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Thread: Replica Parts

  1. #1
    Member Number4's Avatar
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    Default Replica Parts

    Before posing this question I think it's important to state my appreciation for the people spending their valuable time making replicas of parts that are extremely rare or impossible to find. Having a 95% complete watch is possibly the most infuriating part of this hobby, so the fact that there are other enthusiast willing to put the time and effort into making these parts available is amazing.

    That said, due to the recent influx of more and more replica parts, which are mostly indistinguishable from their original counterparts, I find myself wondering if we might start seeing put-together watches being sold as "all original". For example, you would have to have an incredibly discerning eye to be able to tell if a JLC Mk 11's hands were original, or if they were exact replicas. Same might be said for the new longines crowns.

    Since "all original" watches command so much higher prices, I'm afraid the temptation to fail to mention that they're replacement, or simply try to pass them off as original will be too much for unscrupulous sellers.

    Should these replicas be marked as such, so that they can be readily identified? Is there a way to engrave a small marking to indicate it's a replica, without effecting the visual? Hands could be engraved on the back side, for example.

    Interested in hearing everyone's take on this.

    And again, if you're either making these, or using them, this is not a critique. I appreciate the ability to source these hard to find parts, I'm just wondering if we could do more to protect ourselves.

    Mike

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    I had exactly the same thoughts recently, partly because of the influx of spares on the PX, and partly because a number of projects I have would benefit greatly if certain reproduction parts existed. In my opinion, the surface of parts that are visible when the watch is assembled should look as close to the original as possible, but these parts should be marked on surfaces that are not visible. Functional parts that sit inside the case should be marked as reproductions on visible surfaces where possible. Non-functional parts (such as stickers, paperwork, etc) should not be reproduced at all, unless they are extremely clearly and irreversibly marked as reproductions.

    Of course these are only opinions, and as you have said, the work done by certain forum members provides a great resource to the community here.

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    Senior Member foilguy's Avatar
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    Most of the parts being reproduced, though they look the part, are produced using different metallurgical processes that look a lot different to the eye of the knowledgeable. What will end up happening is the Rolex collectors approach to increased scrutiny of the parts.

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    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    But vintage Rolex is an absolute minefield, and you hear regular stories of even knowledgable collectors getting caught out. I don't see any valid argument against the clear marking of reproduction parts. Collecting should be as open and safe as possible for all.

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    Guess we'll all have to become metallurgy experts? Seems it would be better for the community as a whole if these were readily identifiable.

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    Senior Member foilguy's Avatar
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    If you look at an iwc crown replacement you'll see its a lot different from the original. Same profile sure, but the manufacture is totally different. Not difficult to see

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    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    The issue is how far can this go? When a watch that's worth a lot of money is presented, the very few people who know the item well become the yardstick. The rest of us are just trying to absorb what we have learned from these few people. How far does a person want to go with this line of judging things? A well made reproduction part can put a parts watch on your wrist, telling time and giving enjoyment. Just because the part isn't genuine is it better to have the watch remain in the drawer instead of on the wrist? Having seen this line of thought used in military firearms for years, I can say a few things with certainly: there will always be this type of fakery as long as the price stays high and there will always be people who either don't care or don't know that the fakes exist.

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    Moderator lambstew's Avatar
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    I know someone who made perfect 1-1 bezels for early no crown guard subs and those bezels have his name on the backs.. Marking good quality after market parts is the way to go imho..

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    Member namib's Avatar
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    One Question:
    I have a more than 5o year old car. i
    It has:
    New Tyres, new windscreen-wipers, new sparkplugs, a new windscreen, one bumper new
    and several other small spareparts ( many of this parts aftermarket which is normal ).
    I think that nobody could tell me that my car is no ORIGINAL.

    Restored cars are normal and catch extreme high prices.
    Why should that be different to a 50 + year old watch with new hands,crystal,crown etc. ???

