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Until I saw MFB Scotland's Custom Speedmaster thread, I always considered mods on Omegas or similar-level watches to be blasphemous. I have to say, however, that I am changing my stance somewhat. BTW, nice mod, MFB!

Now I still would draw the line at turning a speedy into something outlandish (ie painting the dial pink), but replacing with different hands or changing the dial from one Speedy edition to another, in order to satisfy one's aesthetic sensibilities seems okay.

What are your opinions? On mods in general, or to types of mods or specific mods.
 

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I don't think I would ever mod one of my Omegas, or want to purchase a modded one. But there are a few that are well-planned and look great. Whenever I buy vintage or pre-owned I'm a stickler for provenance and originality, so my opinion is that the modder should either return the watch to its original state before selling or be very up front about it and include the original parts when selling.
 

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I have seen some nicely modded speedies and seamasters here on wus so i am for modding but i agree with Andy K that you should keep the original parts so you can revert or send the parts with the watch if needed and be up front about it when selling.
 

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I like a tastefully done modification to watches, and cars a like. When you see some young lads car with a bit of cheap plastic tat glued on then it just looks pants, but on the other hand look at what AMG used to do with a bog standard mercedes. They would take for example, a C 180, remove everything and rebuild it with a bigger and better engine, uprate the suspension and brakes to cope with the extra power. Then they would have to fit modified wheel arches to fit the bigger wheels, but it was all done very subtlety so most people wouldn't know it was any different from any other Merc. (I do like the C43 / C55)
With watches if the modification is done with OE parts and so that a non watch geek would be none the wiser then that is an acceptable mod / improvement for the owners pleasure.

*Disclaimer;(all OE parts should be kept incase of future resale so it can be put back to its original state if the new owner desires)* -I often do this with my cars and motorbikes-
 

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I'm all for Omega mods, naturally. I've generally used Omega OEM parts in mine, but I'm not even a big stickler for that (I've got a Preik caseback on my Pre-moon because it's the best choice short of grinding off the "First watch" markings like Fr. John had done). In some cases, it's a pretty subtle change, like the brushed bezel on my Electric Blue. In others, the change isn't just aesthetic, but functional, like the Gen. 2 crown on my Gen. 1 X-33. Mods should be disclosed on sale, certainly, but in most cases, the purpose of enthusiast customization is for the modifications to be evident. I don't think of, say, John_in_SC's Speedy Panda to be at all the same type of thing as an eBay Ranchmaster with a "refinished" dial. To conflate these two groups in discussion just isn't constructive.

There's a fair number of enthusiast modders on this forum and I'm happy to be one of their number. You can spend months finding a whole set of rare parts and that's sometimes as fun (and frustrating) as finding a particular rare watch. There's a vibrant Seiko modding community on WUS and I hope that the same spirit of inventiveness and mechanical handiness spreads to more people over here.

Maybe pictures will be more persuasive.


Omega "Smurfmaster" Professional


Silver Speedy


Seamaster PlanPro


B
rushed-bezel EB
 

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I cant wait for my Speedy Pro to return to me with the panda dial.

I agree that all original parts should be retained and full disclosure in the event of sale.

Please check out GT Time's PO mod. IMO this is the PO that Omega should have made.

I am actively looking into sourcing that dial later this year.

I may well leave my existing PO hands / bezel as the watch would have both green and blue lume.

PS anyone who is not convinced on mods should check out ASRSPR Gemini mod. Again, IMO a slight lift above the original LE.
 

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I like a tastefully done modification to watches, and cars a like.
I feel the same way. The following few photos explain my thinking further...

