A Fleabay Snap Shot

I was surprised by the number of spurious offerings listed today on fleabay under Vacheron Constantin pocket watch!  Here is my rough count of complete watches, including a number of American private label pieces:

Genuine: 15 (watch only, no verification of seller's claims to royalty, etc.)

Fakes: 12

Frankens: 5

Unknown: 2 (lacking movement pics)

Damaged: 7 (usually dials)

I've ignored the numerous stand-alone movements that have cropped up since rising gold prices make scrappinig more attractive than restoring crying.  After looking over the Breguet, Patek and Audemars PW listings, it seems V&C has the highest ratio of fakes and frankens.

07/28/2011 - 21:28
07/29/2011 - 18:43
07/30/2011 - 02:04
Interesting analysis, any ideas on why...
07/29/2011 - 05:45
This occurs with VCs more often? More VCs were made because VC is the oldest? VC PWs are the most desirable? Most difficult to identify as authentic? Quite curious. BR, Dan
My analysis FWIW...
07/29/2011 - 18:43

According to Cologni and other authors, V&C was reticent to patent many of their "firsts" during the early years (pre-20th century).  In fact, it wasn't until they moved seriously into the American market that they began to exercise patent rights to protect their innovations. 

I believe this essentially patrician ethic of letting the customer decide based upon their obvious quality also led them to ignore the growing manufacture of fakes which was naturally encouraged by the Swiss cottage-style watch industry of the time.  The assumption was flawed and even accelerated by V&C's own success in marketing to aristocrats and royalty.  People began to associate status with the V&C name and had no appreciation of the skilled craftsmanship which should have been apparent to those more discerning.  These spurious pieces could be had with the name yet at a fraction of the cost and were close enough to satisfy those with only superficial interests.

Breguet was a victim of the same process, but at much lower production numbers.  In fact, it came to the point a few decades ago that nothing with the name Breguet was assumed to be genuine unless verified.

I believe
07/30/2011 - 02:04

this is a positive sign!

7-5 years ago there were NO fakes at all of V&C.

Franken of course, has always been around especially in USA,

depending on their policy in beginning og 1900 to send movement batches,

to USA for mounting at Tiffanys and downwards...

That fakes are popping up now, means that V&C has got a 'high rep' again.

PP and AP fakes has been around much longer, not to speak of Cartier and Rolex,

the later more a accessoirescool



Thanks you both, Dean and Mats!
07/31/2011 - 05:26

The additional insights into the past, how and why things developed the way they do through time and history are always fascinating to me and greatly  appreciated.

BR, Dan