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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear all, I have my grandfather's vintage Omega with a 561 movement from around 1960 and I would like to look into fixing it up for when I hand it on to one of the kids. There are a couple of obvious issues: someone has wiped the glass with something abrasive, the crown doesn't match and the strap is not original. I'd be grateful if anyone could tell me more about the watch, whether there are any other issues that could/should be restored and what the likely costs would be. I'd also be interested to know what the written markings on the caseback indicate. Many thanks.

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Nice watch! Those are all very minor issues. The crystal can likely be buffed out with a gentle rubbing from a bit of polywatch or brasso, a crown appropriate for this particular watch shouldn't be hard to track down, and swapping it is a repair you can make yourself at home with a couple of tools if you so desired. It's not very common for vintage watches to have original leather and if you'd like to keep it on a strap I'd suggest simply tracking one down that you feel suits it, swapping the strap is also very simple. Barton makes very affordable, good quality leather straps if you'd like a suggestion. You could also attempt to track down an original bracelet for a Constellation but that can get pretty costly.

After all that, I'd take it to a reputable local watchmaker and have it cleaned and serviced. It shouldn't cost you any more than $150 or so.
 

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The markings inside the case-back include a reference number, gold hallmark, and hand-written watchmaker notes.
 

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Bigger pictures would help and if you could post the reference number inside the case. A search could show the actual crown needed for this case style.

If the crown is signed. Leave it. Modern crowns are gold plated and won't match the gold color of the case. People listing NOS crowns on Ebay are basically selling modern crowns. Maybe 10 years old.

Somebody might have an original, but could take awhile to find one

Crystal depending on condition could be buffed out or replaced.

Strap. Just find something that looks nice. Old straps are just that. Old and even if not used. Leather could dry out. Not sure when the last time Omega made 18 mm straps.

DON
 

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Reference number 14393 on the caseback indicates it’s a Constellation Date with 18k case. Should be a caliber 561 movement and the serial number in the photo appears to be 16M or 18M which coincides with about 1958 or 1960, respectively, according to Bob’s Watches. Really nice watch. Definitely worthy of a fixin’ up.
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That's a beautiful watch and since it is a heirloom, it is unique and irreplaceable. Every watch tells a story but this one also tells a family story. Your grandfather had the crown replaced and he picked out that strap, he personalized it so restoring it to factory original would take that away. If you were planning to sell it to a collector then restoring it to original might bring in more $$ but I think it's best to do as the others say. Polish the crystal and have it serviced, that's all it needs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nice watch! Those are all very minor issues. The crystal can likely be buffed out with a gentle rubbing from a bit of polywatch or brasso, a crown appropriate for this particular watch shouldn't be hard to track down, and swapping it is a repair you can make yourself at home with a couple of tools if you so desired. It's not very common for vintage watches to have original leather and if you'd like to keep it on a strap I'd suggest simply tracking one down that you feel suits it, swapping the strap is also very simple. Barton makes very affordable, good quality leather straps if you'd like a suggestion. You could also attempt to track down an original bracelet for a Constellation but that can get pretty costly.

After all that, I'd take it to a reputable local watchmaker and have it cleaned and serviced. It shouldn't cost you any more than $150 or so.
Many thanks. The strap is new. When my dad passed it on to me, he had the strap replaced. And therein lies some of the problem, my grandfather died in the 90s so my dad had it for 20something years before giving it to me. I know he had it looked at and the strap changed before he did so but I don't know what else was done to it. It would have been nice if he'd kept the original with the buckle I guess.

Then a few years down the line, it started to lose lots of time, 5min per day, so I took it into about the only local jeweler that was open at the time and asked them to assess the watch. So they sent it off to their man and it came back with the words, 'Service & pusher spring £100.' So I was unsure what to make of that.

Although the watch is now running fine, it's not terribly accurate. What's the best I can hope for if serviced by someone that really knows what they're doing?

The markings inside the case-back include a reference number, gold hallmark, and hand-written watchmaker notes.
Yes it was the hand written notes I was interested in, just a date of service or more information hidden in there?

