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What should I do with a watch that works, but that's too fragile to wear?

Discussion in 'Watches' started by grunch, May 15, 2013.

  1. grunch

    grunch Loaded Pockets

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    Hi folks -

    About four years ago when my grandfather passed away, I inherited his old Omega watch from the 60's. I think it's a seamaster. It looks basically like this watch I found on Google:

    [​IMG]

    It has an Arabic "12" but the rest are tick marks. It doesn't say "seamaster" at the bottom and it has a seconds dial at 6:00 rather than a second hand. It's an automatic with a nice "bumper" movement that bounces around as I move my arm. It works fine, although twice now I've had to send it away for major repair when it's just stopped running. About 20 hours on the nightstand will stop the movement, and it seems like the more I let the movement unwind, the worse it runs when I pick it up again. The bumper action feels more and more like pieces are grinding together and I feel metallic-like clicks as it shifts around. Now it seems like the whole dial has sort of "sunk" down around the 7-8 o'clock marks and I'm realizing, especially as I go into the summer, that it's just not practical everyday wear anymore. I'm a camp counselor and I play a lot of guitar - I keep my watch on my right wrist and that gets in the way when I strum so any watch I wear gets taken on and off a few times per day, increasing risks of drops and accidents.

    So basically I'm realizing that I can't wear my grandpa's old watch anymore. But the more I leave it sitting on a nightstand, the less likely it seems that it'll start running again when I wind it. It has a lot of sentimental value and I don't want to let it just rot in a drawer somewhere, especially because I feel like it still has so much life in it - and the fact that it still runs after all these years is really a gift. But now I don't know what to do with it! Any of you have suggestions? Or heirloom watches that you don't wear but want to maintain?
     
  2. uzmati

    uzmati Loaded Pockets

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    I've seen self-winding cases. I'd think that building something simple like that for display would be pretty easy.

    It's a very nice watch. I understand your attachment.
     
  3. Steffen

    Steffen Loaded Pockets

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    if it were mine, i'd either put in the safe, nail it to the wall or throw it away.
    since you inherited from your grangfather, throwing it is out of the question.
    and its too small to be of any use as a wall clock, which only leaves one option.
     
  4. gibbsrule9
    • Memoria in Aeterna
    • In Omnia Paratus

    gibbsrule9 Memoria in Aeterna

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  5. GG_Blaisdell

    GG_Blaisdell Loaded Pockets

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    Yeah I'd try to get it properly sorted. Sounds like the repairs were faulty if it wasn't back to new... Get it right then wear in honor.

    Sent from my Nexus-6 (basic pleasure model)
     
    mole likes this.
  6. suveges

    suveges Loaded Pockets

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    I alss have Granpa's old omega, very similar to yours. I'd get it fixed properly and save for dressy occasions, it's very classy.
     
    mole likes this.
  7. stax
    • In Omnia Paratus

    stax Loaded Pockets

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    Omega offers full restoration service for vintage Omega watches. Full restoration covers the case, the movement and the dial and comes with a two year warranty. You can send the watch to Omega for an estimate.
     
  8. Narcosynthesis

    Narcosynthesis Loaded Pockets

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    A full service/overhaul should have it working as new again - certainly letting it wind down shouldn't be an issue and you shouldn't be noticing any grinding or other odd noises beyond those of a typical mechanical watch (the rotor spinning, movement ticking, etc).

    Depending on what maintenance it has had it could just need a good clean and oiling, or given the age there could be a few worn parts needing replaced - I couldn't tell you what sort of cost you would be looking at, but it should be more than doable at a reputable watchsmith (or through Omega themselves).

    If it was me that owned it, I would probably look to buying a second watch, then choosing between them depending on the occasion - if you are going out for a nice meal, to a business meeting or other smart event then why not wear your grandfathers watch? On the other hand, when going camping, or other activities where damage is more likely then I would switch to a different and less sentimental watch. As a bonus you can also tailor the alternative watch to the activities you do, so you can buy a more ruggedised or suitably featured watch for what it is you do, and not risk damaging a lovely old piece if you crash when out riding your bike or something.
     
    grunch likes this.
  9. grunch

    grunch Loaded Pockets

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    I'm actually visiting NYC this weekend so I thought I'd bring it to the Omega boutique there to see what they have to say. I suppose you're right that I shouldn't be concerned about letting it wind down. I do have other watches now, though nothing costing more than $30. I wear a Weekender as a sort of everyday alternative and a standard Casio F91W for grittier and dirtier stuff. Thanks for the thoughts!
     
  10. gooseman1991

    gooseman1991 Loaded Pockets

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    I have a similar situation myself. My granddad died in '90 before I came into the picture in '91. In his old watch the batteries corroted and I just wanted to get the thing to work so I sent it off and a man was able to find the old internals for it and get it to work again. I'm not sure if it's a problem or just the fact that watches back then were not that great but the batteries only last 3-4 months and they are some odd old size that cost me about $10 each time I need fresh ones. So I just have taken the batteries out and if I want to wear it for a special occasion or something I could put the batteries in it, but that is alot of trouble so it just sits and I look at it from time to time.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  11. grunch

    grunch Loaded Pockets

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    Update!

    I went to the omega boutique on 5th avenue this past weekend. The guys at the door were pretty impressed with the old watch! The man behind the counter pointed out that because it doesn't have a family name on it anywhere, it's definitely from the late 50's or so, which puts it right in line as a wedding or early anniversary present from my grandmother to my grandfather.

    The mood deflated as I went to the second floor repair shop, when the woman behind the counter cheerfully informed me that these kinds of restorations/repairs cost about $1200 average once they're sent over to Switzerland. Not that it's not worth it for such an incredible heirloom, but I am a college student with about $150 to my name! So I kept it in my pocket for now. Not sure whether to risk another secondhand repair or just cut my losses and buy a nice display case for the lovely old thing.
     
  12. graham_s
    • In Omnia Paratus

    graham_s Loaded Pockets

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    Save it, put it somewhere safe and when you can afford it, get it fixed up.
     
  13. 6_String_Jams
    • In Omnia Paratus

    6_String_Jams Loaded Pockets

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    I'll second what graham_s said. Tuck it away somewhere nice and safe....when you can afford to have it fixed up....get it fixed up! It will be worth the wait/time/effort/money!
     
    Pine Box Parkinson likes this.