Death of a watch

IMAG0527As I had a Vimpel on the blog a while ago, I got an email from Slovakia, asking me if I wanted to buy a gold case Vimpel. The lad asked for £450, which was pretty ridiculous, and I offered £150…IMAG0525

Mitka and I had our doubts about this being a gold case, but the offer was of course made under the condition that the case was indeed gold with hallmarks.IMAG0521Dial and hands looked ok, but the lad still wanted £220, and so that was the end of it for me.

Next thing, I get an email from our friend in Slovakia:

“Hi. you know what.. I have tryied to restore those Vympels , at the moment I have them on the pieces at my table , they are precious realy, I have cleaned all the pieces . They are so shiny. But there is a couple of problems already arising for me.. a broke one small part and I don´t know if that is important to run them , You can see it on the picture attached. Well probably I should have to sell them to you for those £150 as I imagine to put tham back to work 🙁  I need a new mainspring and don´t know where to buy . That is going to be a chalange to make them done.. Well if I wouldn´t be able to do so , there is still a gold in it  for those £150 at least. But I would rather restore them as they look cute.”IMAG0533Have a look at the dial – the lad lifted it off with the dial screws still screwed down, and he completely ruined it. The set lever spring is broken, and the chances of the hairspring surviving his mad skillz aren’t very good…IMAG0535

So I write back and tell him that the dial is completely destroyed, and that I don’t really have any more interest in buying the watch.

Yes it is destroyed a bit because is has been too much connected to the base and i couldn´t disconnect it easy so I bend it over.. 

Well because I like them that´s why ..Everything is complet there, they have never been opened , no rust nothing similar as you had on yours pictures.. this is well golded.  Don’t know if that small part that I broke  is imporatnt inside there. Yes the dial is a big disapointment but it´s a victim of violations of the strongones.”

So I offer £5 for the parts that remain….

“Left nice and clean stuff.. If you would like to buy them now I may put all those small pieces in separate small plastic bags , all pack in nicely and send it to you for the price that you offered to me 150 + 10 postal fee. And I am telling you that if I put them into the fire I will get the gold worth 150 these days. But you have to decide qouick as Iam going to look for a blow lamp to fix that small piece :)”

He’s not easily distracted from the great value of his gold plated watch, so I guess he will now go ahead an destroy what’s left.

“Do you realize that with your joking price you are keeping me engaged in restoration ? :)”

Unfortunately, this is the fate of many a good watch…



20 thoughts on “Death of a watch

  1. I think you’re lucky you still have your £150 in your pocket. I don’t think watches generally have small bits in them that aren’t important, do they??

  2. Hi Christian,

    Perhaps you could offer him the Swatch 51 in exchange and he could take the blowtorch to that. I am sure a lot of us wouldn’t mind that.

  3. heartbreaking – truly. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt tinkering with watches, is when things stop going well – STOP! Because to continue invariably means you’re going to be digging deeper into your pocket to have things fixed by a guy who’s going to say “leave the back on in future!”

  4. unbelievable…

    … so yeah I just really destroy the freaking watch… hey I guess I can accept those 150 now!…


  5. Well, this post has certainly made me chuckle! It does make you wonder just how many watches have been killed by enthusiastic amateurs. We all have to start somewhere of course 😉

    Christian, I’d certainly hold on and wait for a good one. If your not too bothered about it having a ‘russian’ name on the dial, you can pick up the ones that where imported into the UK for lot cheaper. They are all sold under the ‘Sekonda’ brand, you want to search ebay for things like ‘Sekonda 23 jewels’. I picked mine up for about £20, in pristine NOS condition. Good luck!

  6. I feel slightly responsible! It was my vympel you serviced a few months ago! Luckily I wasn’t tempted to do it myself.

    • And in the solid gold watches the case cover is also gold coloured, not silver coloured like these pictures. (As you will see from the photos of my watch on this site).

  7. You have put my personal stuff here at your public website to describe me badly and blocked my e-mail address to react on it.. that´s say´s something more than a great watches or the bad watches.

    • Nobody is blocking you – I hope you have found your comments now.
      I did not mention your name, nor your email address, so I’d live with that bit of a claim to fame. Not many people get their own blog post here.

  8. Hey guy , It is not nice tu put my pictures and my sayings here at the public website without my permission. It is up to me to ask for any price I decidet I want for my watch don´t you think so ? It don´t care for how much you selling your watches , with your ugly bracelet. My one will look even with a broken dial much greater I promise you. Because I am not just a watchguy as you are!

  9. good thing that you don’t buy an gold plated case(20 microns) at gold price.i strongly think this was a scam.i try to find one vympel here and i promise you if i find one in good conditions it will cost you max 30 punds.(5 months ago a friend find one nos at 20 punds)

    • Hi Marian,

      That would be great – let me know when you stumble across a nice one. I’d rather wait a bit and have one in really good condition.



      • EBay item number: 171498641876 is the same watch. It is on a buy-it-now price of £94.03 and the seller will take offers.

        Oh, and it is gold plated, not solid gold.

        • all russian watches with stamps au20,10,12,5,etc are gold plated.the numbers represent microns.the plating was very good they don’t spare materials back then.the solid gold ones are all marked 585,750,etc.
          another thing is that almost all(99%) solid gold watches DO NOT have stainless steel back case.

          • Maybe our friend from Slovakia will be good enough to show us what results when he slags the “gold” case with his blowtorch … should be good for another couple of giggles …

            I must admit, I’ve never seen what “base metal” looks like when in liquid form … 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.