Service: Omega Seamaster Professional Planet Ocean 168.1665 / calibre 8500

IMG_3090I’m sure most of our readers are as curious as I was to get my hands on an 8500 movement for the first time. I had of course seen one before, but so far, no service had been required. So I went out and bought myself a 1 1/2 year old Planet Ocean with box and papers in order to have a good look.

Before opening it, I do a bit of testing. I get a 67 hour 50 minutes power reserve, and that is impressive. The two barrels are doing their work it seems. In terms of accuracy, I am disappointed, as the watch gains 4 to 5 seconds per day, and not at a constant rate. I expected much better from a 1.5 year old 8500. Continue reading

Swatch Group parts policy [with addendum]

As most of our readers will know, the Swatch Group has decided to stop selling spare parts for their watches to independent repairers such as us. This will come into force on 1/1/2016.

This will affect the owners of the following watch brands:

  • Longines
  • Omega
  • Rado
  • Union Glashuette
  • Breguet
  • Harry Winston
  • Blancpain
  • Glashuette Original
  • Jaquet Droz
  • Leon Hatot
  • Tissot
  • Balmain
  • Certina
  • Mido
  • Hamilton
  • Calvin Klein
  • Swatch
  • Flik Flak

Continue reading

Service: Omega Speedmaster 105.012-64 / calibre 321

IMG_2591I’m sure this post will raise some controversy… John sent in his Speedmaster for a service, and it didn’t look too good. The hands are bent and have lost their luminous compound and lots of their white paint, and the dial markers have been re-lumed with some dark green gunk, which wasn’t even properly applied. So in our book, nothing original to preserve, but a lot of room for improvement. The paint that’s come off the bezel is fine in our book, as the bezel is original – we will leave it as it is. Continue reading

Service: Longines Nonius Chronograph / calibre 332 / Valjoux 726

IMG_2014On first sight, you wonder what the strange central chronograph second hand is for … On the right of the needle, there is a scale with 9 graduations. After about 5 seconds of thinking, the light went on, and I realized that this was a vernier scale, just like on a caliper. This allows you to read 1/10s of time elapsed… well it would, if the movement beat at 36,000 b.p.h, but this one only does 6 beats a second, so there are in reality on 6 different positions on which the watch can stop to give different 1/10s readings.

Nevertheless a lovely feature, and a pretty rare one. The augmented mass of the central hand isn’t ideal, and it can come off quite easily when the chronograph is reset. Continue reading

Service: Wolna calibre 2809 / Zenith 135 copy

IMG_1271Mitka and I like to surprise each other with the odd watch here and there, and Mitka had something special in stock for me – a Russian Wolna calibre 2809. Probably one of the finest watches made in the USSR.

It’s a copy of the Zenith 135 movement, but with a couple of differences. A communist watches doesn’t need decorations, so those were left out, but it has the added feature of a central second hand instead of a sub-second hand. I’ll trade that any day! Continue reading

Service: Stowa Convertible / Durowe 450

IMG_1919For a good decade, my father had decided that wrist watches weren’t for him, and he took off his Rado, and decided that he wanted something that he could have in his pocket. A traditional pocket watch wasn’t his thing, so he went for a Stowa Convertible. As the Stowa factory at that time was only 20 miles from where we lived, his local jeweller, where he bought the watch, would have stocked their watches.

The name “Stowa” is very much a child of its time, the 1920s. German manufacturers loved to name their companies after them, but didn’t want to be too blunt. So Walter Storz, the founder of Stowa, took the first two letters of this surname, and the first three of his first name, and that was it. Other examples of this are “Haribo” (Hans Riegel, Bonn) or Adidas (Adi Dassler). Continue reading

Unsung heroes – the Seiko 7016-8001 calibre 7016A

IMG_1086What do you look for in a chronograph watch? For me, size is a big issue, as I have a tiny wrist. On top of that, I like a date on my watch, and of course an hour recorder. Also, I like automatic watches, and a fly-back might be nice … With all those requirements, I’m moving swiftly into the £5,000 range of chronographs. Few will have those functions (Zenith 400Z, …), and the size requirement is out of the door.

Enter left the Seiko 7016-nnnn series. They come in many case shapes and sizes (Monaco style square cases, etc.), but for me, it’s the 7016-800n that appeals to me. Lovely dial, and 37mm width including the crown (which is sunken). Continue reading

Cirrus / Richard Parkin 1975 – 2015

One of our oldest clients, and probably the most prolific contributor to this blog, died last month from a heart attack at his home. We shared lots of emails and Google+ exchanges about anything technical, and of course all sorts of watch related topics.

His sharp and inquisitive mind will be sadly missed by us, and I am sure also by our readers.

Rest in peace, Richard.