Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

Thread: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

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  1. #1
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    Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    Hello all. I've never ventured over to this forum before, usually staying in affordables, but I've been reading the posts here and I'm amazed by the knowledge that some members can provide just off the top of their heads. I'm hoping to find some guidance and suggestions as to how to proceed in handling the restoration of two family heirlooms to wearable form.

    I asked for about a half-dozen watches from my parents for Christmas. assuming they might pick one of the models. I also asked for a very nice 16-watch travel case. I'm out of room in my current boxes (by a lot) and also need something to take with when I do travel.

    I saved the box from my father as the last thing to open. I opened it up to find the exact case I'd asked for, which alone was quite a nice surprise (since he doesn't exactly approve of the number of pieces I keep racking up). Then I opened the case to check it out and saw two watches on cheap rubber straps and assumed they were display dummies that came with the box. I pulled the first one out and realized.... this was my grandfather's favorite watch, the one he left my father back in 1956 when he passed away. I was absolutely floored. It's been a bit beat up over the years physically and lacked a bracelet (thus the cheap rubber strap just to hold it in the box)- but I shook it a couple times and it started to run perfectly- after 54 years without servicing.

    The second watch was another sentimental piece, a Gruen automatic that was my father's first dress watch. It was in a bit rougher shape, but no damage to the dial or case itself. Should be repairable, just not as easily as the first.

    Ever since I was a kid, I've never opened a Christmas gift and didn't know what to say, regardless of cost. This year when I realized what my Dad had passed down to me, even needing some restoration, I actually got choked up for a good few minutes. I'm the youngest of my parent's four sons, and this is one of the very, very few things left from my grandfather.

    I really want to get these back in working order so that I can wear them. The Omega (fingers crossed) only seems to need a light tune-up mechanically, while the Gruen has something preventing it from running. I don't care about maintaining the "value" of either, so if the issues on either can be polished or buffed out without ruining the original style and integrity, that would be wonderful. I just don't know where to even start. I just know that I'd preferably like to do business in person just because of the importance of the pieces, and to clarify what is going to be done with them. I'd like to place both on leather; the Omega on brand name leather, dependent on cost.

    Was hoping someone would be able to give me a rough ballpark figure for what each watch might set me back as well, if that is even possible...

    Here are the pictures:

    Grandfather's Omega:












    Father's Gruen:








    Thanks so much to anyone who can offer me any suggestions or information about what I have here, what I need to likely have done, what it may cost, and most importantly where I even start looking for a repair shop!

    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    The crystals are easily replaced and will produce amazing improvements in appearance. Expect to pay around $30 each installed. Service of a COA (Clean Oil Adjust) will be an additional $75 or so each. Repair is easy if no parts are needed. Parts may be a problem for the Gruen, depending on what movement is inside. But I would expect parts to be available.

    The stickies have a post on finding local watchmakers via the AWCI and NAWCC websites.

    Wonderful pieces. You got a great present!
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    Eeeb, thanks so much for the info! That makes me feel quite a bit better- knowing that ballpark of $105 for each watch, assuming just the crystal and basic COA. I was thinking much more just to get those two services completed.

    I'll probably have the Omega done in full first, then worry about the Gruen next. I'd like to have all of the nicks and scratches possible polished from the crown and lugs of the Seamaster at the same time, but I'm unsure how fesible that would be without grinding it down and taking off much more material than I'd want to alter.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    I think those watches are the best presents you have ever got!

    I agree, do the Omega first.
    I would not try to polish the Omega, as it appears to be gilded. Gilding is thin.
    If it should be solid gold, it can be polished, but then some of the history will be lost.
    The Omega has a nice case, fancy lugs etc etc.

    Maybe an Omega expert can say somethind about it, why the caseback looks different, etc.

    And PLEASE do not wind it up again, as the oils are long gone, and running it will damage it!

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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    I would put both watches on thin Calf leather straps, Black or the Omega, Black or Brown for the Gruen.


    Any chance of a pic of the movements?

