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Rules for buying vintage Rados.

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  • Rules for buying vintage Rados.

    These rules are for vintage Rados. The rules for buying modern Rados are quite different than these. The modern market is flooded with fakes whereas the vintage market is predominantly troubled by frankens. Almost every one of these rules has exceptions, but until one knows the difference it is safest to assume that if it matches one of these rules it should be avoided. These rules come from various members and will be modified as needed.
    • Until you know better do not buy anything from India or Pakistan.
    • Exercise extreme caution when buying from Korea or the Phillipines.
    • There are a series of "different" sellers located in Hollywood that sell really shiny watches for very high prices. Do not buy from them if you want anything authentic. There is a similar seller in Korea and another in New York (?) Do not buy from them for the same reason.
    • Don't buy a Companion. Ever.
    • Until you know better, don't buy a Voyager.
    • If it is older than about 2000 and it has a display back- DO NOT BUY IT.
    • If you can see the movement and it does not have a Rado logo on the rotor do not buy it.
    • Pre-1968 Rados were powered almost exclusively by A Schild movements, though there are a few Felsa powered watches from the late 50s/early 60s. After 1968 or so everything is ETA/ESA. Keep this in mind.
    • Reference numbers prior to 1973 had 5, 4 or 3 digits; those after 1972 used a format of this type: 123.4567.8. Some had both, but so do many frankens. Seek advice if you are tempted to buy one.
    • From 1962 through to around 1975 all acrylic Rado crystals have a tiny anchor cast into the centre of it. The notable exception are the early 60s Rados that featured acrylic crystals with cyclops magnifiers.
    • From 1962 through to the mid seventies all automatic Rados will have a rotating anchor disc made from the same synthetic ruby as used in movement jewels. After this until around 2000 the anchor disc will be pink/red anodized aluminum.
    • Unless the dial says jubilé, it does not have diamonds, no matter what the seller says. Do not pay extra for that privilege.
    • If it is a Rado with a model name on the caseback that does not match the model name on the dial, do not buy it.
    • Two-tone cases are almost unheard of in vintage Rados. With very few exceptions, like certain Murano models, the hands, markers and anchor are the same colour as the case. If it is a steel case, all of those things will be silver coloured. A gold-plated or yellow Diastar will have gold-coloured hands, markers and anchor. With the few watches that are exceptions, the hands, markers and anchor still must match each other.
    • If it has a rotating anchor , but ticks like a quartz don't buy it. Mid-2000s Golden/Green Horses from Japan with Quartz clearly printed on the dial are the only exception I know of.
    Last edited by Watch Carefully; 11-07-2017, 09:06 PM. Reason: formatting; added an item to the list
    Solve all your doubts through question mode.

  • #2
    Some remarks:


    • Don't buy a Companion. Ever.
    • Until you know better, don't buy a Voyager.
    Sorry, complete nonsense IMHO.
    Voyager and Companion models have been made in large quantities.
    That implicates a lower price value for collectors and maybe a higher risk to get a Franken in compare to other models.
    But there are also enough authentic ones on the market.
    So if s.o. likes these models, no reason not to buy it - with the usual care, of course.

    • If you can see the movement and it does not have a Rado logo on the rotor do not buy it.
    Rado movements should be marked as Rado. Not only automatic ones on the rotor.

    • Pre-1968 Rados were powered almost exclusively by A Schild movements, though there are a few Felsa powered watches from the late 50s/early 60s. After 1968 or so everything is ETA/ESA. Keep this in mind.
    Gents´ Rados before 1968 are almost, but not exclusively powered by AS movements. There are also a few with Felsa, ETA, FHF, Landeron and Valjoux movements.
    1968 to the early 1970s is an interim period with both AS and ETA movements. Then ETA/ESA movements were almost used. There are also a few with FHF, Longines, Peseux and Valjoux movements.
    From the 1980s on, exclusively ETA.
    Ladies´ Rados before around 1956 almost use AS movements, after around 1956 exclusively ETA movements.

    • From 1962 through to around 1975 all acrylic Rado crystals have a tiny anchor cast into the centre of it. The notable exception are the early 60s Rados that featured acrylic crystals with cyclops magnifiers.
    Most of them, not all of them. Some models were never seen with that anchor (e.g. Spherematic, real gold dresswatches).

    • From 1962 through to the mid seventies all automatic Rados will have a rotating anchor disc made from the same synthetic ruby as used in movement jewels. After this until around 2000 the anchor disc will be pink/red anodized aluminum.
    Threre are exceptions: all of the automatics with gem-dials wear printed or applicated anchors because the gem-material is very brittle.
    The 1970s´ automatic chronograph uses the anchor as seconds´ hand inner the subsecond.

    • Two-tone cases are almost unheard of in vintage Rados. With very few exceptions, like certain Murano models, the hands, markers and anchor are the same colour as the case. If it is a steel case, all of those things will be silver coloured. A gold-plated or yellow Diastar will have gold-coloured hands, markers and anchor. With the few watches that are exceptions, the hands, markers and anchor still must match each other.
    Two-tone cases became popular in the 1970s, 1980s. Also Rado made some. Except the already mentioned ones some DiaStar, Balboa, Voyager, Florence and some of the RLX-style Horses in Fareast.

    Some more tips on my HP.
    Best regards, Mike
    vintage-rado.de

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