Omega Constellation Gold Bracelet Refurbishment

A recent job in the workshop involved cleaning and refinishing the bracelet from a stunning Omega Constellation watch.

Omega 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 Seamaster, they make the very popular Constellation.

This particular Omega Constellation is crafted in 18ct gold. It’s always a pleasure to refinish gold – you can achieve excellent results, with the correct tools and techniques of course.

Bracelet Before Restoration

The first step was to remove the bracelet from the case. We then proceeded to fully disassemble each side. This bracelet is held together by pins which we are able to remove using a bracelet pin adjusting tool. The tool allows the pin holder to remain perpendicular to the bracelet, this makes the process safe and avoids damage to the bracelet itself.

bracelet before

Once the bracelet is disassembled you can see the true extent of the cleanliness – it’s remarkable how much grime can build up.

The refinishing process involved stages of polishing the high polish bars and giving a brushed finish to the larger link sections. This is all done using our Durston double polishing motor. For the high polish finish we use Menzerna M5 compound. This is a personal preference – alternatively we could use red Dialux and also achieve excellent results. As we’re working on gold there’s no need to use aggressive polishing mops and compounds – we want to maintain the shape of the bars and as there are no major scratches it’s better to be conservative.

Once the refinishing of each bracelet part is complete, they were given an ultrasonic clean. Each part was then steam cleaned to ensure everything was spotless before reassembly.half of bracelet taken apart

Steam Cleaning

Reassembling the bracelet is a matter of matching up the correct size pins, bars and link sections to maintain the graduated profile of the bracelet. The pins are hammered into place using a watchmakers hammer with a plastic end. This prevents any damage being caused to the bracelet. Once fully reassembled, the results are truly stunning.

Steam cleaning

Finished Bracelet

Do you have an Omega watch in need of repair? Get in contact with us to see how we can help. We are able to repair almost any Omega watch and we offer a comprehensive watch repair service. We cater to clients all around the UK thanks to our fully insured freepost watch repairs service. You can also bring watches in to our showrooms based in Lewes and Uckfield, Sussex. As Business Partners of the British Horological Institute and a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award accredited business, you can be confident when dealing with us.

Finished bracelet

Yours sincerely

David Clark PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Limited

Military Watch Restoration

We are skilled in the repair and restoration of a whole range of different types of watch – both modern and vintage. One group of watches we regularly work on are military watches. These watches tend to have some age to them, but alongside this there’s often a fascinating story behind each and every one.

Arguably the most famous sub-group of military watches is the “Dirty Dozen”. In the 1940s, the MOD needed watches produced to a certain specification for issue to the armed forces. The given specification was demanding due to the conditions some of these timepieces would be used in. Watches needed to be durable, water resistant, accurate timekeepers and have luminous dials/hands. They also needed to display designated serial numbers and codes on the case back and feature a black dial with arabic numerals and a sub-dial for seconds.

Twelve manufacturers were eventually approved to produce these watches – hence the name, the Dirty Dozen. In alphabetical order, these makers were: Buren, Cyma, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex. As you may note, all these makers are Swiss. Unfortunately British watchmaking had been in decline for some time, so lacked the required means of production to make such timepieces.

Omega Dirty Dozen
Omega Dirty Dozen Watch

We’ve been lucky to see a number of “Dirty Dozen” watches throughout the years, though some brands are rarer than others. Take the Grana for example – it’s estimated that only between 1000-1500 were produced – we’ve not had one of these arrive in the workshop quite yet!

Repairing and restoring watches like these is a real skill. Simply due to the age of the watches, there are often many more worn parts. On top of this parts can be scarce, so it may be necessary to make parts to replace anything which is worn. During the restoration of such pieces it is important to be sympathetic to the nature of the timepiece and to appreciate the history behind it. We help guide our clients on the best way to restore such pieces without losing the original character.

It should be said, the “Dirty Dozen” is only one group of Military Watches. We regularly repair many different types, including vintage pocket watches, the CWC G10 & W10, Luftwaffe pilot’s watches, WW1 Trench watches and even military timepieces produced by Rolex and Tudor.

Do you have a military watch in need of repair? If so, get in touch and see how we can help. We are watch repair specialists with a fully insured freepost watch repairs service.  We offer repairs to clients all around the UK and we are experts in the repair of modern and vintage watches. As holders of a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award and business partners of the British Horological Institute you can be confident in the service we provide.

Yours sincerely,

David Clark PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Ltd.

Tag Heuer Repair

One of the brands we regularly see in our workshop is Tag Heuer. As a watch brand, Tag Heuer in its current iteration was established in 1985, though the Heuer company has existed since 1860. Watches are produced both with quartz and automatic movements in a variety of different models including the Aquaracer, Kirium, F1 and Carrera.

