Good day -
Yesterday I posted this in the general Omega forum, but perhaps the Vintage forum is a better place. I apologize for the double-posting.
I grew up admiring/coveting my grandfather's Speedmaster --- it's association with space and the moon landing captivated me as a child. The family long thought that his watch had gone missing and no one knew where it was. So, I've been researching and saving and was planning to buy a vintage Speedmaster this summer. But to my great surprise (and honor), I have just inherited his old Speedmaster!
Using Chuck Maddox's guide at chronomaddox.com, I think I have identified it as either a late c.321 or early c.861 (early Professional). Perhaps some of you Speedmaster gurus will be able to shed more light on the matter from the attached pictures.
The watch runs, although I am reluctant to test it too much for fear of damaging it. It is missing a pusher and no one has any idea of the service history. There is no Omega logo on the crystal, so I assume it has either been replaced or polished out at some point in the past. I don't really know enough about the original look of the case, so I am not sure if it has been polished. However, it has a nice patina and shows normal scratches and wear (which I love!). No bracelet. I always remember it on a black leather strap. And I have the one that was on it --- nice quality, very old, Tissot label inside, broken at the hole where he buckled it -- so not usable. Perhaps the pusher was knocked off/lost when the strap broke???
I would like to have the watch serviced so that it can be a daily/weekly wearer and one that I can pass on to my children. I really only want the mechanicals serviced, and perhaps a new crystal. I don't want any case polishing, dial refinishing, hand replacing, etc. I would prefer to keep it as original/vintage in aesthetic as possible.
I am hoping to get some advice and guidance as to how best to find a reputable watchmaker for service. It would be great to find someone local (Portland, OR USA), but understand that since this is a vintage watch, finding someone with vintage Speedmaster experience is important. After reading some service horror stories, I am reluctant to send it to Omega for fear of unwanted case polishing, hand replacement, etc.
Reading through the posts on this site, it seems that Archer and Nesbit's are recommended candidates. Can anyone share their service experience (preferably vintage Speedmaster) with either of these skilled watchmakers? Or make any other suggestions or advice...
Another question is how best to value it for insurance purposes. I understand that it will make a big difference in value whether it has the 321 or 861. So I suppose the first step would be to take it to a local watch shop and have them open the back to confirm caliber? Or should I just wait and have all of this done during service? Is it common for a watchmaker to photograph the movement, serial number, etc? Can the watchmaker provide some documentation/price estimate for insurance purposes? Or is it best to look through current/recent sales amounts on WUS, eBay or other forums?
I've probably rambled too long and will greatly appreciate any comments or advice. I'm just so proud and excited to have this watch and hope that I don't go broke having it serviced (c.321, I'm looking at you!!!). Now, on to the pictures! (I apologize for quality --- taken with my iPhone)