Purportedly solid gold Constellations with case back 091919 are cropping up all around the Globe. From a rag and bone man flogging them in a UK flea market to a Thai smoothie who insists his watch is genuine, to US sellers on eBay listing them as rare and genuine, these Frankens are fetching some high dollars.
In one case a buyer has been taken to the cleaners to the tune of 1500 US dollars for fake case, a refinished dial and the calibre 565 stamped on the drive train of the movement.
See eBay listing 250094901207
The rotor bridge has the chronometer adjustment lettering but dont't let that fool you. Omega never powered Constellations with calibre 565s.
These watches are not Frankenwatches, but fakes. While they may contain bitsa Omega movements, they cannot be classed as real Omega Constellations. The fact that sellers and others place an Omega branded, but usually incorrect calibre, movement into these fake cases demonstrates intent of fraud.
The eBay seller - xhaldenwan05rz - knows it is a fake and refuses to refund the person he duped.
Have a look at other examples of this ongoing fraud.
To be fair, the latter seller replied to an email I sent and said he was going to relist. I have a feeling that some quite experienced sellers are getting taken in.
So what’s wrong with these Connies?
Firstly, the casebacks are fake and some have been found not to be solid gold, but gold plated. The example above has a gold case (maybe - but not confirmed as 18k) but plated caseback.
Secondly, the reference numbers do not coincide with any known 18k Constellation caseback numbers: 091919 is just not on the Omega Museum's radar.
Thirdly, the perlage (overlapping circled finish) is not a common feature of 18k Omega case back interiors – they are usually grain finished. The 'brickwork' feature on the observatory in genuine Omega Constellations is smooth on these fake cases.
Fourthly, a variety of movements have powered these Frankens mainly in the 56x series but I saw an Indonesian ‘doozie’ that had a bitsa movement in it.
And fifthly, there are a number of cockroaches who are getting lower grade (usually 9 k) cases made up with 18k stamps in Asia to look like genuine cases. Ive seen fake Patek, JLC and now Omega 168.005 cases as well as these 091919 cases doing the rounds.
For the Mother of all monsters, take a look at the listing below on eBay. These fakes originate from Vietnam and have made their way into flea markets in Asia, and will surface soon enough in European and US rag and bone markets. It is powered by a bitsa Omega movement. It has a 166.041 case back number (not in the Omega database), is not solid gold and is so obvious a fake, but nevertheless a perfect watch in which to entice newbies and the more gormless of eBay watch trawlers.
Some poor devil paid $150 US for it. It's worth. Anyone want to outbid me at $6.00?
The lesson? Don’t buy a solid gold Connie until you have checked and satisfied yourself that the movement, dial and case belong to each other. Make sure the cluster of indicators you research all add up.......and always let the seller know if they're flogging a fake.