Omega Automatic Seamaster Restoration

A recent restoration project for one of our clients involved fully servicing and repairing a vintage Omega Seamaster.

Omega as a brand have a huge, interesting history, perhaps beyond the scope of this blog post. Suffice to say they are one of the most prominent watch companies in the world, with numerous inventions, innovations and awards to their name. Their iconic Speedmaster was the first watch worn on the moon and amongst other popular models including the De Ville and Constellation, they make the very popular Seamaster.

The Omega Seamaster was introduced by Omega in 1948 and was stylistically at least somewhat based on designs made for the Royal Navy towards the end of the war. Originally one of the key features of the watch was a rubber o-ring gasket designed to provide water resistance – a feature which at the time was not as common as it is now.

In 1995 Omega partnered with the James Bond franchise. This further cemented the Seamaster as an iconic line of watches, with numerous “Bond” models produced which are still hugely desirable to this day.

The Omega Seamaster belonging to our client is a model dating from the early 60s. It has a stainless steel, three part case (i.e. a case back, middle and bezel) and a great ‘crosshair’ dial. The movement is an Omega 501 – a great quality, vintage automatic movement.

On arrival in the workshop this watch was barely ticking. Upon inspection there was a lot of dried up oil and debris in the movement, so a full service and a new mainspring was required. During a full service we completely disassemble the movement and run it through our specialist watch movement cleaning machine. We also run the case and bracelet through a separate ultrasonic cleaner. After cleaning, the movement is carefully reassembled and oiled, before being adjusted and tested. The entire watch is then tested on our rotating testing machine to confirm the automatic winding mechanism is operating correctly.

Do you have an Omega Seamaster in need of repair? From vintage to modern pieces, we are able to help. We remain open during lockdown and you can get your watch to us by using our fully insured, freepost postal repairs service. Contact us to find out more.

Verge Timepiece Restoration

In our workshop we see some pieces where you wish the watch could speak and tell its story. Take this wonderful verge pocket watch for example. It dates from 1799 – which means George III was King when this watch was produced!

Left: Outer Pair Case & Timepiece Right: Timepiece Inside Pair Case

When we say “Verge” this refers to the type of escapement – the part of the watch which controls the rate at which the gear train advances or ticks. The quality and design of the escapement is thus very important to achieving accurate timekeeping. The Verge escapement was used from the late 13th century to the mid 19th century. As the first mechanical escapement, its development was extremely important in allowing the creation of mechanical clocks, and later, watches.

As you may expect from an early escapement design, the Verge does have a few “quirks” which generally prevent it from achieving good levels of timekeeping accuracy. The Verge is very sensitive to changes in drive force (i.e. when fully wound a spring will be pushing ‘harder’ than when it is almost unwound). This means each Verge watch needed to be fitted with a Fusee mechanism to equalise the force of the mainspring in order to achieve any level of accuracy.

Beautiful movement of the timepiece, fusee chain visible (right)

It is also a ‘recoil’ escapement. This means during the cycle of the escapement the crown wheel is pushed back momentarily, which then pushes back through the wheel train. This increases the amount of friction and wear seen throughout the movement.

Even with the above ‘quirks’, we’ve been able to achieve a good level of timekeeping accuracy for this watch. It arrived with us complete with a plastic bag of wheels and now it’s fully functional and keeping time to within 15 minutes a day. Quite remarkable for a 222 year old watch!

Very few watchmakers are able to work on these pieces. We have the knowledge and skills to be able to take on such repairs, alongside our work on more modern mechanical and quartz watches.

If you have a watch in need of repair, do not hesitate to contact us. We offer a fully insured, freepost, postal repairs service and take on repairs from customers based all around the UK.

Best wishes,

David Clark PJGemDip PJDip CertGA
Managing Director