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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all!

It has been a couple of years since i posted last (omega constellation resto). I apologize to those who sent emails to this site. Unfortunately i did not get back to them and for that I am sorry.

Many things happening but all that is over with and I can get back to posting any restorations (restos) that I get on my desk.

That leads me to the teaser I am dropping with you. Just aquired an authentic Omega Seamaster 300 with a 24 jewel 552 movement. Looking at the case back the watch has been serviced at least 12 times, bodes well for the movement. The case however is a MESS! Here is a bullet list of the watch as i see it on my work desk.

The negatives:


  • Case back gouged deeply by incorrect tool usage.
  • Bezel will not turn as well as being scarred, faded, scratched and non luminous to boot!
  • Crystal scarred and scratched, some deeply, however, marked with the Omega symbol.
  • Hands badly relumed with incorrect colour.
  • Dial faded, oxidized with missing lume on the batons. The lume is totally oxidized and non affective.
  • Crown not Omega and wrong size.

The positives:


  • It is an Omega!!
  • The movement is running very strong, no tool marks and the case back indicates the movement has been serviced numerous times during the watches life.
  • The movement has been completely protected by the case from whatever evil intent was inflicted on it.

Preliminary observations:


  • the bezel would not turn because the bezel spring, coil click springs and ratchet jewels have all been destroyed and or rusted. The rusted bezel spring fused (fortunately) the bezel to the watch case preventing loss.
  • The bezel is so badly preserved a new one has been secured. Also a new bezel spring, coil click springs and 3 ratchet jewels have also been ordered.
  • the case back is so deeply gouged by improper removal that it cannot be resurfaced without losing the inscriptions.
  • the dial will be redone but in an ivory (off aged white font and luminous batons) so that it does not look NOS but well kept old stock that has aged evenly, more on that later.
  • the hands will be de-lumed and cleaned, the luminous replaced to match the re-dial and the sweep second will be repainted.
  • of course the movement will be fully serviced.
  • a NOS appropriate 165-024 crown has been secured.


So the following will be replaced with NOS Omega parts:


  • crown
  • case back
  • bezel
  • bezel spring
  • coil click springs
  • ratchet jewels
  • Stainless bracelet

The following will be restored:


  • dial
  • movement
  • case
  • crystal
  • hands


So on to the before pictures:

watch-before.jpg

watch-bezel-removed.jpg

bezel-old.jpg

case-before-1.jpg

case-back-old.jpg

dial-before.jpg

hands-before.jpg

movement-1.jpg

movement-2.jpg

The watch resto has begun, stay tuned.

Cheers all,

Geoff
 

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Looks like a cool project. about a year ago I purchased a vintage SM300 that needed some attention, mostly a good cleaning and a new bezel. Here is is side by side a Watchco SM300:

 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks all,

Joe K, always had a soft spot for this version of the diver. Both yours look great and those NOS Watchco are a time machine. I am hoping mine will look NOS on the case but with a gently aged interior.

GT.TIME, the lighting was low so the shutter speed was to slow to catch the second hand; no not bent in the horizontal axis but it does have a slight downward bend at the tip.

Geoff
 

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Discussion Starter #7
PART II: the case and crystal

Part II,

Well the dial and the hands will be off to the redialers with specific instructions about the lume colour and script colour. He stated he would do the hands at the same time so lume would match so off to the redialers on Monday.

In the meantime I did the following to the case (refer to the pictures):


  • mechanically removed, using a dental pick, as much of the rusted bezel spring as possible.
  • left the case in a jar of rust remover over night.
  • this morning wire brushed the remaining rusted concretion from the case
  • drilled with a very fine bit and by hand, into the bezel ratchet holes. I found spring remnants and one complete but badly rusted spring.
  • continued to hand drill untill the final bit was the diameter of the hole.
  • polished the holes with a pith stick.
  • left the case in the rust remover for 4 more hours.
  • wire brush on a dremel to clean and polish the bezel recess were the new bezel spring will reside.
  • started with 400 wet dry sandpaper and removed two large gouges on the non crown side.
  • continued with the 400 grit on all facets maintaining a crisp case line between the facets on the sides and lugs.
  • once completed to my satisfaction I continued with 1000 and 2000 grit sandpaper on the facet that will be polished.
  • Off to the polishing wheel and I finished polished the facet that should be high gloss.
  • finished with a good soapy water cleaning to remove the polish residue.
  • dressed the satin facets once more with 400 grit to emphasis the crisp lines between the three facets the case is composed of.

The crystal was polished in the same manner:


  • of course it was removed with a crystal lift.
  • then 400 grit followed by 600, 1000, 1500 and 2000 wet dry sandpaper.
  • finish polish with Polywatch, a plastic polish designed for plastic/hesalite crystals.
  • discovered the Omega symbol!

