In this week’s What’s Selling Where, we are bringing you just five watches that could be promising restoration projects on eBay plus a few other watches I like, including a grail Patek Philippe in white gold and a Longines that likely saw service in World War II. We are also showing you two watches to avoid.
Patek Philippe reference 3428 in White Gold
If this white-gold Patek looks familiar, it is because the reference 3428 was the successor to the reference 2526 (the first automatic watch made by Patek) and a great white-gold 2526 was seen in Talking Watches with Matt Jacobson. The 3428 had essentially the same case, but featured an upgraded movement. In addition, the case back is apparently flatter on the 3428 than the 2526. Regardless, white-gold 2526s and white-gold 3428s are extremely uncommon. According to Antiquorum, this is only the fifth 3428 in white gold to come to market. Sold in 1962, it is a thing of beauty.
On these enamel dial 2526s and 3428s, the dial condition is absolutely critical to the value. The enamel is quite sensitive to cracking. On this one all I have is the one photo to judge it by, but it appears there may be a slight blemish or crack on the first “P” in “Patek.”
This 3428 has an estimate of $103,000 to $142,000 in the Antiquorum auction in Hong Kong on February 7.
Longines “Tre Tacche”
This Longines Tre Tacche appears to have a neat history. On the case back is engraved, “Stanley Marc Wright / From Dad / 3-7-42.” A search revealed Stanley Marc Wright to be a Vermont painter who passed away in 1996 after a distinguished career in the arts (biography here). Additionally, Wright served in the U.S. Army during World War II from 1942 to 1944, earning a Bronze Star. The date and type of watch suggests this was a gift from Wright’s father before he headed to war, and presumably this watch was on his wrist during the War. Wright was even awarded a Bronze Star. The dial certainly looks like it did see battle.
This is a small unpolished Tre Tacche that appears to be 29.5 mm (the same as the Tre Tacche that I showed last month at Cool Vintage Watches that also appeared to have an interesting World War II history) and it does have some wear, but presumably will not end up being extremely expensive. Wright’s paintings also don’t appear to be very expensive, so if I bought it, I would consider getting a painting or two as well. For instance, this small abstract painting was listed and did not sell for $42 on eBay last month and included a copy of a brief biography of Wright by James Saslow. I would imagine that someone could get in touch with the seller to request it be re-listed. Likewise, it would be neat to own this self-portrait of Wright currently offered for sale at Javid Art Collection (although I have no idea of price) along with some other portraits Wright painted.
This Longines is currently at $10.49 at the time of this article. [Hat tip to Eliot Koey Ziqi (@kziqi) for letting me know about this watch on Twitter.]
This Tissot Camping was sold, according to the original certificate, on January 1, 1955, and appears to be unpolished and in solid condition with the original box, that appears to be plastic or Bakelite. It even appears to include the original strap and original buckle. The radium in the hands has cracked and fallen out a little bit, but that is not uncommon.
This Tissot is available for 299 GBP from birthyearwatches.com.
These ca. 1930s and 1940s Eberhard chronographs are extremely hot and for good reason given their larger 40 mm size and beautiful dials. Coming up at Auctionata on February 6 in Berlin appears to be a particularly nice example of a non-luminous black dial Eberhard.
It has an opening bid of 1,700 euro. If you are outside of Germany, just be careful that the costs of shipping and customs duties can be quite high, at least according to a couple friends who have recently purchased watches from Auctionata in Berlin.
A Few eBay Projects
Here are a few watches I think could be really good with a little work and TLC. Of course, project watches can be high reward, but carry some risk. Perhaps an issue on the surface is more complex or problematic than initially thought. Still, I think these have promise.
Project 1: Gallet MultiChron Pilot
This is a very cool ca. late 1960s or early 1970s Gallet that has a bit of a Rolex Daytona or Heuer Autavia resemblance. What is the issue with this one? Well, the crown is off the watch. Presumably, the stem broke and that should be a simple fix. In addition, the crystal is pretty heavily scratched and I think the watch would look tons better with a new crystal. Just leave the watch unpolished, please!
Guess what’s inside? It appears to be a Valjoux 72! You could be getting a great watch at a great price. You can read more about the Multichron Pilot references here. The high bid at the time of this article is $380.
Project 2: Gallet MultiChron 12
Keeping up the Gallet theme, this appears to be a ca. 1940s Gallet that has seen an active life, but remains unpolished and according to the seller it keeps good time. Inside is presumably an Excelsior Park movement.
