Caveat Emptor - Frankenwatches Galore!





A vendor on Ebay is offering a collection of new old stock ensembles of watch case, hands, piepan dial, crown and gaskets for 1962 model Omega Constellations. On offer are dials in white or black. Not a problem there at all, as it's perfectly legitimate to offer, and indeed a godsend to be able to obtain, Omega parts through sources other than authorised dealers because ADs can be quite niggardly and pricey at times. Perfectly legit if the dials weren't fake and the case suspect, that is!

The problem doubles with those who buy these shonky ensembles: honourable horologists and dealers will do the right thing, while shonks and crooks will see it as an opportunity to scam big dollars from trusting or inexperienced Omega collectors.

Some watchmakers and dealers, maybe not knowing that the ensembles are inauthentic, will search around to find the correct movement to fit the case and will offer their watches as authentic Constellations, pointing out that the case is NOS and the movement is a serviced vintage.

Shonks and crooks will find any movement that fits, or put authentic
rotor and wheel bridges on non certified movements and offer them
as genuine NOS Connies.

This is happening now on Ebay. Some Frankenwatch bandits of the first order are putting calibre 565 movements from Omega Dynamics and Seamasters into the cases they purchased and swapping the rotor and wheel bridges to make them look authentic!

The sad thing is that people are bidding furiously for them.

Let's be very clear about this. Omega never powered any Constellation with a Calibre 565 movement. The calibre numbers in the 500 series are: 501, 503,504, and 505 for watches usually manufactured in the 1950s and 551, 561, 562 (rarer) and 564 for watches manufactured in the 1960s. Any Constellation that is powered by other 500 series movements is inauthentic and should be avoided.

The case back number of these ensembles is 14900 62 SC. This means that the case should house a movement made from 1958 to 1963. To match up to Omega specifications, the movement should have a serial number from the sixteen million to 20 million vicinity - not 15 million or 21 million. In addition, it should be a twenty-four jewel movement and have a calibre numberof 561.

The rotor bridge should have stamped "Adusted to (5) positions and
temperatures", below which should read "Twenty-four' 24 Jewels."

Anything else and the watch is a Frankenwatch and will only be worth the cost of the case ensemble.

In surveys of Ebay over time, I have discovered that often more than 50 percent of all 'authentic' Pie Pan Constellations are not kosher at all.

As the Ebay watch market has been transformed from a wholesale market mainly servicing watchmakers and dealers to a retail market connecting dealers with collectors, the number of
frauds has increased dramatically.

Over the last few days a couple of these watches have come up and I will name the dealers in the hope that they will change their listings to reflect the true status of the watches:

Listing 170020435517 - ang615ushk - has a calibre 565 movement
Listing 290019071483 - lecoultre - has a calibre 565 movement

There are quite a number of other inauthentic Constellation Pie Pans on Ebay at the moment: wrong movements for the case back numbers, wrong hands, newer movements in older cases, wrong case backs - you name it.

If you are buying an Omega Constellation watch on Ebay, buy only watches that can be confirmed as authentic by the official Omega database. Secondly, only buy from dealers who show pictures of the case back and movement. If sellers will not send you a picture of the movement and case back - don't bother with them. Never bid until you have confirmed authenticity.

34 comments:

  1. Anonymous7:02 am

    no more no more
    290030922719 Ebay caliber 565?



    OMEGA PIE PAN 18K KARAT CONSTELLATION WATCH CHRONO
    140032510170 18k ?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello,
    I am a small colector of vintage Omegas, from late 40's to late 60' and I can not agree with you because I have one Constellation, solid 18k gold with caliber 565, I will send some pictures to the email informed on your 1st page, pls take a loook and let me know your thinking.Thanks!Alexandre

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous5:01 am

    Hi,

    First of all great website!

