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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My local vintage watch dealer has this watch for sale at $2200. I was wondering what you guys think of the watch at this price, taking into account for benefits and guarentees of buying from a retailer. Beautiful old divers' watch and I love it on the mesh. Here are all the details and pictures:
BrandOmega
ModelSeamaster 300m
Reference166.034/27159xxx
MetalStainless Steel
MovementCal.552
BandOmega steel mesh bracelet
ClaspOmega steel buckle
CaseSteel - 40mm ex crown
DialBlack with luminous hands & markers
BezelBi-directional
GlassPlexi Glass
Water Resistant300m
ConditionVery Good
Circa1968






Cheers,
Jack
 

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That looks like a Watchco one to me. As such, only the movement is from the period, the rest are modern spares manufactured by Omega and put together by Watchco in Australia. For some time Omega seemed to tolerate this (with a 3 rather than a 2 in the model number) but they seemto have clamped down and Watchco are currently in the process of closing down...

Whether you think that this is a real Omega SM300, a homage or a franken is more of a philosophical issue than anything else, but whatever it is it isn't vintage. I did a philosophical gloss on this a year or two back which might amuse:
Establishing relationships of identity is one of the oldest problems in philosophy.
In this case, the problem of the Ship of Theseus:

Ship of Theseus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

seems an appropriate starting point. However, I'm busy today and don't have time to disappear as far up my bottom as usual and so, by way of a shortcut:

YouTube - Only Fools and Horses: The Truth Behind Trigger's Broom...

So is the Watchco SM300 like Trigger's broom or worse? In the case of Trigger's broom there is a continuity to be found: every part of it has at least been in contact with something that has been in contact with something that has been in contact (and so on) with the original broom; the baton has been passed so as to speak.

In the case of the Watchco SM300, even this tenuous link is broken. The movement may be of an appropriate age, but almost certainly came from a Geneve, Likewise, some of the parts may really have been NOS but were never actually used. The majority of the watch is simply modern.

So how to treat it? If it was made in China in the same way, we would simply call it a franken or a fake. However, it is made with Omega's blessing and with parts from Omega. As such, I think the only thing it can be called is an homage. It certainly isn't NOS as it has never been old. Apart from the brute fact that looks just like the SM300 it has nothing in common with it.

This becomes far more clear if you analyses the SM300 mereologically: A brand new case, dial, hands, stem, crystal and crown. So far this is obvious. However the confusing bit is the movement. This has a historical connection; it was there in the past. However, whatever it was, the overwhelming likelihood is that it wasn't an SM300 movement then (or it still would be). it was most likely a Geneve movement as these are plentiful and unloved. Even the genuinely NOS spares used to recondition the movement are not SM300 spares, they are 552 spares which could have been used in a SM300 but, as it happens were not. In short, when you look at the watch as individual parts, nothing connects it with a SM300 in the past, only in the present. The closest you get to it is that it has a reconditioned Geneve movement from the past. The connection in the present is that Omega say it is an SM300 and it looks like one. However, as the fake market shows, looking like something is far from being evidence that it is the real thing. Thus, I would argue the only thing really connecting the watchco SM300 with the Omega SM300 is Omega's blessing. I'm not sure that that is enough

So I would argue that it is a precise homage, but one sanctioned by Omega and made from parts supplied by Omega. There is a case to make that Omega themselves are not really the same company as they were, but that's for another day.

The bottom line is that, as Alex will remember, I had a choice between an original Sm300 and a Timefactors PRS14 homage to the Sm300. I chose the Prs14 and with it decided not to bother chasing the Sm300. Had the Watchco Sm300 not existed I would probably not have. To me, Omega allowing a homage legitimated other homages. That's the bottom line, it's a very nice homage indeed, the best. However it's a very very expensive homage and there are others that are just as good as watches, if not quite as precise as a homage, but thousands of dollars less. One final irony is that, as the SM300 was made to satisfy Def Stan 66-4 (Part 1) /Issue 2, any homage could be said not be a homage to the SM300 but to this specification (which pretty well precisely describes the SM300 in every way).

In fact the PRS 14 is far rarer and, looking at the accelerating prices of timefactors stuff, holding its value better. It's an odd world!

Precista PRS-14 Review - Watcharama
That said, they are extremely popular and today I would probably buy one now at the right price. This wouldn't be the right price for me, although it seems about average at the moment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That looks like a Watchco one to me. As such, only the movement is from the period, the rest are modern spares manufactured by Omega and put together by Watchco in Australia. For some time Omega seemed to tolerate this (with a 3 rather than a 2 in the model number) but they seemto have clamped down and Watchco are currently in the process of closing down...

Whether you think that this is a real Omega SM300, a homage or a franken is more of a philosophical issue than anything else, but whatever it is it isn't vintage. I did a philosophical gloss on this a year or two back which might amuse:


That said, they are extremely popular and today I would probably one at the right price. This wouldn't be the right price for me, although it seems about right at the moment.
Thanks for the response, much appreciated. Reading into it.
 

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.....Omega seemed to tolerate this (with a 3 rather than a 2 in the model number) but they seemto have clamped down and Watchco are currently in the process of closing down....
Why would you think that? All the parts are still available on the market in unlimited quantities. I think that is just an impression Watchco is trying to create.
 

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This price includes a one year warranty. That's why it is slightly more expensive than others that have sold recently, furthermore there is always movement in the price listed.

I agree with the previous posts, the only vintage part is the movement.
 

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I agree with the others that it looks like a recent Watchco.

A number of them were on eBay recently and I missed one by hours :-(

As you are now buying from a retailer who has purchased this item, paid rental/wages/insurance/electricity/gas/water/rates etc there will of course be an overhead.

I would be happy to grab one at about that price if you can afford it, even happier if you could negotiate on the price based on a reasonable argument e.g. "it's not vintage but re-assembled".

As to the issue of it being a franken/homage/fake.


BTW, I think BVW prices are a bit high but they have good stock and you get a warranty, see if you can tweak the price down.
I didn't get my "Baby Ploprof" because it was a genuine original untouched NOS found in a drawer gem as I couldn't afford the real item.

For me a Watchco model has the correct parts, all OEM, some unused, some second hand.

It's a bit like finding an old 57 Chevy V8 in a clunker, and then hunting down body/panels/parts to restore it.

I know it's not original, but I also know it's not a fake.

I appreciate M4tt's perspective on these items and understand his point of view, it just happens to differ from mine for the reasons stated above.

Let's know how you go.
 

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I'm not sure I buy your analogy:

It's a bit like finding an old 57 Chevy V8 in a clunker, and then hunting down body/panels/parts to restore it.
Well,that really depends.

It's definitely is quite a lot like finding a '57 Chevy 150 which happens to have the 283 engine found in the Corvette and then buying new parts and used parts that have never actually been on a Corvette from Chevrolet to produce a homage to the Corvette.

However it's not a lot like finding a Chevy 150 and building it up to be a Chevy 150 - that would be like rebuilding an Omega Geneve..

More to the point, it is absolutely not at all like finding a genuine Corvette and rebuilding it with new parts as needed.

In short, exactly the same problems of identity are encountered in the Chevy case as in the watchco case.
 

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Why would you think that? All the parts are still available on the market in unlimited quantities. I think that is just an impression Watchco is trying to create.
You may be right, at one point the watchco site said they were closing down and hence the sale, but now their site says it is under construction...

However, Omega are definitely starting to control spares and so I'm not sure about your 'unlimited' claim.
 

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You may be right, at one point the watchco site said they were closing down and hence the sale, but now their site says it is under construction...

