First Omega

First Omega

Postby Airframer » May 18th 2014, 4:24pm

My aunt and uncle drove up from Arizona to visit and heard I was into watches, so they brought a watch my Granddaddy used to own with them: This Omega Seamaster:
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As you can see its in need of some cleanup (that's grunge, not rust) and the crystal needs buffing, but so far has been keeping perfect time (I'll be getting it in for a service in the near future). There's something very cool about being able to wear a watch your grandfather wore decades earlier.

Can any of my fellow Lords help me with a date of manufacture or provide any additional information on this Omega?
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Re: First Omega

Postby Horse Feathers » May 18th 2014, 4:26pm

Can't help with the info but that's a helluva fine watch you have with great sentimental value.

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Re: First Omega

Postby foghorn » May 18th 2014, 4:31pm

Spend a few bucks to get that cleaned and serviced and it could end up with your grandkids.

And keep it on that Speidel Romunda. Those were grail bands back in the day!
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Re: First Omega

Postby Watch Noob » May 18th 2014, 4:39pm

Looks like Grandpa had great taste in wrist watches, congrats!
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Re: First Omega

Postby svaglic » May 18th 2014, 4:51pm

Really nice. When you have it cleaned, you can get the number from inside the case back and research the date from there.
http://www.omegawatches.com/planet-omeg ... s-database
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Re: First Omega

Postby Airframer » May 18th 2014, 4:55pm

Thanks, fellas!

foghorn wrote:Spend a few bucks to get that cleaned and serviced and it could end up with your grandkids.

And keep it on that Speidel Romunda. Those were grail bands back in the day!

Doesn't look too bad, Foggy, but this band is a wee bit on the tight side. For posterity:
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8PrwIpeBc4[/youtube]
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Re: First Omega

Postby conjurer » May 18th 2014, 5:06pm

Speidel bands were the Crocs of their day! Nobody who wore a Twist-o-Flex ever got laid.

Nice pickup, Airframer. It's a great looking watch, and well worth the cost to service it.
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Re: First Omega

Postby biglove » May 18th 2014, 5:12pm

Congrats on inheriting a true heirloom. As others have said, get it serviced and one day it will be in the hands of your grandkids.

Beautiful watch with great sentimental importance.
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Re: First Omega

Postby AJC » May 18th 2014, 5:19pm

Awesome!

Since someone already told you how to date it I'll just say that I can relate to the feeling when I wear my grandfather's 1983 Seiko Quartz.



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Re: First Omega

Postby Ofcmark » May 18th 2014, 5:27pm

Nice watch but the back story makes it an outstanding watch
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Re: First Omega

Postby TemerityB » May 18th 2014, 5:30pm

Just great. Wear that one with pride, as you deserve to.
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Re: First Omega

Postby Airframer » May 18th 2014, 5:35pm

svaglic wrote:Really nice. When you have it cleaned, you can get the number from inside the case back and research the date from there.
http://www.omegawatches.com/planet-omeg ... s-database

Perfect, thank you for the information svaglic!

I appreciate the congrats, guys; I'm excited about this one.

AJC, that's one fine looking SQ you got there!
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Re: First Omega

Postby jason_recliner » May 18th 2014, 5:39pm

Wow! What a fantastic watch and story. You are extremely lucky!
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Re: First Omega

Postby 3Flushes » May 18th 2014, 5:57pm

Most importantly, the pie pan dial looks to be in terrific shape. The movement number tells the definitive tale in these. The 342 was the first movement in the Seamaster, the legendary bumper wind, based on the cal 28.10. Some parts for these are getting scarce; a 342 in great shape would be a real score indeed, and given yours is keeping excellent time, it bodes well for the possibility, but I think yours is later.

The 352, 53 and 54 bumpers were next, the 354 had a swan neck regulator, and was introduced in 1953. The 352 is an auto they began making in 1950, but wasn't used in the Seamaster till late in 1951. It had an RG regulator (micrometer) and was award winningly precise; of a batch of 1,000 movements submitted for certification, all passed at the highest level. The 352's are legendary and fairly rare as they were phased out pretty quickly in favor of the easier to regulate swans' neck device in the 354, which was introduced in 1953. Parts get harder to come buy all the time, condition is king. A 352 in nice shape, again as yours appears to be, would be another really terrific find. Even if it needs some things, all should still be available.