This was my coveted BMW back in college. (Yes, I fully understand that was very fortunate to have this car then.) It was the new model then, and the E36 M3s had come out just a year or two before. The Motorsport division was much smaller back then, and there weren't many M parts or accessories available to the aftermarket buyer (which was a good thing); anything "M" was a bit more special back then, IMO. I sourced these OEM M3 wheels for my Euro sport package straight-six E36 coupe. It already had the factory lowered stance, and the body colored lower sections. To me, it screamed out for larger, wheel well filling factory wheels. 17" wheels were huge at the time. I lucked out with my M3 wheels, and I felt they perfectly enhanced my car's appearance, and really tightened up the handling as well. I believe BBS made these wheels for BMW/M.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Personal luxury car Bmw


Anyway, I didn't re-badge/fake badge my car an M3, or anything ridiculous like that. I just appreciated, even if only for myself, the improved aesthetics and handling that these beautiful wheels added to my car. I see modding my 2254.50 with the 2230.50 "Non-AC" dial as pretty much doing the same thing. I can appreciate a little fine-tuning, but basically only if done with OEM and appropriate-to-the-specific-model parts.

Another quick example. This is one of my personal cars, my Audi TT quattro coupe. (Wow, this was the current model when I left to work abroad! It's been sitting covered and secure for all these years. It'll be fun to have an essentially "brand new," LNIB (;-)) Mk I TT when I finally get home.) It's also been very lightly modded. I installed the factory Euro TT quattro Sport suspension, and a set of BBS LM forged two-piece wheels in 18". Again, I only mod if the parts are all OEM, or as close as possible. In this case, for me, BBS is as close to factory as it gets for a high-end aftermarket wheel maker. They make many of the OEM wheels for Audi, BMW, etc.

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Audi Automotive design


Alloy wheel Rim Wheel Tire Auto part


Anyway, I agree that making very subtle, model-appropriate modifications is okay. If it adds to your personal enjoyment of your personal belonging, then where's the harm? I also agree that these mods should be properly explained at time of sale.
 

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This brings up some very interesting issues of ethics! I don't think that there's any standard for the legitimacy of alot of gray area modification activities when they apply to sales.

Let's consider an extreme case:

1. If someone to slap a Snoopy dial and caseback on a regular Speedy, can he or she represent it as an unnumbered limited edition in a sale?

What about the common ebay practice of:

2. "Refinishing" a vintage dial, so that it looks completely different, resembling a more collectible model (e.g. like the faux-Rancheros that are everywhere) but without being explicit forgeries (e.g. they don't actually say "Ranchero") and only disclosing that the dial has been "refinished" without clarification?

What about installing a correct movement from a more common model model into a less common model?

3. If I have a rare straight lug Speedmaster case, is it legitimate to install a cal. 321 movement from a later Speedmaster or Seamaster chrono and sell that without disclosure?

What about swapping case parts between common models without disclosure?

4. If I take an orange/black PO2500 and swapped out the bezel with an OEM orange PO2500 bezel, can I sell the watch now as an orange bezel PO because it has exactly the same parts as a factory orange/orange PO?

What about the same part?

5. If I ding up the bezel on my Blue Bond, can I install an identical new OEM bezel and sell it without disclosure?

In my mind, this is a reasonable ranking from total illegitimate (1) to basically trivial (5). In personal practice, I'd probably be okay with 4 and higher, but feel that 3 is clearly on the side of wrong.

Thoughts? How far down the scale is your limit? Or do you disagree with my ranking entirely? Did I miss some important cases that would help elucidate this problem?
 

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This brings up some very interesting issues of ethics! I don't think that there's any standard for the legitimacy of alot of gray area modification activities when they apply to sales.

Let's consider an extreme case:

1. If someone to slap a Snoopy dial and caseback on a regular Speedy, can he or she represent it as an unnumbered limited edition in a sale?

What about the common ebay practice of:

2. "Refinishing" a vintage dial, so that it looks completely different, resembling a more collectible model (e.g. like the faux-Rancheros that are everywhere) but without being explicit forgeries (e.g. they don't actually say "Ranchero") and only disclosing that the dial has been "refinished" without clarification?

What about installing a correct movement from a more common model model into a less common model?

3. If I have a rare straight lug Speedmaster case, is it legitimate to install a cal. 321 movement from a later Speedmaster or Seamaster chrono and sell that without disclosure?

