In the interests of your continuing education, many varieties of FrankenConstellation have been featured on this site over the years, but never a FrankenCloisonneConstellation - try to say that fast! And so I would like to express my eternal gratitude to an eBay seller for providing us with yet another opportunity to expose the seedy, avaricious and delinquent side of the global watch market.
Apart from his activities in selling "Authentic SoeX Huka HERBAL SHISHA" on eBay, the seller has somehow chanced upon the fraud shown in this listing, and while I am not suggesting that he is either aware or unaware of the sheer audacity and criminality of presenting a watch that purports to be an Omega Constellation Cloissonne watch, SOMEONE is!
The listing title asserts that the watch is an "Omega Constellation Cloisonne 18k Solid Gold Automatic". It doesn't say the watch is a "Put-together and unoriginal Omega Constellation Cloisonne 18k Solid Gold Automatic", it actually uses the same description that is applied to the one and only genuine Cloisonne collection produced in cases 2699 and 2700. In many countries that have mature justice systems the use of such a description without qualifiers for an obvious frankenfake would be considered fraud.
The listing continues, "Up for auction, this beautiful men's Omega watch. Cloisonne dial featuing the beautiful sky, stars and an observatory. 18 karat solid gold case, automatic chronometer, center seconds movement. A rare and unique piece. Well preserved, showing time." Notice how, having made an erroneous claim in the title of the listing, the seller is careful not to repeat it in the body of the listing. Instead, he shows an incomplete series of pictures that support his claims and provides this link to a complete gallery of photographs.....and when we access the complete gallery we see what a monstrous fraud this watch actually is.
Let's examine this "rare" and certainly "unique" piece. Firstly it shows case number 14381, which was produced in 1959 featuring the calibre 551. Cloisonne dials never appeared in this model and never sat on top of the calibre 551 movement. Cloisonne models appeared in cases 2699 and 2700 and were powered by calibre 354. Further the dial feet of a calibre 354 dial are not placed in the same position as the dial feet on a calibre 551 and so one wonders how the dial has been fixed to the movement.
The outer ring of the dial has been refinished, possibly created from scratch. Note how the idiots have spelled "Chronometre" as "Chronometere" at the base of the dial. The inner cloisonne centre is not genuine, and does not accord with reference photographs of genuine dials.
So, what is the likely scenario in which this watch can be placed? Someone with some knowledge has picked up a calibre 551 model 14381 Constellation and decided to stuff what could be an original albeit refinished cloisonne dial in the case and flog it off as the genuine article. What makes this attempt to pass off this frankenfake both laughable and scandalous is the starting price asked - 50,000 USD for a collection of parts worth in total around the 1400 USD mark!
The eBay listing and the photo gallery at the Picassa site have both been taken down - thankfully. The dial is the work of a jeweller who has been improving steadily his techniques since developing his interest in cloisonne dials. I will not at this stage reveal the tell-tale differences between an original and the above dial, because I am not inclined to instruct any maker in how to create a better forgery.
I would make a plea for this expertise to be applied ethically, and, in correspondence with the creator of these dials, I have received an assurance that this will not happen in future. The main objective of this post has been achieved, and, therefore, there is no need to further derogate the parties involved.
It is good to see craftsmen replicating an almost dead art, but I would advise any copyist to be explicit in descriptions of watches that contain reproduction dials, to note that they are contemporary "homage" dials, and not to present them as genuine and demand outrageous prices for what are frankenfrauds.