Another day, another Speedmaster project 😉
This one came over from Belgium, and there are two cases, an extra dial, a spare movement, and some small bits. Let’s turn this into a Speedy!
On first inspection, the case ring looks a bit chewed, and the movement isn’t in great condition. But we have a donor, so not to worry.
Neither the paint nor the luminous compound appear to be original, so a bit of love is needed here.
The original dial has seen better days, so we will use the donor dial our customer supplied.
The case ring has also seen better days, and we manage to get a NOS ring off eBay.
The pusher stem looks a bit hand-made, but I have an original Omega part in stock.
The original pusher stem.
Let’s use the donor movement, which looks a lot nicer. It’s also from a Speedmaster, and from the same series, so we will just swap the escape wheel cock to get the original serial number.
The donor movement does indeed look very good.
Nothing to complain about here.
The bottom plate is also in good condition, with all the screws original.
The yoke and yoke spring.
Donor movement taken apart and parts cleaned.
A new mainspring for the barrel.
The balance jewels go in first.
Then the gear train goes in.
The keyless works go in.
After adjusting the beat error and beat rate, the movement performs very nicely indeed.
Now I put the chronograph layer onto the base movement.
The chronograph second and minute recorders work, and now the hour recorder will go in.
The bottom plate with the hour recorder and hammer, but we still have to put in the brake, and the start/stop levers.
Whilst the movement is ticking away happily, it’s time to turn our attention to the hands. They are stripped of the old paint, and ready for a new coat.
A layer of diluted white enamel paint goes on.
The trickiest bit is the luminous compound. I mix a batch of aged compound, using normal yellow Bergeon compound, and an array of artists’ pigments that I mix in. Now a blob of the compound is dried on a piece of watch paper, and a photo goes to the client for approval. In my book, I’ve hit it straight on the head, and my client agrees.
The dial and hands are ready for the new compound. This is something that I do first thing in the morning, as a steady hand is needed.
I am very happy with the dial indeed.
And the hands look great, too.
Dial and hands look great together.
The choice of case is an easy one, as the top case has been polished to death.
New pusher gaskets are fitted.
And an original Omega crystal is fitted into the case. These will run out soon …
What’s not to love? Well, for one thing, the central second recorder appears to be a bit loose, and it doesn’t reset to 0 properly. Upon close inspection, the tube of the hand is split, and will need replacing.
I prepare a new pendant tube.
Now I broach the hand ready for the new tube.
The new tube is soldered on.
And cut to size.
Now the hand has to be partially repainted, as the soldering damaged the paint on the lower hand.
The new case ring looks great.
Finally, I can case the movement.
I’m very happy with the outcome. A genuine, age-appropriate Speedmaster, with all original parts, and super luminous compound.
I know how the purists feel about replacing compound, but from a watchmaker’s point of view, old compound is a nightmare. It flakes off, lands in the movement and on the dial, and basically looks like a dog’s dinner. I like a watch that looks great, too, and I certainly wouldn’t wear anything on my wrist that had flaky old compound. That’s just my personal opinion, and others are of course welcome to wear on their wrist whatever they like.