Monday, July 10, 2017

Timing a Vintage Watch

I have serviced thousands of vintage Omega watches, each one gets timed out on my timing machine. Every now and then I’ll hear back from a customer about his watch being a little slow or a little fast. Here is some information about why your watch may run a little fast or a little slow even though it’s been timed on the machine. This information came directly from the source with a new Omega in the 1950’s and 60’s. It was true then and even more so now that your activity level makes a difference. If your watch happens to be a little fast or slow according to your life style, I will be happy to make an adjustment.


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Refurbished vs. Restored

I often see the word REFURBISHED in reference to vintage watches. As a watchmaker, this makes me cringe! I would like to set the record straight – you refurbish a toaster!!! Refurbished is typically in reference to electronics like an iPhone, VCR, or small appliance. And it is not a form of art! You can go on Amazon and buy refurbished toasters all day long.


A watch, a church or a vintage car would be RESTORED! Restoration is a form of art that requires a developed skill for form, function AND style. You will never see a '67 Corvette up for auction referred to as "refurbished." A skilled watchmaker that brings an Omega, Rolex, or IWC back to life appreciates using the word restored.


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Dangers of Cheap Tools Damaging Case Backs

Watch case backs take a beating!!! 20 years of practice, specialty tools and a sharp eye, I can undo some damage but not all. Damaged case backs like this can be easily prevented with better quality tools.


A two pronged tool is by far the most dangerous! A tool like this is the number one cause of damage to case backs from slipping.


This tool is the next step up. Much safer but still risky. This tool can be used safely with a steady hand and some skill.


This is a Bergeon Watch Case Opener; what a watchmaker would use. I would recommend having a watchmaker open your watch to prevent damage. Inconvenient? Not nearly as inconvenient as sending me your case back to be repaired!


More About the Importance of a Functioning Crown

I have written before about the importance of a functioning crown over having an original one. I get asked all the time "Can I keep the original crown on the watch?" Sure, if you want the watch to look like one of these.


These are several examples where owners wanted to keep the "original" Omega crown. I deal with this more than I would like to. An "original crown" has ZERO value to a watch if the gasket inside is no good. How well would you expect a rubber gasket to hold up after 50 or 60 years? I would rather have an aftermarket or another brand crown than a bad original. Every watch I buy gets a new crown if it needs it. If the original brand is not available, use any other brand till you can find one.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Original Omega watch hands: Constellation Pie Pan Seamaster Speedmaster Omega Military

Omega Watch Hands.
Over the past 16 years I've serviced thousands of Omega watches. I am often asked, “Tim can you leave the original hands on my watch?” This blog is a watchmaker’s perspective on original Omega watch hands and their value to a vintage watch.


The short answer, “Sure, I would love to.” The real answer, it depends on their condition. Watch hands are friction fit which means they are pressed onto a post and held on by friction. If your watch has been serviced and worked on several times over the years, they will begin to fit less and less well. After being taken on and off so many times the post holes will get stretched out. Watchmakers may have attempted to tighten up the holes on hands, but this can only be done once or twice. Now what's going to happen if I use your old hands that are stretched out is they will sit on the watch fine in my shop and then when I ship the watch one of them will come loose, dragging on an hour marker or scratching the dial. I have seen this many, many times. The same happens when watches have been shipped to my shop for restoration; hands have fallen off because the holes have been stretched past the point of working. When this happens there's one person that usually gets the blame...yours truly, the watchmaker.

Here's a picture of my Bergeron #30-464 hand measuring tool. You simply slide a hand on it and you can see directly if it's stretched out or hits the mark. If you have an omega Constellation Pie Pan with 561 movement, and the minute hand slides past 80, you have a problem. If the hour hand slides past 150, that hand has served you well, but it's life span has come to an end. If a watchmaker changes your hands, it’s for a reason mechanically.


Of course it's nice to have original hands on a watch and that is always the first option. However, aside from poor functionality, you may also have hands that just look horrible, pitted from age, plating loss beyond the ability to restore them. Many hands have been discontinued and are not available.


Since it's not always possible to use original hands and I refuse to use Chinese parts on a Swiss watch, I started off on one of my "projects." I took some time out to learn how to draw blue prints, submitted them to a company in Switzerland and had my own hands made. These hands are my own design and are as close to the original as possible without breaking any patent infringements.


So there's a little bit of information from a watchmaker on why we change your hands. Now that you know a bit about watch hands, keep it in mind when you are hunting watches to purchase. Same with crowns, the hands and crown they may be original but you have no idea if they are in good usable condition until you service the watch. If you get a watch in the mail and one of the hands are off, now you know why.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Omega Seamaster Frankenwatch

Omega Seamaster Frankenwatch - WARNING! Ebay item #231438354785
The case back is from a Seamaster Calendar date at 3. The case should not have a bumper movement but a rotor. The movement should be in a #2757 or #2627 case.


If you purchase this watch you are getting three different watches all for the price of one! I don't personally know the seller and they may have no idea. This is why I built my data base. It just took me a few minutes to look up the caliber and case numbers to figure out this would not be a good purchase.

Here is an example of what the case back should be on 2849-3 SC belongs on a Seamaster Calendar date at 3. Item #393 on my database at

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Importance of an Omega Crown

This post is a bit of information about Omega watch crowns. It goes for any brand of watch.
A watch crown is a "disposable" part. It gets used and worn, it will need to be replaced when it is past it's service life. Failure to do so can easily end the service life of your watch. Here are some pictures of used crowns I have replaced. If I asked you to pick the best crown out of the lot, the center one would be the number one pick for sure.


Now I have flipped them over and you can see the best looking crown is by far the worst of the lot. The retainer ring and gasket are missing making it not only worthless, but it puts your watch at great risk of water damage.

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I get this request all the time when I am servicing a watch, "Please leave the original crown."
Sorry, I cannot if the old crown will not do its job. An Omega Constellation would be better served with a new Bulova crown than a bad original Omega crown.

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Here is a beautiful Seamaster Chronometer. Bad gasket in the crown caused quite a bit of water damage. Trust me, you don't want this to happen to your watch! This will run up the repair cost by the time I get done. Many parts cannot be saved and will cost far more than the new crown it should have had. Below is another picture of a movement that came out of a watch with a bad crown.


When I shop for watches I disregard the disposable parts; crown, crystal and band. All can be easily changed. Being a watchmaker the first thing I do when I get a watch is check to see the condition of the crown if I am going to wear it. I recommend you do the same or have your watchmaker check it out.

Omega and other brands have discontinued many models of crowns. Most can still be found with an on-line hunt. It is nice to have an original style crown on a watch. However, an aftermarket crown is just fine while you are hunting for an original.