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Omega Seamaster 1000 metre depth rating


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Went into a pre-owned watch shop in Bangkok earlier that I've been meaning to have a look at for some time. It had some interesting Heuers available, a his and hers Omega Dynamic and some older Breitlings and others - and Zeno - plenty of them! Turns out he's a stockist and he had a bullhead chrono LE in stock as well, which is very tempting. It's this one - 

3591-i26-600x861.jpg

But the main watch that caught my eye was the seamaster. The condition was excellent. A big bull of a watch with a 1000 metre / 3300 foot depth rating. Just as well that was on the dial, otherwise I'd have never known! The dial is blue / navy and the dial is dominated by the oversized orange minute hand. The bezel worked well, but when I turned over to look at the case back, there wasn't one! Unfortunately, neither of us spoke the others language, but even I could see what had replaced the case back was to grip a diving suit, as the depth this thing is meant to dive at, considering it's age, would probably blow a normal watch apart for all I know! The mesh bracelet, isn't as far as I could tell, an original. 

I know I have seen this watch on the Web before, but I know little about it. I'm sure it must have fetched a high price and I doubt they were produced for very long, but I have no idea of It's age. Any further info would be appreciated, especially whether it looks legit! I have a price, pre-haggling, and that's where I left it.

I have two pics - 

IMG-20210214-202849.jpg

IMG-20210214-203014.jpg

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6 minutes ago, Caller. said:

Any further info would be appreciated, especially whether it looks legit! I have a price, pre-haggling, and that's where I left it.

 

Here's all you need to know ..... https://www.omegaseamaster1000.com/

A great find that, I'd grab it if you can afford it ! :thumbsup:

Edited by artistmike
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Goodness! 

Thanks very much Mike. That guide has already enabled me to identify the dial, crown type and worryingly, that the bracelet, which probably is original after all, is on a copy case back. But I need to read the guide again to fully understand what that actually means. 

I was a little taken aback by the price I was quoted, which was a hell of a lot more than expected. But before getting too excited, I need to go and have another look, especially at any paperwork. 

Thanks again. 

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2 hours ago, Caller. said:

I was a little taken aback by the price I was quoted, which was a hell of a lot more than expected. But before getting too excited, I need to go and have another look, especially at any paperwork. 

Do let us know how you get on, watches like that are few and far between and definitely worth knowing more about.  It's great to see one of the rarities of our horological world. :)

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19 hours ago, artistmike said:

Do let us know how you get on, watches like that are few and far between and definitely worth knowing more about.  It's great to see one of the rarities of our horological world. :)

The problem being that, based on the very helpful information you sent me, that it's unlikely to be an original. The movement is a 1002, which was from the first batch, whereas the 1012 was used on the later commercially released models. And whilst from what else he has said, it appears I have the correct dial, hands and bezel and probably bracelet, the lugs are not of the type used on an original and at the rear, where the bracelet was fitted, the original 'cut away' was square, whereas on the one I saw, they are rounded, as can be seen in my pic of the rear of the watch. 

These 'copies' are the work of watchmakers using surplus parts issued by Omega (how times change) and based on the report provided can still fetch about 5k. Originals from 8-10k.

Also, watch dealers over here aren't mugs and will be aware of the rarer pieces. The dealer in conversation with Pam said he was looking for more than 200,000 baht, but was prepared to negotiate, which is now (pound on the up) just under 5k pounds, which suggests he is well aware of what he has. 

Interestingly, the Zeno above is on sale for 1800 euros via Zeno, but all the Zeno's were reduced in store and I could get the Bullhorn for 1200 euro (about 1000 pounds). The economy is really beginning to hurt here. 

 

Edited by Caller.
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12 minutes ago, Caller. said:

... Also, watch dealers over here aren't mugs and will be aware of the rarer pieces. The dealer in conversation with Pam said he was looking for more than 200,000 baht, but was prepared to negotiate, which is now (pound on the up) just under 5k pounds, which suggests he is well aware of what he has. 

Interestingly, the Zeno above is on sale for 1800 euros, all the Zeno's were reduced and I could get the Bullhorn for 1200 euro (about 1000 pounds). The economy is really beginning to hurt here. 

 

That's all very interesting, actually it reminds me of what went on over the Omega Seamaster 300 Military watches a few years back, when many watches were being cobbled together from genuine Omega parts, especially from one particular dealer 'down under'. Mind you there may be a lesson here, ... many of those franken watches he put together are now worth a good bit more money, so although that one that you're looking at may not be totally 100% an issued watch, as it's from genuine parts, I suspect that in the future it will certainly increase in value ...

You could be on a winner if you can squeeze him more, given you both know that situation.... :biggrin: Mind you, that Zeno is great too, well worth it at that price.

