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Discussion Starter #1
Picked this up today, satisfyingly cheaply, as a present for my father in law. It's a 1953(ish) Seamaster cal.342 bumper auto, mechanically good but with a slightly less than pristine dial.

Curiously, if I go to order a crown or crystal by case number (2576-3c) Cousins want me to have gold plated versions. The Omega vintage database lists the basic 2576 (stainless steel) but none of the variants, so I have no easy way to know whether it was originally gold plated or steel finish. The gold hands and dial markers seem to suggest gold finish, but the case doesn't appear to have been polished and there's no sign at all of plating anywhere on it.

Anyway, the real decision to be made is - should I have a dial restoration done or not? Personally I don't mind the finish as it is, but not sure where the consensus draws the line between "patina" and "worn out". If it was sales stock I'd probably cop out and leave any prospective buyer to decide what they wanted. As a gift, I can't really do that.

So, what does the Wisdom of WUS say? Is this dial beyond the pale or charmingly aged? Also, if the decision is to restore, bearing in mind the steel case and gilt markers, would you guys go for a silver, white, or champagne ground?
 

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I vote to refinish the dial. I love vintage watches, but I like them to look pretty nice.
 

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Hmm ... difficult. I find it looks rather tired, like being eaten by someting corrosive. If the dial looks like this, I'd have doubts on the movement, too.

Do you have the watch already?

Best,
Tc
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Yes, have the watch and the movement really isn't a problem. Crown & crystal are on order and I'll service it sometime this week. Will probably polish the case as well (don't worry, I don't do over polishing :D )

But what to do with that dial? It's basically the laquer yellowed and peeling - looks like the original silver ground is good. But all the printing is lifting with the laquer.
 

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There is Patina, and then there is ruined. This one is of the latter category.

Now, Hamilton collectors don't mind a redial (usually). Unfortunately for this watch Omega collectors are dial mad. Its the most critical part of the watch for many of them. To the extent that some original dials are looked at with suspicion.

If it is for wear, and not a collection piece, then you may as well redial. A redial is never as good as a average original - but its intended use is the important thing here. If it is for a collector, then you will be best to spend some years waiting for a better dial (ensuring it is valid combo for the case and movement). If you go for a redial, a good one costs $.

I have only ever been happy with 1 of the 7 redials I have had done - the others I have regretted. I guess personally I am in the Omega camp on this. That said, the redials I had done were for dials that were complete messes (or worse), so at least there was a useable watch at the other end.
 

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I would say if you could clean it like "ansac1957" did to his Longines I would go that route, but as you said some of the finish is lifting, so that may not be possible??
Hard call to make, If you could just get the yellowing off, it would look much better (my 2cents) I would see what it would look like after a cleaning...if that's possible.

Best,
Chris
 

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Lemon juice method would clean all that tarnish but it will not recreate "Omega Seamaster" letters which look to be gone allready.
How they could disapear is something to wonder...
I see a white spot between 9 and 10 hour markers. So I suspect someone allready tried to clean this poor thing :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks so far :) The lettering is still just about visible (if you know what it should be saying!) but the laquer is lifting and flaking, taking the markings with it. The spot between 9 and 10 was where I just touched it with Rodico to see how stable the remaining laquer was - not very!

If it wasn't for the applied hour markers and Omega I'd have no hesitation in having it restored for useability, but they make it entirely useable as it is. Still, the search for a dial option is an interesting one,and I guess there's no real harm in having it restored so FIL (definitely not a WIS) can enjoy it in the meantime if that's the ultimate solution :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Had a closer look at it yesterday and, having found I could blow lacquer (and printing) off with the bench bellows, decided that redial has to be the way forward - with a finish that unstable it'll end up with bits of laquer in the movement and i'd rather only service it once :)

So the dial went off today, if it comes back anything like the one above then I'll be happy. Well, hopefully not too much like the one above seeing as it's a different model ;) Original crown and crystal will be here tomorrow, so hopeflly should have it wrapped up in the next couple of weeks - I'll update when it's done for honest opinions :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Quick update on this one.

The dial came back today and I'm happy enough with it. They did use an opaque ground, so that nice finish on the seconds circle is no more (well, it's still there but not obvious) but apart from that they've got it pretty true to the original as far as I could tell what the original was:


finished.jpg

It certainly doesn't look out of place, and FIL is delighted with it, which is what counts :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
David Bill & Sons in Essex, UK. Used to use them where I worked back in the mid / late 90s and they were good back then, but you can never tell how things might change over a decade and a half!
 

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Interesting. Thanks.
I'm in the 'obsessive omega dial' camp. I have yet to find somebody who can properly redial my vintage Omega. I have spent everywhre from $50 to $100 and never had results more then mediocre. So now I am very gunshy to have my 1940s 14k square dial omega sent out and more importantly-I have a 1937 V&C where the dial is similarly shot and in same shape as op's omega. I even went so far as to inquire from the V&C boutique in NYC. So-I am on the look out for a redialer in the states who can do work that rates above the 90% mark. OP even states his redial is "okay" which leads me to belive if he were completely honest he might say he was a little underwhelmed but not enough to get all fired up about it. This is where I have landed with my last Omega redial. (i'l try and find/post a before/after later.?

But I absolutely would say-the question od wether to restore or not lies completely with the known work of the restorer. I've yet to find one that satisfies my eye-and I am not a hyper-critical customer. But I know what 'close to original' is versus simply adequate. good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #19
To be fair, my only criticism on this one is that the ground has been applied a little thick and masked the texture around the sub seconds dial. But any coating other than a very thin lacquer is going to tend to do that.

If it had really mattered to me I could have stripped the dial myself back to base, resilvered by hand, sent it for printing only, then lacquered it myself on return. It would have been cheaper but involved a LOT more of my time, which I don't really have to throw at a spur of the moment gift :)
 
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