I think the rub here is that people want "verification" so they can buy something and feel comfortable, knowing someone who has spent many hours and many tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars to be the resident 'expert/s gives a thumbs up.
what if one of us, or all of us, who know right from wrong make a mistake? that is some pretty serious liability, not in the monetary sense, but on a public forum such as this our reputations are at stake.
remember the 3 CROC? 1655s of the 2000/1 era? red, DRSD and COMEX dials of the same? big auction houses often sold these items as real, and there are still collectors who own them and believe there are right.
It is easy for some who I am seeing lately to say things are OK, based on what knowledge, I don't know.
I agree that it is in the spirit of collecting to give info, but when someone is laying out $100k on a watch that looks good, from a good seller, I think the buyer should always beware.
We have some of the worlds best reading and giving opinions, free of charge. I personally spend hours guiding people on the phone giving insight and helping with the usual "newbie" questions. no problem, but when people just start popping watches and waiting for those of us who know to verify without holding the item, it can get dangerous.
it is easy with an obvious fake, like one of the earlier posts of that 6538, but if someone were to post some of the fakes I see every once in a while, a dangerous fake, made with some real and some manufactured parts, it is much harder to tell with a picture.
honestly, some of the newer, non vintage stuff I see in NYC often gets sold to unsuspecting dealers and are floating around.
we all want to help, but there is no substitute for good old fashioned research. back in the day, we did not have the VRF dial archives like we do now, which is quite frankly one of the best research tools out there, short of my own personal archives. cases are another story. I have seen engravings, cases with papers that will fool you if it were just looking at a scan. Now I know there some reading this who may think otherwise, but no photo can substitute handling, AND BUYING AND SELLING FOR MONEY. the money piece is the real risk. Oh, how i wish 10 years ago we had such knowledge and archives at our fingertips, it would have saved all of us money! lol!
handling these watches for years, day in and day out is the only real way to know what is correct, and thus worth the money.
just food for thought.