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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey I wonder if those of you who seem to a have some terrific knowledge of watches and movements and don't seem to mind sharing, wouldn't mind sharing some not really negatives but what to maybe avoid models of a particular brand.

Brand Loyalty is strong with many things; whether its cars, watches, firearms, camera's etc. Yet I know that even under the same brand of my beloved there are some stinkers. Not just from a sales stand point but lets say quality. Somethings don't sell well b/c of the economy so that doesn't count as to a failure in this case. I'd like to see maybe a list of their "best" and "Worst" and why. I know its subjective. Just wonder what it would look like.

Some examples of what is bad. I'm a GM guy yet the Chevy Citation was a rust bucket, as were many in that GM Family. GM tried putting a diesel in a Caddy and Olds wagons, junk everyone. Remember 4,6,8? There was the TECH4 engine that sounded like a diesel. Now there are many great, fantastic cars that GM made now and before, their "slump in the 80's" yet just b/c it say GM, doesn't guarantee a winner. So a guy who knows nothing about cars finds a mint barn find '81 Citation with low miles selling for a good price, would be advised not to buy it b/c of its rep he may not be aware of, especially if its to be an everyday car. Anther example Olympus Camera made the OM1 a great camera (I've 5) the OMG is said to be junk. If that breaks today sell it for parts, yet the OM1 built like a tank is well worth getting fixed. If you still shot film. Now there are other brands I know little about that claim a great following. Dodge, Ford, or cameras, Nikon Minolta. I'm sure they have their good and bad.

I was told that Omega had issues with watches they made sometime maybe in the 70's, Some of the gears were plastic and wore out?? Cheaper to make and when they realized it was an issue stopped. So if one wanted to own a Omega to wear every day, if what I was told was true, I'd say Avoid those made between "X" year and "Y" year, or maybe it was only a particular model. Or maybe it wasn't that the model year was bad but it is difficult to repair or get replacement parts for. Maybe its a hand fitted movement and the skill to repair is not "everyday" and so getting a "master" or paying that price isn't something for everyone.

Again watch good vs. bad may include eras when they were in transition or owned by someone else or something like that. Again, I don't know, I'm making this all up, but maybe Oris was a OK watch before a certain date when they started using X movements or SO and So took over so NOW or after this date it became terrific.

Well I hope I got out what I'm looking for as a List type thread goes. No brand excluded for sure. If Omega made a dog even though its back on top mention it, and why compared to its other watches.
 

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Omega was a top tier brand before the quartz revolution - meaning pre-1970. There aren't many bad calibers in their history before 1972. I do recall a small issue with the automatic system in the early 50x series (500 and/or 501?) but their bumpers from the entire 300 series, all full rotor 55x/56x/75x calibers, and nearly all their manual wind movements are some of the best ever made from the 40's up to 1972. At that point Omega tried to cheapen their watches to compete with quartz technology, the 1000 series was born. The first few were problematic so avoid the 100x calibers. The subsequent 101x, 102x, and 104x are pretty nice although not as well built or desired by collectors as their 60's cousins. In 1984 Omega started using ETA movements instead of in-house calibers so their collectibility drastically decreased.

Longines has a similar story except they went with the flow when quartz came around. Their in-house calibers were equal to Omegas and even better pre-1955. In 1972 they kept using their high beat movements, but slowed them down to 28,800 bph from 36,000 bph. A little less desired to collectors, but much more reliable and less frequent service intervals. Longines' last in house calibers were dual barrel automatics made in the mid/late 70's. The 89x and it's ultra-thin brother 99x were sold to Lemania somewhere between 1987 and 1990. Longines went to all ETA movements too. They had been phasing out in-house movements in favor of outsourced anyway since the very late 70's. As far as movements to avoid, I'd say there aren't too many but there are concerns with a few. Longines did use other companies ebauchés as far back as the 50's. Their caliber 380 is actually a Cyma 480; the Longines caliber 490 is based on a Marvin 700 series (as are a few Election calibers), and their 500 series are really Record calibers rebadged after Longines acquired Record in 1961. All are good movements, just not as valuable as true in-house. The in-house 34x/35x automatics do need to have an eye kept on them because if the bearings in the hub of the winding rotor wear the system will wobble, scrape the case back and become very inefficient so regular servicing is necessary. The high beat Ultra-Chron movements that ran at 36,000 bph (offered from 1967 to 1972) also need regular maintenance due to the fast speed.

