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Seamaster Soccer Timer 145.016 Review

  1. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 13, 2012

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    soccer-timer-review-header.jpeg

    Written by Ashley Budgen ashley@omegaforums.net

    This example was purchased originally by one of our members Smithrjd, around late 1973 or early 1974. In his ownership over the years, he managed to do an exceptional job of maintaining and keeping the watch in original condition. He moved it on due to his vintage Zodiac Sea-Wolf getting more of his use, and to make way for a new Black Russian Terrier puppy, so thanks Smithrjd, and I wish both you and your puppy-to-be the very best.


    The Soccer Timer:

    As chronograph dials go the Soccer Timer's is somewhat unusual in appearance, very bright, very colourful, and very typical of Omega sports watches of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

    There are two dials available on these models, both featuring the same unique chronograph sub-dial colouration, with black and red halves separating the 30-minute register into 15-minute halves, and the hours register divided similarly into four 3-hour quadrants. The rest of the dial is either dark grey, with a dark grey seconds sub-dial white chapter ring, or the reverse with a white dial and seconds sub-dial and dark grey chapter ring. The white dial typically features black luminescent hands, with a bright orange chronograph seconds hand while the dark grey dial has rather striking orange hands with a white chronograph seconds hand.

    Original dials carry the Omega symbol, with "OMEGA" and "Seamaster" written below in a colour contrasting against the dial (white on grey or black on white) with "T SWISS MADE T" marked at the bottom, however later service dials are marked as "SWISS MADE", have luminova indices rather than tritium, and appear to have the word "OMEGA" only without the word "Seamaster" below it.

    Screen Shot 2012-09-14 at 1.33.28 AM.png
    Example of a luminova service dial

    Reference 145.016:
    Cushion case with dial reaching the outer edge of the case, no bezel, available in white dial and grey dial variants

    Reference 145.019:
    Cushion case with crown at 10 O'clock operating a rotating internal bezel surrounding the dial under the crystal, either with "roulette" 24 hour indications or 60 minute elapsed time indications, available in both white dial and grey dial variants.

    In the tome "A Journey Through Time" this watch is referred to as a "Regatta timer" however due to having the same dial as Ref 145.016 and Ref 145.020 models, I feel it should be considered a Soccer timer as well.

    Reference 145.020:
    Cushion case with fixed inner bezel marked either with pulsations, tachymetre, decimetre or telemetre indications, available in white dial and grey dial variants.

    Reference 145.0029:
    Wider cushion case with polished stainless steel edge surrounding crystal and thicker lugs and no internal bezel, similar internally to 145.016, available in both white dial and grey dial variants. This reference is particularly uncommon compared to the prior three.

    There was an article on Hodinkee in 2008 showing a Reference 145.020 Seamaster Soccer Timer incorrectly referred to as a "Ref 5819" as Hodinkee was quoting a for sale add verbatim, this has subsequently been re-used in several for sale ads however I can only guess that the seller mistakenly read a bracelet code or something similar as this number makes no sense for an Omega of this age.


    Collectability:

    Soccer Timers in their various forms are considered a moderately collectable watch as are most of the more outlandish and exotically designed chronographs Omega produced in the 1970s. Generally speaking the Ref 145.019 versions with roulette bezels tend to be the most sought after and valuable followed by the other 145.019 types. The 145.016 and 145.020 fixed bezel and no-bezel versions appear to have roughly equal value and both are rather widely appreciated.

    Actual values are difficult to determine, as there are simply not that many Soccer Timers on the market. The highest sale price was reached in 2007 at Antiquorum's "Omegamania" auction, with a Ref 145.020 on bracelet selling for 8,260 CHF or around $6,850 USD, however as with many other Omegamania sales, this buyer got a VERY bad deal. When buying, check with recent sales before negotiating a price, discount eBay "Buy It Now" prices as wishful thinking, and if in doubt, ask for market value on Omegaforums.net

    8000anti.jpeg
    Example sold for 8,260CHF in 2007

    Looks & Comfort:

    The Seamaster Soccer Timer references all use a cushion style chronograph case similar in design to the "C-Case" Constellations. The width is around 38mm excluding crown and pushers, but with the flared lugs tapering into the case it wears bigger on the wrist, more like the average 39-40mm watch. The original bracelet for these watches has no flush end-links but rather a bar that joins to the case between the 20mm lugs, and flares outward to around 22mm just below the case before tapering down to 18mm at the clasp, following the taper of the case very neatly.

    The bracelet itself is very similar to the 1171 bracelet used on Speedmaster and Seamaster watches, but with fractionally wider center-links. One slight negative of this bracelet is that the removable links use small spring-bars rather than split-pins, which makes adjustment more difficult. Due to the age of these spring-bars, dirt and grime from 40 years of wear has clogged them to the point of being prone to failure. On the plus side, split-pins from 1171 bracelets can be used as a close but not perfect replacement for the spring-bars, and these make adjustment much easier.

