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scottswatches

Warning - Sotheby's selling 'fake' watch knowingly

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I was perusing the Sotheby's website when I saw this watch

https://www.sothebys.com/buy/b3efba1a-0063-49a9-bd5a-006d14685a0b/lots/abdda7da-b492-4964-8c3a-62a70cd347ca

A Breguet minute repeater pocket watch with 18k case, with a very tempting price.  I am not too knowledgeable on pocket watches, so I did my research and found this 

Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake.

This clear statement is on Breguet's own website no less.  https://www.breguet.com/en/services/antique-timepieces#

On informing Sothebys they are aware that this watch wasn't right, I got this response just now

"We are aware that this watch is not a genuine Breguet, this is why we catalogued it as BREGUET À PARIS.

Therefore the estimate is £1000-1500 and not higher."

 

I would have expected better from Sothebys.  If Breguet describe the watch as fake, then should they be able to sell it?

What next?  Seiko a Mumbai?

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I am quite shocked that Sotheby's would sell a known fake... I am quite sure the small commission earned will not be worth the trust they have lost from the WIS community. 

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So what are they saying by calling it BREGUET À PARIS?

 

 

that its just a place in france and the watch has the name of the place in France on it and that it isn't a watch by that name or manufacture? Doesn't make sense. Is it pretending to be one and therefore fake or are they right?

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Some would argue that It's not a fake in the modern sense of the word and indeed this sale obviously passed the legal test otherwise they would not auction it.

It's not even certain its a fake in the 1800s sense of the word owing to the way IP was handled and respected in those days and the fact that the dial brand does not claim to be a "Breguet"

I think The way that Breguet mention it on their website to me smells of a bit of frustration on their part because I would assume they do not have any legal redress.

So I am guessing that the watch for sale does not 100% copy the detailing of any genuine Breguet watch of that period ( sans-motif ) , because if it did then perhaps it would fall foul of the modern stress test for Counterfeiting... !?!?
 

Interesting post in any event ... food for thought on many levels....

 

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reconciling the statements by the auction house and on the site of the manufacturers.

Any pocket watch with an individual number higher than 5500 can be considered fake. Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake. Furthermore, any watch bearing the words “Spiral Breguet” was not produced by Breguet. Between the 1880s and 1910, many manufacturers added this inscription in large letters to their products to add to their credibility. However Breguet never used this type of inscription.

 

 

 

and on the Auction house site

BREGUET À PARIS

 

It doesn't seem there is any intention to mislead, they have only described it as the manufacturers would describe a fake. But not in so many words, be interesting if

1) someone buys it believing it to be real at a much lower price than a real one?

2)There is precedent on selling vintage fakes? Does that make them acceptable by their being vintage or are they banned in order to prevent them being sold as the real thing? If it is really vintage in its own right does that change things? As far as we know? 

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I suppose the auctioneer would be beyond adding this to their description then ?

"Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake."

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6 minutes ago, JonnyOldBoy said:

Some would argue that It's not a fake in the modern sense of the word and indeed this sale obviously passed the legal test otherwise they would not auction it.

It's not even certain its a fake in the 1800s sense of the word owing to the way IP was handled and respected in those days and the fact that the dial brand does not claim to be a "Breguet"

I think The way that Breguet mention it on their website to me smells of a bit of frustration on their part because I would assume they do not have any legal redress.

So I am guessing that the watch for sale does not 100% copy the detailing of any genuine Breguet watch of that period ( sans-motif ) , because if it did then perhaps it would fall foul of the modern stress test for Counterfeiting... !?!?
 

Interesting post in any event ... food for thought on many levels....

 

I think so too its not straight forward, it has value in its own right maybe? Intrinsic to itself not its original claims 200 years ago?

1 minute ago, WRENCH said:

I suppose the auctioneer would be beyond adding this to their description then ?

"Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake."

It would be more honest i think yes

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the crux will come if it sells for the price of a real one, if it sells cheaply we can probably assume the bidders all knew. 

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2 minutes ago, WRENCH said:

I suppose the auctioneer would be beyond adding this to their description then ?

"Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake."

In my view that statement is not necessarily true. In the same way if a watch was sold with "Omega à Paris" scripted on it would not be.

IP infringements and faking are two completely separate issues and it appears to me that Breguet do not seem to understand this.

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£1600 at the moment. What's it worth if the name Breguet isn't there ?

Edited by WRENCH
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In which case it would not be right to compensate them would it? And if they didnt know did they merely bid for profit? Did they merely pay what it was worth?