The 353 came along in 1951 and was used in the Seamaster for many years. It's a 352 with a calendar and was made longer than the 352 for the calendar complication. The 17 jewel cal 420 RG regulated handcranker with 48 hours in the spring, and the 471, based on the 470, Omegas' first bi-directionally winding automatic were introduced in '55 and '56 respectively. They were utilized into the very early 60's. Both had Incabloc; the 470 had 17 jewels, and was phased out for the 471 which was upgraded to 19 and later, 20 jewels. Both ran at 19,800 BPH and had 46 hours of power reserve. The manufacturing line of demarcation between the 50's and 60's is the cal 500. The 501 was the same as the 471, but with a swans' neck regulator and came out, I think around 1956.

Given the pie pan dial with the narrow arrow head markers, my best guess that it's from the early to mid 50's. The Constellations of that period also used the arrowhead markers, but they were wider and dressier. It will be interesting to see what the numbers say. Nice catch right there, man, especially from your grandfather. I have a few watches that belonged to my grandfathers and my favorite step-grandfather. It's very cool to have them, I feel their presence a little bit every time I wear one.
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Re: First Omega

Postby Mortuus » May 18th 2014, 8:54pm

I inherited this from my dad:

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I've picked up a number of Omeggers since, but I always keep coming back to Dad's...

@3F: Excellent info, sir...well done.
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Re: First Omega

Postby Airframer » May 18th 2014, 10:28pm

Damn, Flushes, are you the vintage Omega guy or what? I love the knowledge possessed by the collective membership of this forum.

Ok, I very gingerly opened the case back (screw type) snapped some pictures and gently reinstalled the back. I also spent a few minutes cleaning the outside of the case with q-tips just to get the general crud off, and some plastic polish to remove the scratches on the crystal. Here's what I found:

Cleaned up a bit
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Dial looks great-some patina
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Ref CK 2577-8, last serviced in 1987, it appears
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Cal 354
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From the Omega site svaglic recommended above:

Seamaster
Gents' leather strap

Reference
CK 2577
International collection
1949
Movement
Type: Automatic (mechanical)
Caliber number: 351 / 354
Cal. 351
Created in 1949, 17 jewels
Cal. 354
Created in 1952, 17 jewels

Both with central sweep-second hand and some of them with chronometer cert
Case
Stainless steel
Case back
Screw-in
Dial
With luminous (radium) hand-rivetted gold hour markers and gold hands.
Crystal
Armoured hesalite
Bracelet
Leather
Water resistance
30 meters

I will be making a visit to the local watch repair shop this week to see if I will be using them or dropping by Nesbit's in Seattle next time I'm west of the mountains for service. Does anyone have a recommendation for a watch repair shop in Spokane? The watch has remained accurate all day.

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Re: First Omega

Postby conjurer » May 18th 2014, 10:34pm

Good work, Airframer! Since the watch was last serviced some 27 years ago, I'd stop winding it until you get it into a watchmaker. Most of the oil's probably dried up, and continuing to wind it may cause a lot of wear on the movement.

I'd also steer clear of Omega USA for the service. I'm still leaking blood from my ass from what I paid for my last visit to them.
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Re: First Omega

Postby 3Flushes » May 19th 2014, 1:08am

354 in great shape, NOICE, man! One of their most accurate chronometer grade movements, and probably the most accurate bumper automatic, although there is widely varying opinion as to whether the 352 and it's RG regulator, or the 354 swan neck was/is the most accurate. Although the RG is a "micrometer" mechanism, contrary to its' name, it has a fairly coarse adjustment and is harder to regulate. Once locked in though, they are dead on.

The swans' neck regulator (hidden from view in your pic) is usually in good shape unless it's rusty. They are pretty hard to screw up. It is a very fine adjusting mechanism and a guy who knows what he's doing will give that baby a mani-pedi including an invigorating run through the ultra sound, a lube job, and a polish to your preference, (the redo button, or patinated) and you'll be able to keep her COSC forever. The ends of the bumper weight look pretty good, it's hard to see the edges. There's some pins or whatnot under the winding-weight that get worn (considered by many a draw back of the bumpers); because of the tendency of the winding-weight to move toward the spring, weights had to be added to the opposite side so it will toggle right, and as a result, things wear a little faster. It sounds like yours is free, even pretty dry. Like conj said, I wouldn't run her anymore till she's been worked also, either.

