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Omega Geneve - a nerve wracking restore for a good friend.


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To date I have serviced and repaired my own watches. After posting on Facebook about a service I did on a 1970's alarm watch, an old friend of mine, Pete, got hold of me to see if I could have a look at a watch of his. It was given to him by his mother-in-law over forty years ago and has quite a story attached to it. 

The watch belonged to Pete's father-in-law who bought it new. A week before Pete was due to be married, his future father-in-law died suddenly and it was up to my Pete to break the news to his wife to be. Shortly after the wedding the watch was presented to Pete and it obviously holds an enormous amount of sentimental value. 

I asked him what was wrong with the watch and he said that it would only wind or set the hands intermittently. He then sent me a picture of the watch and it was obvious that the winding stem wasn't seated properly, along with it looking as though someone had thrown it in a bag of grit for a few years.

before.thumb.jpeg.f65f2e7e8f5f11d84f1240f7feddfa65.jpeg

 

I said I'd take a look at it, but I have to admit to a bit of nervousness about taking it on, first and foremost because of the emotional attachment, but also I'd never worked on an Omega before.

On opening the watch it was immediately apparent that the setting lever was broken. However, the broken piece had lodged in the mechanism and done some damage to the mainplate. I also realised that this was the Omega 1030, which doesn't get the greatest rep.

1078817731_omega1.thumb.jpg.e036e477db83f5d890aa714db9eae23e.jpg

So, firstly I had to source a new setting lever which turned out to be rarer than hen's teeth. Found one in Italy and whilst waiting for it to arrive I looked at how to fix the damage to the mainplate. I made a small brass burnishing tool and set to work, under the microscope, smoothing out the damage. A couple of hours later I was quite satisfied with the result.

1976533075_omega2.thumb.jpg.7eb02b715311a8763d40d3d1b7c4b491.jpg

It also turned out that the mainspring was broken so a replacement was ordered from Cousins. 

Parts arrived, watch was cleaned and then it came to assembly. That's when I realised that the 1030 movement has a sweeping seconds pinion that is barely held on at its collar by a spring that has the strength slightly above that of a human hair. On the auto version the pinion is supported by the automatic works but on the manual wind I had to find some way to support it. Fortunately I'd just bought a K&D staking set and for a week I rehearsed how I was going to position everything and what stakes to use. Bit the bullet, went for it and it worked first time.

Regulated the watch then gave the case a light polish, fitted a new crystal, and refitted the original fixo-flex strap that was on the watch when given to Pete forty years ago.  I think it turned out quite well.

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Handed it back to Pete last week and he was over the moon. However, my heart sank when I was explaining the stem positions and he said "what do you mean, it winds up?".  For forty years he thought it had a battery. In his defence, he is a professional bass player so has just discovered the benefits of running water.

Edited by SpringMangler
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Nice work. I haven’t worked on a 1000 series movement but all the others (286, 562, 610 and 711) have been very nice apart from the centre seconds pinion on the latter ones. I have a 1001 chronometer I’m building up the courage to work on! 

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1 hour ago, Bill241 said:

Nice work. I haven’t worked on a 1000 series movement but all the others (286, 562, 610 and 711) have been very nice apart from the centre seconds pinion on the latter ones. I have a 1001 chronometer I’m building up the courage to work on! 

The 1030 has a bridge plate that just covers up a space where the automatic movement goes and serves no other function. To be honest it's a very straightforward movement to work on but has a few quirks such as the canon pinion that Omega recommend should be replaced, but can be serviced.

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3 hours ago, SpringMangler said:

I said I'd take a look at it, but I have to admit to a bit of nervousness about taking it on, first and foremost because of the emotional attachment, but also I'd never worked on an Omega before.

The amusing thing In watch repair is anyone finds out you know how to repair a watch any watch then they want to hand you their watch or in this case a family watch.. Or look at YouTube or talk to anybody Who has a YouTube channel on watches their fans will literally throw watches At them and no one will ever question whether you should be working on that watch or not. But in watches are sealed up and no one actually grasps how good or bad a repair could turn out at least not the person handing it to you.

2 hours ago, SpringMangler said:

canon pinion that Omega recommend should be replaced, but can be serviced.

