When Black is Not Beautiful



Wherever one finds rarity one finds skulduggery or at least a bevy of opportunists trying to make a quick and less than honest buck. In this post, we’ll take a look at the preponderance of black dialled Constellations appearing on eBay.

Black dialled Constellations in the 500 series were produced in very limited quantities and chances are that many if, not most, black dialled offerings are token blacks, or to use a local colloquialism Aubergine Blacks – dark on the outside but white on the inside. These black dials began life mostly as white or silvered dials, and no matter how good a refinisher makes his blocks, there are always tell-tale signs that guide the observant buyer towards astute purchases.

For more on black dials, read the previous post. But now the latest list of bogus black dials in no particular order of listing:

Listing 320071100271

This German seller, webauktion24, has sold more than 12 thousand watches on eBay over time, and so they most certainly know what they're selling. In the introductory script, apart from some juicy hyperbole about vintage watches, the seller states the watch has been professionally refinished - that is, the whole watch. Later in the description the dial is described as original, which it is not. It is a refinished dial, probably not black in origin, and the script is printed in white, which takes the watch further away from original specifications. The watch looks tidy, as does the movement, but, basically, as they used to say in mediaeval times, this baby is misbegotten! Reselling value will be compromised because of the questionable lineage of the dial - such a pity.

Listing 330075042117

Calibre 561 case number 168.004 with a refinished black dial with white script. As far as I know Omega never produced a black dial with white script. Most, if not all, black dials featured gold script. Black dials are rare and one way in which to identify an authentic black dial is through dial degradation, often presenting like hundreds of tiny copper stars in a night sky. The hands too on this ersatz dial are incorrect. Stick hands were not a feature of early 168.004s – dauphine hands were the standard.

Listing: 280070094359

Quite a tidy little number is this listing - with a refinished dial in gold script. While the pictures are not large enough to fully examine the script, the redialler made one major slip-up – he forgot to dot the “i” in Constellation. Its hard to tell how old the redial is from the pics, but there’s either detritus on the dial or white dial spot – now that’s telling if it is, because it should be copper coloured.

This seller, who goes under the handle of watchthedeal on eBay also has a few other quirky little Constellations like listing 280070099990 in which he is asking US 1150 for a gold top with a so-called “original” dial – it is not. This time the redialler slipped up by not having continuous lines in the cross-hairs. Tut tut! Watchthedeal – I think we may watch you a little more closely in the future.

If you wish to see what an authentic black dial looks like after having been exposed to quite a lot of moisture over time, yep, you got it, go to Watchthedeal’s listing 280069205216 – not a bad buy if you’ve got a spare 18k bezel and you can service the watch yourself.

Listing 150080794831

Here’s a Connie you don’t want from eBay dealer watches_u_want. An abominable re-dial on a calibre 561 case number 168.005. The seller discloses in the listing that the dial is refinished. One heavenly credit goes to watches_u_want. Looks like the watch has had the rotor bridge and wheel bridge replaced. Wouldn’t touch this one with a ten foot Manila bargepole. One well-known Omega sage would say that “This is a watch for a novice to learn on”, meaning that there is much wisdom that can ensue in buying a lemon.

Listing 160072939487

Some Philippina have such wonderfully wry senses of humour and, in this instance, it surfaces in the choice of eBay seller name. The seller, only_real_watches, must have both forks of his tongue pressing on his cheeks. In this listing he offers an dreadfully refinished black convex dial that is made up to look like a 12 facet piepan. Underneath this dial lurks a calibre 503 movement, yes 503, in case 2849. Smells like a Seamaster to me, me hearties! And so it is. This calibre was used largely in Seamaster and Geneve ranges, however a number (unknown quantity) were adjusted to chronometer specifications, received certificates and were used in the Constellation range.

Case 2849 housed a cal 503 Seamaster: the first Omega movement with "quick date setting" (turn hands clockwise untill your reach midnight, then turn back to eleven and back to midnight as many times as necessary until correct date is visible in the window)”

For all his humour, the joke is on the seller because this model is quite sought-after by Seamaster collectors and, together with its authentic Dauphine hands, would have fetched a better price as a Seamaster.

Listing 270077078735

Prolific eBay seller hoaleong is offering this little hoa of a black dial. Watch looks tidy as quite a few hoas do, but credit is due to the seller for decaring the dial is refinished. I beg to differ that it is “professionally re-done”. A true professional would make up a block with the right font style for Constellation. This one has the post-calibre 751 font style when it should have the original early style font.