Reference number 14393 on the caseback indicates it’s a Constellation Date with 18k case. Should be a caliber 561 movement and the serial number in the photo appears to be 16M or 18M which coincides with about 1958 or 1960, respectively, according to Bob’s Watches. Really nice watch. Definitely worthy of a fixin’ up.
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Thanks, I knew this page would be in there somewhere, but putting 14393 in the Omega search turned up nothing, you have to put it in google. Any idea what the 4 that follows the reference number means? It's definitely 163... I had real trouble getting my phone's camera to focus.

Bigger pictures would help and if you could post the reference number inside the case. A search could show the actual crown needed for this case style.

If the crown is signed. Leave it. Modern crowns are gold plated and won't match the gold color of the case. People listing NOS crowns on Ebay are basically selling modern crowns. Maybe 10 years old.

Somebody might have an original, but could take awhile to find one

Crystal depending on condition could be buffed out or replaced.

Strap. Just find something that looks nice. Old straps are just that. Old and even if not used. Leather could dry out. Not sure when the last time Omega made 18 mm straps.

DON
The crown is not an original and doesn't match the case, it looks plated to me but I'm no expert. The reference number is 14393. How would I go about finding an original crown, or at least one that was in keeping with the watch?

The crystal likewise. I believe that the original ones had the Omega logo embossed above the centre. I'm not quite so fussed about the crystal but if someone said they could replace it with an as new original for a few pounds, I'd snap their hand off.

That's a beautiful watch and since it is a heirloom, it is unique and irreplaceable. Every watch tells a story but this one also tells a family story. Your grandfather had the crown replaced and he picked out that strap, he personalized it so restoring it to factory original would take that away. If you were planning to sell it to a collector then restoring it to original might bring in more $$ but I think it's best to do as the others say. Polish the crystal and have it serviced, that's all it needs.
Thanks, that's a really interesting take on it. I guess I'm not decided on any path, I just wanted to get the information I need to make an informed choice with regards to which bits I can easily and cheaply return to a more authentic state. But your comment raises the issue of whether I should.

Many thanks all for the replies and compliments.
 

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That watch is an absolute cracker! A good service and it’ll be as good as new in performance terms, and looking even more beautiful that it does now

There’s one firm I’d use for this, base service at £170, and that’d be cheap at twice that price for the service and care you get


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That watch is an absolute cracker! A good service and it’ll be as good as new in performance terms, and looking even more beautiful that it does now

There’s one firm I’d use for this, base service at £170, and that’d be cheap at twice that price for the service and care you get


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks, if you could message me the details, I'd be really grateful. Otherwise it's a case of, I know a guy through a friend who knows a guy who sends his watches to a guy...

Yet another area of watch owning in which it is less than clear what you're actually getting for your money.
 

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Thanks, if you could message me the details, I'd be really grateful. Otherwise it's a case of, I know a guy through a friend who knows a guy who sends his watches to a guy...
Same here, if you think about it. :whistle:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I've been doing a bit of research. And probably not surprisingly, it brought me back to WUS. This poster had exactly the same issue with a very similar watch and did the hard yards with regards to finding out what would and wouldn't work as an alternative to a genuine Omega 18k crown from the 60s.


He came up with the idea of getting the SS version and having it gold plated which is interesting.

I went onto Cousin's watch parts site and it looks like they're correctly identifying the part but as everyone else has found, it's unavailable. But it does contain the specs of what it would be if it was available.

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The others that they match up with this watch case are also unavailable...

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However, searching the Cousin's site on the first part of the gold crown's code, 42526, gives the following alternative which is available, Omega Waterproof Crowns Ø4.4mm & Over

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The dimensions look the same as for the unavailable gold version. What should I be looking out for? Obviously the tube has to be the right diameter and I think the tap has to be correct (I understand this to be the thread type) but do the crown's external dimensions matter as long as they're close? Searching on the stem of the part numbers for the alternatives, 42513 and 42055, give different gold and rose gold options, sadly all unavailable.
 
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