    I was given a 18K gold Constellation about a year ago and was considering a full service, as offered by Omega in Switzerland. However I came across the above article which worried me as my watch has a 565 calibre movement and no. 29444300.
    This watch was given to my dad for his graduation but I don't know if it was new. Can this be possible or is it a "Frankenwatch"??
    Feedback would be very much appreciated!
    (I can also send photos if it would help)
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Thanks for your post.
    It is correct that calibre 565 did not power Constellations. However there could be a number of reasons whey there is a cal 565 train bridge on the watch. Perhaps your father dropped it or it was worn/damaged in some way and the watchmaker, knowing that Omega parts are interchangeable, replaced the train bridge with cal 565 instead of cal 561 564. Or maybe the whole movement could have been replaced.

    Send me some pics of dial, inner case back and movement (they need to be closeups and sharp) and I'll take a look at it. Emil. mondodec@tpg (dot) come (dot) au. Reason why I have mentioned email as such is so as to avoid spam bots picking up my correct email.

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous5:11 pm

    Was tempted to bid on this eb@y item (Pls search # 230460115598) until I read your very helpful post. Seems a franken given the cal.565

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes you're right - this is a franken. Case 14393 was never powered by a calibre 565. This calibre is not a Constellation calibre.

    Good move avoiding this one!

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  7. Anonymous11:06 pm

    Desmond The Omega database shows a constellation with a cal 565 movement - case 166.0105. Any thoughts? regards Chris

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes this is the replacement for the 168.0015 and was very short-lived. By 1978 OMega was on the rials because of the throwaway watch, quartz, and competition crisis.

      The number 166 denotes a non-chronometer movement, and while it can be said a 565 did power a Constellation, it was an abberation and a non-chronometer.

      Thanks for raising the point

      Delete
  8. Anonymous11:48 am

    Please visit Omega's website, search for watches, chose vintage watch page. Yes various Constellations from 1965-1978 were 565.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly you are mistaken.

      Suggesting a visit to the Omega vintage database is very good advice, and you should take it. There, you will discover that calibres 561 and 564 were the mid-500 series calibres that powered automatic date Constellations, later being replaced by cal 1001 and 1011.

      Regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  9. Anonymous7:29 pm

    tenho um constellation 168005 e serie 24447...... esta correto ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A 24 milhões de numbere série para a 168,005 estão corretas.

      regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  10. Anonymous12:15 am

    muito obrigado

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous10:41 am

    Goodnight Desmond, can you tell me please what would Medelo crown that matches a costellation 168005, would be ten sides? and if you can tell me the part number Omega crown, thanks
    att, Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
  12. The original crown was a 2mm pipe sized ten sided crown, however these are no longer made. A round crown, part number 42055 or bestfit 8100/1664W (stainless Steel) can be ordered through Frei & Borel on-line.

    Regards

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  13. Anonymous10:25 am

    Thanks for replying, I've been looking at this link:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Omega-Genuine-Crown-for-Constellation-Stainless-Steel-10-Sided-069ST42019-/300741262045?ssPageName=ADME:X:AAQ:US:1123
      You think you can serve?
       att, Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
  14. Unfortunately the pipe size for that crown is 2.5mm and fits earlier models. It will not offer protection against moisture.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous1:03 am

    Thank you Desmond, I will follow your advice and see on vo: Frei & Borel a 2-mm. I appreciate your willingness.
       att Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
  16. Anonymous10:35 pm

    Hi Desmond. I would love to le send photos of Omega caliber 265, reference 2497 gold-plated 80 microns.
      I would love the su opinion on the dial to see if it was renovated and re-painted or and original. thank you
       Ricardo Fiegel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ricardo,

      Happy to look at your pics. Just post your email here I wont publish it and will email you back.

      Delete
  17. Anonymous8:19 pm

    excuse the link le sent and invalid, the crreto and this one
    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-656882297-relogio-omega-constellation-c-shape-1967-calibre-564-_JM#redirectedFromParent
       Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ricardo

      The C shape looks okay but the dial is quite dirty, the lacquer having degraded possible owing to sun or moisture. There are no pictures of the movement and that worries me, because there is no way of telling what its condition is.

      Regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  18. Anonymous12:52 am

    Dear Desmond, I have pictures of my good resolution display Seamaster Chronometer 751 and would greatly appreciate your opinion, thank you
       Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ricardo,

      Feel free to post a link on say photobucket, and I'll take a look.

      Cheers

      Desmond

      Delete
  19. Anonymous11:09 am

    Good evening Desmond, and here three links with pictures of Seamaster 751, My doubt and the dial spelling (if he and original or has possibility to be repainted) Thank you for your attention.
      Ricardo

    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150622015642237721.jpg.html
    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150622015947764309.jpg.html
    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150622020213776581.jpg.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm suspicious of the dial on your example Riccardo. Normally the upper case lettering has double chevron Ms in 'Automatic' and 'Chronometer', so I think we are dealing with a refinished dial.

      Have a look at this example of what I know is definitely a genuine dial: http://www.omega-watch-collection.com/omega-watches/#omega-seamaster-chronometer-751-face-jpg

      Otherwise the movement is correct and case seems okay.

      Regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  20. Anonymous8:17 pm

    Hi Desmond, does in're deal with two different and original marking, you can see that this is your link tritium on the dial and hands (T Swiss made T) .But my and these links I'm sending leit has no tritium or the dial or hands (- made- Swiss) I saw several with two types of marking and district has double chevron Ms in 'Automatic' and 'timer' But without trict has double chevron. What do you think?

    https://omegaforums.net/threads/omega-seamaster-751-chronometre.26154/

    https://omegaforums.net/threads/seamaster-168-034-swiss-made-blocked-by-inner-minute.13876/

    http://omega.watchprosite.com/show-forumpost/fi-677/pi-5552643/ti-822208/t-home-the-last-watch-in-a-complicated-trade-has-arrived/

    I apologize for the inconvenience but need your help to find out if I made a good buy not, since I'm still in time to return the reógio to the seller
       Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Riccardo,

      These dials came in both versions - with and without luminous hands and markers, so there is no problem there. The T Swiss Made T will only appear when the hands and markers are luminous..

      I concede that there is a chance the dial is not refinished, as per the other examples shown. The dials have quite a rough surface and unless the script is viewed on large, high resolution pics, it is quite difficult to tell.

      The best way to tell if a dial has been refinished is to have a watchmaker remove the hands and view the rear of the dial. If there are signs that the markers have been glued on, chances are it is a redial. If not, chances are it's original.

      Cheers

      Desmond

      Delete
  21. Anonymous10:41 am

    Hi Desmond, I took your advice and look dial Seamaster behind a bitter disappointment. I appreciate your help, a big hug.
       Ricardo

    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150625034958363266.jpg.html
    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150625035046404294.jpg.html
    http://www.casimages.com.br/i/150625040923476896.jpg.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear that Riccardo.

      I notice a small notch on the edge of the dial at 9.00 o'clock. Often refinishers put a notch somewhere on the dial so they can line up the printing stamp.

      Regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  22. Anonymous9:11 pm

    Good eye, I had not seen but at least I'm course and repainted. regards
      Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous11:48 am

    Hi, Desmond. I would be very grateful to hear your opinion on this Constellation.
      I really appreciate your work on this page, and very important for all of us who like Omega Vintage.

    http://produto.mercadolivre.com.br/MLB-804895422-relogio-omega-constellation-ano-1966-automatico-cal-564-_JM#redirectedFromParent

    Thanks Ricardo Fiegel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ricardo,

      Some concerns about this watch. Firstly the automatic rotor appears to have been scuffing on the back of the case. If not repaired it would ultimately fail. Looks like the rotor post or bearings are worn.

      Secondly the dial is patchy.

      I believe there are many good examples of this model out there for those who are willing to wait until the right one comes up, so why buy an example which is not up to standard?

      Regards

      Desmond

      Delete
  24. Anonymous5:13 am

    And that's what I think, I'll let this go and wait for a better one. Thank you Desmond.
      Ricardo

    ReplyDelete