|Just a brief word about watches sold by myself and what you can expect.
First let me say that any watch I describe as being in original condition may of couse have had replacement original or generic crystal, crown, seal or strap or original or generic internal parts at service intervals. After all you would not necessarily want to drive a car from 1955 with the original engine oil, oil filter or tyres.
The scary difference in condition of many of the watches bought off internet auction sites, which may or may not be well photographed, is something of which the buyer must be aware. Although technically bought unseen and as such are covered by legal niceties covering that area, one should be aware that there should be special provisions for purchasing one off vintage items. Buyer remorse is not allowed for under normal auction rules and should not be allowed either on internet auction sales. Clearly if an item can be shown to have been misrepresented or misdescribed then the buyer may feel aggrieved, and should be entitled to some form of redress. Watches purchased from specialist watch dealers may be dearer but are more likely to be correctly described than those from non specialists. However it is up to the individual to study the item description or photograph closely and research the genuine nature of the item prior to bidding.
I do not feel that a low start price reflects either the condition of any item, or the expected end price, so clearly a seller needs to be as honest as he can afford to be with images and details without detracting from the saleability of the watch. I am sure we are all aware that a high proportion of the true bargains have been from blurry photos and incorrect descriptions, but this can also be a hindrance. However amateur the seller may call himself in any given field, if for instance a watch says Rolex Oyster Perpetual on the dial, then that is what the watch should be, not a copy or another watch enhanced to be such.
Clearly difficulties arise when watches are marked with details such as chronometer, waterproof, and so on. These details are relevant only at the time of original manufacture or first retail sale and are probably no longer true. However if a watch says for example automatic, or has a date facility, the buyer could reasonably expect these functions still to work as they are an integral part of the mechanism, unless made aware. If they do not work then the seller may wish to correct the problem. If parts such as automatic winding are missing then the watch should clearly be described so that the buyer may be aware. Bricks and auction auction houses use relevant experts in any given field for condition appraisals and even valations, and since internet auction buyers do not have access to these experts or their reports, then the seller needs to have appraised the full condition of any given item prior to listing, just as the buyer needs to study the images and description closely.
I am never in a position to guarantee to be present at all times to answer any questions posed in emails, and frankly the long list of clearly copied and pasted standard questions about watches has fortunately fallen into disuse by all but the most optimistic.
Condition of a watch as described is purely subjective on the part of the seller. I personally try and avoid the use of the word mint as it is totally abused. Most watches termed "mint"are either restored and overpolished or simply better than average. True mint condition is as new from the manufacturer and does not really exist on vintage watches. "Mint" should not not mean fully restored to the seller's idea of what the watch may have once looked like. I do feel however that if a seller says "near mint" or "minty" for example then it is probably up to the buyer to decide whether he or she agrees.
Some advice I can safely give is that watches are prone to abuse and rust, so if you buy a vintage watch from India or South America you can expect both. If you buy a watch from China it probably does not exist.