    The smooth tapered case and bracelet make for a very comfortable wearing watch, as does the low weight and relatively modest width. The ample micro-adjustment holes in the clasp make it easy to get a good fit. The height is slightly more than you would expect for a manual wind watch, and it can collect door jams if care is not taken.

    Aesthetically the Soccer Timer has some serious wrist presence. The entire case, while not polished to a mirror finish, is extremely reflective with a concentric type grain to the metal and combined with the bright white dial, orange chronograph seconds hand, and colourful sundials, this watch really does "pop" and stand out on the wrist.

    The first time wearing it out, having lunch at my brother's restaurant, he and two of his staff asked about it and wanted to have a closer look. The watch received positive comments about it that other watches, even my Speedmaster Pro and Submariner never received. The Soccer Timer also received a lot of positive attention on the watch nerd filled "WRISTSHOTS" Facebook group, but the design really does appeal to non-watch enthusiasts as well.


    Movement:

    The Calibre 861 movement is a direct decedent of the Cal 321 made famous by the Speedmaster watches but with three key differences. Firstly, the movement operates at a higher beat rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour, a modest increase from the 18,000 of Calibre 321 movements. Calibre 861 also features a simpler cam switching mechanism for co-ordinating the chronograph functions in place of the more horologically revered column-wheel of the Calibre 321, and aesthetically, both in terms of its overall finishing and the artistry of the design (notably in its chronograph register bridge) the 861 seems a more utilitarian or working class movement than the more elegant 321.

    In terms of layout, the two are effectively identical, as evidenced by the dial layout, but the noticeable difference comes in operating the chronograph, as while the Calibre 321 requires less force, responding with a crisp click when stopping, starting, and resetting, the Calibre 861 required a slightly greater effort, and has a much firmer click to it. This should not be a deterrent from choosing an 861 watch and by no means does it make the 861 difficult to use, but it is an example of the difference in tactile feel between the two mechanisms.

    The 861 movement winds beautifully and smoothly, with the Seamaster 145.016 case being one of the most convenient to use by virtue of the fact that without crown-guards, access is plentiful to the large and easily gripped crown. The 48 hour power reserve is more than ample for daily use and I find myself topping off the power reserve during the day out of habit without ever having to consider doing so. I highly recommend anyone concerned over the perceived inconvenience having a manually wound watch have a go, and experience a quality hand-wound watch, as they are a true joy to own.

    Accuracy of the Seamaster Soccer Timer is superb, with this recently serviced example maintaining COSC specifications with ease even though these movements were never originally adjusted for chronometer certification. As always with a vintage watch, time-keeping is a function of movement condition and service history, but the Calibre 861 provides an extremely solid and dependable base. In the Speedmaster Moonwatches, the 861, and its near identical successor the Calibre 1861 have performed 45 years of service and proven themselves to be among the greatest and most reliable of chronograph movements, and thanks to that Moonwatch connection, we can rest assured that these movements will always be serviceable and have parts available.


    Conclusion:

    In summary, I like it! Its cool, its a bit different and funky, a bit retro, and a bit unique. Its a conversation piece, a collector piece, and a fashion piece all rolled into one. Its also a watch that's rather uniquely Omega and typical of their 1970s chronograph lines. Once the honeymoon period begins to wear off this watch may even be heading back to the United States for a couple months' vacation on exchange as Dennis (Ulackfocus) is also keen to give it a try. While I wouldn't go crazy overspending on one of these pieces, if one does come up in clean original condition and the price seems right, its a watch well worth going for!

    soccer-timer-review-header.jpeg DSCF1321_DxO.jpg DSCF1322_DxO.jpg DSCF1324_DxO.jpg DSCF1325_DxO.jpg DSCF1326_DxO.jpg DSCF1327_DxO.jpg DSCF1328_DxO.jpg DSCF1329_DxO.jpg DSCF1330_DxO.jpg DSCF1331_DxO.jpg Screen Shot 2012-09-14 at 1.33.28 AM.png 8000anti.jpeg
     
    Edited Mar 10, 2016
    Socks, Ozawa, Longbow and 4 others like this.
  2. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 13, 2012

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    Nice write up Ash. One thing - I don't think 145.0029 can really be called a Soccer Timer. Although it was a cal 861 Seamaster of the same period it just has the standard chrono dial and not the "Soccer Timer" dial with the 45 minute markers.

