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Discussion Starter #1
My knowledge of the whole Omega automatic calibres since the founding date of the company is pretty limited but I would like to know your opinion on which calibre you think is the overall best. Key factors for justifying your choice would be:

1. Accuracy
2. Consistency in accurate timing
3. COSC certification
4. Ability to withstand shocks, hits, vibrations, extreme temps, G's, magnetic fields etc.
5. Visual appeal
6. Servicing costs
7. Frequency of servicing
8. Other factors you may find significant
 

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I am a huge vintage omega fan but for the best, I'd have to say the new cal. 8500 - in my opinion, it can hold its own against anything out there today. While it may not have the hand finishing of offerings from patek and lange, it is more accurate and consistent than those movements at a fraction of the cost.
 

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I am a huge vintage omega fan but for the best, I'd have to say the new cal. 8500 - in my opinion, it can hold its own against anything out there today. While it may not have the hand finishing of offerings from patek and lange, it is more accurate and consistent than those movements at a fraction of the cost.
If people aren't being nostalgic that is the only answer I would expect to see.
 

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The Cal 8500 is a fine movement, but I really don't think that it is such an obvious hands down winner. As I have said many times before, every movement is a series of compromises and, as such, it is hard to compare one set of compromises with another. The 8500 certainly has the finest escapement that Omega have ever made, but in standard trim it is neither poised nor regulated with the care that could take full advantage of either the escapement, the FSB or the hairspring. However, we can get an idea of how good it could be from its predecessor, the Cal.2500.

The accuracy that the 2500 is capable of is the stuff of myth. As it stands, I know of a couple of 2500 movements that, after careful fettling, can easily meet quartz standards of accuracy. As yet, I haven't heard any tales of 8500 being regulated to this sort of level, but given the balance, spring and escapement, it is only a matter of time. As it stands, the 2500 has a strong case in its own right as it has actually proven that it can be fettled to far greater stability and accuracy than mere COSC. More to the point, the 2500, with the 'cockroach' genes of the 2892 is comparatively easy to fix and fettle and has a thirty year heritage of indestructibility. However, the purist would argue that it isn't really an Omega movement, merely an Omega escapement.

However, returning to 'quartz like accuracy' it is easily forgotten that, in the old 'observatory' accuracy competitions, the Cal.30T2:



could also perform this feat in the forties. In slightly more ordinary trim it was, and is, about as accurate as the current 'standard' 8500 even with an ordinary escapement with a mere Breguet Overcoil. However one difference is that the 30T2 can be easily regulated at home without paying £300 for a special tool.

The 30T2 is one movement that has stood the test of time. It may not be automatic, but it is rugged, robust and handsome. It is also cheap and easy to service, even today. It is one of Omega's calibres that has undeniably earned the label 'legendary'. (Not least by being the movement in several of the RAF's finest watches.)

http://www.ninanet.net/watches/others09/Mediums/momega1894.html

Is it a better movement than the 8500? despite lacking the Coaxial Escapement which, as I have argued before, is the best thing to happen to horology in three hundred years, the 30T2 combines elegance, simplicity and accuracy. The Cal.8500 exhibits two of these but, to my mind, does have the feel of several complex solutions looking for a problem that isn't there.

However, I have merely compared the 8500, 2500 and 30T2 as a rhetorical device.

The reason is simple: there is an obvious contender for Omega's overall best movement, and that is the Cal.564 / 565. I choose the 564 in particular for the simple reason that they have a quick set date, a convenience that the earlier 5xx lacked. The fact is, pretty well any five (or seven) series Omega has the right to be described as legendary.

http://www.ranfft.de/cgi-bin/bidfun-db.cgi?10&ranfft&0&2uswk&Omega_562

From a personal point of view I prefer the 751 and the 565 for the simple reason that they are almost identical and yet still rationally affordable. So, why would I say that the 564 is the overall best movement Omega have ever made, and how do I defend myself from the assertion that I am simply being nostalgic?

First, it is simply beautiful:



Second, it is easy to regulate. the Swan Neck regulation system is both lovely to look at, devastatingly effective and simple to use.



