several years. It will result in a total grade ranging from GRADE AAA to GRADE F. The judgement are mad in three steps before deciding on the final grade and it starts by grading the dial in color and condition. The case is graded in damage. In the total grade attributes such as original strap, original clasp, original crystal, etc. will affect the outome. Things as relumed hands, original hands and restored dial will of course also be taken into consideration before setteling on the final grade.

All grades are decided upon by a vintage watch specialist who is a certified watch valuer and also appointed by the Swedish Chambers of Commerce within this area.

The color of the dial

Obviously the original color of any dial is desireable. Most dials were once treated with a clear varnish which was more or less resistant to humidity and sun. Either the varnish could crack, become discolored or even peel off the dial. We are grading the dial color from the original color the dial had. We are grading the the dial in light correspondent to normal day light and the color is graded from left to right where “Riverside” is meaning more or less original color, or as close as possible to original color

Riverside – None or insignificant discoloration
Top Wesselton – Very small, even discoloration which is difficult to actually distinguish
Faint – Minor discoloration which visibally has changed the original color
J-Plus – Obvious discoloration, however not curdleing with the original color
VLY – Obvious discoloration which is uneven, mottled or is curdlin with the original color

The dials damage condition

The dial is graded from a damage perspective and if it has been restored in any way. A restored dial can never reach the top grade no matter how good it has been restored. The damages are through a five time magnifier and we are looking for varnish damages, damages which has penetrated the varnish and eventual damages on indexes and hands. The grade results in “Flawless” or worse where Flawless means that the dial has no to or almost no visable damages under a five time magnifier. I.e. vanish damages which are visable with the magnifier but hardly shown in nomal size might be disregarded. Hand are not as harshly judged since they are replaceable but indexes are parts of the dal and are judged likewise. The grading is made in light equivalent to daylight.

“R” in front of any grade means restored, rediald or partially redialed.

Flawless – Flawless without magnifier but minor damages might be seen when magnified 5 times.
VVSD – Very small to minimal damages, only surface damages which has not damaged the dial or the dial color but only the varnish.
VSD1 – Minor damages that might have penetrated the varnish but hardly visable.
VSD2 – Somewhat more obvious damages which are visable without magnification.
DG1 – The dial has obvious damages, clustered or single.
DG2 – The dial has consistently damages.

The condition of the case

The case is graded dependent of scratches, damages and shape. A vintage watch case will inevitable have som trace of wear and use why it can never be flawless, even if so called “NOS”. The grading is done on polished as well as non-polished cases. NP will indicate “Non-Polished” wheras P will indicate that the case at some point most likely was “Polished”. The grade of the case will lead to any of the grades below.

“P” in front of any grade means polished, not necessarely by Marcels.

NP-SurfaceP – Only minor traces of wear and use like small hairlines or minor case opening damages. Most of which are removable through polishing without changing the shape significantlly.
NP-Trace – Traces of wear and use will excist, little to normal in relation to the age of the watch.
NP-DG – Indicates that the case is in the top two grades but one or more obvious and clear damages are present like a dent, notsh or “ding”.
NP-S-Loss – Indicates that the case is in the top two gradings but that it has lost its shape due to wear if “NP” or a polish if “P”. For instance, sharp edges are softened and somewhat shape difference is appearent.
Heavy-D – Indicates that the case is heavaly damaged with several deeper scratches, notches or “dings”. Gold plated cases might also have lost the plating visible, restoring the case would lead to heavy shape loss.

Overall impression grade

The final grade will be given in AAA through F where AAA is best and F is worst. The criterias are as following.

AAA – All thre gradings from above is within the top-two of which one is the best grade. Concerning crown, strap/bracelet, buckle and crystal three or more are to be original or from the manufacturer. The looks and impression of the watch is very good to flawless.

AA – All three gradings from above are within the top-two of which a minimum of one is the best grade. Concerning crown, strap/bracelet, buckle and crystal one or more is to be original for from the manufacturer. The looks and impression of the watch is very good to good.

– All three gradings from above are within the top-two. Concerning crown, strap/bracelet, buckle and crystal one or more is to be original for from the manufacturer. The looks and impression of the watch is good.

BA – All three gradings from above are within the top-two. Concerning crown, strap/bracelet, buckle and crystal all may or may not be replaced with aftermarket- or non branded generic parts. The looks and impression of the watch is good to normal but with obvious wear and traces of use. .

B – All three gradings from above are within the top-three of which a minimum of at lest one is in the the top-two grade. Concerning crown, strap/bracelet, buckle and crystal all may or may not be replaced with aftermarket- or non branded generic parts. The looks and impression of the watch is good to to normal but with obvious wear and traces of use.

C – All three gradings of assessment above are within the four best assessments, of which at least one is within the top three. The crown, bracelet, glass and buckle can be replaced with other parts that are not from the manufacturer. The impression of the clock is good but with clear signs of use

F – The impression of the clock is very worn

Wording

Factory original = The same original part that was mounted on the watch when sold the first time.

Original part = Part from the manufacturer itself and sold by the same manufacturer the first time sold.

Aftermarket part = A part created to look similar or identical to an original part. It is not created by the manufacturer and the manufacturer does no longer creat those parts.

Generic part = A part that does not have a certain brand and does not look like an original part but will be fully functional (some times even specifically made) with a certain watch or movement. Like a main spring that is not made by ETA but another spring manufacturer who does not brand it as ETA.

Fake part = A part that is made to imitate a part made by the manufacturer and the manufacturer still make this part and offers it for sale.