What about swapping case parts between common models without disclosure?

4. If I take an orange/black PO2500 and swapped out the bezel with an OEM orange PO2500 bezel, can I sell the watch now as an orange bezel PO because it has exactly the same parts as a factory orange/orange PO?

What about the same part?

5. If I ding up the bezel on my Blue Bond, can I install an identical new OEM bezel and sell it without disclosure?

In my mind, this is a reasonable ranking from total illegitimate (1) to basically trivial (5). In personal practice, I'd probably be okay with 4 and higher, but feel that 3 is clearly on the side of wrong.

Thoughts? How far down the scale is your limit? Or do you disagree with my ranking entirely? Did I miss some important cases that would help elucidate this problem?
Great post and thought provoking.

Certainly there are different degrees of "acceptability" IMO on your different examples.

Re the PO bezel change. I originally purchased the orange bezel PO and swapped to an OEM black bezel.

I would not have previously disclosed the change. Not for any dishonest reason but because I would view this as a "genuine" factory PO.

However, after reflection the papers and cards would not match.So, I would certainly now disclose this.

Re my Speedy Mod....absolutely. It is not a genuine LE and as such I would ensure that any potential buyer has all the
relevant information for them to make an informed decision.

Some area are clearly grey but other veer into misrepresentation such as example 1.
 

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Silver Speedy
Beautiful Speedy! I have a vintage 1974 Speedmaster that I've been thinking about performing the exact same silver dial mod. In my case, I've been looking at using the black hands for some deeper contrast.

I've been holding back because of this very debate - if modding a vintage watch is considered blasphemous? Maybe this thread will finally convince me one way or another.

As for modding cars, I believe in the OEM plus philosophy. I think selectively modding a car with OEM parts or high quality parts, like BBS wheels (nice choice Dixan), can enhance the look, feel and performance of the car. I think the same philosophy can be applied to watches as well.
 

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I would not have previously disclosed the change. Not for any dishonest reason but because I would view this as a "genuine" factory PO.
However, after reflection the papers and cards would not match.So, I would certainly now disclose this.
I'm going to bait you a little here :) - this observation is rather keen, but is the essential point that it's wrong because it would be conceivable for the buyer to find out? I know that I'm putting words into your mouth here (forgive me) and that the superficial condemnation of "doing good things only when people are watching" oversimplifies some obvious practical concerns of selling things.

So what if it hypothetically weren't possible? If we were talking about a manufacturer with alot worse records than Omega. When a highly constrained supply isn't an issue (i.e. you're not selling membership into a club of 500 people who own a certain Limited Edition), is the the condition of the watch at the point when it left the factory important enough to merit ethical concern? Or is the product just the product and the only concern is accurately describing what an item is rather than its provenance?
 

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Beautiful Speedy! I have a vintage 1974 Speedmaster that I've been thinking about performing the exact same silver dial mod. In my case, I've been looking at using the black hands for some deeper contrast.

I've been holding back because of this very debate - if modding a vintage watch is considered blasphemous? Maybe this thread will finally convince me one way or another.
Those hands do appear quite gray in some light, but can seem darker in others. They were actually sold to me by Watchco as "black" hands, so be careful about that if you feel strongly. From what I can tell, the black hands with silver posts are darker; perhaps someone like John_in_SC can step and comment on that. Here's a shot where it looks reasonably black:



As for modding vintage watches. I'd like to think that we should consider vintage in two discrete categories - one, where any old watch is a vintage watch, and the other, where it a combination of rarity and the embodiment of some transcendental (or cynically, "imaginary") quality of the past that makes certain watches (or cars, etc) vintage.

I think that it's foolish to consider the first category sacrosanct, especially given the long tradition of jury-rigging solutions to problems that arise when factory parts run out (there's alot of "custom" Omegas out of Bienne with the wrong crown or chapter ring).

On the other hand, modifying the second category would seem to detract from its ill-defined historical (cynically, "histrionic") essence. It's like why the dot-over-90 Speedmaster bezels are favored over the later, but very similar dot-on-the-right-of-90 ones. In those cases, making a change to this equation is, if you tend toward the melodramatic, destroying the culture of the past.