Third, it is simple to repair; an elegant, no nonsense design which is precisely as complex as it needs to be and no more. The regulator (above) exemplifies this; remove the swan neck and you are left with a simple 'stick' regulation. All the Swan Neck regulator is is a spring (the swan neck) and a screw. The spring pushes the 'stick' firmly against the screw ensuring that any adjustment that is made to the screw is transmitted directly to the stick. Thus a simple watchmaker's screwdriver is all that is needed to make incredibly fine adjustment. Simple, beautiful and very precise.


Did I mention that it is beautiful?


Fourth: while, when set up correctly it can be quite astonishingly accurate, the fact is that the 5xx movements flew through COSC in quite astonishing numbers over the years they were produced. even today you can find movements that have seen little in the way of love but are still stunningly accurate even before the service in which you discover just how remarkable their accuracy was in the light of their condition. This is a watch that can transcend abuse (even if it shouldn't).

Fifth, The power reserve. One of the selling points of the 8500. The 8500 uses two barrels to achieve a sixty hour power reserve, which is rather similar to the Favre Leuba 'Twin Power' movement of the sixties. However, the 5xx uses a simple single barrel and achieves a fifty hour reserve by simply being very efficient.

Finally, the 5xx is the movement in most of the great watches of the golden age. From the Pie Pan Connies to the Sm300, this was, and remains, the movement of champions.

So, is it a better movement than the 8500? Well, it is definitely easier and cheaper to service. In standard trim it is as accurate and stable and, like the 8500 it can be fettled to a far higher level of stability and accuracy as it proved repeatedly in observatory chronometer competitions. (to be fair I am sure that an 8500 with similar preparation would beat it, but by how much?)

The 5xx is proven over a lifetime of service, it is very hard to kill. I know which I would rather have fall off my wrist onto a hard floor: the 5xx would be less likely to break and far, far less to fix if it did. Likewise, a skipped service or two would be far cheaper to remedy and, on past evidence, less likely to cause a problem: Omega really took case hardening seriously then. Seriously in a way they don't seem to any more.

The aesthetics are in the eye of the beholder. I think they are both lovely, but the 565 is an ungilded lilly. I prefer less make up myself.

As for servicing costs, watchmakers like working on them and parts are still reasonably plentiful and comfortably cheap. In my experience a simple service is about a quarter of the cost of a service on the 8500. Any parts needed will, I suspect, merely add to the difference.

The fact is that, there are a lot of 5xx movements left around. they just resist entropy rather well. Firstly they are tough little buggers and secondly they inspire their owners to keep them going, like an old, but well loved, pet.

There is one final factor. For about the price of an 8500 engined watch you could conceivably buy an immaculate example of a Piepan Connie, a Bulls Eye Dynamic and a Sm300 with enough change left to buy an ex RAF Omega 30T2 (as worn in the Battle of Britain). That is, a series of legendary movements in a series of legendary watches.

Maybe, in fifty years time, you might be able to say all of this about the 8500.

Maybe...

*edit*

And don't forget, I didn't even mention the Cal.1040!
 

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I have a 1040 in my recently acquired 70's TV Dial Seamaster "jedi" and recently brought it to my watch guy for servicing who recommended I just leave it alone. If I wear it every day and leave it face up overnight on the dresser it keeps time to within +3 secs a week and without the chrono running has a power reserve of about 30-35 hours.
On the downside Omega quote approx. $750 for a service
 

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This whole post is beyond my knowledge (especially regarding vintage movements).

But as a layman, I can definitely say that I can't wait to get hold of watch powered by the 8500... Especially with a display back! :p
 

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M4tt - I was hoping you would respond with such a robust answer!

As an owner of two 2500c movements I am once again pleased to see that your opinion still stands.
 

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As an owner of two 2500c movements I am once again pleased to see that your opinion still stands.
It certainly does. My firm belief is that anyone who owns a 2500 should get it fettled properly to draw out the perfection lurking within! However, I would sell my soul, or at least JoeK's soul (sorry Joe) for a 751 or 1570 with a coaxial escapement...
 