Just about any in-house IWC watch has a great movement inside it. Same with JLC, although their bumper alarm calibers 815 & 825 have some quirks with the alarm post and the hammer that strikes it making a clicking sound even when the alarm is not wound. I'm not aware of any bad calibers from AP & VC since most were produced by JLC. As a matter of fact, any of their automatics are top notch.

Doubt you have an interest in Piaget at this point, but the early manual 9P calibers (1957) were made too thin. This was corrected quickly.

One quirk in common with all watches that use indirect center seconds is the stuttering second hand. That's an adjustment made to the pressure done by a watchmaker. It can be a little touchy so most of us live with a tiny bit of "unsmooth" sweeping. You really have to be studying the watch closely to see it anyway.

Other brands will have to be covered by the collectors who chase them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ulack that is just what I was looking for. Actually a great start. You mention JLC making movements for Vacheron? Isn't that the other way around? I though the JLC with movement mark VXN were Vacheron and to be "better" or am I mixing up different conversations I have had over the years? My JLC Atmos clock has a VXN movement too.

So how about others, Rolex, Gruen, Hamilton, Certina, Racine, Enicar, etc. etc. etc?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
One thing then are parts for the "in house" movements more difficult to come by on those early models? I imagine a good watch maker could make anything you'd need but, that may exceed the value of the watch? As for Omegas there are some "Brass/gold/red" colored movements #591 is it safe to say "any looking like that or made this way is a "good, safe, bet" rather then trying to memorized specific movement numbers. Or like in the case of earlier autos saying "bump wind's have little issues ever"?

A specific example is a guys offered for sale a 1960 Seamaster with a 591 movement, the stem is rusted and pulls right out. I imagine that can be fixed, but are there parts or will it need to be made? Will it be cheap enough or even worth while? I have found some watches in the beginning that my jeweler wouldn't even bother messing with he'd tell "take it apart and play with it, see what you can do."
 

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VXN was the import code for movements made by JLC that were sent from VC to Longines' NY plant to create LeCoultre watches using American made cases. (Phew! Say that 3 times fast. :laugh:) AP, VC, and PP have used many JLC ebauchés over the years. VC stopped when they bought a movement maker named Haute de Gamme in 1999 to do their in-house work for the simple 3 hand calibers. The first caliber produced was the 1400 like in my 2002 VC. AP owned 40-ish% of JLC and when they sold those rights to Richemont part of the deal was that AP got the designs, rights, and tooling to make some of the calibers they previously bought from JLC, like the 212x series, which are now considered in-house AP movements. VC used to buy that caliber from JLC too, designating it the 112x series but as mentioned they no longer need to outsource.

Couldn't tell you much about the other brands you inquired about. Hamilton made some great manual wind calibers (770 - the American Patek, 982M) but their Swiss made automatics are nothing spectacular and mostly ignored by the hardcore collectors. Ask on the American Forum about them. Rolex.... well, ask on the vintage Rolex forum. Arthur and the gang there will enlighten you as I'm not very astute when it comes to the brand. I can tell you that Benrus is a great brand to look at for complications on the cheap. They made some very cool watches in the 40's and 50's. Bulova, Elgin, and Waltham are very undervalued but all those brands should be pre-1960 models at the latest, more like 20's through 40's and in some instances into the 50's - but they're a few more to ask about on the American Forum.

Some EXCELLENT brands like Zenith and Universal Genève are just coming into the spotlight. They both have a history with a movement maker named Martel. UG had a stake in them first, then Zenith bought out UG's interest in Martel. I know a couple Zenith guys that think the El Primero would not have existed if Zenith didn't grab them up. Martel made some great complicated chronograph movements like the famous UG tricompax. If you take an interest in either brand, I can point you towards a member that's a fantastic help.

