Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit
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  1. #1
    Member ChronoScot's Avatar
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    Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    I was talking to a store manager of a UK AD today and was told that, when sending watches driven by the cal 8500A to Omega for repair or service (e.g. Hour Vision and gents' Aqua Terra models), they will retrofit it with a silicon balance spring (bringing it in line with the new Planet Ocean cal 8500).

    I was pretty pleased to hear this, as I would love to have my Aqua Terra fitted with this technology, despite it not being due for service for some years to come. I'm going to send an e-mail to Omega asking them whether they can verify that this service is indeed offered, whether it is an option that needs to be specifically requested and what the associated costs would be. I'll post the answer here, if I get one.

    I'm also curious about the "badging" of the Si14 feature with such a retrofit, given that it is engraved on the balance wheel and caseback of new PO 8500s and cal 8520s in ladies' models.

    Has anyone heard similar information?
    OMEGA | Jaeger-LeCoultre

  2. #2
    Member mt1tdi's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    My AD here in Canada told me my Ploprof's 8500 would not be upgraded at a servicing. I would not bet my life on their knowledge on this matter though.

    Look forward to what Omega tells you.

  3. #3
    Member ChronoScot's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Well, it's official. I received the answer from Omega, and they do not retrofit "1st generation" cal 8500 movements with the newer silicon balance spring. The answer also came fairly quickly, given the festive holidays, which was nice. Here is the response:


    Dear Mr ChronoScot

    We thank you for your e-mail and are pleased to learn that you are the proud owner of an OMEGA Seamaster Aqua Terra, calibre 8500. We would not miss this opportunity to thank you for the confidence you have placed in our brand.

    Further to your enquiry, please be informed that we do not retrofit earlier versions of calibre 8500 with a silicon balance spring. Such an upgrade will not be possible in the future either.

    We trust that you enjoy wearing your fine OMEGA timepiece and are convinced that it will give you excellent service for many years to come.

    Kind regards,

    Your OMEGA Team.
    So, despite my slight misgivings about the thickness, looks for the moment like I will have to pick-up a new PO to get an Omega with a silicon balance spring...

    Hopefully this helps others for future reference.
    OMEGA | Jaeger-LeCoultre

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  5. #4
    Member mt1tdi's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Sorry to hear it, still like my watch though. :)

  6. #5
    Member NMGE17's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Thanks for the useful and informative update.

    Nigel

  7. #6
    Member joeuk's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Is this because omega dont want to fit it or just a case it wont fit?

  8. #7
    Member ChronoScot's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Quote Originally Posted by joeuk View Post
    Is this because omega dont want to fit it or just a case it wont fit?
    It's a good question and I imagine the answer might be a little of both. I could imagine that it is not possible to replace it 1:1 and may require adaptation or replacement of the balance wheel and/or the balance staff - of course possible, but a modification of the original watch specifications. As part of this consideration, it may also be a step to ensure that their records remain tidy e.g. that a watch with movement number xxxxxx left the factory with a certain specification and they do not want to go through the effort of updating it to reflect a retrospective customisation.

    Who knows. In any case, I was more surprised by the statement of the AD that a retrofit would be done at all than the confirmation that in fact Omega will not do it.
    OMEGA | Jaeger-LeCoultre

  9. #8
    Member ReXTless's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    I would have thought it very odd if Omega said they would retrofit a Silicon spring. Why would they take an unnecessary and expensive step during a service?
    Sub-C - 116610
    Speedmaster Pro - 3570.50



  10. #9
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    Omega are calling movements with the Silicon spring an 8500B. One thing they have done though is to extend all warranty to 4 years on all 8500 & family movements. This was something they did for the silicon balance 8500B but then offered it to traditional balances (8500A) as they are confident of the longevity of the movement.

    The 8500B, going into new watches, was a cause of a big price hike in 8500 watches. I know this because I had to pay a higher price for mine. The cost is because of the silicon balance and I would suggest that this is the reason for not retrofitting.

  11. #10
    Member Sad Glad's Avatar
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    Re: Calibre 8500 Silicon Balance Spring Retrofit

    How about the delrin brake in the Speedmasters, do they retrofit or not? Do anyone know? :)

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