The Beast of Biel: The Omega Chrono Quartz 196.0052 calibre 1611

IMG_2856John sent in this watch, and they needed a 40 ton lorry to deliver it 😉

This watch is not for the faint-hearted. It weighs in at 152 grams, and that’s quite a lot for a quartz watch. The width including crown and pushers is 51.3mm!

John sent it in, because he can’t get the crown to do what it should do…IMG_2858

The movement taken out of the case. The LCD screen has a bit of humidity at the bottom, but I can’t open that up as it’s glued together. IMG_2860

On the right, the movement looks very much like a normal Omega movement.IMG_2862

Very nicely executed – I wish all quartz movements were like this 😉IMG_2863

I take the bottom plate apart to see if everything is as it should with the setting gears.IMG_2869

The crown has three positions. Pushed in closes a contact (pin above the winding stem) which advances the movement slowly by moving the motor constantly. In normal position, nothing happens, and in pulled out position, the watch can be advanced one hour at a time, which is also used to set the date.

It turns out that the problem is a winding stem that’s too short, so you can’t press the crown in to set the watch. I order a new one and fit it.IMG_2870

The movement back in the case. The chronograph in normal mode shows minutes at the top and seconds at the bottom. If the middle button is pressed, the display changes to hours at the top and 1/100s at the bottom.IMG_2921

A look at the electronics. All hand-soldered, and the two batteries are big enough to jump-start your car. The are connected in line, so the movement uses 3V. The quartz is at the top left (white plastic back), below that the poti for adjusting the beat rate, the IC to the left of that, and the brass coloured round thing with the red “CE” stamped on it is the step motor.IMG_2922

I manage to get hold of a new case back gasket.IMG_2923

That’s a case back and a half.IMG_2924

Back to working condition. Before you wear this watch, you have to do some working out at the gym!

30 thoughts on “The Beast of Biel: The Omega Chrono Quartz 196.0052 calibre 1611

  1. I know this is an old thread, but looking for any advice I can get on this…I’ve got a dead one of these, want to change the batteries to see if that’s all it needs. I’ve unscrewed the 4 screws on the back, but the caseback won’t come off, is it secured any other way or can I apply a little bit of force to prise it off?

    • It’s probably just the gasket that has dissolved a bit, and acts like glue to the case back. Try to carefully prise it out – best not with a metal instrument, but with something made from nylon or similar so you won’t scratch the case or case back.

      • Thanks, you were right about the gasket, the caseback just wouldn’t budge though! In the end I resorted to supergluing a bolt to the back, and slowly pulling on that until it finally popped off. Some alcohol on the caseback to get rid of the superglue, and now it’s nice and clean again.

        Now the batteries are in, seems like this watch needs a fair bit of work, will probably be shipping this off to this guy:
        Unfortunately he now lives in Australia, so I’m torn between trying to find someone closer, or risking losing it in shipping and having it fixed by the guy who really knows these watches…tricky one.

  2. Hi I am hoping someone may have the answer as I have a not disimilar issue on my beast! The minute hand is sweeping forward as though the crown is pushed in. I have taken a close look at this and even the parts manual and assume i need the pinion wheel / clutch spring which retains the pinion clutch wheel. For some reason it doesn’t appear to be returning the crown to the disengaged position so can only assume it is the spring?

  3. Always liked these, retro cool at its finest.

    FWIW I believe TopGear James May has one.

    Interested to read the hand soldering, it gives me more confidence to buy quartz of old, although I’m a mechanical man, for all the obvious reasons.

    Regards to the blog author.

  4. Hi Christian! I’m delighted that my watch has featured on your blog…. and I’m sorry to taint your site with a quartz watch! The watch was one of the first quartz watches produced by Omega and it was designed to celebrate the 1976 Montreal Olympics – the dial was designed to look like the scoreboard at the Olympic park. Just wondered if there is anything you can do with the LCD damage? Can you get me a replacement?

    • It’s a bit of corrosion, and the batteries need replacing, as their voltage is a bit low. John has worked on his own watch before, but was just stumped by not being able to set the watch, as the winding stem was too short. He will sort out the batteries.

  5. An odd looking thing, but rather cool!

    I wonder if it lacks a second hand because people like me would have complained if it didn’t synch with the LCD display 😉

    • You aren’t on your own – that would bug me too. A friend of mine has a Nautica dual time fashion watch, two dials on the same face. With two entirely separate quartz mechanisms and second hands that are nigh on impossible to set right together. It drives me wappy to look at.

    • I think this movement drives both the analog and digital display from the same quartz oscillator, so an analog second hand would actually stay in sync with the digital display. My 2001 Timex Expedition is like this, but several newer ana-digi watches that I have use completely separate movements and I need to resync them every few days.

      • As usual, you are right on both accounts 😉

        the “K” stands denotes the binary “Kilo”, whereas the lower case “k” is used for the decimal kilo.

        And there is only one quartz, so the step motor of the analogue watch works perfectly in sync with the digital display of the stop watch.

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