I'm not really against this line of thought, but people can take it a bit too far. Destroying a "discontinued modern classic" like the 2254 by adding a non-AC dial and a different second hand is an example. The 2254 is a great watch, but its recent vintage and common manufacture keeps it plainly in the "old watch" kind of vintage.

In my opinion, the mainline 861 Speedies of the 1970s are also there too. There's alot of them and they're not unique or inventive - they're designed to look pretty much exactly like pre-moon speedies. I say - go ahead!

I am thinking of modifying a cal. 321 145.012-67. I'm not quite certain where one of those falls. I imagine that it might raise a few eyebrows. We'll see!
 

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I'm going to bait you a little here :) - this observation is rather keen, but is the essential point that it's wrong because it would be conceivable for the buyer to find out? I know that I'm putting words into your mouth here (forgive me) and that the superficial condemnation of "doing good things only when people are watching" oversimplifies some obvious practical concerns of selling things.

So what if it hypothetically weren't possible? If we were talking about a manufacturer with alot worse records than Omega. When a highly constrained supply isn't an issue (e.g. you're not selling membership into a club of 500 people who own a certain Limited Edition), is the the condition of the watch at the point when it left the factory important enough to merit ethical concern? Or is the product just the product and the only concern is accurately describing what an item is rather than its provenance?
[/QUOTE

For me it is probably a bit more simple than your observation.

I would not want to misrepresent something that is not "genuine". Genuine is difficult to define based on your Snoopy Speedy example.

If all the watch components were the same (i.e. case, movement , dial etc etc) it still would not be part of the LE run i.e. no box or papers.

I am not a great fan of LE watches in general. But people will pay a premium because they are purchasing a limited example.

Part of the reason I am modding my Speedy is that I really like this LE but I would not pay the market premium for 1 of the 300 available.

I will, however, have a fairly unique watch which I will enjoy based on this criteria.
 

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For me modding a vintage is more a no-no then a modern watch.

As for what is acceptable: if what you make can be misrepresented as a different model # from the OEM then saying so is a must.

If a "mod" is indicative of what would be done by a brand service center (#5) to return a watch to factory fresh condition then disclosure is not needed.

So 1-4 disclosure needed though only 1-3 are Frankens to me.
 

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I guess this is a bit of a follow on thread from the 'modded 2254' where I guess I opened this can of worms.
I believe there is a diffrence between cars and things like watches. Having said that, when I have modded cars (like my Lotus Elan +2S) I have also always kept the original parts and sold them with the car in case the new owner wished to change it back. Case in point here is my Lotus

Land vehicle Vehicle Car Classic car Coupé
Land vehicle Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Steering wheel
Auto part Engine Vehicle Fuel line Car


Those who know the car could probably spot the mods fairly easily but it isn't anything that couldn't be put right. And that is, I think, the key here.
It isn't neccessarily about whether you would put it right or sell the watch with the parts, it's more about the 'heirloom factor'.

Think of it this way - in 50/60 years when you're gone, your grandson fishes your 'old watch' out of his dads sock drawer, has a bit of a look and gets on his computer to do some research. Can't find the watch in the Omega database so decides to sign up to a forum very much like WatchUSeek where he proudly posts photos with a request for a bit of help. Our grandsons, proud WIS's that they are, know straight away that this is a "bitser" (22nd Century word for a franken as it was decided that the word "Franken" was politically incorrect given that the ability to sew on body parts discovered early in 2065) and proceed to tell him so.
Well, he then asks, how do I restore it to its original state? Oooooh thats going to be hard, they haven't made dials for the 2254 in 20 years. You might be lucky and search around but I don't like your chances!

Whilst I've used a little poetic licence, I hope the point has been made. Me personally, I wouldn't mod a watch like an Omega/Rolex/Breitling etc. Seiko, hell why not. Mind you, it's your watch, do you what you like.
 
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