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    Member Fantasyvoyager's Avatar
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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    The Omega will clean up very nicely and should look almost new. The Gruen has some dial issues or is it the crystal? anyhow if it is the dial, looks like the varnish is blistering, if handled right it still can be cleaned off and have a very nice dial, I would do as suggested and clean the Omega first seeing as it will be restored most easy. The other would require someone who knows how to tackle dials...( or just leave it as it is).
    Anyhow congratulations on the gifts, nice watches indeed !!!
    ps. hope you post pics of after restoration shots.
    Last edited by Fantasyvoyager; December 26th, 2010 at 18:05.

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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    John, I can't tell you much about the Gruen besides it's a popular model... but the Omega is a definite winner! Well, they're both winners because they're heirlooms, but that's a hooded lug Seamaster and a beauty. When I get home tonight I'll give you the specifics on it. For right now, I can say for certain that it's a mid 50's model with either a bumper or one of Omega's first 360˚ full rotor calibers inside and it's gold capped which means the plating is about 10 times thicker than normal gold plate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fantasyvoyager View Post
    The Gruen has some dial issues or is it the crystal?
    That looks like crystal damage - you can see different pieces of the numbers underneath it as the angle of the photos changes.

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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    Quote Originally Posted by Janne View Post
    I think those watches are the best presents you have ever got!

    I would not try to polish the Omega, as it appears to be gilded. Gilding is thin.
    If it should be solid gold, it can be polished, but then some of the history will be lost.
    I 100% agree that these are the best gifts I've ever received. If I actually get them restored and start wearing them, I think my father will be thrilled to death. I think these only went to me and not in the family will because he knows I'm the only kid who might bring them back to life and take care of them.

    I don't know about the material on the Omega. My grandfather certainly did have enough pure gold jewelry that it would be possible here, but I'm not expecting it. I know it might be blasphemy, but if it is gilded, would anyone suggest/imagine possible the concept of removing ALL of the gold and leaving the natural stainless (assuming stainless) underneath with a brushed/matte finish? I ask because obviously there is some serious surface damage on the bezel, next to the glass at 3 o'clock. Is the best option really to just have it serviced, crystal and band replaced, and leave that large of imperfection? I don't know what standard procedure is for a 60-70 year old watch in that department.

    Thanks for the advice and positive feedback everyone! I'm not used to seeing vintage pieces, so to me these looked nearly impossible to make "wearable" again. Hearing from people who collect vintage pieces that they should clean up nicely is very reassuring.

    In reference to the few questions brought up- The Gruen looks to have a clean dial, the crystal is just a really, really big mess. I don't see anything through the crystal I can say is a blemished dial at all, but of course I'm not even close to an expert. I would love to take movement shots, but I'm truly afraid to open either watch up at this point. Both are in fragile enough states and I don't have *lots* of experience opening up modern watches.

    Now I just need to decide where to take it. I searched both websites and there doesn't seem to be either a AWCI or NAWCC repair shop anywhere near Huntington Beach.....

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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    Quote Originally Posted by ulackfocus View Post
    John, I can't tell you much about the Gruen besides it's a popular model... but the Omega is a definite winner! Well, they're both winners because they're heirlooms, but that's a hooded lug Seamaster and a beauty. When I get home tonight I'll give you the specifics on it. For right now, I can say for certain that it's a mid 50's model with either a bumper or one of Omega's first 360˚ full rotor calibers inside and it's gold capped which means the plating is about 10 times thicker than normal gold plate.

    That looks like crystal damage - you can see different pieces of the numbers underneath it as the angle of the photos changes.
    Hey, thanks for the info! That's about 50x more than I had before. I'm, thrilled it's a quality Omega and not a "bottom of the barrel" model. Well scratch my earlier question about removing the gold plating then if it's capped! I'm really excited to hear what other info you can provide when you get the chance, it's MUCH appreciated.

  11. #10
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Recieved two very sentimental peices for Christmas- need guidance now

    Wow...two very nice watches in there own right and to have a family connection with them is really great. I hate to disagree with a moderator but I think that you will find that a service cost on an automatic (COA) will be more than $75.00. Maybe is is really different in different areas of the country but around here the cost of a basic wind-up service is $100-125 and an automatic $175-$200.

    I did have good luck with the websites for finding a good watchmaker. Ask lots of questions when you talk to the people you are considering using. I find that the watchmakers that love watches and their jobs tend to do a superior job of servicing.

    I hope to see some pictures when they are back from service.

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