Our workshop holds a parts account with Tag Heuer so we are able to obtain genuine Tag Heuer parts and repair many different faults with these watches.

One common repair we tackle is a quartz movement service or complete replacement. If you have a quartz Tag Heuer which has stopped and the battery is not at fault, this is most likely the repair required to get your watch up and running again.

In a quartz service we fully disassemble the watch movement before running it through our watch cleaning machine. Sensitive electronic parts like the circuit cannot be put through the machine, so these are carefully cleaned by hand. After cleaning the movement is reassembled, with appropriate oils used where necessary. The now complete movement is then tested electronically in a variety of different ways to ensure it is performing within the manufacturers tolerance. Test include lower working voltage, coil resistance and power consumption.

A complete movement replacement involves swapping out the entire movement in a like-for-like exchange. This may be necessary if for example the original movement is heavily water damaged.

Both a quartz service and complete movement replacement include ultrasonic cleaning of the case and bracelet.

As a Tag Heuer parts account holder we are able to obtain any case parts which may be required. Common repairs needed include bezel replacement (most often necessary on F1 models where the numbers can fade easily), Crown replacement and fitting a new set of seals to re-establish water resistance on models used in water. We are able to repair very water damaged watches – obtaining anything which needs to be replaced including the dial, hands, seals and of course the movement.

Do you have a Tag Heuer watch in need of repair? Get in contact with us to see how we can help. We are able to repair almost any Tag Heuer watch and with our Tag Heuer parts access we offer a comprehensive service. We cater to clients all around the UK thanks to our fully insured freepost watch repairs service. As a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award accredited business, you can be confident when dealing with us.

Yours sincerely

David Clark PJDip PJGemDip CertGA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son Ltd.

Rolex 18ct Gold Day-Date Restoration

A recent job we had in the workshop involved restoring a rather tired 18ct Gold Rolex Day-Date Automatic watch. This watch had certainly lived a life – the bracelet was extremely worn and stretched, and the movement had not seen a watchmaker for many, many years.

The Rolex watch before its restoration,
having offered many years of loyal service

To tackle such a job we involved both our on-site jeweller and watchmaker. Our jeweller restored the 18ct gold bracelet, whereas our watchmaker serviced and repaired the intricate mechanism.

To restore such a worn bracelet took our jeweller many hours. Each link needed to be carefully broken down into its individual components, and the pins drilled out. He then needed to rebuild the bracelet – reforming some links and pinning every single link to ensure it is strong for many further years of continued wear and enjoyment.

Our Goldsmith, here on-site in Lewes,
worked tirelessly to restore each and
every link within the bracelet.

Our watchmaker found the movement to most certainly be in need of a thorough service. Pivots which should be clean and nicely oiled were found running dry, with residue of old oils and greases broken down and further interfering with the smooth running of the mechanism.

To rectify these issues the entire watch movement is stripped apart, before going through a full cleaning cycle in a specialist watch movement cleaning machine. The movement is then carefully reassembled, with oils and greases used in certain places to ensure optimal performance of the watch for a full service interval. A new mainspring was fitted during the reassembly process too.

On top of the work to the movement, this watch required a new glass and crown – these jobs were also tackled by our watch workshop. This model of Rolex uses a plexi-glass with a cyclops lens to magnify the date. We sourced and fitted a glass based on the Rolex model reference – this presses onto the case before being secured in place by the fluted bezel.

After all the work was completed, the watch undergoes rigorous testing for timekeeping. It is initially regulated by our watchmaker and checked in multiple positions to ensure it is performing as expected. It then is testing for automatic winding on our Elma Cyclomotion winding machine, as well as for power reserve and performance after 24 hours has elapsed.

If you have a Rolex Day-Date or similar model in need of repair, do get in contact with us. We are experts in the repair and restoration of almost any type of wrist and pocket watch. We hold a Feefo Platinum Trusted Service Award – testament to our many satisfied customers. Our fully insured, freepost repairs service is still operational during lockdown.

Yours sincerely

David Clark PJDip PJGemDip Cert GA
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son

Vintage Pocket Watch Restoration

A lot of the work we undertake involves bringing our customers very sentimental timepieces back to life. Today society is at times geared towards throw away and replace, we try to encourage something a little different. What we are offering is a specialist service to breath life back into lifeless timepieces, that have sometimes been residing in ‘that’ drawer we all have somewhere at home.

The wonderful aspect of my job is being able to receive, on many occasions, a watch that has a huge emotional story attached to it for our customers. They passionately ask us to get it working again, and most times this is possible.

We have been working away in the background with our Postal Watch Repair Service, with the retail side of the business being currently shut. It has allowed our master watchmaker to continue working on some of the more challenging restorations, that can take 6-9 months to complete. These such repairs are those very historical or complicated timepieces. One we have been able to release back to a customer is a Pair Case Pocket Watch that was made in 1790. I have been mesmerised just listening to this watch, with such a distinctive sound.

