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First post with first vintage watch......be gentle

  1. PDB

    PDB Sep 26, 2015

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    I have just joined the forum and this is my first post. A quick introduction: I have always enjoyed my watches and had a range of Rolex, IWC, JLC etc over the years but all were bought new. I still have a Submariner, an IWC big pilot and a 1950 Panerai. However as I have got older, I find myself being drawn to smaller, more understated, vintage watches such as Zenith but particularly Omegas.

    I am starting completely from square one and know very little about Omega, so have ordered the book 'a journey through time' which should arrive in a few weeks but have been trying to learn as much as I can in the meantime. I am drawn to some of the early oversized watches (37-38 mm), such as the one in my Avitar (I'm 6' 2" and a 33 mm case just looks odd) and also some of the 1960/1970 steel watches, again as the case sizes increase to 37, 38 or 39 mm. I would like to be able to wear the watches, not to keep them in a box, although maybe for just a few weeks at a time.

    I have bought the watch below, mainly because I like the understated and aged dial but really to learn more about this type of watch and Omega in general. It obviously needs work so I also wanted to use this to learn more about who is best to take it to, what work would be appropriate etc.

    I have already made mistakes with this watch but in Summary I can see that:

    The rotor is binding on the case
    The dial seems to have dropped a little in the case as the 'swiss made' wording at the bottom is not level
    The day has drooped in the window
    The crown is a bit 'sloppy'
    There is a chunk of thread missing from the case, see last image
    Next to where the thread is missing, the case is thin and sharp; is this where the original metal strap would have worn the case?

    However it keeps good time, it works, the case is not too bad, I like the look of it, it sits well on my wrist and it was cheap.

    Firstly, can someone help me to define exactly what it is? It is obviously a Seamaster and it was sold to me as a 1969 but I think it is 1970. Can I access the full list of Omega serial numbers on line to date it properly (I have found some rough groupings of numbers and dates)?

    Is 751 the caliber and the case number 168.034? So if I was to call a watch maker would I just say that it was a 1970 Seamaster with a 752 caliber or would they need the case number as well? Does the fact that it is a Chronometer make it any more complicated?

    I would like to be able to wear it and get the watch in good shape without detracting from the value (which in its self is limited). So who would be the best person to do the work for this type of watch and also be happy to have a chat with me about the findings, the options etc., so I can learn something in the process?

    I have so many questions but just for the moment can anyone see any more obvious howlers? Does at least the case, back, dial and movement all appear to be original and matching? Have the hands or day / date been repainted?

    Thanks in advance.


    2015-09-26 15.38.40 - Copy.jpg 2015-09-26 15.23.54.jpg 2015-09-26 15.27.19.jpg 2015-09-26 15.28.10.jpg
     
    Edited Sep 26, 2015
  2. wwhntr

    wwhntr Sep 26, 2015

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    Welcome to the forum! The Seamaster Chronometer's are more uncommon than same period Constellation's.

    I'm not a watchmaker, but can address some of the mistakes/issues you have mentioned.

    Rotor binding could be broken rotor axle or worn pinion on rotor (this caliber had a replaceable pinion)

    "Dropped dial" could be dial feet issue, but may be the movement is not secured in case by case clamps on this reference. Instead, rubber bushings placed between the movement and case not only secured movement but also added some shock resistance. If this is the problem, I could not find rubber bushings. Found 2mm thick rubber o ring at hardware store that was right diameter and cut in lengths to space between mvt and case.

    "Day drooped" may just be an adj.

    Original Omega crown or stem easily replaced. (I believe the date should be "quickset" by push/pull or position when in correct position. Day is not quickset.) If quickset is not working might need new setting lever/spring.

    A competent watchmaker familiar with vintage Omegas should be able to sort it out for you. Good luck!
     
  3. TNTwatch

    TNTwatch Sep 26, 2015

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    The dial drooping, the sloppy crown, as well as part of the binding rotor are caused by the deterioration/degradation of the rubber bushings located between the movement holder ring and the case. These bushings are still available at CousinsUK. There is also a retainer spring ring at the same location and if missing also contributes to the problems above. A watchmaker may be able to find this part for you.

    The missing chunks on the case were signs of rust/oxidation, which caused the degraded dial. The original metal strap may not directly, but may indirectly have caused this by trapping and accumulating a lot of dirt around this area.

    The 31m serial number dates it to about 1969-1970, gives or take a year or two. The book AJTT has a list similar to this one: http://ialreadyhaveawatch.com/watch-articles/omega/omega-serial-numbers-by-year/.
     
    wwhntr likes this.
  4. PDB

    PDB Sep 26, 2015

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    Wwhntr and TNTwatch, thank you very much for your quick replies, very kind. It confirms how little I know. As it needs more than a simple service do you think it would be better to go to someone like Swiss Time Services, as they will have access to all the parts, or is that an overkill for a £200 watch. I guess I could easily end up with an £800 bill. Or, is there a list on this forum of recommended Omega watch repairers? The issues aside, as I want to wear it occasionally and keep the age to it (and not destroy any value that maybe in the watch) should I ask for a full overhaul of the movement but leave the dial face( I like it) as is and just a light polish of the case? PS: do I refer to it as a 1969/1970 Seamaster with a 751 the caliber, or would all Seamasters of this date come with a 751 movement? The journey through time book can't arrive soon enough ::book:: :(
     
  5. GlenM

    GlenM Sep 26, 2015

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    Edited Sep 26, 2015
  6. wwhntr

    wwhntr Sep 26, 2015

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    I would look for an independent watchmaker if possible. Start new thread on this forum or do search for old posts asking for someone near where you live. I would just get the mvt issues sorted out. (Due to dial condition it's only a $350-450 watch imho.) I've been extremely spoiled the last 25 years having a watchmaker 5 minutes from my house who does a quality cleaning for under $50+parts! Sadly, he is retiring next Wednesday! (Brings a tear to my eyes typing this:(

    For serial # lists Google Chuck Maddox's site and Roman Hartman's list. All Seamasters of this period would NOT have had caliber 751's, as most would not be chronometer rated.

    Best Wishes!
     
  7. TNTwatch

    TNTwatch Sep 26, 2015

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    You just need the case reference number 168.034 to talk with a watchmaker. It's a simple automatic movement so the service would depend on if the parts can be found. I believe there are many good watchmakers in the UK beside STS and Christian is one of them. Christian's prices are also very reasonable for your watch.
     
  8. PDB

    PDB Sep 26, 2015

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    My apologies, I should have said, I am indeed in the UK. Ironically, after doing my research, he was the guy I wanted to take the watch to, but when I came to book it in on his website, I think there was only going to be 15 slots available for new customers, at some point in the future, and they would be released at a set time. The site also warned that each slot goes literally within one second and you have to keep refreshing the page. He is obviously very good and I suppose if you are good you are busy and he only has one pair of hands. Any other thoughts
     
  9. GlenM

    GlenM Sep 26, 2015

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    It's worth a try. When I first had a watch serviced with Christian, I thought the same. However, I managed to get a slot without any trouble - just had to wait a couple of weeks for the slots be be opened. They didn't get taken up anywhere as quickly as I expected.
     
  10. TNTwatch

    TNTwatch Sep 26, 2015

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    Christian has more than two hands since he has an employee who is a member here also. :) There's also @stefan and maybe other members who are watchmakers based in the UK.
     
  11. PDB

    PDB Sep 26, 2015

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    Thanks, really helpful, I have also dropped Stefan a line.