How to distinguish vintage blacks from retooled?

I managed to get my hands on some, what I am told are NOS vintage blacks, which are supposed to arrive today(out for delivery already). I’m looking at things with a bit of caution as, I was told it would be a raffle but then I was directed to a shopify store to purchase.

It’s not the biggest loss in the world if they turn out to be retooled instead(though I might cry a little :sob:) but for the sake of completeness, I was curious if there are any distinguishing features that I could look for to make sure that I got what I paid for.

I found this guide too, anyone happen to know it’s accuracy?



The best way I know of to tell vintage from modern Cherry switches is the bottom of the stem. Vintage will be perfectly round, while modern will have the little nub at the bottom. Don’t go by the Cherry logo on the top housings as all the variants have been found in vintage & modern batches. I’m working right now, but I’ll put pics up here of a vintage & modern stem bottom when I get home later.


I actually gotta walk back on previous statement, I might be wrong about the stem bottom being a good tell for vintage or not. I went to take those pics for you & thankfully cracked open a few of the vintage MX whites I got. Well some of them have that rounded stem bottom & some have the cutoff look like modern MX stem bottoms. I took a quick look at the guide you linked & it seems to be pretty accurate comparing the vint white housings I got to it. So I’d follow that to check your batch out.

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No worries! Thanks for taking a look!

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Did you happen to buy these NOS vint blacks from a user on /r/mechmarket by the name of “ru_mi” ? If so, I bought some from that person as well. To be honest I don’t know why they’re hailed so much, I don’t think they’re any better than a normal gat black. I don’t even think the sound of them is that good. Does the sound improve with break in? Do people lube these?

Yea, that was the user.

I haven’t made any firm judgments on them just yet, still waiting on boards since I didn’t realize they were plate mount and all the PCBs I have on hand would benefit from having the extra legs.

I do notice a difference between lubed and unlubed though. That said, I imagine I could possibly be underwhelmed once I get them in a full board given how many good sounding/feeling linears there are now.

As for break-in I have heard that helps but I probably won’t bother.

Oh I didn’t even notice they were plate mount.

I fee likel not breaking them in and just lubing them would be taking away from the “vintage” experience but I probably won’t bother either.

My main reason in buying them was to see how nice they sounded. They don’t really sound that great on a Tofu but they’re stock.

ru_mi still sells dozens of batches of the vintage blacks, which makes me wonder where he gets the thousands and thousands of switches from

Actually I think this last batch he made the website for is it for the stash of NOS boards he had to harvest. I’d grab some if you wanted to try them.