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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 7:36 am 
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Which, I just notice, aren't made out of leather :(


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 10:24 am 
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What's the deal with wooden watches? I heard recently that they exist so I looked up images in Google and they look great and are reasonably priced. Are they any good?


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 12:20 pm 
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tlombard wrote:
What's the deal with wooden watches? I heard recently that they exist so I looked up images in Google and they look great and are reasonably priced. Are they any good?


They've been gaining popularity over the past few years - just a fashion trend. Some claim to make the wooden band out of ethically sourced lumber, so it would be more environmentally friendly than straight up leather.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 12:44 pm 
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Swirls wrote:
tlombard wrote:
What's the deal with wooden watches? I heard recently that they exist so I looked up images in Google and they look great and are reasonably priced. Are they any good?


They've been gaining popularity over the past few years - just a fashion trend. Some claim to make the wooden band out of ethically sourced lumber, so it would be more environmentally friendly than straight up leather.


They're a fashion watch, and they're only as good as the watch mechanisms themselves, so you always want to double-check about those. I don't know about all the manufacturers, but I looked up some brands that were donated and being resold at the Goodwill auction site (which auctions off tons of watches), and the two brands that I saw had horrible customer ratings because they broke so quickly.

More upscale brands may be better, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 12:59 pm 
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I might as well mention that I bought two watches recently at the Goodwill website--the first was a Smiths Astral 9K gold watch, made in the mid-1960's, that needed servicing and removal of tarnish. (Smiths was a British maker of watches that got out of the business during the quartz crisis of the 1970's.)

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It works perfectly, and is just the right size for me (35mm, I believe).

I also bought a Fiyta Automatic watch with a Japanese movement with a mother-of-pearl dial for my wife. (Fiyta is the leading Chinese manufacturer of watches). The watch might as well have been brand new, is better than any I own, and was only $74.

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In trying out the Goodwill site, I actually learned a great deal about a variety of watches, but also auctioning on the site. One is that there is a ton of junk that is thrown out, and that people overbid for big names such as Omega and Rolex, or for chronographs, but that many, many good watches become available from good makers who may either be out of business now (such as Smiths, Avia (another British brand), or Printania, (a Swiss brand) or are not well known or undervalued (such as Fiyta).

Those are typically the best deals on the site, but you have to be patient. Also, you have to factor in the cost of servicing. The Fiyta watch was an absolute steal for the quality, and needed no servicing at all--it was in pristine condition--but besides paying $82 for the Smiths, I had to pay that and more to make sure it was in good working condition.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 1:10 pm 
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If you don't mind me asking, how much did it cost to service that Smiths Astral 9K gold watch? I really dig it.

My dad's vintage Omega Seamaster stopped keeping time, so he took it to a jeweler. They charged him $200 to fix it, but it was still slow after maintenance.

Last year for sentimental reasons I decided I wanted to get it working. I ended up taking it to a certified master watchmaker because I know he'll be able to fix it and replace the crystal. Unfortunately, after a year he's only now getting it back to me next week at a cost of around $600 (it's been so long I forget the exact amount). It's worth it to me because it's my dad's watch, but I've read generally vintage watches aren't worth it because the ongoing maintenance costs are so high.


Last edited by Michael on March 9 18, 1:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 1:15 pm 
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Interesting. I never even thought to see what kind of presence Goodwill has online. I'll have to check that out.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 1:27 pm 
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It cost $113 to service it. The work was done by a local jeweler who knows me, plus the watch was working when I took it in (although it was very hard to wind it). The work took 3 weeks, and they cleaned it, polished it, and replaced a yoke (whatever that is).

Typically, that shop charges $85 just to open it up and begin work, so it wasn't that bad. They repaired a 60's Bulova for me for about the same price.

I think vintage watches can be worth it, but the more complicated the movement (say, chronographs), the more expensive the servicing. (And some new watches, such as Bell & Ross, evidently need to be disassembled just to change the battery.) I don't think the Bulova is worth servicing anymore, because the cost is worth more than the watch. However, the Smiths repair was definitely worth it--to me--even if the combined cost was might be worth more than the watch. I could never find a watch like this new.

I did look up two names of highly recommended repairers, in case I need to go that route again. I would think Chicago repairs may be more expensive, but that there may be other options.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 1:34 pm 
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Thanks! That's a good deal. I love the look of vintage watches.

I knew what I was getting in to when I selected the repairman. He's basically the best watchmaker in Chicago, which is why it takes so long and costs so much. I'm sure the watch I gave him is significantly beneath what he typically works on. I just wanted it done right.

FWIW, I asked him not to polish my watch. Those are my dad's scuffs and I didn't want to lose them. I love the character it brings to watch.


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 Post subject: Re: Wristwatches
PostPosted: March 9 18, 1:41 pm 
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tlombard wrote:
Interesting. I never even thought to see what kind of presence Goodwill has online. I'll have to check that out.


Not to suck anybody down a rabbit hole, but this is the site: https://www.shopgoodwill.com/

You can type "watch" in the search window, and even specify types or makers, such as Hamilton watch, automatic watch, etc.

Then you can organize the listings by most bids, least bids, lowest price, highest price, and auction ending soonest.

There are lots and lots of Timexes, Seikos, Skagens, Michael Kors, and others. Always look at the pictures, and scroll down to read the descriptions.

Also, there are pages and pages of watches that are never sold, or that get re-listed. They even sell bags o' watches by weight (13lbs. of watches!). It's amazing--and depressing.

Some local Goodwills provide a ton of information (like my Smiths, which had pictures of the movement, a detailed description of the movement, a picture of the case)--which helped me date the watch to about 1965-66, made in Cheltenham, England, etc. For instance, here's a picture of the case they provided, which helped me date the watch and place of manufacture:
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In most cases, though, it's buyer beware--with poor pictures and little information. For expensive watches, if you can't see inside the watch, I recommend steering clear.

One thing you'll notice--a lot of the workers know enough about these watches that they provide JUST enough relevant information. For instance, most Seikos have clear pictures taken of the backs, so you can look up the movement number, case number, and serial number to date the watch: http://www.watchsleuth.com/seikodatefinder/

Similarly, most antique pocket watches will have pictures of the movements, and you can look up the rough age of them: https://pocketwatchdatabase.com/

And the internet is helpful for looking up the watches and brands. Often, these watches have been reviewed or written about at watchuseek and other sites.

Mind you, I'm a novice, so I've barely dipped my toe into any of this. But I really found myself learning gradually about stuff.


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