The seller gives a somewhat confusing description of the chronograph functionality, leading me to wonder if the seller knows how to properly operate a mechanical chronograph. It is amazing how many times eBay sellers advertise a watch as not working, only for a buyer to realize it is working fine when they receive it. My favorite, though, is when a seller lists what is clearly a vintage mechanical watch and states that it must need a new battery.
So what does it need? The dirt on the back of the lugs and case should be gently removed, the crystal should be polished or replaced, the movement should be serviced, and it could definitely use a nice new strap. One thing to watch out for on the Excelsior Park 40 movements (those with the hour register) is that the hour register can often wear so that the hour register hand will gently move forward over time to a certain spot even if the chronograph is not working. The Omega caliber 321 often can have the same issue.
This Gallet is at $230.50 at the time of this article. Is this ever going to be a super valuable watch? No, but it is cool.
Project 3: Universal Geneve Compax
The Universal Geneve Compax has a minute hand that has fallen off and appears to be missing its central seconds hand unless it is somewhere in there that I can’t see, but is a desirable model and great unpolished chronograph. When hands fall off a watch, the big problem can be if the thread broke; when this happens, it just generally can’t be fixed. Here, the minute hand central area appears to be in good condition, so there is a chance the minute hand could be re-used and another thin, dark, central seconds hand should be able to be purchased that looks very close to the original.
This UG is at $943 at the time of this article. I saw a Compax like this recently listed by a dealer for over $4,000 that sold not too longer after listing.
Project 4: Zodiac Chronograph By Heuer
This Zodiac appears to be a “Poor Man’s Heuer” or “Poor Man’s Carrera” made by Heuer in the early 1970s as inexpensive chronographs, and inside typically were the economy-class Valjoux 7733 movements. It appears to have a plated case, but underneath the scratched crystal it looks like the dial is quite beautiful. If the crystal was just replaced on this, it would look a million times better in my opinion and be a great starter vintage chronograph. It does have a bit of lume missing in the minute hand, but that is not uncommon.
This Zodiac by Heuer is at $224.50 at the time of this article.
Project 5: Heuer Carrera reference 2447S
This is an earlier Heuer Carrera (you can read all about the early Carreras here) featuring a pearl white dial and the lack of a “T” above “SWISS.” According to the seller, this watch has serial 62166. This Carrera has certainly seen some action, but it also appears to be unpolished. If the watch looks a bit naked or unusual to your eye, that is because the big issue with this watch is that it is missing the inner tension ring marking 1/5 second. Those inner tension rings were typically lost when the crystal was replaced and removing it left a mark around the edge of the dial. Fortunately, I found an NOS inner tension ring for sale (available here) so someone can properly rehab this watch and have a great early Carrera with some character. The new inner tension ring should cover a lot of the wear on the edge of the dial left by the original one.
This Carrera is at $1,200 at the time of this article.
Random Find of the Week: Omega Speedmaster Mission 23 Set on Craigslist
I have generally not had much luck finding good watches on Craigslist. Typically, people overprice watches significantly and there are also a lot of fakes that sellers are trying to pass off as real at any given time. But we did randomly come across this Omega Speedmaster Mission 23 set of 23 Speedmasters available from a seller in Vancouver. Why are they trying to sell a rare set like this on Craigslist? Who knows. I did find that they also have an eBay listing for it, so I guess they are just aiming for a wider audience. According to the seller, only 40 sets were made.
This Omega Speedmaster Mission 23 set is available for $185,000 on Craigslist.
Bidder Beware: Fake Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris
Someone is out there making fake watches, like this Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris. They are making other vintage fakes, too. It is just a horrendous fake, but people have bid it up over $9,500 at the time of this article. I even have seen two of these go for over $15,000 on eBay, even though I first wrote about these back in 2011. The only value I would put on this is the value of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox movement inside, although I wouldn’t put much on that given that it appears to be in terrible shape and was likely a “drawer movement” bought on eBay and then thrown in with a fake case, fake crowns, and fake dial. You can see the listing here. (And a hat tip to Dan for posting a link to the listing this week on my article about fake Polarises.)
Bidder Beware: Heuer Monaco reference 73633
I hate to call out Auctionata again, but this is a really terrible refinished dial while the listing states “dial original” and detailed description states “The dial is original.” As Jeff Stein said over at the OnTheDash forum about it: “Only click this if you have an empty stomach. And you should have a vomit bag at hand, just in case.” I believe the central minute hand may also have been replaced with a 1163 Viceroy minute hand. You can see the refinished dial Monaco listing here.