Then as there's something different about the Canon pinion that Omega recommends replacing it? I assume then that you have a technical sheet for this watch?

 

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7 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

The amusing thing In watch repair is anyone finds out you know how to repair a watch any watch then they want to hand you their watch or in this case a family watch.. Or look at YouTube or talk to anybody Who has a YouTube channel on watches their fans will literally throw watches At them and no one will ever question whether you should be working on that watch or not. But in watches are sealed up and no one actually grasps how good or bad a repair could turn out at least not the person handing it to you.

Then as there's something different about the Canon pinion that Omega recommends replacing it? I assume then that you have a technical sheet for this watch?

 

Fair point, anyone can claim to be proficient. 

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56 minutes ago, JohnR725 said:

The amusing thing In watch repair is anyone finds out you know how to repair a watch any watch then they want to hand you their watch or in this case a family watch.. Or look at YouTube or talk to anybody Who has a YouTube channel on watches their fans will literally throw watches At them and no one will ever question whether you should be working on that watch or not. But in watches are sealed up and no one actually grasps how good or bad a repair could turn out at least not the person handing it to you.

Then as there's something different about the Canon pinion that Omega recommends replacing it? I assume then that you have a technical sheet for this watch?

 

I take a cautious and logical approach to most things I do and feel no embarrassment explaining to people  that I am out of my depth. 

There does seem to be a mystique around certain watch brands, probably due to their expense. From my limited experience, I find well engineered items a lot easier to work on than less well made watches.

Saying that, whoever made the decision to use such tiny bridge screws on this movement should be made to work on the movement every day for a year. Think the average screw head size was 0.8ml.

The cannon pinion is a two piece affair that Omega recommend is replaced at service. It can be pulled apart and lubricated. If not it can cause excess wear on part of the keyless works. 

 

 

cannon pinion 2.jpg

Edited by SpringMangler
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5 hours ago, SpringMangler said:

The cannon pinion is a two piece affair that Omega recommend is replaced at service. It can be pulled apart and lubricated. If not it can cause excess wear on part of the keyless works. 

What I'm still curious is where did you find the recommendation by Omega to replace the part?

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3 hours ago, JohnR725 said:

What I'm still curious is where did you find the recommendation by Omega to replace the part?

It must be anecdotal as I've seen it quoted in a thread on this site and by an experienced watchmaker repairing a 1020 movement. If it's not officially documented by Omega then it does appear to be an unfounded recommendation.

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3 hours ago, SpringMangler said:

It must be anecdotal as I've seen it quoted in a thread on this site and by an experienced watchmaker repairing a 1020 movement. If it's not officially documented by Omega then it does appear to be an unfounded recommendation.

Perhaps not a unfound recommendation may be something else? For instance if somebody's working in a swatch service center they replace the entire mainspring barrel assembly. But in the case of Omega they have a working instruction on how to service a mainspring barrel assembly. In other words how to disassemble and clean it lubricated etc. but that's not what they do in the service center so maybe that's one of these things or maybe it's something else like lack of technical documentation.

Which reminds me about technical documentation I attached a PDF number 40 lubrication.  it's a good document but I'm attaching it for another reason do you notice every single page on the corner is watermarked with who downloaded it and exactly when they downloaded it. Doesn't that make you wonder why Swatch group is so paranoid. Probably explains why you typically don't find current literature out in the wilds because well because it's and sometimes if you do you might find the corners missing because somebody doesn't want you to know where it came from.

Now back to the question of

16 hours ago, SpringMangler said:

few quirks such as the canon pinion that Omega recommend should be replaced, but can be serviced.

So this might be like the barrel assembly replace in the service center but technical literature indicates otherwise oh and then there's a problem which one are you talking about? They both require special attention I'm attaching images.

 

 

 

Omega 1030 problems.JPG

Omega 1030 wheel Canon pinion.JPG

Omega 1030 center Canon pinion.JPG

8645_WI_40_rules for lubrication cousins.pdf

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Thanks John. I'm pleased to say that that's the way I serviced both wheels. I had initially lubricated the 3rd wheel pinion post and then came across the above documentation that you posted in another thread some time ago. Re-cleaned then fitted dry.

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