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Informations: Basics for Descriptons

Ranfft-Uhren descriptions are short and informative. Text pollution about matters of course or details visible in the photos may boost sales, but are useles for readers, and therefore prevented.
      It is not mentioned that a watch has no serious functional deficits and is running well, because this is a matter of course. But if such deficits are present, they are mentioned well, since repairs cost efforts and money.
     Also remarks about eminent importance, beauty, value, and rarity are left out. The estimation of such features is left to the reader.
Every bidfun home user is invited to join these basics for his offers. For this reason the following  HTML text can be copied into the item description:
<br><br><a  href="http://www.ranfft.de/uhr/info-basis-e.html">
<b>Basics for this Description</b></a><br>

This will place this link in the description: Basics for this Description

For an additional German description the according HTML text is:
<br><br><a  href="http://www.ranfft.de/uhr/info-basis.html">
<b>Gundlagen dieser Beschreibung</b></a><br>

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The photos for the descriptions are taken with day light, giving a realistic presentation of colors and contrast. Despite this, the photos are processed for a higher contrast to make irregularities better visible. Consequently some items may appear less attractive, but this prevents disappointments, and buyers make scarcelier use of the return privilege.

Important images, especially the first one can be magnified by clicking them. Occasionally more images are available in higher resolution. However, older entries in the archive contain no high resolution photos.
The photos show the offered item. Even photos taken from both sides of the bare movement belong usually to the particular watch. Occasionally watches are disassembled, just to get photos for the movement archive, or during a service the opportunity is taken to make such photos, sometimes even of the disassembled movement.

1) From new watches or unworn watches of the same model only one sample is photographed, and the photos are used for all further. But if there are signs of usage or servicing, which can be made visible by a photo, an individual photo is taken.
2) Occasionally archive photos are used to demonstrate design details. But this is always explicitely mentioned in the description.

In most cases "none" - actually a useless information, because lots of things can be mentioned which don't come with a watch. But it helps to prevent requests after boxes and papers. Of course one or the other watch comes with accessories, and this will be mentioned at this place.
Most watches are bought as subjects for daily use, and almost nobody cares for boxes and papers, when the warranty has  expired. But some store such accessories, and they are attractive for many collectors.
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Here the features are given in the order signatures, materials, design features, and dimensions.

Case signatures, monograms, and dedications are found on both sides of the back, sometimes on the center section, and respectively on the several lids of a pocket watch. These inscriptions are given beginning with the outer surface, and separated by hyphens (-). For hunter cases the description starts with the outer inscription of the front cover (sometimes a monogram).
     Most signatures are written in capitals. To make the descriptions better readable, the style of headers is used, i.e. most words just begin with a capital

As signatures don't stand in a uniform order, and often even are not placed in lines, a certain order is used for the description:
   1) Number (reference- and/or serial number).
   2) Manufacturer, model, trade marks being replaced by the name.
   3) Origin.
   4) Technical data, e.g. materials and design.

Often the same indications are written on several surfaces; especially the number of a pocket-watch case is usually repeated on every single part (c.f. Date and Origin of a Watch)  In the description these indications appear only once, i.e. are not repeated for every surface.
Don't mix up with ebay habits. If here "gold" is written, then it is actually gold with the mentioned fineness, and not gilt base metal. And if "steel" is written, it is no chromed case with steel back, but an all steel case. If a reasonable part of the case consists of a different material, e.g. the dust cover of a gold pocket watch, it is definitely mentioned, and if not, this cover is also of solid gold.
     Crystal and crown are sometimes declared as signed. It can't be guaranteed that this is original (even the manufacturer often can't), but "signed" means not any signature, but rather the one of the manufacturer of the watch.

Design Features
Rather common details are not mentioned here. For instance the usual gasket of a screw back is not mentioned, but well if it is not provided or missing. Vice versa a push back is usually not sealed, and therefore it is mentioned if actually a gasket is provided.

Watches with basically circular shape are characterized only by the diameter without crown or pendant. Other case shapes are characterized by their width (again without crown) and their total length including lugs. These dimensions ar rounded up or down in 0.5mm increments. Only for exceptionally high or flat watches also the height is occasionally mentioned (with 0.1mm accuracy).
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The term "original " is carefully used. If there is no doubt, the term is of course used, e.g.for a new or unworn watch, for a scarcly used watch having obviously still the first band, or for bands especially designed for the particular case. If authenticy is uncertain, only the manufacturer or the signature is mentioned.
     The material designations are short to the point: Descriptions like "genuine lizzard leather" don't exist here. Only "lizzard leather" means that the top layer is real lizzard leather. Imitations are either not mentioned, or designated as "lizzard grain".
For metal bracelets the same rules like for cases apply. For instance a gold bracelet actually is made of gold with the mentioned fineness.  Else it is characterized as gold plated, if readable from signatures, with the thickness of the plating.
     Additionally the length is given (maximum including watch). This figure is important because additional links are either  not available or pretty expensive for old watches.
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Here the features are given in the order signatures, materials, design details. As the photo often gives more information than any text, only essential facts are mentioned.

