One of the most confusing points is around the condition. In your search, you’ll most likely come across two watches that look exactly the same — the same manufacturing, model, reference, and so on — but with a wide price difference. To add to the confusion, the watch that seems likely to have had a harder life apparently had some impact on its case, or its face had weathered in the sun and was more expensive.
It all comes down to many collectors’ preference for originality. A watch in ‘honest’ condition, i.e. one which has never been polished by a service center to avoid any scratches, is incredibly rare and therefore more valuable. While polishing can bring a fake Rolex watch back to life, it does so by removing tiny layers of metal, which, if polished often enough, can lead to uneven ears or the beautiful chamfered corners on the sides.
A similar philosophy applies to the dial. Any vintage watch will have a dial that shows signs of age; the question is what kind? One displaying a nice patina, or those known as ‘tropical’ (where a black dial has faded to an attractive even brown color) is highly sought after. However, one showing signs of water damage, such as staining on the markers, to be avoided and they can sometimes mean that the watch may have internal problems as well. The dial of a vintage timepiece can account for up to 85% of the total value.
The conditions should be the same. Both dialing and cell phones should show the same degree of aging, or it’s a sure sign that another one has been replaced at some point. Neither the polished case nor the service dial or hands-on vintage fake rolex watches will cause any transactions to fail, but they need to be identified and priced accordingly, rather than the precise dial and original dial of an old watch.