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(Seamaster) Deville Chronograph Cal 861 (1969) Vs. Earlier Cal.321

  1. acampo

    acampo May 28, 2015

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    I'm looking for help from members who may know more than I?

    I looking around in-order to purchase a Seamaster (Deville) Chronograph Cal. 321 (SS) Beads of rice bracelet etc.

    I have come across a 1969 Deville (Seamaster) Chronograph Cal. 861 (SS) the newer movement. I believe these were only produced in 1968 and 1969.
    My questions, and in comparison with the Cal.321
    1: How does this affect it's value now and ongoing?
    2: what is the difference in every day useability (more accurate?; more robust?; more reliable?)
    3: is there a cost difference in servicing?

    your thoughts would be much appreciated
    Michael
     
    Edited May 28, 2015
  2. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 29, 2015

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    An 861 should be much easier for parts both now and especially in the future, which will also affect servicing costs. Neither is particularly cheap though.

    In theory an 861 should also be more accurate & reliable due to a higher beat movement and simplified design but both movements are pretty fantastic. Both should gain in value but the 321 is clearly the more cherished movement and thus of higher monetary value. This may be of interest http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/Roger-Smiths-Personal-Watch
     
    Edited May 29, 2015
  3. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 29, 2015

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    I should add that I have a later model Cal 861 De Ville Prestige chronograph and it's a lovely watch but not one I wear every day.
     
    Karyl_Raw_140529_V5F7663.jpg
  4. Hijak

    Hijak May 29, 2015

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    Ref. 145.018 cal. 861 from 1968...
    image.jpg
    Wear it often, great watch love it!
     
    marco, Prange, Lulu Bear and 2 others like this.
  5. acampo

    acampo May 29, 2015

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    Thank you,
    It seems that the 861 has the useability. and the 321 has the collect-ability.!
     
  6. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member May 29, 2015

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    I'd go the 861, the 321 doesn't have the historical significance in De Villes and Seamasters that it has in Speedmasters so its hard to justify the price increase for a movement that isn't any better and costs more to maintain.
     
  7. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 30, 2015

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    If you are looking at this purely as an investment i.e a watch that will never be worn I'd seriously consider the 321 but if you want to use the watch regularly the 861 is a much safer bet and still has investment value. @dsio is correct when he says the historical association of the 321 is mainly associated with the Speedmasters because they actually went to the moon.
     
  8. acampo

    acampo May 30, 2015

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    Mmmmm,
    Compromise and ambiguity, isn't life great!
    It's not an every day watch, though I will certainly wear it every so often.
    I do tend towards the 321, I prefer that concept. I was just checking that I wasn't missing something with the 861.
    so I think the 321 it is.

    Thanks for all your help.
     
    Vercingetorix likes this.
  9. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 30, 2015

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    It's very much a case of swings and roundabouts. Ideally it would be good if somebody with a 321 could offer an opinion. In the past I have read cases of watchmakers having to wait 6 months just to locate a single part for a 321 and that was a few years ago.

    The 861 is slightly simplified design that was feasible to produce in greater numbers with fewer points to go wrong and newer incarnations have followed the same route of evolution. Presumably though you have already studied this much if you were considering either of these watches.

    Just thinking aloud here but if you go for a 321 make really certain that you buy the right one in A1 original condition with a recent service. You will pay a premium for that but in the long run it will probably save a lot of stress. Somebody like Roger Smith is better placed than the average person to maintain a watch like this but I think it speaks volumes that a watchmaker of his caliber chooses a mid 1960s Omega for personal use.
     
  10. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member May 30, 2015

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    Keep in mind the water resistance on the 321 era ones is going to be quite poor, even if its got round pushers don't get it wet, if it has square pushers, it has zero water resistance, its not even dust proof.

    This model:

    [​IMG]

    Is actually one of the best value chronographs on the market, its Cal 861 has some level of W/R such that you don't have to be too scared if it has recent seals and is crazy cheap for the quality of watch it is.
     
  11. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 30, 2015

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    That's a good point about the water resistance, though frankly I never going anywhere near water with any vintage watch. The Cal 861 shown above is a later model from 1997 and parts are not a problem. Whenever I search for them on eBay I can never find more than one Cal 861 De Ville anywhere in the world, whereas you will find hundreds of Speedmasters. That makes these far rarer and in my opinion hugely under valued at the moment. As dsio pointed out these are ridiculously cheap for the quality of the watch.
     
  12. acampo

    acampo May 30, 2015

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    I'm not sure about the water resistance, as the case of the 321 and 861 is exactly the same, as per my my initial discussion.
    I would have thought they were exactly the same.
    Below is the 861 that is for sale.
     
    Omega Chronograph Cal.861 (1969).jpg
  13. Sgt_Bilko

    Sgt_Bilko May 31, 2015

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    I think dsio means watches from that period and not specifically the 861 or 321. Something like my De Ville from 1997 is likely to be a safer bet for water resistance. That 861 looks pretty much identical to one I saw through an eBay seller in South America that was on sale for several months. The condition of the dial and even the background colour in the image looks much the same. Given that so few appear on sale they are quite easy to remember.

    I don't think any vintage watch should go near water, even diving watches. When my vintage watches come back from watchmakers they specify in the paperwork that they are not water resistant and they mean it. I believe humidity is one of the major causes of ageing on a watch dial, which is why so many watches from Asia seem to be redials or covered with patina. On rainy days when I need to take the dog out for a walk I sometimes put on a modern quartz and I would never wear a vintage watch without a waterproof coat if it was raining.