Phil Cole Real Estate-Auction
2804 N Main St, Findlay, OH 45840
I placed bids by absentee bid for several pocket watches with Phil Cole -including an Illinois Sante Fe Special, a Hamilton 4992B w/second hand, and a 23J Bunn Special. I placed the bids absentee because I live 9 hours away, but as an avid collector of 20+ years I knew these watches could be a good buy if they were in good repair. Prior to placing the bids I went over each watch meticulously with Phil over the phone to verify condition of cases, bows, porcelain dials (faces), and of course the movement itself (mechanical clock portion of the watch) because there was absolutely no info in their online catalog and they only posted on photo for each watch which itself was not clear. Phil assured me that all the watches on my list appeared to him to have been used very little and in excellent shape. I left my bids with him via phone a few days before the auction (auction on a Saturday). I received a call from Phil's office on Monday requesting payment as I had won the 3 watches named at the beginning of this review and I made immediate payment. however when i received the watches I found that they were far from what Mr. Cole had described. the Sante Fe Special had a badly cracked porcelain dial and significant scratches to the case, the Hamilton 4992B case was so work you could barely read the military inscription on the rear of the case and the second hand did not function, and the killer was the 23J Bunn Special which had a BROKEN case (hunter case with the hinge completely severed and a completely non-functional movement as it had been disassembled and was missing jewels, mainspring, and a few gears. I contacted Mr. Cole to request a refund and was told he was not available and only he could make that kind of authorization. I proceeded to call back several times over the next month and not once did Mr. Cole return my calls or was he available to talk to me. I eventually brought up the issue with the BBB and filed a complaint with them. When this was received Mr. Cole finally responded, but would not accept any responsibility saying "they were used and I am not a watch expert so I had no way to know if they were as they should be - I thought they all looked really good and they appeared to work". I have purchased thousands of pocket watches from all over the USA via auction both in person and by absentee or by Ebay spending hundreds if not thousands per watch and to date this is the only auction for pocket watches I have ever had any problems with - i have had auctioneers who did not know pocket watches, but they were honest and forthright enough to tell me immediately that they were not well versed in watches and could not guarantee anything about the watch(es) they had. however Mr. Cole assured me multiple times that all the watches were excellent in every respect and he never noted any broken parts, damaged parts, or missing parts - Mr. Cole is most dishonest saying whatever he needs to so he can make the sale and then claim ignorance when the product is severely flawed. I ended up stuck with 3 garbage pocket watches that are only good for parts/repair and not worth 1/10 of what I paid Mr. Cole. Stay away from this ignorant thief and never take his word on the condition of an item - I will never conduct any business with this company again and have shared my experience with other members of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) so they know to steer clear of this auctioneer in the future should he ever try to purvey fine pocket watches again.