Eterna is my next sleeper to awaken. I called Longines 4 or 5 years ago and they're blue chip vintage pieces are rising in value steadily now. Glad I snagged the ones I did when I did because some models have gone up 40% or more in price in a couple years. If Eterna gets a nice foothold in the modern market the way Longines did recently that will help their vintage values.
 

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Boy, I was holding my breath on this topic. It was either going to turn out to be really informative, or turn into a brand-bashing melee. Happily it is the former. I've learned some good stuff so far, and I hope the education doesn't stop here! :thumbup1:
 

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One thing then are parts for the "in house" movements more difficult to come by on those early models? I imagine a good watch maker could make anything you'd need but, that may exceed the value of the watch? As for Omegas there are some "Brass/gold/red" colored movements #591 is it safe to say "any looking like that or made this way is a "good, safe, bet" rather then trying to memorized specific movement numbers. Or like in the case of earlier autos saying "bump wind's have little issues ever"?

A specific example is a guys offered for sale a 1960 Seamaster with a 591 movement, the stem is rusted and pulls right out. I imagine that can be fixed, but are there parts or will it need to be made? Will it be cheap enough or even worth while? I have found some watches in the beginning that my jeweler wouldn't even bother messing with he'd tell "take it apart and play with it, see what you can do."
The 591 was only made for one year. I've only seen 5 or so in all my years on the forums. Grab it if it's in good condition, but post some photos so we can check it out and critique it. Parts are usually available for the entire 500 series via Jules Borel. Some things are interchangeable too so a spare donor movement is good to have for emergencies. If you have a local gold scrapper ("We Buy Gold" store) pop in and leave your contact info. I picked up a 550 for $30. It's free money to a scrapper because they've already made their profit from melting the watch. Bumpers are a little tougher but some parts are available too.

If it's Omega from the 60's it's a safe bet to be a quality caliber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well I am learning a bunch so far and its the education that I didn't really get at other boards. Like CH said post were generally bashing one over another.

I posted it here in the Beginner Forum since it isn't for a specific brand and its more of a "what you should look out for or a need to know" before you buy.

Ulack your knowledge is pretty detailed and I'm glad your willing to share. Its funny I, back in the mid '90's, bought a price guide on PP and a Watch Guide on all, and also A VC book. With both price guides the prices in no way reflected the market place I was seeing watch sell for. I contacted the one, offering pictures of a watch not list in his guide, he had only in gold cases and I had a SS (the VC) so I sent him the pictures and details so he could include that in the guide. I also mentioned how low his values are, he said those were accurate, if you went to watch show sponsored by a watch collector association or some such. The other guy who Authored the PP guide when I called his store to ask about what they had on hand and prices they were way high. When I said your book shows its worth X$$ I was told the prices are subject to market condition, the laws of supply and demand. So I guess since he only had one of the model I was looking for supply was low and he could demand High. I became pretty frustrated with those experts that got my money for guides that were of little value as to what to pay. They were good for; this is what was made and when, but values, not a chance. Again as seen at the time looking at online places to buy. I've not bought any new Guides so I'm not certain how current they'd be.

Thanks again for you sharing so far, I do hope others from the specific brands start to see and maybe jump in. If not maybe this could get pinned in each one? I've no idea about how that would work or if it would. In my mind it would like a shortcut back here to this thread but you would see it on every Forum?
 

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There's not too much brand bashing here. Most of us are open to all watches. Well, some are better than others. :wink: Besides, if anybody gets out of line The Sheriff will run 'em outta town or lock 'em up with the low life spammers.



Some other forums are populated with opinionated windbags, who sometimes don't know enough to back up their ill thought out rants. We won't mention any names though. :sneaky2:

Believe it or not, most of the seasoned collectors know this kind of stuff about their chosen brands. We have libraries of books for reference too. After reading the same thing so many times you tend to retain it. No need for a ton of stickies, although if you want some good general watch knowledge check out the "Horology 101 - understanding your watch" sticky in the General Discussion Forum. There's also a sticky on Longines automatics showing correct dial fonts and a brief blurb on each series of calibers in the Longines Forum.

ps - toss out those silly price guides. Never saw one worth the money it cost. Keep your own records if you get serious enough about a particular brand - most of us do.
 
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