    Here is the picture of 145.0029 from the Omega database & a pic of my blue dial 145.029:

    145.0029.jpg P1040473.JPG
     
  3. smithrjd

    smithrjd Sep 13, 2012

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    Outstanding review, spot on. As the owner for 38 years I totaly agree. I always liked the size and "wear" of this watch, not to small, and not to big. My Zodiac's are a bit small, my Orient world timer a bit large. My Chronomat which is about the same size is much heavier on the wrist. The watch is a bit high, and I did have to have the crystal replaced once. A funny story, I was stationed in Japan and had it serviced at a small watchmakes shop in Yokosuka Japan right outside of the base. The watchmaker an older gentleman about 70 was working on a watch when I came in, and I saw his eyes light up when he saw it was an Omega. Haaa a real watch... At the time most of his work was replacing batteries and rubber dive straps. He was very happy to a service "real watch" He also used an original Omega crystal. It has always run well, very accurate. Use the pushers and run the chrono. If you don't the pushers will get sticky and not push clean or return when used. 25 turns is about a full wind. I would wind once at night, about 15 turns for a full day. Prices are all over the board, as mentioned not many for sale. Ebay prices seemed to be very high to me. Others like mine were just junk fron Turkey, bad dials etc. They still sold for $800 to $1000. Others are buy it now for $2K+ I am very glad that the watch went to a good home and knows that these are not common. If Dennis handles the watch I think he will agree with your review. It is an Omega after all.
    Ron
     
  4. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 13, 2012

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    Here's a 145.0029 soccer timer

    145.0029 .jpeg
     
  5. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    Fair enough. Not seen one of those before...obviously :)
     
  6. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    Don't be bothered too much by that, as far as I can find in my research, that example belongs to a MAJOR Omega sports watch collector and is the only example I can see.
     
  7. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    Possibly a custom watch ? After all, it would only take a change of dial (and maybe hands) to convert it.

    I also just had a look in "Omega Sportswatches" by John Goldberger - he has pics of a 145.0023 (aka "Anakin Skywalker") with a grey soccer dial & tachy ring, white hands and an arrow chrono seconds hand. So maybe there are a few of these oddbods knocking around.
     
  8. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    Yea I'm not sure, the guy that owns it is a collector of rare sports chronographs and all the others he has (like 50+) are mint and original as can be. I think it most likely was just made in very small numbers
     
  9. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    You know the other interesting thing is I'm fairly sure these watches actually also have different dials between references, with the 145.016 and 145.0029 having the larger dial and the 145.019 and 145.020 having slightly smaller dials to accomodate the bezel
     
  10. cicindela

    cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    I'll take this one :D
    [​IMG]
     
    Socks and Artbys like this.
  11. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    You could be right. Although on my 145.020 it looks like the dial is a "normal" size with the outer edge tucked under the tachy ring. The track that contains the "T Swiss Made T" mark is mostly covered, but you can just make out the tops of the lettering if you look closely.

    We'd need to compare them side by side to be sure. Maybe that's an excuse for you to take a trip to London :D
     
  12. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    This is a close shot comparing the 145.016 to 145.020, of note is the distance between the outer edge of the 30 minute subdial, and the inner edge of the grey chapter ring:

    Screen Shot 2012-09-15 at 1.54.19 AM.png Screen Shot 2012-09-15 at 1.55.01 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2012-09-15 at 1.56.40 AM.png Screen Shot 2012-09-15 at 1.57.26 AM.png
     
  13. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    I think half the width of the bezel is made up by covering the outer white edge beyond the chapter ring, and the other half is made by moving the chapter ring inward until it presses up against the subdial almost flush. The cases are the same width externally and the crystal looks the same size as well.
     
  14. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    The more I look at the dials, the more I think you're right.

    The marker at the 6 o'clock position is shorter on the 145.020 & there is also less distance to the chrono markers at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions.
     
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk HD1347638464.918946.jpg
  15. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 14, 2012

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    Precisely. Incidentally, looking at the white hand on the white dial in the picture from Antiquorum in the original post, I can see now why they went with orange on most of them, the white on white makes it almost unreadable, even with the dark bezel.
     
  16. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 15, 2012

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    This is also not a Soccer Timer, but rather what happens when someone has a Soccer Timer service dial laying around, along with a hand set (although the chronograph seconds hand is off a Cal 321) and slaps it in a water damaged Speedmaster MK2 case:

    wat295(6).jpeg wat295(5).jpeg wat295(4).jpeg wat295(3).jpeg wat295(2).jpeg wat295(1).jpeg wat295.jpeg
     
    Scalpel72 likes this.
  17. SpikiSpikester

    SpikiSpikester @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 15, 2012

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    ::puke::

    what a waste of good parts.
     
    frederico likes this.
  18. MyVintageOmega

    MyVintageOmega Sep 15, 2012

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    What a great Vintage watch in fantastic ship shape along with an intrinsic write about that not only sparks a like, but also a want. 2 thumbs up!:thumbsup:
     
    dsio likes this.
  19. dsio

    dsio Ash @ ΩF Staff Member Sep 15, 2012

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    Thanks mate appreciate it!
     
    AlaskaSpeeder and MyVintageOmega like this.
  20. spyros_antoniou

    spyros_antoniou Nov 4, 2012

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    I have one of these beautys but mine is in pretty bad shape...:(
    Unfortunately I don't have the money to make it look as new again
    and I think it's a shame to keep it in my drawer.
    So, I think I'm gonna sell it...
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    [​IMG][​IMG]