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speedmaster 125, a journey from average to excellent

  1. Tom Dick

    Tom Dick and Harry Sep 18, 2017

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    Evening all

    For some time now I've wanted a speedy 125, but it seemed destined not to happen, over two years I've bought two projects and both transpired to be utter rotters

    Then a chance encounter led me to another 125, I gave up a watch I haven't worn in a year and got a speedy 125 on the promise that 'it needed some TCL but the movement was a peach'

    The watch arrived and so with some trepidation I tried to take the case back off but no luck.

    For a project like this I turned to my old faithful service centre and IMHO the true experts when it comes to vintage omega, they have the talent, the spares but most importantly in this case the equipment to do the job I wanted done on the case, so I called STS.

    Since our good friend Simon left they've had some internal changes to ensure they can continue to meet the exacting needs of the collector community, in this case I spoke to the owner and MD Tony Coe

    Tony talked me through what could be done if the watch was in reasonable condition, I wanted it returned to stock condition (I don't think the 125 is a watch that should show its battle scars)

    I sent the watch to Tony and waited with baited breath, thankfully the next day he called me to tell me I finally had a belter, the movement was pristine and in his words 'as it was when it left the factory'

    The case had a few battle scars so he advised laser welding and lapping the middle case and lightly refinishing the centre case and case back.

    The bracelet is stretched and has a bent case/ bracelet screw and rubs so this would need drilling out and then the bracelet rebuilding and the tube straightening

    The dial and hands are excellent and original (under the mullered crystal) so will be retained but the crystal replaced for a NOS 1970's telemetre one

    So, I expect the watch back in a couple of weeks but wanted to start and thread showing the before pics and will then follow up with some after pics

    I've also asked Tony if there is any chance of some 'during service' images, especially of the lapping process (in case anyone is interested). It's a watch I will be keeping so it's nice to have this photographic evidence of the restoration.

    Here are the pics before it went to STS

    IMG_8238.JPG IMG_8239.JPG IMG_8243.JPG IMG_8242.JPG IMG_8240.JPG IMG_8234.JPG

    And the movement shot they sent me over when they finally managed to get the case back off

    IMG_8307.JPG

    I will keep the community updated as the work progresses

    Cheers tom
     
    smitty190373, Vulffi, Etp095 and 11 others like this.
  2. Davidt

    Davidt Sep 18, 2017

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    Interested to see how this turns out and looking forward to updates throughout the process.
     
  3. Koen

    Koen Sep 18, 2017

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    very interesting to see the micro welding and lapping process, thanks.
     
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  4. Schmedsc

    Schmedsc Sep 18, 2017

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    This looks like a great project. I'm definitely looking forward to your updates!
     
  5. wristpirate

    wristpirate Sep 19, 2017

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    Nice project. Looking forward to the updates
     
  6. Tritium

    Tritium Sep 19, 2017

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    Nice reading Tom.
    Looking forward to see the result.
    I'm also interested on the laser welding process.
    Are they doing it on STS or they send the case elswhere for that job?
     
  7. Tom Dick

    Tom Dick and Harry Sep 19, 2017

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    STS invested very heavily about 12-18 month ago in their equipment, they spent many hundreds of thousands on their facilities about four or five years ago moving in to a new purpose built building in Essex which included cutting edge workshops, vaults and specialist facilities (such as their bracelet manufacturing areas) as well as the latest swatch work benches etc (you can see the pics on their website)

    They followed this up 18 months or so ago with a complete new suite of the latest cleaning machines and then invested what I can only imagine as well north of £100K in the refinishing equipment, I think they now have three lapping machines, bead blasting machines and also a laser welder, all of which I have seen and is amazing, I would dare to say equally if not more impressive than Swatches own set up in Southampton

    I had a long discussion with their MD Tony on my last visit and his stance is that they are a private business but they not only need to compete but outshine the manufacturers with both talent but equipment. I think a great testament to this is probably our own Simon Freese who learned his trade with STS and then has now become a renowned independent in his own right.

    There is a video on their website with the lapping process and equipment they use but I am hoping to be able to provide some more bespoke images of the 125 as it winds it way through their restoration process.

