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Trigger warning: ignored and abused Seamaster

  1. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 26, 2019

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    TLDR at the end.

    Hi guys, new kid here. My tale of woe will be presented here, as well as, hopefully, a happy ending (no, not that kind).

    58 years old now, never thought about watches until 2004ish. I'm pretty rough on watches, so I had conditioned myself to just buying a cheap beater watch, abusing it for a year, then buy another. Timex, etc. Then one day in 2004 I was in Vegas, in the Forum Shops at Caesar's Palace. Chatting with the salesgirl in Roman Times, she asked me why I didn't just invest in a better quality watch that would take a beating for years?

    One thing lead to another and I walked out with a 2531.8000 Seamaster. It was not bling to me. I'm a diving instructor and I made over 500 dives a year. This watch accompanied me for 9 years and thousands of dives. Performed flawlessly with one exception. Sometime in 2009 I grabbed the watch of the dresser and noticed the helium stem was gone. Sent it in and Omega fixed the watch and performed a service. More diving. This was a working watch. Not babied. Not coddled. Beaten all the time.

    Then, sometime in 2013, I noticed some condensation under the crystal. I figured I got almost 10 years out of the watch and I didn't have $500 laying around, so the watch went into a drawer. In 2016, I took the watch out and checked it. The time could be set and the date could be set, but no movement. Feels like it's winding, but no timekeeping. I found a local AD and dropped it off. A few days later, they called and told me the movement was corroded and could not be fixed. Ok. Back in the drawer. Like I said, abused.

    9BAFB927-5433-426E-A891-3FB97C2FB44A.jpeg 1E83CD68-4295-4094-B8D7-D7CB35DCCFED.jpeg

    Couple weeks ago, I started looking at new Omegas and my jaw dropped. I paid, I think, $1,244 out the door for my watch. $4k now! Wow. So now I'm starting to wonder if my watch can be fixed. I've been in contact with the closest OB and the rep I talked to quoted that a complete service ($550), replacement of the dial and hands ($440) and an optional bezel replacement ($280) and I will have a like new watch with a 2 year warranty. I explained about the moisture and the delay but she was sure that a full service would take care of it.

    Does this sound reasonable? I imagined a higher cost to restore this watch. It seems like the rep believes that the only parts that will require replacement are the dial and hands? I had imagined that many of the internals could not be rejuvenated with a mere ultrasonic bath.

    Anyway, unless you guys have somewhere else I should check to fix this watch, I guess I will send it to Omega and see what happens. But I am totally open to other ideas. I am awaiting contact from the Omega service center in Miami.

    I will try to update as things happen. I hope to post pics of my 'like new' watch in a few months.

    TLDR: Seamaster sat with moisture inside for 6 years and now Omega tells me that they can fix it for about $1k. Sound doable?

    Thanks, and hello, everyone!
    Michael
     
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  2. Civic4982

    Civic4982 Jul 26, 2019

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    Would be able to better give advice if there may be a photo of the movement. Possibly doable depending on how damaged all the components are.

    I think it’s definitely worth fixing even at a higher price given I would find sentimental value in it.

    I personally would decline the dial and hands change. They appear fine and have developed a nice patina.

    And if you’re not up for it just sell it as is on eBay as I’m sure someone like myself would be interested in taking on the project.
     
  3. Vitezi

    Vitezi Jul 26, 2019

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    Another option is to look for an Omega trained and certified independent watchmaker. There may be one local to you.
     
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  4. aprax

    aprax Jul 26, 2019

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    You’re a diving instructor and you’re using a mechanical watch? Which Timex diver‘s watch were you using before 2004 for 500 dives a year, I‘m really interested.
    In 2009 you let Omega service it. You trusted them then, what has changed now? In any case, and since you consider their price being on the low side, even if the OB rep is mistaken they would give you a new quote before working on it, so you could decide then.
     
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  5. Pepe Lucas

    Pepe Lucas Jul 26, 2019

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    I would take it to Omega. I know that there are great watch makers around but if you need parts the project can get really expensive really quick. When Omega services a watch most of the parts are included. The good thing is that they will send you an estimate with everything that they will have to do to the watch. Then you can approve it and they do the work or deny it and get your watch back. The case with the dial can be tricky because depending on how the moisture damaged it through the years it might need to be replace. When you get the estimate you can decide and If you do it it will look like new and 2 years warranty.
     
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  6. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 26, 2019

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    Heh. Yah. I actually started with the diving instruction when I got the watch, but I always dove with a computer. The Omega was merely my backup clock in case I had a computer failure. But it was nice to be able to jump in the water at any time and never have to worry about my watch.
     
