- Master of Time
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Welcome to the 19th instalment in the Bring a Brain series! Today, BaB will cover some truly bad research, and, of course, rancid hype. This is your Bring a Brain! The game's afoot: follow your spirit, and upon this charge...
First of all, witness the "masters" of watch identification at work, with this "1960s" Eterna:
I don't know, I just don't know how lazy and ignorant can one be in order to fail to do even the most basic research. Their panegyrical claptrap about the 1960s style of the watch is beyond laughable, as it doesn't feature a single design feature typical of 1960s chronographs.
If at least one of them advertorial copywriters would have had as much as an idea to look up Eterna serial numbers, they'd know the serial on the case points to 1937, and the one on the movement - to 1938. That said, the watch is from 1938, north of two decades earlier than their "estimate."
Also, the case was likely made by Spillmann indeed, but it is hardly the Spillman case that anyone's really after. The waterproof Spillmann cases had a faceted (Taubert-style) case back, this one has a simple - and fairly crude - press-in back.
"Eterna calibre 703." Surely, Eterna did have their own internally assigned calibre numbers for ebauches, but really, can't they tell a bloody Valjoux 22, one of the most popular chronograph ebauches of that time, when they see one?! By Jove!
All in all, this watch is hardly anything special - with a non-shockproof movement (back then, the standard devices used by Eterna were their own Eterna-E and Eterna-H) and a non-waterproof case, it sat well below the best that Eterna had to offer in terms of chronographs and time-only watches alike.
The authentication and identification of this watch has sadly been performed by someone who knows completely nothing about vintage watches, not even the basics of identification. Go work at a grocery store. Although, on second thoughts, no - if I'd ask for a cabbage, they'd sell me a lettuce. This contrasts rather sharply with the heading on the Shop's vintage watch section's site- "a selection of vintage watches carefully vetted by the Shop team." Vetted? Carefully? Their vetting of the Sahara wouldn't result in spotting any sand there, and they're the "I'll take a stroll through the minefield without a detector" sort of careful.
Now, another example of stellar identification skills:
First of all, the basic knowledge of vintage Rolexes isn't there, especially the part about the inconsistency in movement markings. This is not the calibre 1520, as the calibre 1520 was a no-date. The date version was the 1525. They make this mistake with just about every single Rolex with the date function that they sell. Also, "here we have a version with date and an elegant blue dial?" Ummm...no, this doesn't look particularly blue. The annotations on the photos mention a charcoal dial, so I wonder if the description was written by someone with a split personality, with the other personality being colour-blind. Although it's red-green colour blindness that's the usual type of this particular condition.
Now, some ordinary fleecing:
Given just how well-documented Longines is, it's - frankly - ridiculous, that they fail to provide an exact date of manufacture, especially that all it takes is either looking up the serial in freely available online resources, or sending Longines an email to get all the facts in 24 hours.
The price is outrageous, especially for a piece with a case that's been tampered with.
Next up, this Constellation:
First of all, the plating on the rotor looks very different to the one on the rest of the movement, with the conclusion being a fairly obvious suspicion of a replacement part. Second, their take on estimating the production year is also rather unimpressive - the serial just before the 18 million mark suggests late 1960, case from a 1961 batch, the higher number dates the watch, conclusion: 1961.
Now, this Doxa Sfygmos:
"[...]powered by the Valjoux 23 chronograph movement, which resets to 3 o'clock." Ummm, copywriters, do your watches go backwards? This is 9 o'clock, not 3... Aaaargghhh, back to kindergarten. The movement is undeniably built on the Valjoux 23 base calibre, but it's hardly a standard 23 any longer, given the lack of a minute counter. Also, how exactly is a pulsometer dial "unusual" for the Sfygmos, which didn't exist in any other version than that with a pulsometer dial?
JLC Powermatic, or when you don't know the difference between rotor and bumper automatic:
"...and it has the 'bumper' effect, caused by the swinging motion of the rotor." Call it a hammer, an oscillating mass, but don't call it a rotor, because it isn't one. Which pretty much makes the distinction between bumper and rotor automatic movements. A rotor, dear copywriters, as its name suggests, rotates. Which isn't the case with the oscillating mass of a bumper automatic, which doesn't make a full 360 degrees around its axis. And no, the effect doesn't come from the swinging motion, as much as it does from the oscillating mass bumping off of the springs.
That's all for this instalment of Bring a Brain. Hope you have enjoyed this round of horror stories, and as always, Bring a Brain will return if necessary!
Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation