Ebay expertise service - opinions?

I just bought a very fine watch off Ebay (pix to follow soon!) and, at least here in Germany, all watches from a pro dealer are now sent to an expert - paid by Ebay! - to ascertain whether they are not a fake. With the congrats-it's-an-original message, you get a little scan-able card with the watch's serial number on it that connects you to an online database. 

Now this is quite nice, what with fakes getting better than the originals these days and whatnot. 

This is especially nice because if you want to flip it, you already have an expertise ... or is it? Would you trust that Ebay card and expertise? Especially a few years later? 

Would love to hear your thoughts!

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Better than nothing I guess. I have a good eye for fakes but not when it comes to high end fakes. 

Still managed to spot one yesterday. The magnifier on the Rolex wasn't glued on straight enough. 

I just get my watches from the manufacturer when I can. Especially if it's a watch that's poplar enough to be copied. I don't buy many watches or really expensive ones so spending a bit extra to be sure it's genuine isn't an issue. 

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I think it depends what watch it is of how much I trust this. I think this protects the seller more than the buyer in that they need not worry about the buyer claiming they haven't the thing as advertised. If the watch is a standard modern Rolex/Omega/Breitling etc. then it's probably fine to trust this eBay certificate but anything older it gets tricky I would say. I doubt that all of the authenticator eBay uses can properly authenticate whether stuff like hollow endlinks and bezel inserts on an older Rolex are aftermarket or original. I certainly wouldn't trust it with vintage.

Down the line the eBay certificate is pretty much worth nothing, just like papers of the watch or any other certificate. You could have exchanged half the watch in the meantime or have a fake one engraved with the correct serial number.

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Yes, I have purchased through eBay's authenticity guarantee program in the past, and I do trust it.  

  • Imagine how much they have riding on the line when it comes to brand equity
  • Even 1 "I bought this watch with eBay's authenticity guarantee, and it ended up being a fake" headline would wipe out an ungodly sum off their market cap
  • In my youth, I worked on a consulting engagement in which we were implementing lean manufacturing techniques at the meat division of a large consumer packaged goods company.  The level of absolute paranoia when it came to food safety and cleanliness was mind-blowing!  I used to read all these apocryphal tales of how 80% of the contents of hot dogs is rat meat, etc., etc.  The reality completely changed my perceptions about the entire industry.  It's like a semi-conductor clean room operation in these meat processing facilities.  And, ultimately, it's because they know that even 1 case of listeria poisoning can potentially bankrupt the entire company, and wipe out billions of dollars of market cap

So, yeah, I'm all good with it personally.

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In the US, Stoll & Co. are eBay's authenticator and I really have no idea how good they are.  All of the watches that they have checked on my behalf have been real.  I assume they have an authenticator local to you to look over your purchase.  I have very little faith that the authenticator is going to spot a fake and I try to buy from highly rated dealers, as you would with a brand new watch.  Most of the industry is generally honest but avoid deals that seem to good to be true and compare the sellers photos against ones published by the brand.

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Velomax

In the US, Stoll & Co. are eBay's authenticator and I really have no idea how good they are.  All of the watches that they have checked on my behalf have been real.  I assume they have an authenticator local to you to look over your purchase.  I have very little faith that the authenticator is going to spot a fake and I try to buy from highly rated dealers, as you would with a brand new watch.  Most of the industry is generally honest but avoid deals that seem to good to be true and compare the sellers photos against ones published by the brand.

Stoll is pretty good.  

Just remember the limitations of any of authentication program.   The way they do authentication is that they compare the watch, movement, case, dial, etc to a photographs of a "known"" authentic version.

For watches that are relatively common in original condition (say recent model Rolex Submariners, Omega Seamaster 300Ms, etc.), this process is basically flawless.  You've got so many reference points you'll probably be fine.

For rarer or more vintage pieces (Paul Newman Daytonas or bespoke Langes or whatnot), the number of completely verified comparison watches is lower (and sometimes non existent) so the process is much more judgement based.  I would feel rather uncomfortable using a mass authentication service to verify my purchase of a vintage Patek or a low production independent.

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Edge168n

Stoll is pretty good.  

Just remember the limitations of any of authentication program.   The way they do authentication is that they compare the watch, movement, case, dial, etc to a photographs of a "known"" authentic version.

For watches that are relatively common in original condition (say recent model Rolex Submariners, Omega Seamaster 300Ms, etc.), this process is basically flawless.  You've got so many reference points you'll probably be fine.

For rarer or more vintage pieces (Paul Newman Daytonas or bespoke Langes or whatnot), the number of completely verified comparison watches is lower (and sometimes non existent) so the process is much more judgement based.  I would feel rather uncomfortable using a mass authentication service to verify my purchase of a vintage Patek or a low production independent.

True, although I guess with the really heavy hitters, other forces than Ebay come into play, like auction house experts. Low production indies, I guess there aren't many worth faking ... or are there? Would be an interesting topic. Then again, fun story: I once saw a badly faked Vostok Komandirskie on Ebay! It was sold as a curio, for small money.

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ElTomstro

True, although I guess with the really heavy hitters, other forces than Ebay come into play, like auction house experts. Low production indies, I guess there aren't many worth faking ... or are there? Would be an interesting topic. Then again, fun story: I once saw a badly faked Vostok Komandirskie on Ebay! It was sold as a curio, for small money.

You'd be surprised what people fake and from what eras.  My record with vintage watches is.....bad.

I have purchased a 

  1. Fake Must de Cartier 
  2.  Fake Elgin Deluxe 
  3.  Fake Omega Seamaster Cosmic 
  4.  Fake Seiko Sportsmatic 

Obviously none of these is expensive or rare enough to warrant an Antiquorum review but the number of known completely flawless in good condition examples is also relatively low.  Just limits to the service you know?