Omega Constellation Cloisonne Frankenfraud


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!

POSTSCRIPT 

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.  


10 comments:

  1. gatorcpa3:40 am

    Desmond -

    The seller has already pulled all of the pictures from eBay and Picasa.

    Another fraudster unmasked.

    Thanks again,
    gatorcpa

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, Gator, I noticed that.

    Must do a post-script and add a little more info too.

    There is a possibility that the cloisonne part of the dial is a copy.

    Takes us in to new territory eh?

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Desmond,

    Another observatory dial has appeared on ebay - 300510249313 - this dial doesn't look as well executed as the one in your article.

    regards

    grumio

    ReplyDelete
  4. You're dead right Grumio, a very poor cloisonne replication.

    Note this price is only 8k over what the watch is actually valued at :)

    Thanks for the heads up.

    The seller is taking a serious risk to his feedback by offering a franken version - wrong case number for cloisonne too.

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great detective work, Desmond. And hats off to the craftsman who created this dial to say he won't do it again. Hopefully he'll keep his word!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks Wagmore.

    Yes, I think he may - and there are always keen collecting eyes out there that will report if he doesnt :)

    I agree hats off!

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Desmond,

    This looks remarkably like the one you described on your website....
    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/300511208060#ht_2406wt_1141

    ReplyDelete
  8. HI Jimmy

    Yes, this one isnt as good as the subject of the post. Seller reports that it is refinished, and so there is a degree of disclosure there.

    Seller may not even know that case 2652 did not have cloisonne dial.

    Sooner or later though someone is going to twig.

    Cheers

    Desmond

    ReplyDelete
  9. I normally don't pay to much attention to this, but this one is one of the best esamples I have seen.
    Check this out
    http://cgi.ebay.at/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=0&item=220720591028&rd=1

    Best regards,
    Nuno

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're absolutely right Nuno, this is an appalling fake. The case is not gold and the dial is a complete impostor.

    I thought about doing a post on this one but didnt want to overdo the posts on fakes (as Ive done quite a few)

    The eBay seller kingschild.de ought to be ashamed of itself, as they must be well aware, or should be, of what this watch is.

    Cheers

    desmond

    ReplyDelete