Thread: Vintage Seamaster questions...

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  1. #1
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    Vintage Seamaster questions...

    I'm looking to buy a vintage Seamaster, but I haven't been able to find a lotof good info. about the older watches online. My questions are as follows.

    1: I want a solid gold watch: Is there an appreciable difference in appearance between a 14k and 18k watch? Do they wear any differently?

    2: Which vintage of the automatics has the best movement? From what I can tell late 50's on, look for a chronograph type.

    3: Is the Seamaster the only waterproof watch in the Omega line with the more traditional watch look? Wondering if some Constellation vintages are waterproof.

    4: Is there a reference for letting me know which watches are solid vs plated ect... I want a solid gold watch since I know what happens with gold plate ect...

    5: What's a good source for an Omega Vintage? I've been looking at Ebay, but haven't seen anything really appealing and some are sold overseas. I'm concerned with counterfeit.

    6: How reliable is the watch? I'd like something I won't have to baby.

    7: How much gold is in the solid gold watches? Is it an appreciable amount like a 1/2 oz. or so? Not including the bracelete since I prefer leather.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Mike

  2. #2
    Member 2premo's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Seamaster questions...

    1 14k vs 18k is looks
    2 Omega 500 series are great movements for the automatics as good a movement as you will find, but if a chronograph the 321 is great after all it worked for NASA
    3 the Seamaster before the 300 Seamaster had the same waterproof rating as most, none of them without a lot of work should be seen as really waterproof
    4 if you look inside the back it will be listed the case material (GF) means plated or gold filled
    5 Ebay is fine but be wary, bring them here first and ask questions, look on this forum under sales
    6 Omega watches are typically durable
    7 it id determined by the size and type of watch


    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    I'm looking to buy a vintage Seamaster, but I haven't been able to find a lotof good info. about the older watches online. My questions are as follows.

    1: I want a solid gold watch: Is there an appreciable difference in appearance between a 14k and 18k watch? Do they wear any differently?

    2: Which vintage of the automatics has the best movement? From what I can tell late 50's on, look for a chronograph type.

    3: Is the Seamaster the only waterproof watch in the Omega line with the more traditional watch look? Wondering if some Constellation vintages are waterproof.

    4: Is there a reference for letting me know which watches are solid vs plated ect... I want a solid gold watch since I know what happens with gold plate ect...

    5: What's a good source for an Omega Vintage? I've been looking at Ebay, but haven't seen anything really appealing and some are sold overseas. I'm concerned with counterfeit.

    6: How reliable is the watch? I'd like something I won't have to baby.

    7: How much gold is in the solid gold watches? Is it an appreciable amount like a 1/2 oz. or so? Not including the bracelete since I prefer leather.

    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    Regards,

    Mike

  3. #3
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Seamaster questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    1: I want a solid gold watch: Is there an appreciable difference in appearance between a 14k and 18k watch? Do they wear any differently?
    No difference between 14K and 18K, other than the hallmark, and of course, the cost.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    2: Which vintage of the automatics has the best movement? From what I can tell late 50's on, look for a chronograph type.
    All of the Omega movements from this era are among the best automatics made...ever. Do you mean a chronometer, or a chronograph? Most of the Chronometer grade movements (cal. 333, 343, 352, 354, 501, 505, 551, 561 & 564) were reserved for the Constellations but some were put in Seamaster cases. There were some chronographs made under the Seamaster name. These would have the same movements as the famous "Moonwatch" of the 1960's and are also very, very good.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    3: Is the Seamaster the only waterproof watch in the Omega line with the more traditional watch look? Wondering if some Constellation vintages are waterproof.
    Omega made many watches similar to the Seamasters. Some were waterproof. Some were identical to Seamasters without the name. Most of the vintage Constellations are marked "Waterproof". However, that was wishful thinking then as now. I wouldn't go swimming with any vintage watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    4: Is there a reference for letting me know which watches are solid vs plated ect... I want a solid gold watch since I know what happens with gold plate ect...
    Swiss-made cases have hallmarks on the outside to denote gold purity. They are very hard to see, so the best way is to open up the back of the watch. Two things to watch out for. First, a lot of watches actually have US made cases which may or may not be hallmarked on the outside. Second, there are a lot of Asian-made fake gold cases (with hallmarks!) out there, particularly with the Constellations. Make sure you buy with some sort of return privledge and make sure you get the case tested for gold purity.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    5: What's a good source for an Omega Vintage? I've been looking at Ebay, but haven't seen anything really appealing and some are sold overseas. I'm concerned with counterfeit.
    I've had pretty good luck with eBay, but I've been looking at these for several years and have a good idea what to look for. There is no substitute for experience and for looking at thousands of pictures. You can get a lot of information by perusing Mondodec's website:

    http://omega-constellation-collectors.blogspot.com/

    Dozens of links there, including some online sellers. Please note that I have not done business with any of them, so I don't know how reliable they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    6: How reliable is the watch? I'd like something I won't have to baby.
    These movements were very reliable when new, but they are only as good as the last service performed. Unless you are buying from a good watchmaker who warranties their work, count on paying at least $100 for a cleaning.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    7: How much gold is in the solid gold watches? Is it an appreciable amount like a 1/2 oz. or so? Not including the bracelete since I prefer leather.
    Some of the earlier ones are quite heavy, particularly the screwback cases. Never weighed one, but I suspect about 1 oz. troy gross weight times the gold percentage just for the watch case. Maybe a little less on the US cased versions.

    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa
    Last edited by gatorcpa; November 19th, 2009 at 21:24.

  4. #4
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    Re: Vintage Seamaster questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    No difference between 14K and 18K, other than the hallmark, and of course, the cost.



    All of the Omega movements from this era are among the best automatics made...ever. Do you mean a chronometer, or a chronograph? Most of the Chronometer grade movements (cal. 333, 343, 352, 354, 501, 505, 551, 561 & 564) were reserved for the Constellations but some were put in Seamaster cases. There were some chronographs made under the Seamaster name. These would have the same movements as the famous "Moonwatch" of the 1960's and are also very, very good.
    Yes I meant to say chronometer.

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    Omega made many watches similar to the Seamasters. Some were waterproof. Some were identical to Seamasters without the name. Most of the vintage Constellations are marked "Waterproof". However, that was wishful thinking then as now. I wouldn't go swimming with any vintage watch.
    Which ones would be considered waterproof? I'm more concerned with rain/washing hands type stuff....

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    Second, there are a lot of Asian-made fake gold cases (with hallmarks!) out there, particularly with the Constellations. Make sure you buy with some sort of return privledge and make sure you get the case tested for gold purity.
    Is there a site that shows or explains how to spot them? On the return policy, does it matter in Ebay, if they sent you a fake I'd guess they wouldn't take it back.

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    Unless you are buying from a good watchmaker who warranties their work, count on paying at least $100 for a cleaning.
    Who should I take it to? Only Omega dealers, watch specialist?

    Quote Originally Posted by gatorcpa View Post
    Hope this helps,
    gatorcpa
    Very helpful, from you and 2premo's response.

    Regards,

    Mike

  5. #5
    Member gatorcpa's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Seamaster questions...

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    Which ones would be considered waterproof? I'm more concerned with rain/washing hands type stuff....
    I live in a very humid climate and get caught in the rain on occasion. Never had a problem with any vintage watch under normal use.

    There are hundreds of models of Constellation/Seamasters made. Most of them had at "O" rings in the cases to help keep water out, but not all. Some have screw-down crowns, most don't.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    Is there a site that shows or explains how to spot them? On the return policy, does it matter in Ebay, if they sent you a fake I'd guess they wouldn't take it back.
    There are several articles on Mondodec's website regarding fake Omega cases. Otherwise, I'd say there no substitute for experience, and buy the seller, not the watch.

    Quote Originally Posted by panamamike View Post
    Who should I take it to? Only Omega dealers, watch specialist?
    Omega does restoration work on vintage watches in Switzerland. Very expensive and very good work. Sometimes they don't have trim parts like dials, hands, etc. and will do their best to restore or refinish existing parts. That just kills the collector value of the watch, as most want it as original as possible.

    An Omega dealer may have an in-house guy who can help. A lot of the time, they will insist on sending it out to Switzerland. See above.

    Best best is to find an independant watchmaker in your area with access to a vintage parts inventory. These were common watches back then. Parts are avaliable, if you know where to look.

    Hope this helps some more,
    gatorcpa

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