Fakes, Frankenwatches, and Ebay’s Refusal to Shut Down a Scammer
There’s nothing that bothers me more than vendors who sell fake vintage watches. They create a bad name for the entire vintage watch business. Many of these sellers operate on eBay, and while it’s easy to pick out the bad apples when they’re located in known hotspots for counterfeiters, others aren’t so obvious. I have contacted eBay on several occasions requesting the removal of obviously fake pieces by a repeat offender. This seller has a perfect feedback record and has duped many buyers who didn’t do their homework.
I’m going to start a new series on the blog dedicated to exposing vendors peddling fake vintage watches. Before we get started, I should state that I don’t have a particular ax to grind with anyone. If the vendors in question would like to respond, I will happily post their rebuttals unedited and in their entirety.
Today’s seller is: ae-antiques who proudly sells restored, vintage watches on eBay and has a 100% positive feedback record with over 1400 “positive” transactions. I became skeptical after seeing ae-antique posting “vintage” Abercrombie and Fitch watches nearly every other week. See, these watches are RARE! Maybe you have a collection that you’re selling and have 5 or 10 of them, but you’ve sold many more… something’s fishy.
In looking at the pictures, it became obvious that the seller was sanding down the bridge, and engraving it and the inside caseback with the Abercrombie name. ae-antiques then had the dial refinished, and signed Abercrombie and Fitch. Now lets clarify something: refinishing watch dials is a complicated–though not necessarily unethical–practice in vintage watches. There are some old watches that are over-the-hill and having the dial refinished breathes new life into an otherwise nice vintage piece. That’s fine–so long as you disclose it.
What’s not fine? Taking a no name vintage watch, and having the dial repainted with the name and trademark of a well known manufacturer. That’s what ae-antique likes to do. And let me be clear: every one of their pieces is NOT fake. But too many of them are, and they know they’re fake.
Indeed, I sent an innocent question to the seller asking about the engraving on the inside caseback of one of their fake Abercrombie watches. Here’s my question and then their response:
Beautiful watch. I was wondering about the engraving on the inside caseback, as I have not come across any of the A&F watches with that engraving. Was this engraved in the factory or possibly added to the watch during a later repair? Thanks, Byron
|Dear secondtimeticking,Hello Byron: We purchased this watch as it is. I cannot answer your question. I suggest that if you have doubts concerning this watch that it would be best not to bid. We want everyone to be happy with their purchase.
Thank you, have a wonderful day
Interesting. For a seller who has sold over 1,400 watches, I would guess that you would know a little bit more about where they come from.
Scroll through the photo gallery to see what a fake watch looks like.
ae-antiques has simply changed their ebay username to only-old-watches. The seller also operates under the name absolute-antiques.
The seller is based in the Hollywood Florida area according to property records.