Check with your watchmaker and see if yours originally had an etched (signed) crystal if it doesn't currently have one. It's usually right in the center. I know they were doing it by '55 or '56, but I'm not certain about earlier, or what models carried it. I do know there were some on Seamaster models with cal 500 movements. It wasn't really a big deal back then for people who took (or take) care of their watches to just have a generic crystal put on when a change was needed. Now that it's vintage, an original, signed crystal adds a great deal to the watch for not too much money. I kind of like the idea of plasticy, buffable, no shattering, no splintering, scratching removable, and if need be, the whole deal easily and cheaply replaced typea crystals.

That watch is going to clean up like Eddie Murphy in Trading Places. He took good care of it, I bet your grandfather digs that someone who loves watches and will put her back in shape has it.
Last edited by 3Flushes on May 21st 2014, 9:23pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: First Omega

Postby Mark1 » May 19th 2014, 1:15am

Congrats on getting your grandfathers watch. Service it up and you too will pass it down someday. Wish I had a watch from either of my grandfathers. I couldn't tell you what watch they wore-instead I have a small coin collection, some vintage fishing gear, and a couple shotguns. Nice to have but nothing I can actually use regularly.
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Re: First Omega

Postby abduksion » May 19th 2014, 1:51am

Nice looking watch. One of my uncles who knows I'm into watches, had told me about seeing my grandfather when he was a kid with a Rolex only problem was my grandfather had either lost the watch when my grandparents moved or it was stolen. Its really to bad because I'd probably would be wearing it today. As for the model its anyone's guess.
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Re: First Omega

Postby eddiea » May 19th 2014, 4:20pm

Airframer wrote: Does anyone have a recommendation for a watch repair shop in Spokane? The watch has remained accurate all day.

Nice ...like Flushes said, 354's are both accurated and bullet proof...
Not in Oregon but, I used these guys for my vintages... highly recommended
http://www.abcwatchwerks.com/
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Re: First Omega

Postby Airframer » May 20th 2014, 7:21pm

Thank you for the recommendation Eddie, but the thought of this watch getting lost in the mail won't let me do it. I have found a local jeweler that performs servicing (and carries Ball, Longines, Rado, and Tissot along with some consignment pieces to boot!). I saw a JLC Atmos and a old Memovox sitting there (Memovox for sale) which had been serviced by them, and the watchmaker I spoke to is an older gentleman who seems to know what he's talking about.

He does not have a source for a signed crystal, but will call me with the crystal size once removed so I can source my own (thanks Flushes!). The current crystal is unsigned, of course.

I'm also told the crown needs replacement. I've found one here which is a match for my case number of 2577:
http://www.ofrei.com/page_147.html
It appears they stock "Genuine" crystals as well. I will call to ask if they are signed.

As this is my first watch service, my paranoia to ask: Is it unusual to have to source your own replacement parts for a watch of this vintage, or is my choice of watchmaker suspect?

I've requested the twist-o-flex removed and sent to Foghorn.
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Re: First Omega

Postby conjurer » May 20th 2014, 7:33pm

Airframer wrote:I've requested the twist-o-flex removed and sent to Foghorn.


:D
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Re: First Omega

Postby four of diamonds » May 21st 2014, 5:29pm

Most watchmakers will source parts themselves. Watchmakers often have access to suppliers that generally handle only jewelers and watchmakers.

I would say if the watchmaker will use parts you give him that is a bonus, as you have comfort that the proper parts are used. Another advantage to using a shop that has been around for a while is that they may keep an inventory of donor watches, which can also ensure that a genuine replacement part is used. I generally don't object to this on my restorations because original parts for some makes are very scarce. Fortunately for Omega bumper movements parts are available. Case parts, however are another story.

I don't know exactly when Omega started using signed crystals, but I think that was a practice that started I in the late 50's. You might check with Omega by email on that point, as you seem to what to restore the watch to original spec. I have seen a number of Omega branded replacement crystals that are not signed, so perhaps they did not sign the crystal on all models.
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Re: First Omega

Postby AntFarm » May 21st 2014, 7:05pm

That is a cool watch with a nice story. The dial on that is beautiful. Enjoy it!
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