HOW DO I KNOW THIS WATCH IS AUTHENTIC/CORRECT?
A reputable seller who offers a lifetime warranty on the authenticity of your purchase is the best guarantee of authenticity and correctness in collecting or buying vintage watches. Always make sure the case, dial and movement are signed and hallmarked. Swiss hallmarks are difficult to fake, if you or your watchmaker look carefully. 18K gold is the Swiss cameo in a cartouche; 14K gold is a squirrel in silhouette; platinum is an ibex. Swiss hallmarking updated in 1995 to move uniformly to numerical fineness: 750,585 and 950 with a St Bernard as the Swiss guarantee symbol. Make sure these marks are struck into the case, not engraved or appearing to be cast. Watch serial numbers can determine the period of manufacture of the watch, and most brands serial number dating sequences can be found in books on watch collecting available online. Watchmakers or watch experts will often authenticate watches; although they usually charge a fee since you are using their time & expertise.
There are hundreds of moving parts which compose any mechanical watch movement. While parts may wear down & customarily be replaced over time, an experienced watch dealer or store will know if the overall movement is correct. A vintage watch dealer/store will be able to tell you if the dial has been refinished or reworked, even if the bracelet is original to the watch. Make sure there’s a real hands-on watchmaker on the premises or heading the company, because the movements, dials and cases of vintage watches need to be reviewed in detail by an expert. Their trained eye & equipment available at their disposal may be the best way to go, since a serious watch will likely be an investment of thousands of dollars, so you want to be sure it is money well spent.
THERE’S PEACE OF MIND IN CERTAINTY
It is important to be certain that the watch you own is what it is represented to be. For this reason, Aaron Faber offers an authentication service for watch buyers and collectors. In the age of the internet and CAD-CAM, and with a great deal of misinformation in the marketplace, it is often difficult to be certain of provenance and authenticity.
Aaron Faber makes use of its global network of experts, developed over 35 years in business, to reach out to manufacturers, historians, and collectors to retrieve documentation, archival papers and expert opinions to authenticate collectible watches.
We look for many points of identification when inspecting a watch for authenticity. With new watches, for example, which are the most replicated and counterfeited of all timepieces, we look for identifying hallmarks, serial numbers, engravings, holograms and movements to confirm that it is from the manufacturer. Is the dial of a vintage watch original to the watch, is it refreshed or is it completely redone? This is one of the most common changes in watches, and affects the value. Has the movement been altered in any way? Is the crystal correct for the period and style? Are there documents available to support the provenance of the watch? We are able to answer these questions, with the help of our network of experts and manufacturers.
We authenticate privately owned watches, third party internet purchases as well as collections for estate planning or auction.