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Thanks, Sam . . . Let's Work This Out Over Breakfast


as always, a thorough and very insightful analysis. Indeed, there is no way to "candy coat" this . . . creating any sort of useful registry will be a lot of hard work . . . crucial to get the design and conventions right, or the project will not be as beneficial is it should be / could be.

Even with less than 150 samples on my "cheat sheet", there are some interesting lessons to be learned . . . another fun chapter in the game of forensic horology.

I am confident that we can figure out what to do with the next 1,500 entries, over a breakfast at our usual table!! By the way, your Carrera 1153 is looking rarer than I had previously imagined . . . just one instance in which accurate information will add value!!




: I was blessed by developing a passion for vintage Omegas, the
: brand that has perhaps the best publicly available information
: regarding serial numbers, and one of the best set of surviving
: factory records regarding watch production.

: I was frankly amazed at the information that Jeff has accumulated
: (with the help of many others) and published regarding Heuers.
: What was most amazing is the reliance on "secondary
: sources" -- advertisements, catalogs, and personal
: experience that formed the basis of this knowledge base, rather
: than information from an authoritative company source. In making
: these remarks, I am fully aware of three things: I have
: understated the efforts, oversummarized the sources, and perhaps
: implied less reliability than I believe exists.

: Those not intimately familar with Omega serial numbers may be
: unaware that there are similar issues with Omega's serial
: numbers, with both case and movement serial numbers used, and
: "wandering" locations of serial numbers.

: First, Omega serial numbers of any sort were not used for the first
: 50 years or so of existence (Omega started in 1848).
: Second, Omega had two sets of serial numbers on every watch
: produced: a movement serial number and a case serial number.
: Third, production records were based on the case number until the
: 1930s or so.
: Fourth, case numbers stopped being used for stainless steel cases
: in the early 1940s, but continued to be used for most, and then
: some, gold cases until the late 1950s.
: Fifth, the manner in which movement serial numbers were assigned
: changed dramatically three times, once in 1986, once in 1995 and
: again in 2007.

: -- pre-1986 numbers were assigned to a production range for a
: calibre; not to a watch model, not when produced, but when the
: decision was made to set aside a group of numbers for this
: calibre for when we produce them
: -- 1986 numbers are assigned sequentially as watches leave the
: factory for the first time, but are first inside the case then
: outside the case and there are significant exceptions to the
: sequence, including all chronometers and all
: "moonwatch" calibres
: -- 1995 multiple simultaneous ranges begin being used, making the
: serial number charts far less useful
: -- 2007 even more multiple ranges are used

: Thus, even when you know exactly, more or less, how the factory
: used serial numbers, the variations over time can make
: interpreting the data challenging.

: I suspect that similar issues with serial numbers may emerge for
: Heuer. I would imagine that adding to this mix the fact that
: Heuer produced watches for others at times will complicate
: interpreting serial numbers further.

: The published Omega charts include both case and movement serial
: numbers. The case serial numbers are more aggregated, but are
: far more reliable for pre-1940s watches. A Heuer serial number
: chart may have to have a similar bifurcation of what numbers are
: relied upon for what dates.


: And I might add, often inaccurate if you wish to get within
: more than a range of 5 years, at least in the case of Omega.

: And generally available only for a fee. Omega formerly gave
: this service away, but does so no longer.

: An unintended consequence of a "validated" entry in
: a simple registry of only serial numbers is that there is a
: serial number which can be duplicated and the scammer can point
: to the registry as proof of validity.

: A registry of owners is something that TAG-Heuer (and every other
: watchmaker) should be interested in, but does not provide. I
: suspect the cost and liability associated with misinformation is
: one that no maker has perceived as being outweighed by benefits.

: As Jeff is aware, I have a very detailed database of my
: purchases and current watches owned. It is difficult to find the
: time to enter the details relating to less than 100 watches,
: much less the number of watches this project would likely
: attract. It takes a lot more effort than you think.

: I have designed any number of simple databases from an end
: user's perspective. I am, however, not a database technician.
: But I have learned one thing.
: Design the reports and tables you want to have when it is complete,
: and design the database from these end results.

: It is also tremendously helpful to enforce common terminology and
: format by only allowing certain terms to be input into certain
: fields. For instance, the shape of hands is one that comes to
: mind, and a visual guide would be helpful.

: Good luck with the project, on whatever scope you choose to attack
: it.

: Remember anything is better than what is currently available.

: Sam

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