Brown Ed White On Sale At Tropical Watch

This is on sale at TropicalWatch.com, a new venture by Jacek who was at HQ Milton

Here is a very interesting watch, you can see here, on offer at $56,750. It is a brown dial Ed White with a Brown Pulsation Service (modern) bezel, that has faded to brown. I have no connection to this watch, or Jacek, apart from I have bought several watches from him over the years, and been very happy with them.

This is an extremely unusual example. Especially striking is the dial, but for me the look of the watch is immediately ruined by the unnatural looking modern bezel. There is now a note in the description: “The consensus from the omega community is that the bezel has been chemically aged.” Indeed I think that is true.

I would also ask is the dial naturally aged to this appearance? Why do I have doubts? Because I have never seen an Ed White dial like this. So we have to look carefully.

The Bezel

Examining the photos closely, on my big screen, we can see the surface of the original black paint is indeed grainy, and this is comensurate with some Rolex bezels I have seen that have been bleached.

Most Omega bezels I have seen bleached turn grey, so I suspect this is not just bleached, but perhaps heated and then bleached. Or perhaps bleached then coloured. No matter, its rubbish.

Whatever the process, I find the overall look of this bezel not attractive – in the way that something is really off here. (Like a bad spray tan) I have never seen a colour like this occur on an original watch.  

It is very distracting to me, as we ought to be looking at this unusual dial.

The Dial

Lets see the dial free of distractions. The colour is very unusual and attractive. Lets go through the basics, just to be sure. We need to check the specification is correct, and to rate the quality of the dial itself, and check the print and lume.

Here is the first photo in the listing, and it shows what appears to be scratches and specks on the dial – these would really put me off…luckily this is not the only photo

Here the next photo (below) shows the watch cleaned. We still see some minor damage on the hour subdial, below the hole, but the central lint has been removed, as have a lot of the specks. Here we can also see the colour is slightly uneven, and that there is a little patch near the 11 marker.

First, we can see it is indeed an Ed White Dial, with close spaced T’s, no professional text, a step and long indices.

Next I look at the body – and of course in this watch, this is the central part of the value. Browns are highly subjective, and to get a achieve a top price everything has to be right. In this case, the body of the dial has a slightly varied,  attractive looking colour to it. I am aware of the patch near the 11 marker and also the way the dial fades darker to the lower left quadrant. This variation in colour often adds to the attraction, if it is pleasing.

The print on the dial is perfect white. I must say I would have expected some deterioration but there you go.

I must say I have not seen a brown dial like this on an Ed White before. I have seen other browns, darker, more like dark chocolate. This colour is very unusual, in any reference. In fact I see strong browns more in early 2998s than in 105.003’s.

Now what about the lume? Well it is very even, bright and grainy. The dial plots show shrinkage and movement, and slight darkening on the 4 and 5 – but that could be the lighting. As ever the big question is are the plots original or are they re applied. I have to be honest the lume does not make me feel good. The fact that I cannot make a call on the lume is irrelevant – it is the fact that I am concerned about it, that stops me wanting the watch at this price.

The lume here is hard to make a definitive call for me. Let me put my observations down and you can decide:

  • The lume colour is an even bright yellow. There is minor darkening in places but no blackness, water damage or serious degradation.
  • The lume appears “fresh”
  • The Lume surface is granular
  • The lume material does not cover the all underlying marker paint. 
  • The lume is curved on some, and wobbly on others. (see 11, 12, 1, 4 particularly)
  • The dots on the 12 marker are an unusual shape when compared to other Ed Whites.
  • The lume colour on the plots is a perfect match to the hands.
  • The Hour hand has lost a lot of lume. 
  • In general the state of the lume is undamaged, and is on a dial that by definition has been exposed to some form of damaging environment – so it must have affected the dial, but not the plots. (But then the plots are shrunken and granular).
  • Ed Whites often have lume that can confuse us when looking for originality.
  • I cannot (after an admittedly quick search) find similar lume on other Ed Whites

Here is an example of an ed white that has never been opened:

Note that in my watch above that this watch shows typical Ed White Lume issues, that are well known and documented. Uneven spread (7, 2) , falling off at the tip, (4), and a general air of “Wobbliness” . This is a very common sight in Ed Whites. What this does show is the lume covering all the markers, and it is not granular. (this is just one example).

