Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial
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  1. #1
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    Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    This is my grandfather's Omega. Movement made in 1915 according to the serial number, and is running great considering its age. I took it to my watchmaker for service (wasn't serviced in many years), and trying to figure out what to do with the dial and hands (blued steel).

    1. Dial is silvered, with lacquered numbers. Due to its age, the dial is oxidized. Unfortunately, this patina doesn't look great and makes it difficult to tell the time. I would prefer, if possible, to avoid re-dialing, so I am wondering if there is an alternative way of cleaning it. Silver cleaning solution? Baking soda?

    2. Blued steel second minute hands show some discoloration and possibly rusting. What is the best way of cleaning them? Is it possible to custom-make these, or get them refinished?

    Any suggestions would be highly appreciated! This watch has a lot of sentimental value for me, so I'd like to be very careful.
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  2. #2
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    I know some on here use just soapy water, but just wait for others to suggest things first.

  3. #3
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    Hi there,

    Its funny (Not LOL) that the text looks in very good condition. I have cleaned a few dials off using rodico to remove grime.... but your looks tarnished? As joe says, I have also used cotton buds/baby buds dipped in warm soapy water (testing in a corner).... but you have to be very careful and would not suggest you start with this...

    The hands can be refinished.... the second hand may be hard to do, as it is very small... but it looks pretty standard and could be matched with a replacement if needed.

    I would forget trying to refinish/clean the dial yourself..... If I owned my grandfathers watch..... I would want to make sure it was looked after properly!! I would pay the extra (if it means saving up) and send it to a professional!

    Just my honest opinion!

    Others will probably be able to advise better than me.... good luck and keep us informed of the progress!!

    Marc
    Last edited by Sparcster; November 3rd, 2011 at 10:35.
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

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  5. #4
    Member pilotswatch's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    Be careful. I tried cleaning a dial from that era with water and soap and the numbers came off or faded. I think the paint was not as strong as later dials. Keep it "as is" and maybe one day you might come across a better dial. On the other hand if you don't have the patient and think this is a keeper, and think you might wear it more if the dial was nicer. Go for it, have it re-finished. This is not a re-sell value, its more a sentamental value.
    Re-finished on your wrist or "as is" in a box ?
    Last edited by pilotswatch; November 3rd, 2011 at 11:14.
    pilotswatch

  6. #5
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    My watchmaker had the same concern about the numbers, that they may come off if the dial is cleaned. It looks like the numbers are pressed into the dial, and then filled with some kind of paint (lacquer?). The numbers are in great shape, it's the textured silvered dial itself that has tarnished. If there was a way to "dip" the dial in some kind of gentle tarnish removal solution that could remove oxidation without damaging the numbers... I think the biggest risk to numbers would be soaking the dial, or rubbing it. I think if it was dipped in a cleaning solution, then quickly rinsed without much agitation and dried with a hair dryer, there may be a chance that the numbers would remain intact.

    I absolutely wouldn't mind to pay a premium for a nice dial restoration job. I have absolutely no interest in the resale value of the watch - it only has sentimental value for me and my family. I was seriously considering sending it to Omega (Bienne) for restoration, but don't want to risk the loss in transit.

    Marc - do you know of a good specialist in the US to refinish/replace the hands? And also, if I end up sending the dial for restoration/refinishing, who is the best firm (nevermind the price)?

  7. #6
    Member Sparcster's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    Quote Originally Posted by vbomega View Post

    Marc - do you know of a good specialist in the US to refinish/replace the hands? And also, if I end up sending the dial for restoration/refinishing, who is the best firm (nevermind the price)?
    Hi there,

    I have recently sent my a dial to be repainted in the US, as I have heard good things.... Its not been completed yet, but the price is very fair!! You could send them some pics and ask what they could do... as you say... you dont need a refinish.... just a clean! They do hands also....

    International Dial Co. Inc.

    But im sure there are plenty others out there!

    Marc
    A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away...

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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  8. #7
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    I hope you decide against the refinish. There is so much good character in that dial.

    I have used a solution of about 50% Mr. Clean and distilled water with mixed results. I dip the dial in the solution and then in clean water. Just in and out, no soaking. Even as gentle as this is chapter marks and logos can fade. Typically the heavy grime comes off in the first one or two dunks. I don't dry them with anything just let them dry on their own. The pure water keep spots from forming.

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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleotime View Post
    I hope you decide against the refinish. There is so much good character in that dial.

    I have used a solution of about 50% Mr. Clean and distilled water with mixed results. I dip the dial in the solution and then in clean water. Just in and out, no soaking. Even as gentle as this is chapter marks and logos can fade. Typically the heavy grime comes off in the first one or two dunks. I don't dry them with anything just let them dry on their own. The pure water keep spots from forming.
    I would certainly prefer not to refinish, but it's reached the point when it's hard to read the time... So some form of cleaning would be great. There is absolutely no clear coat on the dial, it's basically silver-plated with matte finish. It's not "dirty", but oxidized/tarnished. This is why I was hoping that dipping into some gentle solution for cleaning silver would help to "brighten" it up without dissolving or otherwise destroying the numbers, which are in good condition.

  10. #9
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    You can try silver dip - I have had good successes, and complete disasters. I don't recommend it, unless you can test it on a scrap dial of the same type. In general, the more modern the dial, the worse they last - but oldies can be bad too.

    Basically, If I cared about a watch - I wouldn't try it.

  11. #10
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    Re: Need Advice - Vintage Omega Dial

    Before you try any cleaning I would check with International Dial on how detailed a picture they need to duplicate the dial. I would then make sure I had a picture that meets the requirements.

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