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  1. bigsom

    bigsom Aug 21, 2016

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    Now that I see myself catching the vintage omega bug, I would like to find and build a relationship with a watchmaker who will have access to the right parts and have the right knowledge to keep these watches alive and well.

    I've only ever had the brand service center provide maintenance on my more modern watches, so I would greatly appreciate feedback from you all on independent watchmakers in the US.

    Here in Maryland, "The watch pocket" in silver spring has a good reputation on yelp and with some members on wus. Has anyone here had experience with them? I'm also very open to sending watches to other institutions in other states. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. efauser

    efauser I ♥ karma!!! Aug 21, 2016

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  3. bigsom

    bigsom Aug 21, 2016

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    Thank you very much for the response. I'm reading a bit about the different certifications (this site seems to show CW21 and CMW21), I guess the question of watch parts would have to be handled on a watchmaker by watchmaker basis.
     
  4. efauser

    efauser I ♥ karma!!! Aug 21, 2016

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    Some of the watchmakers have their own websites but you need to click on their name to find out and to learn about them. Take this guy, for example: https://members.awci.com/AWCIWEB/AWCISearch/MemberSearch.aspx?ContactID_CurrentUser=-1&SearchDate=8/21/2016 6:15 PM&tbSearchKeyword=vintage omega&ddlCountry=United States&SearchResultMatchingTechnique=1&ContactID_Display=33981
    He has an Omega Watchmaker Evaluation 1120 which, based on @Archer explanation, may mean he can buy parts and work on the latest calibers or buy just bracelets. This is from an old thread but may be of help. https://omegaforums.net/threads/ser...nd-independent-watchmakers.19220/#post-208209
     
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  5. ahsposo

    ahsposo Most fun screen name at ΩF Aug 21, 2016

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  6. efauser

    efauser I ♥ karma!!! Aug 21, 2016

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    I was going to mention him but I was really looking for someone that said they had Omega/Swatch training.
     
  7. ahsposo

    ahsposo Most fun screen name at ΩF Aug 21, 2016

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    @watchknut recommended a watchmaker that's on the list that has Omega Certification and it doesn't show that. So I assumed the OP will just have to make a call or drop this guy an email...
     
  8. ahsposo

    ahsposo Most fun screen name at ΩF Aug 21, 2016

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    And it looks like he's the President of that organization.
     
  9. efauser

    efauser I ♥ karma!!! Aug 21, 2016

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    Absolutely. I was trying to save him the trouble. Did I just say that?
     
  10. ahsposo

    ahsposo Most fun screen name at ΩF Aug 21, 2016

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    It's okay. Everybody has an off day.
     
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  11. bigsom

    bigsom Aug 21, 2016

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    Thanks guys! Gonna make some phone calls tomorrow.

    I have an Apollo XI 30tg anniversary that I bought in Japan last spring. No idea of its service history. It runs fine, but probably good to have it serviced I think.

    Edit - if any of you have personal experience with any of the watchmakers would appreciate references as well!
     
  12. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 22, 2016

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    Just one clarification - the certification by the AWCI is not recognized by Omega, so is not an indication that someone has been approved by Omega for a parts account. While someone with AWCI certification can certainly apply for an account, they don't use it as a meaningful criteria when assessing your application.

    Just as some background on this - the certification was originally supposed to help watchmakers get parts by replacing each brands certification with one general one that all brands would agree to. Rolex was the only company to adopt it as a requirement for a parts account - speaking strictly in the USA as none of this applies to other countries. While at Swatch in NJ for training one of the other watchmakers asked about this certification and what it meant to Omega/Swatch, and the response from the trainer was "That has nothing to do with us - that's a Rolex thing."

    Rolex is even backing away from that as a requirement now...the program has not worked out the way the AWCI had hoped/intended...promises made and not kept, removal of the Rolex consent decree, etc. all surround this program. It was/is controversial to say the least. And soon the CW21 and CMW21 will be dropped and a new name will be used in an effort to revitalize it through rebranding...

