The Fake Rolex Explorer II
”Ini bukan original. Rolex mana ada ini macam punya engine ma! Ini lawya punya. Tapi engine Swiss original punya. Ini ETA 2836 ha bole guna empat jarum, bole guna hari punya calendar. Banyak jam Swiss pakai ini punya machine. Ini engine pun takda mahal. Jam saja mahal. Omega baru pakai ini machine”, Mr. Lee commented on my fake Explorer II.
Actually, he is true. I found from many official websites where in the product catalogue the company stated the use of ETA variants http://www.eta.ch/ in their watch specifications. It is quite common for non-‘haute horlogerie’ Swiss watchmaker to use the ETA 2824 and ETA 2836 variants in their production. For chronograph, the ETA 2894 and Valjoux 7750 are the two dominant choices for mechanical movements. Same like the Unitas 6497 and 6498 big manual winding movement. The genuine Panerai uses the Unitas 6497. The Replica of Panerai uses the same movement. These movements are available for commercial production of any ‘Swiss Made’ or ‘Swiss Movt’ watches. I wonder how these movements get into the hands of ‘Chinese Taipan’ to produce replica, exact-copy, or fake watches. It is not my interest to know, but the price is somehow not bad!
Unitas 6497 used in genuine Panerai production. The same genuine movement used in high-grade Panerai replica.
To cut it short - I was a replica collector for sometime. I had Rolex Submariner (the world’s favourite replica), Rolex Explorer II, Rolex Date-Just, Panerai, and Omega blue Seamaster (used by Mr. “James Bond” Brosnan in the bond's movie). Among all, the Omega Seamaster fit the specification of the genuine as it uses the ETA 2824-2 ébouche as the base. The price was about 10% from the genuine price. Not bad huh? Just that… hmhhh… I don’t want to elaborate. Besides ETA replica, I also had the ‘China ETA’ replicas which are very ‘inferior’ – quality wise. I noticed that, you can never get a 100% exact replica of the genuine watch.
Watch out Mr. Bond, your Seamaster has a devil's twin using ETA 2824-2 as a fake!Between the Genuine, Vintage, and Fake Watches
No doubt, genuine watches whether new or vintage satisfy me. The ETA Swiss fakes too. But not the China ETA. Some of these watch last only for a few months. Two reasons: one, because I gave it as goodies to friends and family members (after sometime I don’t like the watch, honestly). Secondly, I damage the watch while repairing by my self! The longest to survive is actually not that long. A year plus. You know why? The material used in making the China ETA is made of cast metal and it is very brittle. Very inferior quality! With a slight miss-turned, the train gear will damage. And, I suspect those jewels in the movement were not oiled. With absence of oil, the friction will soon damage the movement. The damage China ETAs have become my junkies. Some I use for repairing practice. Honestly, you better get a genuine cheap Seiko 5, or Orient, or maybe Citizen rather than buying the China ETA fake. Genuine watch comes with warranty. And the price is almost at the same range. Buy a China ETA fake, sooner or later you will regret.
The China made movement powering the fake watches - working but inferior quality.
Why I say ETA Swiss fake satisfy me? It satisfies my ego, actually. Honestly, to show-off lifestyle and social status. But, after studying every aspect of the genuine, I spotted the differences on the fake. Like the Rolex, you can’t get the exact magnification size of the date from the crystal (those days, but not the current production), the bracelets look vast different, and bla… bla… bla… and lastly my naked eyes observed the differences easily. Even until now, if am familiar with the genuine, I can spot the differences on the fake. My satisfaction is over!!! I sell all my ETA replicas to my friends. At a very low price, out of my dissatisfaction.
The genuine stays genuine, satisfactory. “The vintages need a good care. Don’t ever try to force or twist any parts within the movement if you are not an expert!” A vintage collector once advised me. Vintage, old movement spare parts a difficult to find. Besides wearing, I explore every aspect of the watch. Observing the quality of the movement, get it serviced and tuned if needed. I actually appreciate the vintage more than the new one. For me, it is because of its purity!
Genuine Second Hand Watches
Ever since stopping from collecting ‘glamour’ fakes, I become more careful in hunting for my new goodies. I guess at that time, I had enough vintage in my collection. Why not spending on good bargain? I asked my self. Whenever I have free time, I do window shopping. Whenever I pass a watch retailer especially in KL and Petaling Jaya, I will drop-by to browse for affordable timepieces.
I come across ‘Cash Converters’ after my wife told me about the shop. She knows my hobby. One fine Sunday, I take a trip to the one near the Ampang Point Shopping Mall. Quite near to my house actually. I recognized that there are plenty ‘pre-owned’ watches there. It ranges from cheap quartz, Japanese, Russians and a bunch of Swiss brands like Rolex, Maurice Lacroix, Longines, Rado, and Raymond Weil. On my first visit, I bought a second hand Tissot Quartz. The price is reasonably cheap. Sorry, I don’t have the photo to publish here. The watch last only for few months, I sell it to a friend. Actually, I don’t quite like quartz. The resell value is always declining. Anyway, I frequented Cash Converter quite often. Interesting, I bought about 3 watches from there. All those watches are cheap, nice to have but temporary. As far as I can recall, there were Russian Bostoc, Raymond Weil, and a TAG Heuer. The two Swiss were sold to a friend. I make a little bit of margin from the sales! The Bostoc goes into my junk box. You know why? Like the China made movement, the movement is also brittle in some parts and I managed to turn term into junks!
Familiar face! I got this 2000 series TAG for about RM500 at Cash Converters. After changing the surprisingly cheap 'ETA quartz movement', I sell it to a friend at a higher price.
Am I a collector?
At one time, I had almost two dozen of watches - a ‘rojak’ collection. I have automatic, hand-winding, and quartz; a mix of the Swiss and Japanese. Majority are automatic, one or two quartz. The problem of having automatic is that you have to keep the watch running all the time, if possible. Every morning, I will ‘shake’ those watches to at least move the rotor. It becomes my daily routine. Somebody suggested me to buy the ‘watch winder’ to ensure the watch runs all the time. What the hack man? The winder is more expensive than my watches. Never mind let them stay comfortably on the pillow inside my wooden watch boxes. Hand-winding would be easier, just wind the watch lah! Every alternate day you can do it as its minimum power reserve last for 48 hours.
China made watch winder. Affordable. Have you ever thought of buying one?
After maintaining all these watches for quite sometime, I realized that some of the watches were left in my watch box and becoming show pieces. As my taste changes, I started to disliking some of my watches. I converted them into cash at Cash Converters, selling to friends, and trade-in for other watches. At one point, I cash-out about 5 watches just to get a brand new Oris watch. My collection later reduced to about 10 pieces. Still, it consists of brand new, second hand, and vintage – Swiss and Japanese, all mechanical. I actually lost track of my collection as my watches are easy come and easy go. Lastly, I keep only 10 watches in my collection. The reason why I keep 10 is because of easy maintenance. I said to myself, if I buy a new one, one from the existing must go. The 10 that I have are all watches range between RM 1,000 to RM 5,000 per piece. You know how long this collection developed? Almost 10 years… my story so far. Ticking!
"Some vintage watches have more value than the brand new! Normal vintage watch is affordable and the price appreciates. Owning a vintage makes you a laggard. Owns many makes you a historian! Ha ha ha, my personal quote." - thetick-thetick