    One other thing is that for instance the watchmakers at the BUNDESDWEHR
    dont care what sparepart they are using, as long as the watch is running and when
    the watch is re-issued to a soldier it IS an ORIGINAL-BUNDESWEHR-Watch.

  10. #10
    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    Each to their own, but for me the car analogy makes no sense. And the Bundeswehr watchmaker only cares about functionality, not originality. If everyone here only cared about functionality we'd all have G-Shocks.

  11. #11
    Member hookedseven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lambstew View Post
    I know someone who made perfect 1-1 bezels for early no crown guard subs and those bezels have his name on the backs.. Marking good quality after market parts is the way to go imho..
    Couldn't agree more, this is an example of doing it exactly the right way.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Rafael_T's Avatar
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    Not necessarily. I've seen some parts made with old-school methods. It is scary. Has anybody heard of Laser-filling?

  13. #13
    Member Number4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by namib View Post
    One Question:
    I have a more than 5o year old car. i
    It has:
    New Tyres, new windscreen-wipers, new sparkplugs, a new windscreen, one bumper new
    and several other small spareparts ( many of this parts aftermarket which is normal ).
    I think that nobody could tell me that my car is no ORIGINAL.
    1. If you bought this car now, and the seller didn't tell you about these aftermarket parts, would you be happy after finding out? What if the steering wheel, or the leather interior wasn't original and you weren't aware?
    2. I assume these parts are all marked in one way or another, making them identifiable as replacements?

    I'm not saying the replacement = bad. But IMHO not having the ability to easily confirm original vs replacement is.

  14. #14

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    This topic is close to my heart.

    I am a FIRM bliever that remade parts will be the only way to sustain this hobby in the future.

    There is a VERY real and profitable market. I know a few people that have made parts for their watches this way.

  15. #15

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    Being someone who makes and sells these hard to find watch parts on this forum, I just would like to add the followings to this discussion:

    * Nowadays antique furniture are not 100% made with parts dating back to period they belong. Because they have been used over the years, some parts have or had to be replaced. It is commonly accepted in the antiques field that a piece of furniture can be called "antique" if it has 30% or less replacement parts. I think one should do the same for collectors' watches. Parts on watches (crowns, hands, crystals, bezels, and the internal parts) get worn or are simply lost while being serviced or through daily use. I think by reproducing these parts that are just impossible to find, one is doing a service to the watch collecting world as it will enable a few collectors to have a watch that can be called "of the period" with a few replaced parts. It also brings a few more watches to the market which in turn will cool to a certain extent as far prices are concerned because of a larger supply of original pieces.

    * Now of course making impossible to find parts doesn't mean reproducing a whole watch. This is very easy line not to cross. And in case of reproduced parts, such as dials, case, covers, movements (those that make the soul of the watch) then some kind of marking has to be put on these parts so that the watch with these can be called "put together with some old elements" and not "of the period".

  16. #16
    Senior Member DaveH's Avatar
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    Here's how far this can go: I have two friends with 1967 Corvette 427 roadsters. They are worth $60K up. To fetch top dollar the starter must be numbered correctly. It doesn't matter that the part is a wear item and exactly the same, if the numbers are wrong the car is downgraded.
    Taking your Rolex to a watch repairman who uses a Chinese tube and crown simply because he/she cannot obtain the genuine part from Rolex, is reasonable in my opinion as long as the repairman tells the customer and receives approval. Replica parts are here to stay because they serve a purpose. The fact that they are a tool to cheat people does not change that reality.

  17. #17

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    I also think people are forgetting there is a difference between *watchmaker and *repairman.
    A good maker can make needed parts.

    Would you shun a watch because it has a remade balance staff? Or an added jewel because the bushing/hole in brass began to excessively wear?
    How about replacing a few jewels because they are worn out? Retapping and using a different casing screw?

    I gave a maker my 6309 diver that had no movement spacer. He made one from brass and used little inset pads of rubber instead of the thin steel springs to add tension. I'm not complaining about orginality. Much better designed than the orginal.

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