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Working with one of the Omega 344 twins

  1. sheepdoll Feb 11, 2023

    In my box of watches are a pair I call the 'twins.' These are nearly identical 2576 cases with a 344 bumper. Mostly identical apart from their dials. They also have close serial numbers 13456700 and 13456982.

    The one on the left has does not work. I actually have the same crown for the one on the right but the threaded part is loose. The one on the right does work but needs a good service.

    I realized this is the same base caliber as the Omega 351 I have been working on

    I decided to take the one on the left apart. The balance is stiff and does not turn freely.
    On disassembly I discovered a number of issues. The lower balance jewel incabloc spring was broken, leaving the jewel at a cockeyed angle. Screws were swapped between the pallet fork cock and the set lever spring. One of the screws on the set lever spring snapped off.

    I have no recollection ever working on this. Has been a project waiting in the wings for decades. Does have a nice waffle dial which is probably why I got it. Or I just liked having two identical watches.

    The other reason for the disassembly is to examine the cannon pinion. Curiously this is drilled through and would probably fit the 351. I ordered a 351 pinion, which makes this a waiting project now for another waiting project. This seems to be the main tenant of watchmaking. Waiting for parts to turn up.

    I noticed that the incabloc looked a lot like the one I swapped on the Val-72. I have an assortment of incabloc material.
    I decided to see if I could find a lower incabloc spring while dissolving the broken set lever screw in some alum.
    I put some wax over the case pin as this dissolved out on the 351.

    Curiously while waiting for this to soak I discovered the Val-72 fits in one of the AS 1194 plates. The omega assembly also fits!
    ofrie lists this part as fitting AS 1058, AS 1065, AS 1069, AS 1073, AS 1130, AS 1130, AS 1149, AS 1162, AS 1188, AS 1203, AS 1204, AS 1205, AS 1206, AS 1560, AS 1590, AS 1591, AS 1595, AS 1604, AS 1604B, AS 1634, AS 1637-1637N, BUS 115-25A, BUS 115-26A, BUS 140, BUS 140M, BUS 141, BUS 141M, BUS 142, BUS 142M, BUS 145, BUS 146, BUS 146M, BUS 170, BUS 171, BUS 172, BUS 180, BUS 180M, BUS 181, BUS 181M, BUS 182, BUS 182M, BUS 185, BUS 25A, BUS 26A, DOX 122, DOX 123, EBL 120, EBL 130, EBL 134, EBR 137, EBR 138, EBR 1600, ELG 873, ETA 1100, ETA 1120, ETA 1121, ETA 1162, ETA 1164, ETA 1292, ETA 1293, FEL 149, KF 29-053, KF 29-0531, KF 29-057, KF 29-062, KF 29-063, KF 29-0631, KF 29-064, KF 330, KF 331, LAN 148, LAN 149, LAN 151, LAN 152, LAN 187, LAN 189, LAN 248, LAN 349, LAN 48, LAN 51, LON 330, MID 1300, UT 176, UT 177, UT 178, UT 179, UT 205, UT 206, UT 207, UT 212, UT 376, UT 407, UT 600, UT 606, UT 620, UT 626, UT 627, UT 6310, UT 6311, UT 6312, UT 6314, UT 6315, UT 6316, UT 6317, UT 6320, UT 6330, UT 6340, UT 6342, UT 6344, UT 6345, UT 6346, UT 6347, UT 6410, UT 6411, UT 6412, UT 6415, UT 6450, UT 6452, UT 6455, UT 6456, UT 6457, UT 6460, VAL 22, VAL 222, VAL 225, VAL 23, VAL 230, VAL 232, VAL 65, VAL 70, VAL 71, VAL 72, VAL 720, VAL 723, VAL 724, VAL 72C, VAL 2CVZHC, VAL 73VZM, VAL 86, VAL 88, VAL 90, VAL 92, VEN 121, VEN 165, BM VEN 150, VEN 175, VEN 178, VEN 188, VEN 210,

    I guess we can add omega 330 base caliber as well.

