Today on the blog is this Omega Seamaster 600 model 135.011 in need of a bit of TLC. I purchased this watch at a local auction with the intention to return it to its former glory. The watch dates from 1965, and it is powered by the manual wind Omega Calibre 601, an excellent movement capable of great performance.
I place the watch on my timegrapher after a full wind, and the reading is typical of a very very sick movement. It is barely running, with very poor amplitude and timekeeping.
After opening the case, things are looking up, the movement looks relatively clean with no sign of corrosion or obvious issues. The rhodium plating on the friction spring bridge is a slightly different shade to the rest of the movement, possibly an earlier replacement.
The dial has aged quite badly, there is pitting and this will not clean off.
The hands are also in poor condition, and I believe they are not original to the watch: the hole in the minute hand has been closed in the past to fit the cannon pinion, probably using a staking block, punch and a hammer by the looks of it. As the seconds hand is missing, I take the decision to source new hands, hour minute and seconds.
New hands would look odd on an aged dial, so although I usually like to keep dials untouched I think that on this occasion it is the right thing to have the dial restored.
The dial is sent for restoration, and I can carry on with the service, starting with the dial side.
There is not much to it, with no date complication on this model.
I then move to the other side. Note the nice eccentric regulator used on this movement.
Here you can see a close up of the sweep seconds friction spring, which holds the indirectly driven pinion and prevents the infamous seconds hand “stutter”. This design is widely used on Omega movements of that era.
I progress with disassembly, the winding mechanism has now been removed.
Barrel, train wheel and bridge are disassembled.
And I soon have the movement fully stripped down.
All the parts look immaculate after the ultrasonic clean, and after careful inspection I am pleased to find that none of them require replacement.
The rest of the service is pretty straightforward. The watch came back to life as I was hoping after a good clean, a new mainspring and the correct lubrication. The hairspring required a little adjustment to get the best out of the movement.
I then turn my attention to the case. It is in reasonable condition, but I give it a light polish to so that it fits in with the look of the restored dial and new hands.
The crystal is replaced. It could have been polished easily as it is acrylic, but the size of the old crystal was incorrect, with the tension ring providing insufficient tension of the crystal against the case. The Seamaster is a divers watch, so it is important to have the correct fit for water resistance.
The project is placed on hold for a little while until I receive the restored dial. It was worth the short wait as it looks absolutely stunning.
This gave me the time to source and fit NOS (New Old Stock) Omega hands. I also replace the stem and fit a new Omega crown (the old one was a generic unsigned version).
And finally the watch is fitted with a new leather strap and Omega stainless steel buckle. I am very pleased how this project has turned out. This watch is everything I like about Omegas of that era: a great movement, and an understated, classy and timeless design.