    Cheers Tom
     
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  8. Tritium

    Tritium Sep 19, 2017

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    I often come across any of their videos on youtube, but never noticed they were STS.
    The video on their website, shows much modern technology. I'm excited to see the pictures, as I'm convinced it will look perfect!
     
  9. Ken G

    Ken G Sep 19, 2017

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    Looking forward to following this! :thumbsup:
    I've also been after a 125 for a few years, but somehow still haven't got round to it. Hoping to pick up some pointers from this thread...
     
  10. repoman

    repoman Sep 19, 2017

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    too early for dibs ? :D Look forward to seeing the process.
     
  11. Tom Dick

    Tom Dick and Harry Sep 24, 2017

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    Had a call from STS on Friday to say the watch was being serviced by one of their service team Lee, I've met Lee before and he really is an expert, he's the guy responsible for the actual service work on most of our vintage speedies

    Hopefully pics of the case work this week and fingers crossed only another week or two until the end result
     
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  12. Tom Dick

    Tom Dick and Harry Oct 26, 2017

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    So chaps, the watch is now complete. We’ve been down in Essex over half term visiting friends and I went in to STS Tuesday morning before Time For A Pint and collected this beauty.

    Can believe how well it’s come back and what an amazing job they’ve managed to do, including completely rebuilding the bracelet, which wasn’t cheap but worth it

    As you can see the laser welding and lapping on the case has eradicated the dinks and blemishes

    5D1D66A8-8360-4EE4-B6B4-5D942DC8BD18.jpeg
    BF578E9F-6D17-42E7-895F-C04A69898AA1.jpeg
    9B991DC0-89E3-4DD2-8561-034C312DF9DA.jpeg

    Of course I opted not to replace he dial and hands but now they are on show it shows how stunning they are, the tritium has aged beautifully

    I’ve also replaced he crystal/ bezel with and original telemetre one as I think they look awesome

    44BAE0A5-EC27-4EC0-8986-58BBB141B7DC.jpeg 4FD20A31-F361-420C-9E86-ACFC521A3F96.jpeg

    Although I’ve got relatively ladylike wrists and it’s a monster of a watch it wears really really well. Lots of debate at TFAP about leaving these vintage speedies original or refurbing them but IMHO the 125 is a watch that has to look perfect and this one really does

    3C480857-0E69-4730-B59D-207814724316.jpeg
     
  13. GordonL

    GordonL Oct 26, 2017

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    They've done a lovely job. The 125 isn't my personal cup of tea but what a transformation!
     
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  14. lillatroll

    lillatroll Oct 26, 2017

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    Looks fantastic. Apart from gold watches, I like mine to show their age. I know you have only had it for a day or two but can I call first dibs on it?:)
     
  15. palatine

    palatine Oct 26, 2017

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    Can I ask.
    Is going from tachy to tele not changing the watch from its original configuration?
    It’s your watch and therefore you can do what you like etc

    I just wondered how or what made you go that route?
     
  16. Tritium

    Tritium Oct 26, 2017

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    Excellent, I love how it looks, and great point to STS as expected.
     
  17. Tom Dick

    Tom Dick and Harry Oct 26, 2017

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    P
    I guess you could look at that way but it’s not like a 1450.22 with a separate tachy, the tachy on these is part of the crystal so I’m far less precious about it.

    TBH I also never really worry about that, I am quite happy to change bands and even bezels, doesn’t bother me a bit

    Really pleased with the watch, I’ve wanted one for a long while and this is exactly how I hoped it would be
     
  18. Ken G

    Ken G Oct 26, 2017

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    Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

    Many congratulations! :thumbsup:
     
  19. Andy K

    Andy K Dreaming about winning an OFfie one day. Oct 26, 2017

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    Look absolutely fantastic! I enjoyed this trip back to 1973. :)
     
  20. TsoloT

    TsoloT Oct 26, 2017

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    Wow Tom you could of had mine ...I never knew you wanted one because I have two and years ago I got one from a very well known collector which I would be happy to dispose of ...it was from Tom Dick ...
     
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    palatine likes this.