The bezel is NOS.

The trick is lots of patience and careful sanding. Keep the edges sharp and do not over polish them. That said, each watch is different and I did have to remove some steel on the non crown side to eventually remove the two deep gouges. Enough said, here are some pictures, the case, bezel and crystal have been dry fitted.

Well next is to wait for the new parts to arrive and the dial to be redone.

Cheers, Geoff
 

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Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Looking good. I would be careful not to remove too much material in effort to remove the gauges. Gives the watch character.
Thanks for posting!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Couldn't agree more Joe.

Fortunately the gouges came out without affecting the watch aesthetics. Had a long talk with the dialer, and we agreed that the redial and lume would be an aged ivory look and that the hands would match. This is not a new old stock watch like the Watchco versions (they are gorgeous in their own right) and I don't want it to look that way.

I want the watch to look aged but cared for. It obviously was used and the movement was certainly serviced numerous times and is in excellent condition. A testament to the sealed case. The case however exhibited a neglect that even a well used diver would not show unless it had been put away wet from a salt water swim by an underwater welder! The only reason the bezel accompanied the watch was because the bezel spring dissolved forming a rust concretion cementing the bezel to the case. I was surprised that the case cleaned up so well.

Now the waiting game for the:

-bracelet and ends
-crown
-bezel spring
-3 coil springs for the click ratchet jewels
-ratchet click jewels
-case back
-redial
-relumed hands

cheers
 

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Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Love post like these, would love a project watch to work on, keep meaning to have a go. I have serviced some cheap pieces I own but would love a piece like this classic dive watch.
 

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Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Well the dial and the hands will be off to the redialers with specific instructions about the lume colour and script colour. He stated he would do the hands at the same time so lume would match so off to the redialers on Monday.
Can I ask who you are using for the relume of the dial and hands? If it's someone in Canada I am particularly interested.

Thanks.

Cheers, Al
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Hi Al,

I am in Vancouver!

i used to use Pope Dials but they sold to another company. For the life of me I cannot remember the new company name. Good dials but lume was white, green or orange.

I will be using International Dial (google 'international dial watch'). Had a 40 minute conversation with Robert, the owner and dialer and was most impressed. He will luminous the dial in the colour you want, hence the aged off white to ivory request. He will match the numbers and script (non lumed) to the lume on the batons. Also offered to do the hands at the same time so all will match. Gave me a detailed description of the original process using silver paste and plated black silver paste. Very interesting.

I usually do the hands myself tinting the white as required but his option is perfect.

He is actually doing two dials and I will be sending them on Monday.

they are in the states and as such all packages will be registered.

cheers, Geoff
 

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Re: PART II: the case and crystal

Hi Al,

I am in Vancouver!

i used to use Pope Dials but they sold to another company. For the life of me I cannot remember the new company name. Good dials but lume was white, green or orange.

I will be using International Dial (google 'international dial watch'). Had a 40 minute conversation with Robert, the owner and dialer and was most impressed. He will luminous the dial in the colour you want, hence the aged off white to ivory request. He will match the numbers and script (non lumed) to the lume on the batons. Also offered to do the hands at the same time so all will match. Gave me a detailed description of the original process using silver paste and plated black silver paste. Very interesting.

I usually do the hands myself tinting the white as required but his option is perfect.

He is actually doing two dials and I will be sending them on Monday.

they are in the states and as such all packages will be registered.

cheers, Geoff
Yes, I'm familiar with International Dial. For redialing I use a place in Toronto, but they suck at doing lume, so trying to find anyone in Canada that can do a decent job....

Cheers, Al
 

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Discussion Starter #15
PART III: case and bezel

Hello all,

well over the last two weeks the NOS ordered parts have arrived. These include the following:

  • three tiny (really tiny) ruby ball bearings used for the click portion of the bezel
  • three equally tiny springs which support the ruby ball bearings
  • new bezel
  • bezel retaining spring
  • new case back

Still waiting for a the 'redial' and the relumed matching hands. Speaking of the hands, all of them were delumed and in the process the Hour hand lost some of its chrome plating. The hour hand was then sanded with 2000 grit wet dry sandpaper. The resulting brass was then polished, cleaned with acetone and replated with nickle and chrome. Polished again and looks great. The sweep second hand was delumed, stripped and repainted ivory white. All the hands were then sent along with the dial to the dialer. The object was to match the ivory (aged looking) lume on the redial to the hands.

In the mean time I installed the ruby ball bearings, springs, bezel retaining spring and bezel to the restored case. These plus the sanded and polished crystal plus the new case back have renewed the look of the battered watch. I have included some shots for your enjoyment (hopefully)!