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... Secondly, it is easy to regulate. the Swan Neck regulation system is both lovely to look at, devastatingly effective and simple to use. ...

... The fact is that, there are a lot of 5xx movements left around. they just resist entropy rather well. Firstly they are tough little buggers and secondly they insipire their owners to keep them going, like an old pet. ...
Not that anything that Matt writes ever needs it, but I can certainly vouch for that.

I have one with a 562 movement and I could take apart (and put together :-d ) this one and have it running to about 10 seconds a day. This was AFTER the service guy at a dealership told me that it needs to have the balance and the spring replaced! I refused and decided to see what I could do with the original material. It had been lying unattended and quite dead for over 15 years when I got my hands on it.

Currently it runs consistently and precisely at this pace. This is WITHOUT good professional attention! At one time it made me wonder what all the COSC fuss was all about. (But we shall let that one rest... )

Matt, your post inspires me to see what I can get out of this movement. And by the sound of it, and the fact that it is so consistent, I am certain to get it very very accurate indeed.

Thanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Will this new 8500 calibre be used in the current collections or is Omega planning on releasing new ones?
 

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I've seen (and owned) some really shot looking Seamasters with cal. 501s in them just got up and started ticking and keeping time, which I thought was pretty remarkable. Love my cal. 505 Pie Pan too.

I have a soft spot for the ultra thin cal. 711/ 712 for some reason. It's just... neat b-) The cal. 750/ 751/ 752 day dates with the quick change date are nice too...

Can't go wrong with any of the 10xx movements either.
 

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Will this new 8500 calibre be used in the current collections or is Omega planning on releasing new ones?
Don't ask me.

*edit* Or to put it another way: if someone goes to the trouble of writing well over a thousand illustrated words answering your question, it is considered rude to ignore it.
 
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Not an automatic but my forty year old Omega 'Hummers" certainly do a decent job of timekeeping . Parts are still available and service is reasonable. The sensuous second hand is frosting on the cake. As smooth as silk.
 

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I think you need some significant time to really come up with a Omega answer. 10 years or longer might be a good starting point to see about the durability of a new movement.
 

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Will this new 8500 calibre be used in the current collections or is Omega planning on releasing new ones?
New Calibers, or new watches with the Cal. 8500?

The talk is that Omega wants to use the Cal. 8500 (and variations of it, like GMT, Annual Calendar etc...) in all their watches.

As far as new watch collections... Only Swatch Group knows that...

P.S. I believe that the Cal. 8500 reads to be and has the potential to be the best Automatic from Omega to date, until the next best thing comes along. Other then that, several great Calibers have already been mentioned, and the Cal. 2500 is more then likely through advances in machining and the added benefit of a more efficient escapement to be the current top champion, but I defer to Matt's 5xx discussion. The Cal. 8500 is set to take over, especially when the Silicon Balance Spring and maybe later the entire escapement becomes a standard feature. (Less friction, less wear, no problems with magnetic or temperature variations...)
 

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Don't ask me.

*edit* Or to put it another way: if someone goes to the trouble of writing well over a thousand illustrated words answering your question, it is considered rude to ignore it.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge about both vintage and modern Omega movements on this forum, M4tt. They're informative, well written, and very much appreciated!

Cheers
 

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Will this new 8500 calibre be used in the current collections or is Omega planning on releasing new ones?
Hey Anon,

I thought you decided a few weeks ago that you only wanted to wear quartz watches. Why the sudden interest in the automatic movements? I thought you deemed them unreliable? :think:

Regards,
Eric
 

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As stated above, M4tt's posts don't need any confirmation.

...but I'll do it anyway! The 564 is the cream of that series (55x, 56x, 75x) and until the 8500 displaces it with a few decades of stats on consistency it will stand as my favorite. Even it's immediate predecessor - the 591 - is capable of great accuracy. I have one in a Seamaster from 1960 that is WELL within COSC specs at +3 seconds per day with no wild swings from positional error.
 
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