  7. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 26, 2019

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    Agreed. I'm gonna pull the trigger on the Omega service. I hope the original dial is usable. To my untrained eye, it looks fine. But we'll see what they say.

    Thanks to all that have replied!
     
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  8. Civic4982

    Civic4982 Jul 26, 2019

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    Don’t let them convince you otherwise unless there is true damage there and if they demand to replace it just ask for the old one back. Same with the hands.

    I think it looks great but I’m an old watch kinda guy. To me, the dial and hands are mint.
     
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  9. EricCsN

    EricCsN Jul 26, 2019

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    Keep the dial and the hands. Insist on them
     
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  10. tzachi

    tzachi Jul 26, 2019

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    Welcome Michael.

    Sounds like you want it to be only functionally fixed.

    First, your quoted figures, this is the current times pricing.

    I'd keep dial and hands, only treat the movement and gaskets etc.

    As for the movement, there are two disciplines , one is "replace", the other is "repair".
    Most will replace anything corroded, won't even try to fix.
    The other, will try to fix.

    I had a similar case with a Rolex. my watchmaker worked on the parts, removed the corrosion, saved me lots of money.I think it was 400$ for a full service. This you can usually do only with local, private watchmaker, not "firms".

    Good luck
     
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  11. Pepe Lucas

    Pepe Lucas Jul 27, 2019

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    There was one occasion when Omega refused to do the service for a watch that I sent unless the dial was redone. Their claim was that the dial was so damaged by the water that they could not warranty the service because the corrosion/rust could get into the serviced movement and they couldn’t warranty the service. They didn’t have a replacement dial to sell so the other option was redoing the dial and that was really expensive. This brings me to a couple of questions for the most knowledgeable people around here. How much does a service dial changes he price on a watch. I understand the idea on trying to keep a watch as original as it was when it came out of the factory but when is acceptable to replace parts?
     
  12. impalla62ss

    impalla62ss Jul 27, 2019

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    I would really consider at least having the watch evaluated by a local watchmaker before sending it to Omega for a service. Even if there is damage to the movement the Cal. 1120 is a common movement and parts are relatively common and inexpensive. A second opinion can't hurt and may save you a bundle. Where are you located? Somebody on the forum can most likely recommend a qualified watchmaker. I have one of these myself, and would not even consider sending it to Omega. If you want it to come back as a new watch, an Omega Service might be what you need though.
     
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  13. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 27, 2019

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    I do agree, but not being a watch guy, I haven't made any connections in the repair industry. I've done some Google searches, and look at forums like this and YouTube. But most places I find don't seem like someone I'd send the watch to sight unseen. And most 'retail watch' stores here send everything out. I guess northern Alabama is not much of a high end watch Mecca.
     
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  14. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 27, 2019

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    Northern Alabama. Nashville is 2 hours north, Birmingham is 2 hours south, and Atlanta is a few hours East.

    I've even seen that some if the guys here on this forum repair watches. But there's no section for them to advertise and I don't want to be rude and message someone and ask them about it.

    I'm not really opposed to spending $1k if Omega can indeed do it for that. Gives me a like new watch that is warranted for 2 years. Then I can commit to caring for it a bit better than I have so far.
     
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  15. astrand

    astrand Jul 27, 2019

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    Good luck with fixing your watch. The metal bezel has a really great "fade" as well - matches the usage and hours of diving you have put into the piece - I think it looks cool!

    /alex
     
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  16. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 27, 2019

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    Agreed. I would love to pull the back off and just eyeball the movement. Looking back, when I took it for evaluation 3 years ago, I wish I'd had them leave the back only snug so I could remove it myself and see it. But, there ya go.
     
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  17. Archer

    Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Jul 27, 2019

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    All the insisting in the world isn't going to convince Omega to keep the dial and hands if they deem they are a risk to the watch making it through the 2 year warranty period they offer on the service. If they change the dial the OP will be charged for a new dial (not cheap), but they will return the old parts - Omega always returns the parts. However they will be thrown into a baggie with all the other replaced parts, so could be damaged by that.

    If the OP is really wanting to preserve the look of the watch and just get it restored mechanically, Omega isn't the place to take it.
     
  18. madmanmike

    madmanmike Jul 27, 2019

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    The OP just wants a working, reasonably accurate, WR watch. Looks are secondary. So, where IS the place to take it?
     
  19. AntonisCy

    AntonisCy Jul 27, 2019

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    To @Archer
     
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  20. Taddyangle

    Taddyangle Convicted Invicta Wearer Jul 27, 2019

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    I think you have risk sending to Omega. They may require replacement of more parts than a local watchmaker might replace. If they require bezel and dial replacement then price will add up quickly.

    Might be better to get a quote from a local watchmaker to see how many movement parts need replacement.