    Now I have to wait for the screw to finish dissolving. I did find an incabloc spring so there is a good chance I can get this one ticking too. Too bad the sub seconds hand is missing. I have been spending a lot of time sorting watch hands this last week. I suspect the correct one is white steel, most of the ones I have are blued steel and are not Omega hands. I recently bought a sweep hand for one of the ladies dynamics. Such hands can be $$$

    Now it is back to waiting for parts or the screw to dissolve. Which will then lead me down other watchmaking rabbit holes ...
  2. sheepdoll Feb 12, 2023

    I do not like leaving my good watches apart. So as soon as the broken screw was out the plate was back on the bench.
    The wax worked and the case pin is still intact.

    I like to work with the winding and set works first. More so in this case as the broken screw was on the set lever spring. Was the one on the left. Still had the screw as it was jamed into the pallet fork bridge. The watch was really dirty so I do not think I ever had it apart. I was also able to replace the incabloc spring with one from the assortment. This is what was keeping the watch from running.

    I did not have the pallet fork bridge screw (as it was broken off in the wrong place.) I did find a screw in the assortment that was close. The finish on the top is not the same. Does fit and does not poke through the back.

    Now the balance swings freely.

    Three hours later and it ticks. These watches are so great to work on.

    Apart from being somewhat dirty, there does not seem to be much wear. I have probably had this 25 years waiting for a day like today.

    It is possible I messed up the screws and lost the seconds hand. I do not really ever know if It came with the hand or not. It is just as probable I got it, then threw it in the box with the other ones. I do like this 1950s look. I think this is what a watch should look like.

    My timegrapher is still broken. So I do not know how well these are running. I should make that a priority. If I can get the pick up microphone there are plenty of apps that will interpret the results.
    Plees, RevZMan123 and Vitezi like this.
  3. RevZMan123 Feb 12, 2023

    This seems beyond me at this point but I assume some day I'll have chaos like this as well so that being said Where do you get those paper part organizer sheets?
  4. sheepdoll Feb 12, 2023

    They come from the material houses websites. I mostly Manuals&action=documents and Esslinger. One has to sort of fish around a bit. Follow links with in the site and look for a site director or map. Sometime manually edit the url to see if other names come up when the caliber number is changed.

    I also have old books and magazines, Including some of the ones Omega produced contemporaneity with the watches.

    The other good resource is the Bestfit catalogs. These were big telephone directories of every part available. Mostly for sale on eBay. But one of the material houses (I think they are the successor.) had the full catalogs for download.

    A lot of eBay sellers clip these and use them for their auction images. This makes for an un intended use of eBay to see what the missing parts look like.

    As much as that looks like chaos. It is well organized. The rule is only one watch apart at a time. (unless I am sorting parts.) I also note how clean the bench area is. Note the paint brushes. These are for keeping the work areas clean. Most people shed loose bits of skin and hair. (see the film Gattaca.) The finger cots help. Dirt and other peoples DNA also fall out of the watches. The alum process causes the screw to turn to black iron oxide. There are also sharpened bits of pegwood as the pegwood can get quite dirty. I used to use a lot of rodico, but @Archer says Omega recommends against it as it can collect this dirt and smear it about the watch.

    The Swiss areas are surgically clean and the workers wear lab coats. I found one part one time literally up my sleeve. They get in the hair, and on ones shoulders, even the glasses or the loupe can catch a part.

    I have taken to sweeping the floor even when I do not loose parts. I think they jump out of trays, and the magnets on the iPhone case and the flashlight do not help.

    Now if only there was a brass and ruby magnet...
    Plees and RevZMan123 like this.
  5. sheepdoll Feb 14, 2023

    The waffel dial twin in back together.

    And back in the case with all parts accounted for.

    The stem and crown still need some work. The crown wobbles. It is interesting that when the watch winds the stem turns.

    The sub seconds hand is also missing. That may be hard to source.

    The only difference between the two watches seems to be the dial and hands.

    I had not planned to clean this yet. The only reason I did it was to compare the parts to the 351.
    Plees and RevZMan123 like this.
  6. RevZMan123 Feb 14, 2023

    That's an amazing pair of dials. I Can only imagine how hard it is to come by these parts after an hour, let alone decades. I know first hand how small and Elgin subsecond hand can be as it slides across the desk. How to find one in a pile on the desk, or worse an eBay listing. Ugh.