The below examples of frankens are to make the point that you always need to do your own research, even when purchasing from well-known auction houses or dealers. I fully appreciate that auction houses have an incredibly difficult job in vetting every piece that comes in their door. And I don’t expect specialists at auction houses, or dealers, to have the depth of knowledge on every piece that you can find on forums. For specific pieces, absolutely, but it would be impossible for them to be as knowledgeable about every piece as the most knowledgeable community member (or group researching together) focused on that piece.
Swapped parts aren’t necessarily a bad thing, provided it is called out in the description of the piece. There can be some honest mistakes, but if you spend a lot of time reading watch descriptions, you’ll find that an inordinate amount of the time the seller and/or auction house description is clearly intentionally ambiguous or untruthful.
As examples I would recommend forum discussions around an Omega 2913 FAP, a fake Dayona “Solo”, fake Rolex papers, and following perezcope on instagram to learn what to watch for around Panerais (you may not be a Panerai collector, but it will open your eyes to the world of fakes).
If you have additional examples beyond the below, feel free to drop me a line.
On with the examples of bad pieces and/or misleading descriptions (in alphabetical order).
- Rolex Daytona 6239 with lots of wrong parts.
- Hilariously bad Photoshop of an El Primero
- Heuer 3646 airbrushing
- What’s up with this Heuer Jarama from Bonhams?
- The Garibaldi ‘Ship of Fools’ (Panerai) that was pulled from sale [via perezcope]
- Antiquorum auction of a fake “Heuer”
- Antiquorum and the the Monaco Legend Group presented Rolexes with swapped dials and frankens [via perezcope]
- Seamaster 2943
Auctionata (no more):
- ‘Another fake from the Antiquorum Crew’
- A “Franken” Autavia for 62,000 Euro
- Heuer 1163v with wrong hands, pushers, crown, and bezel
- ‘Garbage Offered for Sale by Auctionata’
- ‘Last Chapter of “Pass the Trash”‘
- Skipperera photoshopping. Maybe it’s simply too tempting not to make that Skipperera blue pop…
- Seamaster XVI
- This blatant Photoshopping of a Heuer Skipperera is unacceptable. Here’s hoping someone thought the gouges in the dial were dust marks on the glass they were trying to remove!
- A questionable Omega 2915-1
- Discussion of Speedmasters and an incorrect Omega Seamaster 300 from their Spring 2015 auction.
- A Heuer GH381 (and then to eBay via goldsmith55) with a service dial, and care to swap index markers from silver to gold, in the wrong case.
- Fake Rolex Solo 6239 (serial 1079777). The comments section of the above instagram link are a good introduction to this world of collecting.
- A put-together Omega 2913 in their Geneva Watch Auction: SIX (2017). The auction text states, “The present example is preserved in most attractive and original condition.” Nothing wrong with improving a watch, you just have to let the prospective buyers know! For a good read on spotting correct 300 CK2913 bezels, check out jackwongyf’s tips on instagram.
- The $3.7M Rolex Oyster Paul Newman Daytona 6263 from Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: FIVE (2017), otherwise known as “The Legend“, which has a “non-original dial“, and whose “officious, dodgy provenance is well known to the vintage Rolex community“. See comments from poster Clavi at bottom in the Comments section.
- You would never have known that the “Unicorn” wasn’t all-original from reading Hodinkee’s fawning, Phillips’ press releases, or the Condition Report. But as news leaked about its history (Goldberger deferred on any discussion of the background of the watch), the auction house was forced to issue a last-minute article, days in advance of the auction (with no update on Hodinkee).
Goldberger says in the interview released just prior to auction, “there were several replaced parts that bothered me. I searched the world for the right components, sparing no expense, to restore it to its original glory.” So this Rolex, with an original case, but incorrect dial, hands, pushers, crown, crystal, bracelet and no provenance, sold for $5.9m. Oh well, at least some of the proceeds went to a children’s charity. If the watch actually sold.
- Blaming the McQueen family (c’mon, seriously?!), Phillips pulls the Loren James’ Submariner based upondetailed research into its history.
Patrizzi (no more):
- On how an incredibly large number of pieces were withdrawn from a “Heuer Only” auction
- Sotheby’s withdraws a “fake” Omega 2998-4
- Orchi Palar’s critiques of major auction houses, notably Phillips
And what fun would the industry be if there weren’t some lawsuits?
- The Newest Chapter in the Saga – Antiquorum USA Leaves Watch Seller Unpaid [SJX]
- Auctionata closed it doors on January 20, 2017, after having employees accused of trade violations in the past. In an audit commissioned by Auctionata, KPMG alleged that the CEO and Chief Marketplace Officer both participated in Auctionata art auctions, using both pseudonyms and their real names, and German magazine Wirtschaftswoche alleged that management consigned works at questionable valuations in exchange for “substantial” advances.
- Battles between Antiquorum and Osvaldo Patrizzi (former Chair of Antiquorum), including accusations of embezzled funds and rare watches.