    Cheers, Al
     
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  13. gostang9

    gostang9 Aug 22, 2016

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    Can you give a litter more insight into what an AWCI certification does mean?

    1. Approximately how much training or testing would a typical watchmaker have completed if they are certified as such?

    2. Is there another Omega recognized certification and a searchable database related to it?

    3. I know certification in and of itself is never a guarantee of anything, but is it reasonable to expect that someone certified to AWCI should be "capable" to perform many service items on an Omega timepiece? (Aside from anything requiring replacement of genuine Omega parts - since lack of parts account might then be difficult or impossible)

    As you know, I've been searching for someone and no one has been recommended. I do know a watchmaker from Michigan from whom I've purchased several watches in the past. I checked the database and it turns out he is listed as having the AWCI certification.



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  14. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 22, 2016

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    I'll answer your questions the best I can:

    Question 1 -

    From the AWCI web site:

    What is Certification?
    Certification means a watch or clock repair specialist has proven to a board of professionals that he or she has the skills required to perform quality repairs on the materials for which they are certified. The 21st Century certification exam involves a stringent 3-day examination of 4 major areas on the technical aspects of watchmaking.

    On What Subjects are Watchmakers Examined?
    The 3-day Certification examination includes:
    1. Taking a written exam covering a variety of theoretical subjects
    2. Candidates must demonstrate their micromechanical abilities by using a lathe
    3. Performing complete service on a quartz watch
    4. Performing a complete service on an automatic chronograph watch
    During the course of the examination, the candidate is required to operate a variety of industry-standard equipment to demonstrate the quality of the work they have completed. Candidates are assessed for their quality of work and their meticulous detail.

    This is a shortened version of the exam, which used to be 4 days long, so 1/2 day for the written exam, then servicing a modern 3 hand ETA quartz movement, an ETA 2824-2 based automatic watch, and an ETA 7750 based chronograph, and replacing the balance staff on an ETA 6497-1 balance. They eliminated the 2824-2 watch, so now it's just servicing 2 watches, replacing the staff, and then the written exam.

    There are no pre-requisites to taking the exam - if you think you can pass it, sign up, pay the money, and go take the exam. No formal training is required, so theoretically you could sign up and do this exam if you wanted. The movements are checked for timing, then disassembled and inspected at a later date, and you are given a pass/fail grade. If you pass, that's it, you are now certified.

    This is very basic watchmaking in terms of the skills needed, and you will note that it's all on modern movements, so nothing related to the challenges of vintage work is addressed. As they clearly say above "has the skills required to perform quality repairs on the materials for which they are certified." They make no claims about the competency of the watchmaker on something other than what the test involves.

    2 - As far as I know there is no database of Omega approved watchmakers...you could always ask Omega for that information though.

    3 - The examination proves that you are capable of servicing a modern ETA Swiss lever escapement watch, and a modern quartz watch. Anything more specialized than that is not "proven" by such an exam. There is no real repair work here, other than cutting out a balance staff, installing a new one, and poising it, but it never gets timed so it's not a true test for a staff change IMO.

    This exam does not cover anything that is brand specific, just generic ETA movements. So for example it does not touch at all on the requirements for servicing a co-axial escapement, so it would very much depend on what Omega you would be asking them to service. If it's an Speedmaster date auto with a 7750 based movement, then sure they should be fine. If it's a Cal. 3313 F. Piguet based movement with a co-axial escapement, then I would ask a lot of questions about their experience and training on that movement before handing one over. Even many people who are certified by Omega won't work on the F. Piguet based movements, at least from what the instructor at Swatch has told me.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers, Al
     
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  15. gostang9

    gostang9 Aug 22, 2016

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    @Archer, thanks. Great post! ;)

    Perfectly answered, much appreciated as always.


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  16. bigsom

    bigsom Aug 22, 2016

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    This had been fantastic to read. Thank you for your expertise and the clear explanation.