The parts have arrived!

parts.jpg

The new bezel retaining spring:

bezel-spring-NOS.jpg

Bezel retaining spring installed. There is a protruding part of the spring. I placed this under the triangle on the obverse side. This allows me to know where the protruding part is when I insert it under the bezel lip on the case.

bezel-spring-in.jpg

A set of spring and ruby ball bearing for size comparison to the case. I did NOT use tweezers for manipulating these. Instead, after packing the hole with silicon gel I used a screw driver dipped in the gel to pick up the spring and insert it, then another dab of gel to pick up the ball and place it on the spring. This prevented the LOSS of the ball and spring ;-( Also the gel holds the parts in place while the bezel is snapped into position.

spring-ball-case.jpg

The size of the ball and spring, scale is mm per gradation:

spring-ball-case-scale.jpg

Original case back on left, new on right. I will be restoring the original but the price for the replacement was excellent:

case-back-c.jpg

A comparison of the inner inscription of the original to the newly manufactured version:

case-back-b.jpg

The original:

case-back-a.jpg
And now two views of the case with bezel installed as well as the new strap:

quarter-view-1.jpg

Notice the NOS niad crown also:

quarter-view-2.jpg


obverse-strap.jpg
 

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Great thread. Really fun.
 

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Very cool. Glad I subscribed!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
PART II small update:

Still waiting for the dial. In keeping with the priority of using original parts the dial will be stripped of its laqueur and luminous leaving the original numbers and black plating finish. New luminous will be applied as well as a new layer of protective laqueur. If this fails and some of the black plating is removed then a new engraved dye will be created which will copy the original in all aspects. This will be used to create the new dial finish which will simulate the original in all aspects.

Also, to keep as many original pieces the hour hand has been replated and I decided to refinish the original case back. I am doing this because the new replacement case back, although beautifully finished, is just to different from the original not to detract in my opinion. Look at the case back comparison below and check out the before after shot. I did not overpolish the case back but sanded and finished enough to remove the burs due to a horrible case back removal and obvious slipped case wrench marks. I did put the circular brush finish back on the centre seamonster section as well as the wrench slot section leaving the middle 'frame' polished. I did not remove all the scratches as this would have resulted in an over-restored look as well as a definite lack of definition on the already worn inscriptions.

Enjoy and suggestions are always welcome.

Geoff

original on left; new replacement on right:

case-back-c.jpg

original before on left; refinished on right:

case-back-before-after.jpg

finished versus satin areas:

case-back-after.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Restoration completed chapter IV

Hello,

The dial and hands have returned and I have just finished mounting them so now the restoration is completed.

A note on the dial restoration, to say I am pleased is an understatement. I also learned from the dialer how these dials were created. I did not know that the Omega 300 dial from the 60's was not a painted dial but created by various layers of silver plating that were treated. In this case a silver plated dial chemically treated to create the matte black finish. The entire script (including writing and numerals) were added, again chemically, created at the factory, a new white scripting.

This dial had been thoroughly oxidized resulting in blackend luminous and disintigrating laqueur. Both these finishes are applied after the plating process. Since the dial plating (numerals and background black) were in perfect condition the dialer removed the luminous and laqueur chemically leaving the plated script and background black. The dial was relaqueured and a new luminous applied. At my request I asked for and aged Ivory patina on the luminous and the hands to match. I sent the replated hands with the dial and you can see the result below.

before_after-front_zps36b4a4ec.jpg
So in review:


  • the case back was replaced and the original retained for authenticity.
  • the non Omega crown was replaced with a period original niaad crown.
  • the original crystal was retained and sanded and polished (yes that is the original Omega stamped crystal!).
  • Case was sanded, polished, original satin finishes and polished finishes reapplied after dings and etc were removed. Careful attention to retaining sharp edges as opposed to overpolished rounded edges.
  • hands were delumed, sanded and polished, re-plated in nickel and polished, then relumed
  • dial as described above, so the black and script are original and the lume and laqueur replaced.
  • all new gaskets.
  • new bezel
  • new bezel retaining spring.
  • new bezel click springs (3).
  • new bezel click sapphire balls (3).
  • movement serviced and is currently 2 seconds fast per 24 hours for the last week with continuous wearing.
  • new bracelet.

Here are some more shots of the watch, hope you enjoy! This is one of my favourite restorations and the watch is a joy to wear.

DONE-FRONT_zpsd03e7f8c.jpg

DONE-BACK_zps50bc9170.jpg

DONE-MOUNTED-1_zps87fc51e4.jpg

DONE-MOUNTED-3_zps855d5fd4.jpg

DONE-MOUNTED-2_zps1cf144e3.jpg
 
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