Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested
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Thread: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

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  1. #1
    OMO
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    Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    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)

    Best,
    OMO

    Attached Images Attached Images













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  2. #2
    Member Paleotime's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    I can't offer much help...but congrats on a beautiful heirloom.

    With regards to service - I remember that Archer had posted a blog with the details of repairing a very water damaged Speedmaster. It was a good demonstration of both his skills and the complexity of servicing mechanical chronos. You might find that blog interesting/informative.

  3. #3
    Member Hessu's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    I think it is 861. 321 has case 145.012 and 861 has 145.022. Both cases are practically identical, but do have different pushers, which give em different case number. Why I think it is 861, it says Professional at the dial. It was added after the moon flight. Of course dial can be replacement.
    321 is often considered better (or at least is more valuable in collector's valuation) because of it has Breguet spiral, but 861 is other ways built far better and therefore it is actually better movement.

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  5. #4
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    Archer's blog is worth looking at. Agree with Paleotime that the posting about the frankly water-logged Speedie was amazing. He's a stalwart of the Omega Forum, has given me and others much expert advice. The work I've seen him do and the esteem with which he's held on the Omega Forum means I'd vote for him, myself.

  6. #5
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    most probably a cal. 321, hands & "professional" point to a ref. 145.012, manufactured between 1966 and 1968. Al Archer has excellent feedback, a safe and very competent choice.
    Last edited by WatchFred; February 13th, 2015 at 20:57.

  7. #6
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    I believe someone on this forum has used a watchmaker from Portland OR with good results. The watchmakers name is Terry Nelson. He has a nice resume and website. I have no personal experience with this person, but thought if might be worth a look being in same town. Good luck

  8. #7
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    I just got my omega Automatic (1945) repaired and restored at WatchRepair.cc | Antique Watch Repair Services | About Watch Repair Services

    I highly recommend Terry Nelson, and he is local to you!.
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  9. #8
    Member P415B's Avatar
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    Something as sweet as that Speedy, I would trust it to Christian over at WatchGuy UK. Use the search function on his site and see all the Speedmasters he's worked on. Amazing work. He uses a ticket system, so you'll have to check with him on when you can send in your watch. I follow his blog religiously.
    -Pete
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  10. #9
    OMO
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    Re: Vintage Speedmaster - service advice requested

    Quick update: confirmed c.321; 250##### serial number.

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