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A personal Omega & Connie "C" Case journey + extras!

  1. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    Omegas were always my first Swiss watch love, which is funny because my first Swiss watch started with an "R", but that course was dictacted by serendipity.

    Fast forward a few years and I managed to begin my vintage Omega collection when I proposed to my now wife, I purchased a Seamaster Cosmic and a Seamaster Cosmic 2000 as engagement presents. Both were in beautiful condition, and they signalled a good start to my (our) Omega journey.

    My impressions of each? I was surprised at how diminutive the Cosmic was in the flesh, the case lines and tapered lugs making it wear small on the wrist, but it was a beautiful watch all the same. The case still had the brushing grain clearly visible and the dial was perfect. The Cosmic 2000 was huge, especially for an older watch, which I didn't expect. A very handsome model with classic lines that I really think still wears beautifully today.
     
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  2. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    But I have always loved Constellations. Specifically Pie Pans, there was just something so smart about them, so classic and perhaps the perfect dress watch. When I first became interested in Constellations, Pie Pans were still around A$500-700. A few years ago now! I did not have the spare money as a young man to buy one, and as time passed so did affordability. What did not pass was my love for the Connie!

    Fast forward to a little later, a few watch fettles and restorations down the road, and I decided it was finally time to satisfy my Connie itch. The famous Genta "C" case was my target, and so I set my sights on finding an example to suit. I actually had a a plan, I was to buy 2 examples. The first I would purchase as a gift for my friend's 40th, he isn't a big watch guy but he likes Omegas and had never owned one so I thought I would fix that for him.

    Purchasing the first Connie C, a S/S cal. 561 with white dial, gave me a chance to look at the case, look at the lines and have a practice at refinishing. I usually look for a good to great dial with an average to poor case, that way I can take it apart, give it a clean and refinish the watch... it's my hobby nowadays, to keep me busy during my downtime. Obviously it makes a present a little more thoughtful as well, a bit more of a personal touch, which is nice for all parties involved.

    The 561 Connie came on an aftermarket steel bracelet with no end link and was a little marked up, so I sanded it back and reinstated the brushing by hand, giving it the slightest polish afterward to finish it off. I polywatched the crystal, which came up nicely, and installed an Ostrich leather band on it from the Watch Band Centre in Germany.

    In the end I think it turned out neatly and it was a great exercise in getting to know the "C" case in preparation for my own personal piece.

    Before and after below.
     
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  3. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    As an interesting aside, and a little bit of lack of foresight from me, my friend resides in Thailand. It seems as though, with my novice omega Connie experience, that the crown and stem do not have a gasket to prevent moisture ingress through the crown tube. Would any more familiar with the watch mind advising if there is in fact a crown/stem mounted o-ring and please provide the part number or dimensions? The Thai humidity actually misted the inside of the crystal almost immediately after we went outside and I would.love to sort that issue out next time I am over there!
     
  4. tdn-dk

    tdn-dk Oct 19, 2019

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    I would expect a gasket inside the crown that seals agains the case tube.

    The C-shape Connies are great :)

    IMG_3664.JPG
     
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  5. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    Lovely collection, the brick bracelets are phenomenally complimentary.

    I would have thought so too, I hope someone with more expertise can suggest a part number!
     
  6. tdn-dk

    tdn-dk Oct 19, 2019

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    For ref. 168.017

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  7. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    Fantastic, thank you. At the very least I can order an o-ring to suit.

    I really like the Yellow Gold model, is it solid? I really think YG is going to become on trend again (for me, on the right watch, it really offers something special). On a watch such as a Constellation (your C case or something like a Rose Gold pie pan) or a 36mm Day-Date, the golds cannot be beat.
     
  8. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    And so I purchased my Constellation, a cal. 564(!) In S/S. Once again it came on an aftermarket strap.

    Upon receipt of the watch, I polished the crystal to get a good look at the dial and popped open the case to confirm the movement. I must say I am so very happy to own a cal. 564, a very well regarded movement from a very well regarded time period of Omega craftsmanship. Bearing that in mind, I made the decision to assign the service work of the movement to a local specialist, luckily we have a well renowned one in my home town. Usually I am happy to clean and service a movement myself, but I try and steer clear of playing with any of my swiss watches internally.

    Now the plan of attack is to have the watch serviced, and upon receipt of the serviced piece, I will remove the movement and proceed with the case work.
     
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  9. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    So, while we wait, here are a few images of a 566.053 that I am doing up for my wife, she wanted an all steel daily that wasn't her oyster banded DJ.

    The movement is a little cutie, I was very surprised to see it in a 70s model, much nicer than the 10XX in the mens Cosmic 2000. I am just waiting on some diamond paste to polish the Crystal as I couldn't find a source for a new one.
     
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  10. Syrte

    Syrte Oct 19, 2019

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    Very nice, I find it impressive, how do sand, brush and polish by hand? With sand paper in all cases and if so which types?
     
  11. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    Hello Syrte, thanks for the compliment.

    The process is quite simple, the most important thing is to practice on something that is unimportant so to build up some skill and awareness before you attempt an important piece. And be aware that many will not appreciate it, so you must do it for your own reward.

    I keep a number of different grits of sand paper, from around 200 and incrementally stepping up from there, 400, 640, 800, 1200, etc.

    The lower grits of sand paper will remove material more quickly, the higher grits will prove a smoother and finer finish more appropriate to polish.

    When you apply a brushing finish to a surface it is best to have a scale example of the original surface at hand (I had 2 "c" cases on hand to compare) so that you can correctly match the brush pattern to the grit size of the sand paper and direction of brushing grain (radial, liner etc). That way you can match your re-application to the original factory style. Once you have applied a brushed finish with your chosen grit of sand paper, you will generally find you need to very gently polish the finish to remove a bit of the "raw" finish and match the more refined look from the factory.

    I use a Dremel to polish, sometimes in a press, sometimes in my hand, depending on the work. You will need a number of rouges (polishing mediums) to work with depending on the material and finish. You will also need a number of different shapes and types of polishing pad attachments (soft, hard, pointy, flat) depending on shape, size and sharpness of case faces and lines.

    The most important thing to do is to try and remove as little material as you can, this way you will preserve the original dimensions of the piece. Second to that you must understand and respect case lines and the effect that the direction that you are working will have on them.

    Trust me, buy some $50 junkers and practice on them first, you will thank yourself later.
     
    Edited Oct 19, 2019
  12. Syrte

    Syrte Oct 19, 2019

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    Thanks for the detailed, and interesting explanation.
    Seems like quite an intense process and I don’t think I would be able to do it. However it’s wonderful to see the result!
     
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  13. Harts

    Harts Oct 19, 2019

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    Not a problem, more than happy to share!