You know how it goes on eBay, you browse around for ages and then you see a nice set of photos of a refurbished Swiss watch. It’s just £18 plus postage, from India. Hmm, worth a punt.
So what did I get for my £21.65 all in? First of all, a very long wait. I bought and paid on 23rd February and the watch arrived in early April, about 6 weeks later. When I opened the package it was impressive to see a very nice looking 39mm wide (exc crown) Atlantic watch, with a see-thru caseback fitted, a new crystal and a vintage style leather strap.
Fact is if you gave me a watch, I couldn’t fit those parts and sell it for £18 in the UK, wouldn’t be worth the bother.
Inside there is what looks like an FHF ST96 movement, which was used in all kinds of Swiss watches back in the 60s and 70s, including some Oris models.
I gave it a full wind about 8am each day for three consecutive days, with the caseback being removed after two days and some cleaning ether dropped in, to see if it improved matters.
Day 1 – set face up, ran for 16 hours, stopped.
Day 2 – set face down, ran for 15 hours, then stopped
Day 3 – set on stand, ran for 18 hours and stopped.
Upon close inspection with a loupe I could see that as the movement was running one of the three jewels on the bridge was spinning around, which is obviously using energy. The staff should turn IN the jewel cap, it should not move the jewel.
This could be the cause of the limited full-wind range, but is it worth stripping and re-jewelling something like this?
For me, the answer is no. It looks nice enough, with its blue-black dial and it’s never going to be worth lots to a collector. The only change I want to make is replacing the cheap leather 18mm strap, which has a retaining loop too close to the buckle, so it’s difficult to fasten properly.
Verdict; Very good value fun watch, beautiful dial, with clean, durable movement, but definitely not `professionally refurbished by our watchmaker.’ If it was, it would cost £90 or more.