I wanted to share some photos of a pocket watch that we released back to our customer last week. When it first came into us, it was in a very poor state of repair. The front glass was missing, the dial was cracked and badly marked. The mechanism did not function at all, with as broken mainspring. The case is also very worn, but this was left as it was, to retain the character that the customer loved. They did however wish for the dial to be restored. Please see the before and after photos below. If you have vintage pocket watch restoration that you would like to discuss, please contact us.

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My watchmaker sent me this video which I found fascinating. The video below shows him working on a beautiful piece and very special piece. It is a chiming repeater watch, this is a timepiece that chimes when asked to indicate the time, this particular one is a Carillon repeater. One of the few people in the UK who can work on such complicated timepieces.

If you have any questions, or indeed would like to see if we can help bring back your cherished timepiece to life, contact us.

David Clark P.J. Dip. P.J. Gem. Dip Cert. G.A.
Managing Director
W.E. Clark & Son and W.E. Clark & Son Watch Repairs

Rolex Bracelet- Here’s to another 35 years!

Recently we were asked by our customer to carry out a Rolex bracelet repair. They asked ” Is there anything you can do to save my gold Rolex watch bracelet?” It came into our Lewes workshop in a pretty poor condition, it had clearly been well loved over the past 35 years. This is great, as a lovely timepiece such as this deserves to be worn and not locked away. It does, however, mean at some point a little TLC will need to be bestowed. The bracelet was solid 18ct yellow gold, and part of the prestigious Rolex Day-Date model.

Rolex Bracelet Before Repair

This was in fact a job for our talented Goldsmith. The bracelet suffered badly from what is known as ‘sag’. A situation that occurs when the gold links have worn and the pins that hold each link together are wearing thin, causing the bracelet to gape in-between the links. In this case, it was a rather extreme example, the wear was so serious that the watch bracelet was holding together by a thread in places.

To begin with, our goldsmith disassembled each and every component part of every link, to assess what work was required. Some links required repair, and many new 18 carat pins had to be made. It really was a painstaking but very satisfying task.

 

Once the repairs were completed to the links, our goldsmith was able to reassemble the bracelet- and reunite with the watch. Here is the finished piece, truly spectacular!

Please contact us to discuss any watch repair or restoration.

Backwind Gold Omega

We recently repaired this interesting gold Omega watch. As you can see from the picture, this timepiece does not have the conventional crown (winder) located in the 3 o’clock position. Hand setting and winding is instead done using a winder located on the reverse of the watch. Hence such timepieces are known as “backwinders”.The movement (mechanism) is an Omega calibre 440, which is the backwind version of the calibre 580. It’s a 17 jewel, incabloc shock protected movement, which runs at 21,600 vibrations per hour.

This particular watch showed signs of historic water ingress, so required a full service and a number of replacement parts. The movement was fully disassembled before being cleaned in our Greiner ACS 900 ultrasonic watch cleaning machine. After a clean and inspection of each part (replacing anything damaged/worn) it’s time for reassembly. The movement is carefully put back together, with a new mainspring fitted to ensure a reliable source of power. During reassembly the watch is carefully oiled using tiny amounts of specialist oils designed for such timepieces.

Alongside the servicing of the movement, the case and bracelet were given some attention. These were given a light buff and polish, before an ultrasonic and steam clean.

There was also significant discolouration to the dial on its arrival with us – again, due to the historic water ingress. We had the dial fully restored back to excellent condition.
Omega Backwind Front

Omega Backwind Reverse

After refitting the dial and hands to the movement, the watch is reassembled. A beautiful timepiece restored to continue providing many years of reliable service.

This restoration was a pleasure to undertake, please contact us to discuss your Omega Watch Restoration

Call or email us today.

Vintage Rolex Watch Repair- Heirloom Restored

It was the end of another busy week for us repairing watches. A customer called us to ask about the possibility of helping them with their watch. The vintage Rolex timepiece had suffered severe water damage. The water had made its way into the mechanical mechanism, and then sadly caused damage to the dial as well.

The customer initially had little hope that we could assist them in any way.  Upon receipt of the watch we were able to fully assess the damage to the timepiece.

It was clear that once the Rolex had been dissasembled that corrosion had set in, so it was vital we dried out the timepiece to make sure that any further damage could be stopped.

Our customer instructed us to proceed with a full Vintage Restoration, this included overhailing the mechanism and then sympathetically restoring the dial. We were also able to source a replacement Rolex button that was contemporary to the piece.

We think you will agree the visible result of the dial restoration below is spectalular:

Rolex Restoration

If you have a treasured timepiece that you would like us to offer a FREE no obligation quotation for repair, please fill out our FREEPOST request form, to use our Postal Watch Repair Service.