They are described in the order from top (12h) to bottom (6h), groups being separated by commas. Trade mark images are replaced by the manufacturer name.
     Most signatures are written in capitals. To make the inscriptions better readable, the style of headers is used, i.e. most words begin with a capital
With few exceptions only the surface materials are mentioned, e,g, gold- or silver plating, or the kind of lacquer coating. Gold or other precious metals are only mentioned, if proved by hallmarks.

Design Details
Here the kind of markers and scales is mentioned, but also whether the dial consists of separate sections.
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The features are given in the order signatures, calibre, finish, technical data, design details.

First the signatures visible from the back side are mentioned. If signatures on the dial side  are known, they follow, separated by a hyphen (-). The calibre signature is omitted, because the calibre is mentioned separately. Only if the inscription differs from the official designation, or from the usual style of designation (under the balance), it is mentioned.
     Most signatures are written in capitals. To make the descriptions better readable, the style of headers is used, i.e. most words begin with a capital

As signatures are spread irregularly over bridges, plates, and wheels, a certain order is used for the description:
   1) Serial number, date code, import code, etc.
   2) Manufacturer, trade marks being replaced by the name.
   3) Origin.
   4) Technical data.
The signature "Unadjusted" was ignored in older enrties because it has no real meaning (c.f. Unadjusted).
The designation is simultaneously a link to the according movement  in the  archive. There further informations can be found. Sometimes the applied base calibre is mentioned (mostly from a volume manufacturer), and if known, which details are modified compared with the base movement.

Here the kind of plate surfaces is described, as well as decorations like damaskeening, plating, or blued screws.

Technical Data and Design Details
Here the number of jewels, eventual number and kind of jewel settings, design of winding mechanism, escapement, type of shock device, and type of regulator are mentioned. If complications are present, exceeding the time display, design highlights and operating hints are given, sometimes complete operating instructions.
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Mostly just grades for the condition of case (C), band (B), dial (D), and movemet (M) are given. Their meaning is decribed in detail on the page Condition of Watches.

Matters of Course
That a watch is in technical good shape and running is not mentioned - it's a matter of course. Surely one cannot expect that an old watch has absolutely no wear. But with continuous care this is not worth mentioning. Moreover from a cylinder- or verge watch one cannot expect the accuracy of a modern watch. So technical good shape means that a watch performs as given by its design, and only minor drawbacks due to its age must be taken into account.
     If only grades are mentioned, the watch is ready for use. Else detailled remarks about technical deficits are given. But such remarks are rare, because this site is a hobby, and I can apply rigid rules to minimize the risk for customers, and thus the number of returns.

If a service with date is mentioned, this includes the usual warranty of 12 months. Reed here which additional value a standard service represents, or even occasional repairs. Everyone must decide for himself whether to pay the accordingly higher price.

If a watch is left to me for auctioning, the technical shape is investigated with modern equipment. If damages show up requiring repairs, there are the following possibilities:
1) I recommend to sell on ebay. There are enough bidders who don't worry about condition, and seller may refuse return or any warranty.
2) The damage is repaired before selling. This goes to account of the owner, and many consider possibility 1.
3) The drawback is described in detail under "Condition". This affects the bids, and  many owners again consider possibility 1.
Left over are watches where in the worst case a service is recommended or even necessary.
     Recommended means, the timing machine shows that lubricants begin to fail. The amplitude (swing) of the balance is too small, but the rate is still stable. The watch can still be used, with still acceptable accuracy. But if it shall be used often or even daily, one should consider a service to prevent wear.
     Necessary means, the speed of the watch is varying because lubricants fail. If such a watch is used, it will be damaged. But don't worry, such a watch needs just minor repairs if any, and mostly a standard service will do.
     Watches which are really worn down can't hide that on the timing machine, and again we come back to possibility 1: They pass ebay with the comment "runs good, accuracy not checked",

1) Most watches are ready for use.
2)  Some ask more or less urgently for service. This is no great disadvantage - even a watch without comment will need the next service, with less luck already after a couple of months.
3) It can happen that damages are explicitely mentioned. For hobbyists probably no problem, but the average enthousiast should consider what to bid for the watch.
4) The ultimate case of luck: The watch comes fresh from servicing. But as only few pay for this added value, it is rare.
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At the bottom of an item description there are sometimes special remarks, e.g. operating instructions for a complicated watch, or hints refering technical, historical, and other high lights.
     Of course one reason for such remarks is to boost sales. But also facts about watch technology, the history of  watchmaking, or about watchmakers are collected. And as these descriptions are recorded in the archive, a reference work will be created, which can help to evaluate watches, or which  simply can be browsed for fun.
After a closer look it can be realized that there is no relation between such extensions and the value of a watch. The remarks are uniformly spread over cheap and expensive watches. And believe it or not: I don't spend hours for reserach to push the price of a cheap pin lever from 10 to 11 Euro.
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Dr. Roland Ranfft
Poststr. 32a
26388 Wilhelmshaven
phone +49 (0)4423 9849691

email:  info@ranfft.de
Last update:  10-17-2020