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Omega Seamaster Case


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Hello friends.  This is my first time on this forum. My father-in-law left me his Seamaster when he died. It needs a new crystal but it is the type where the movement is removed through the crystal. It is a snap-together case instead of the more typical screw back.  The worry I have stems from the fact that it is stamped "waterproof" on the back. I have taken snap-together cases apart before without incident but these were only water resistant. Are there differences that I need to be aware of such as special gaskets, sealing rings etc.? The gold bezel retaining the crystal is very finely fitted to the stainless back presenting a real challenge.  Any recommendations as to tools would also be very welcome! Thanks and I hope a blessed Easter was had by all.

Allan

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Hi and welcome Polarbar.

I'm a fan of vintage Omegas, and I have a pretty good idea how to open it, but I would like to see a photograph to confirm my suspicion before saying anything.

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Hi Allan, that's what I thought it would be.

You will indeed have to move the gold ring complete with crystal. Have a look to see if there is a recessed area for using the the knife, some watches have this and some don't. I use a single sided razor, a Stanley blade and case knife. Start with the thin razor blade by very carefully pressing it between the gold bezel and case. Once it has risen slightly use the slightly thicker and stronger Stanley blade to raise it a bit further to allow a case knife to enter the gap and prize of the bezel complete with crystal.

Raising it in stages, you are less likely to damage the case than by using the case knife only.

Please be very careful, I neither want you to lacerate yourself or scratch the dial.

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Hi Geo! I ride too! Yes, that is the technique I have used as well. The problem is this bezel is sooo tight that even the scapel blade will not enter between the two, even though I have targeted the one spot that seems to be a bit less seamless.  I have considered tapping gently against the back of the blade but doubts about what lay beneath that parting line stopped me!

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The rolled gold bezel ring looks the same as that fitted to my Seamaster 165.003 (mine has rolled gold casea with stainless steel screw back). 

I remember many years ago catching the bezel and it popped-off !  The crystal stayed in place and I just popped the bezel back on, but it needed a very hard push!  

I was not into watches at the time so thought nothing of it, perhaps be little more careful nowadays ! 

I believe the crystal has a tension ring which secures it into the case and the bezel makes sure it stays there! 

See, I know a little bit more about watches now I have taken them up as my retirement hobby!  The downside is I can get a little more nervous about messing with old expensive watches !!  This forum is the best and friendliest I have found for help with everything from basics to true watchmaking skills.

Hope this helps a tad.

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Great information, guys! That is quite a unit, Geo; it'll be double those $ by the time I get it, I suspect. Canthus, that is just the reassurance I needed to persevere.  Thanks to both so much.  By the way, Canthus, I like your handle. Are you a medical man? Cheers.

Allan

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Well folks, I forged ahead thanks to your help and got the think apart.  The crystal was even more immovable than was the bezel from the case.  Interestingly, the crystal had the mirror-finished ring on the inside but it was completely loose so that once the bezel was off it was just sitting there on the case.  I don't think this is what you typically find; those rings are usually part of the crystal I thought.  In addition, this crystal seems to have a much lower profile than what one usually finds.  Does all this mean I will have to order a genuine Omega crystal; that I won't be able to use one from a generic crystal assortment?  Thanks.

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Oh that's a pest. The other tool I use when things are really tight is one of these:-

https://www.cousinsuk.com/product/bench-top-case-openers?code=C9865

Gah! Geo!  Another tool to buy! (and I hate buying tools :P ).  Seriously though,  I had an epic battle with the back of that waltham I just finished.  I'm sad and embarrassed to say that there is a reason I haven't posted any pictures of the back of the watch.  I swore off snap backs after that, but here is a beautiful tool that was just what I needed.  So much to learn.  Always a right tool for the job.

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How bad is the crystal? My preference is to polish rather than replace to keep things as original as possible. If it only has scratches refinishing would certainly be an option. If it is crazed, then you would have to replace it.

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I would definitely have polished it is I could have; I hate even the slightest marring of the bezel that seems so hard to avoid. No it was completely toast. It took a heavy hit. Cheers. Hey, sorry about your trouble with the Waltham, Icius!!

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[quote name="polarbar" post="19127" timestamp="1428532547

Does all this mean I will have to order a genuine Omega crystal; that I won't be able to use one from a generic crystal assortment? Thanks.

If you go to the cousins site you should be able to get an original omega crystal, you will need the case number , you might be surprised at the price the last one I bought wasn't as dear as I expected

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