Listing 130045654606

Ebay seller, sirbovone wants US 890.00 for this redialled black 168.027 C-Shaped Connie. The movement is tired and a bit rusty, but this case should house a calibre 564 movement and not a 561. I’m not saying it’s a Frankenwatch, but when taken overall, its certainly one to forget.

Listing 170067036544

What would we do without our two regulars. Arch Doktor Frankenwatch Franklin Queseda serves us up a black redial without mentioning that the dial is refinished. Franklin loves bank wires. One should only ever pay by credit card on eBay as money back guarantees are pretty well worthless if you use wire or bank transfers.

Listing 330071890068

Our last listing comes from The Prince of Darkness, Jensen Dinh, alias Fong, alias Phong, seller of fake and Franken Pateks, Franken Rolexes, fake Blancpain 50 Fathoms and more. In this listing, one of many over time, Jensen seeks to offload another fake Constellation case ensemble. He trades under the sellers name jd_km20 and is one of the most consistently shonky eBay sellers Ive ever encountered. He's also listed the exact same fake in listing 330075623106

The vast majority of listings on eBay offering black dials are refinished dials. Caveat Emptor eh?

My next post will be a rather large article on identifying Constellation cases and will be available in pdf.

4 comments:

  1. Desmond, I was just having a look at your 'when black is not beautiful' blog. I was perusing this listing:

    "Listing 130045654606

    Ebay seller, sirbovone wants US 890.00 for this redialled black 168.027 C-Shaped Connie. The movement is tired and a bit rusty, but this case should house a calibre 564 movement and not a 561. I’m not saying it’s a Frankenwatch, but when taken overall, its certainly one to forget."

    I thought the 168.027 had a knurled bezel? The watch in the listing has a plain bezel. Do you think that maybe he has the case of a 168.017, and possibly the movement also, and he has then just wacked a 168.027 caseback on it? Or did some of the 168.027 have plain bezels?

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  2. Could be Luke - makes it a tad more Franken and I know the caseback 168.027 fits a 167.017

    Youre right about the knurled bezel and I should have checked the database. Although there's a possibility they came out without, but your explanation seems more likely to me.

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  3. Anonymous1:48 am

    Why do you recommend some sellers and go after everyone on e-bay ? When you recommend a seller that does the very same thing . Such as teds vintage watches item number 05100 ,clearly the wrong color lettering as well as reading t swiss made t when it should be swiss made .Still a nice watch and if he were not ted and a seller on e-bay you would let him have it for doing that.
    What about the value of an omega watch that is in good condition even with the letters in pink it still has the core value of an omega .No omega watch even with the dial done in zebra stripes would be worth 40% less than any other. A dial can be put back to an original color finish at any time. As long as the watch is in good shape it will hold value .It seems to me one would have to think very little of the brand to think a color change on the dial could slash it's value up to 40% or even say that . Ask ted if he will knock 40% off his beautifull constellation because of the silver letters and misplaced t's.
    I think not ,even with that his watch is well worth what he is asking.

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  4. Is that you Tim?

    Let me say that if you had a home page on the internet I would recommend you too. I have to say that your listings over the past six months on eBay are Exemplary. In your listings you say exactly what you have done with the watch, and then you let the market decide, and it seems to me that it has served you very well.

    This is the fair-minded thing to do. You state with clarity how you have refurbished the watch and one cant ask for more than that. My main beef about eBay sellers is that they dont disdclose as you do.

    In that website listing of Ted's he states that the dial was refinished. He is not saying it is original, so he has done as you do with some of your salmon dials...that is, you disclose exactly what has been done with the dial.

    You are right though. The dial is not to specifications.

    Re values. This is the old debate that you and I have had a few times. In my posting I say up to 40% devalue for a redial sold in a knowledgeable market. I even had a work experience student do some research for me to prove or disprove the oft quoted statement in collecting magazines that refinished dials devalue watches from 20 - 40% in astute markets, particularly when buyers come to re-sell the watch.

    eBay is not an astute market. It is unregulated to the point where serial shonks can rip thousands of dollars off people with impunity. You could never do that in a normal bricks and mortar (or even an E-Commerce business) as traffic flow is limited and a critical mass of people would shun the business causing it, ultimately, to fail...not so in eBay which has a global market and heaps of keen but inexperienced buyers and collectors.

    I have to tell you that badly refurbished Omega Constellations do go for up to 40 percent less than good quality examples....all the time, and even on eBay. Zebra stripes is taking it a bit far, but intrinsic value as you know involves case, calibre, dial, condition and wear, originality, etc, etc...and we have seen recently the premium prices people pay when all those signs come together...even on eBay.

    Feel free to comment any time. I would appreciate your observations on the dial back in the post I did on dails too.

    Cheers

    desmond

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