However, Omega are definitely starting to control spares and so I'm not sure about your 'unlimited' claim.
I may have gone a bit too far claiming "unlimited", but the truth is you can still get NOS cases dials and hands for the Seamaster 300 at Ofrei. Mind you, the case price has gone up from $800 two years ago to $1300 today, so I think Watchco still has s huge adventage pricewise, having obviously stocked up on the NOS cases while they were cheap. If you were to make one yourself today from Oferi's parts it would come to over $2200 incliding service and mesh bracelet. So I think the price OP was offered is actually quite a good deal.

If you take a look at the amount of empty old cases for 565s and 1012s Watchco is currently offering, they must have made hundreds of SM300s, SM120s and SHOMs.
 

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I'm not sure I buy your analogy:..................................


I'm not trying to sell it either M4tt, it's just my view of the situation.

My Chevy anology was as based on my knowledge of vintage Chevys, which is about as deep as my detailed knowledge of vintage ("collectable") Omega watches.

While I can't afford a genuine vintage in pristine condition, I can spring for a rebuild.

I understand and respect your views from the purist or collector viewpoint and appreciate the education factor they provide as I have some vintage pieces that I treasure greatly and your philosophy gives me added comfort that those have more than just "it's a only a watch".

Sometimes we just have to make do with what we can get.
 

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....In short, exactly the same problems of identity are encountered in the Chevy case as in the watchco case.
There's one aspect of the whole Watchco affair that we neglected to address. Do you think that the 565 caliber taken from a Geneve, and now happily ticking in a SM300, will after a while start to suffer from an identity crisis?

Seriously, I think with Watchco everyone knows where they stand, they're not being presented as something the're not (vintage), and it's up to each person to decide if the's what they want.
 

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Sometimes we just have to make do with what we can get.
Seriously, I think with Watchco everyone knows where they stand, they're not being presented as something the're not (vintage), and it's up to each person to decide if the's what they want.

I think both of these comments are absolutely right. Personally I'm not really a purist at heart: often I think it is just a way of hiking rarity and thus value and so, while I'm not keen on inaccurate redials or deception, I'll take an honest working watch (even if it isn't 100% as Bienne produced) over perfection.

What I was doing here wasn't really an appeal for perfection, it was merely an investigation of what I think is an interesting philosophical problem thrown into highlight by the watchco 300. I'm sorry that I dropped into pedantic mode.
 

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If you take a look at the amount of empty old cases for 565s and 1012s Watchco is currently offering, they must have made hundreds of SM300s, SM120s and SHOMs.
I'd say thousands as they have been dumping these cases for years. I rather suspect that there are more watchco now than were made of the original!
 

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Love those SM300's... Watchco or vintage. I personally think it is quite possibly the best looking diver that has ever been designed
I can't argue with that!
 

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I think both of these comments are absolutely right. Personally I'm not really a purist at heart: often I think it is just a way of hiking rarity and thus value and so, while I'm not keen on inaccurate redials or deception, I'll take an honest working watch (even if it isn't 100% as Bienne produced) over perfection.

What I was doing here wasn't really an appeal for perfection, it was merely an investigation of what I think is an interesting philosophical problem thrown into highlight by the watchco 300. I'm sorry that I dropped into pedantic mode.
No need to be sorry.

But that's why these philosophical discussions are best conducted over a nice oak bar with a couple of ales to act as mediators.

So much meaning/feeling is lost in pure text over the interwebs ;-)
 

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....there are more watchco now than were made of the original!
You mean...there are more watchco now then the original SM300s were made? ;-)

I agree that from a purist point of view eviscerating old Geneves and Seamasters and recasing movements as Watchco SM300s might seem a crime, but looking at some of those badly beaten up cases Watchco sells, you have to wonder whether those watches would've ever been used again, and that in fact, by doing what they do, Watchco actually hepled perserve some vintage movements.

At least they haven't used them for vintage cufflinks.
 

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I'd buy it if you'd give me the details..... especially seeing that I did not have to deal with FEDEX!!!!
 
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