Just now, WRENCH said:

£1600 at the moment. What's it worth if the name Breguet isn't their ?

exactly

and more importantly what is a real one worth

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2 minutes ago, JonnyOldBoy said:

In my view that statement is not necessarily true. In the same way if a watch was sold with "Omega à Paris" scripted on it would not be.

IP infringements and faking are two completely separate issues and it appears to me that Breguet do not seem to understand this.

I agree, but what I'm interested in is does the name add value ? Like Sicura being sold as "Breitling".

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What is important is what the bidders think they are bidding for. And whether that would be considered reasonable at the price. Its fair to say anyone recognising the description used by the auction house. Can be assumed to have sufficient knowledge to know it not to be genuine given the statement by the manufacturer. The law will not protect against a foolish deal. Or purchase.

Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

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10 minutes ago, Nigelp said:

 

and more importantly what is a real one worth

What fees etc get loaded on top of the hammer price ?

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What fees etc get loaded on top of the hammer price ?
Dont see the relevance

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Given what the manufacturer have clearly stated to be a fake and that the description is one and the same. There isnt an issue.

Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

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3 minutes ago, Nigelp said:

Dont see the relevance

Well, depending on what the add ons are, the price could be getting close to a real one already.

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Well, depending on what the add ons are, the price could be getting close to a real one already.
Its not relevant

Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk

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1 minute ago, Nigelp said:

Its not relevant

Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk
 

It is if you think you're buying a genuine "Breguet".

My mate took his wife to see the "Four Tops" unfortunately he didn't see the microscopic sound of the. 

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Unlikely the bidders could reasonably say they do. There knowledge is implied from their recognition of the description. Which is what the manufacturer say is a fake and the one which the auction house have used. What the auction house rely on is the definition given by the manufacturer of a fake on their site. And they have described it the same.

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39 minutes ago, WRENCH said:

I agree, but what I'm interested in is does the name add value ? Like Sicura being sold as "Breitling".

Hmm. that's a tough one.

Perhaps , perhaps not. I don't know enough about 1800s watches to be honest ( In fact I know almost nothing ) but I guess many collectors would collect that piece for its own value content wise and I am guessing that the name whilst probably selling watches for them in the 1800s has less impact nowadays.... not sure really...

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42 minutes ago, WRENCH said:

Like Sicura being sold as "Breitling"

Or some Russian watches as IWC

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not really a fully informative description - clues are there but the buyer would have to undertake secondary checks on the name. Its not a contemporary piece and so knowledge would only sit with experts. I think they could have described it as from an independent maker bearing the name "blah" to better inform interested parties.

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1 hour ago, scottswatches said:

"We are aware that this watch is not a genuine Breguet, this is why we catalogued it as BREGUET À PARIS

 

17 minutes ago, Nigelp said:

Unlikely the bidders could reasonably say they do. There knowledge is implied from their recognition of the description. Which is what the manufacturer say is a fake and the one which the auction house have used. What the auction house rely on is the definition given by the manufacturer of a fake on their site. And they have described it the same.

Sent from my SM-J320FN using Tapatalk
 

whilst it might not seem fair, and the term 'fake' may seem to have been a fairer description this by the manufacturer 

Any 19th-century pocket watch bearing the signature “Breguet à Paris” is fake

 

 

Is exactly what the auction house have said, and what they have relied upon when their description was challenged. The argument would be are they simply using a description which is acknowledged as being correct in describing a fake? Now in effect i've argued above that they are. And Ive argued this based on the implied knowledge of buyers of this type of specialist item to support my argument. Even if it sells at a price above expected, and even more likely if sold cheaply.

Now if i was on the other side of the fence and not defending. I would argue it differently I would argue that the manufacturer were not in fact using a description which it was acknowledged as being correct to use in describing a fake, but merely that it was a description that they wanted to warn against fakes.

However and i think this is where we who would want the Auction house to be found against. Would be disappointed. I think the second paragraph is a much weaker legal argument, I don't think the auction house have done anything wrong in using the description given be the manufacturer as being fake. In effect what the manufacturer seem to have done is provide a wording, which the auction house have been able to use to good effect to identify the watch as fake but in a better light, make it appear better than it is maybe. 

I cant see any intention to mislead, and that was their immediate response. I expect they have been in a similar position before. In effect the manufacturer may have been better not stating what was a fake, but wording it differently...maybe along the lines of...only watches bearing the name "xxxxxxx" are genuine. They have unwittingly created both the perfect defence and helped sell items appearing better than they are.

If i were working for the lawyers of the manufacturers i would quickly re word their paragraph as to what is fake, to a negative rather than positive stipulation. 

 

 

 

 

 

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