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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How important is a specific date of manufacture to the value of a vintage watch?

For example, if your Rolex serial number only indicated a ten year range from 1930 to 1940, how would this affect its resale value...as opposed to being able to nail down a range of months within a certain year?
 

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Probably not a lot. That said a 10 year span is quite a lot.
So I would say +/- 4 or 5 yrs makes no odds. That said we can normally get pretty accurate date from serial number. Problem arises if NO serial number.

I own a Rolex Didactic - no serial number at all. But we know the 'didactic' was the very first Rolex Perpetual (Oyster), and we know it was launched in Q4 1933.
Therefore mine is 1933 ot beginning 1934.
UNLESS
you believe Rolex who claim to have launched their Perpetual in 1931!!!
 

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That depends on each model of watch. For instance, certain models of early Omega Constellations bound for the US market didn't say Constellation on the dial until 1954 despite the line being released in 1952. If you see a movement with a serial number that corresponds to 1953 housed inside a US made case and the dial has the word Constellation on it you know it's been incorrectly pieced together (a franken watch). Same thing with a Seamaster that has the caliber 591 - it was only made for one year in 1960 so if you see one housed in a case that's from a reference that stopped being made pre-1959 you know that's wrong too. Stuff like this kills the value.

Also, certain model years are more sought after. The Longines Conquest with the date at 12 was only made in 1960, and the Flagship with the date at 12 was only produced in 1961. Any other Conquest or Flagship automatic from any other year won't be worth as much - although that has more to do with the particular feature.

Usually the first year of production is of more interest to a collector. The solid gold dialed Constellation reference 2699 is more valuable by a couple hundred than the later, and nearly identical, reference 2799 given that overall condition is equal. The 2799 has a gold applied OMEGA on the dial where the 2699 has only an inked OMEGA. That's the only difference and usually an applied metal logo is of more interest except in this case.

The only way to know what's more valuable is to do your homework and study up on the brand(s) you wish to collect. Jack of All Trades = Master of None.
 

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Would it be better or worse for the collector if movements were simply engraved with a date of manufacture...instead of a unique serial number?
Nah, too easy. Too easy to fake also. Manufacturers use serial numbers for their records so that's good enough for me. Sometimes the year an Omga case was made was added after the caseback reference was engraved. Then you could match it to the serial number. If both dates were within a year or two it was probably a kosher watch. If they were off by more than 2 years it could have been assembled from parts by somebody other than the factory. For instance, here's a 1968 Seamaster chronograph caliber 321:







The serial number on the movement dates the watch to late 1968 and the caseback shows "- 68" after the case reference of 145.006 so it jives. Of course, this isn't the only thing you need to insure a watch is legit. If/when you start to specialize by brand you'd know that a caliber 321 was mated to the 145.006 by the factory, and later version of the same exact watch with the caliber 861 were called the 145.016 so no confusion existed as to what caliber was meant to be in what case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I own a Rolex Didactic - no serial number at all. But we know the 'didactic' was the very first Rolex Perpetual (Oyster), and we know it was launched in Q4 1933.
I feel a little better now about my 1930s Swiss Rodana. No serial number there either...and this really made me think twice about buying.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Lets see a picture
I should be able to borrow a camera that can do macro...my camera cant focus properly on close-ups. The movement has a curious 'CXM' engraving on the balance bridge, and also states that its UNADJUSTED.

Was there a law in Switzerland about including this?

I can see why a company wants the buyer to know his watch is adjusted for temp/position/spring tension...but why would they advertise that a watch is unadjusted???

BTW, was your Didactic the first watch from Rolex to use raised metallic markers?
 

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CXM. Is the import mark for Swiss manufacturer Clinton, Wolbrook, Circle W, Corp.

I can look more research to morrow.

Unadjusted was a way round import taxes levied by USA ON Swiss made watches. By saying unadjusted , meant they were set up (adjusted( within America so exempt import tax. Just a rouse.

Not sure what you mean my Didactic? It was the very first Rolex automatic.
 
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