Before we move on, my primary concern with the lume is that it appears bright, fresh, granular, matches the hands exactly, is unevenly applied, and not in straight lines. Brown dials often have lume that shows that the dial has experienced some sort of environment that causes a change. these lume plots are too fresh, clean and granular for me.

Look at the Rehaut on the brown watch. (the silver band under the crystal around the dial). Note this shows considerable brown spotting. This indicates something was inside the watch that caused change in this metal, possibly causing the change in the dial – and yet the hands and lume plots are bright and not degraded at all.

In conclusion – the lume could be correct, but it does not fit visually with what I expect in a watch that has had internal ingress of vectors that changed the dial, and the fact that I am in doubt is another big turn off.

The case shows that is has seen some light work, with the sides re brushed. The lip also shows some corrosion, as does the edge of the case back. This is not surprising given the colour of the dial – it has to have had some ingress of some sort. 

The hands are correct, but are they original? The posts on the subdial hands are undamaged, and the paint on the H/M hands is white, without spotting. These hands do look fresh and I think they are not original to the watch. The lume is missing from the hour hand, and the lume itself is also fresh and a match to the dial. I think these hands are an older re – lume or even replaced hands with a re lume.

Note the colour of the lume, at the tip of the hour hand, and then compare that to the adjacent lume plot – its a perfect match, suggesting that the two are from the same pot of paint. This does not happen on original watches. The hands and dial are prepared separately, indeed I believe in different factory’s.

The pushers and crown are correct vintage specification. The crystal is cracked near the 11 marker and it would be best to replace. 

The movement looks clean and correct, only one screw shows damage. There is no other evidence of service and I am sure the watch could do with one, just to make sure.

Conclusion

Is it real? 

Well the seller (and by that I refer to the person who consigned it to Tropical Watch) is dishonest. This is evidenced by the non disclosure of the bezel treatment to Jacek, who from past experience discloses things like that, and indeed has done so once the community called attention to it. As he did not make it clear in the listing, I assume he did not know. I bet the seller knows.

We have to look at the dial, and try to decide is it a natural brown or has it been cooked or treated the way the Italian / Vietnamese / HK dealers are rumored to be able to do to Rolex? We know the bezel was treated, so why not the dial?

We rarely see brown dials in Ed Whites. The colour is quite possibly one of the most interesting browns I have seen, and this is off set by the look of the lume that does not fit visually to me. So the dial as a whole does not look balanced and right.

The thing with browns is that if they are right, they will sail into the market and sell for absurd figures, some times secretly as the buyer is too embarrassed to admit just how much he paid. 

To be one of those, super special high value browns, then the stars have to align perfectly. Everything has to be right, look right and be right in a way that there are no doubts at all, anywhere. There can never be even the whiff of doubt about lume, originality, or correctness.

This watch is off to a bad start with that awful bezel – awful because someone deliberately did it, then fitted it, then sold or gave it to Jacek – AND DID NOT TELL HIM. So the watch has at some point been through the hands of a dishonest person, and when you know that, you think well what else has been changed?

I wish I could be more supportive of this watch. I wish I could say that even though i didn’t want to spend nearly $60,000 that someone should. But I cannot.

I have spent several hours inspecting the photos of this watch, blowing them up, changing the filters. The more I look at it the more I dislike it – yes, a visceral dislike.

I cannot say which parts are original or if the dial and lume are natural, (apart from the bezel), but I can tell you there are so many questions unanswered, that I could never recommend anyone buying this watch at this level.

We have three options;

  1. The dial and lume is original and natural
  2. The dial is natural and the lume is re applied
  3. The dial is treated to induce colour and the lume is re applied.

The very idea that I am laying out these three options means that there is too much doubt in my mind about this watch to be paying the price asked.

Update!

A fine member of Omega forums has tracked this watch to a Spanish Seller and now we have another photo:

This is the Spanish Photo

Here is is the Tropical Watch Photo

It would appear the pots in the Spanish photo are far closer in appearance to known originals, in that the colour is more like those we know.

The hour hand has lost the lume between the two photos (Along with the 7912 bracelet).

I also think the colour of the dial is much nicer in the Spanish photo.