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10 minutes ago, artistmike said:

That's all very interesting, actually it reminds me of what went on over the Omega Seamaster 300 Military watches a few years back, when many watches were being cobbled together from genuine Omega parts, especially from one particular dealer 'down under'. Mind you there may be a lesson here, ... many of those franken watches he put together are now worth a good bit more money, so although that one that you're looking at may not be totally 100% an issued watch, as it's from genuine parts, I suspect that in the future it will certainly increase in value ...

You could be on a winner if you can squeeze him more, given you both know that situation.... :biggrin: Mind you, that Zeno is great too, well worth it at that price.

Yes, I like the Zeno too. We will go back and see the dealer together about the Omega and just see what can be achieved. Thanks for all your help. 

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What a great story, dear @Caller., and what a fascinating thread. I do hope you achieve your ambition for these two watches. Buying at this level for a pre-owned watch would certainly make me nervous and your research and caution is exemplary, aided excellently by expert posts on this thread.:thumbsup:

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I have only ever seen one of these, it was displayed in a dealer's window in Burlington Arcade he wanted £4k for it ten years ago

The one in your pictures looks so pristine it is tempting to say it has had an Omega makeover with a service dial, hands, date ring and bezel insert - still rare though even if it has

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3 hours ago, JoT said:

The one in your pictures looks so pristine it is tempting to say it has had an Omega makeover with a service dial, hands, date ring and bezel insert - still rare though even if it has

Do you mean changed at a service? I hadn't considered that. I was just thinking they were original surplus parts put together as a watch by a watchmaker, but yes, thinking about it, with the watch likely to be over 40 years of age, the condition is exceptional, but would Omega service it, even if they still had the parts? 

On 15/02/2021 at 15:23, Always"watching" said:

What a great story, dear @Caller., and what a fascinating thread. I do hope you achieve your ambition for these two watches. Buying at this level for a pre-owned watch would certainly make me nervous and your research and caution is exemplary, aided excellently by expert posts on this thread.:thumbsup:

Well I really have Mike to thank for the information he sent me. It's an amazing guide. But yes, it's great how this small forum can produce so much in answer to an open question. 

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23 minutes ago, Caller. said:

Do you mean changed at a service? I hadn't considered that. I was just thinking they were original surplus parts put together as a watch by a watchmaker, but yes, thinking about it, with the watch likely to be over 40 years of age, the condition is exceptional, but would Omega service it, even if they still had the parts?

It's a possibility, as there's no doubt that Bienne hold all sorts of parts for servicing vintage Omega's and at one time all you had to do was to chat to John Diethelm there, who had the responsibility of running the vintage section, and he would put himself out to help source information and parts and arrange restoration. Unfortunately as the Internet proliferated and Omega had massive demands on that service and John retired things may have changed.

My only thought is that if it had gone back for a full Vintage overhaul, I suspect when coming up for sale those service papers would have been kept with the watch to enhance sale value, but who knows. The only people who could give a definitive ruling is Bienne but in my opinion, whatever it's origins it's a very nice watch indeed and I suspect it will increase in value. :)

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13 minutes ago, Caller. said:

Do you mean changed at a service? I hadn't considered that. I was just thinking they were original surplus parts put together as a watch by a watchmaker, but yes, thinking about it, with the watch likely to be over 40 years of age, the condition is exceptional, but would Omega service it, even if they still had the parts? 

Omega has a 20 year rule for parts availability after a watch has ceased production, some parts may be available for much longer depending on the demand in the 20 year period and how many were made. Given production on the 1000 stopped around 1981/82 parts would have been guaranteed until 2002 at a minimum and possibly later. In the late 1990's Omega introduced Luminova service dials for older watches, I had one on a SM600 PloProf and I believe they made Luminova dials for the SM1000, likewise with hands. It doesn't make the watch any less desirable in my opinion as they are genuine Omega parts, even if they aren't the original parts, but I would imagine purists would argue otherwise.  

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Well, I am planning to return in the morning and although Pam has to be at work, she is just translating my / your queries! 

  • Any paperwork, service etc. 
  • What he knows of its history
  • How long has he had it
  • Is it an original or NOS
  • If serviced, are original parts available
  • Details of serial numbers and can he open the watch up
Edited by Caller.
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2 minutes ago, Caller. said:

Well, I am planning to return in the morning and although Pam has to be at work, she is just as translating my / your queries! 

  • Any paperwork, service etc. 
  • What he knows of its history
  • How long has he had it
  • Is it an original or NOS
  • If serviced, are original parts available
  • Details of serial numbers and can he open the watch up

Not easy to open up, everything comes out of the front, it's a major task

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33 minutes ago, JoT said:

Not easy to open up, everything comes out of the front, it's a major task

Ah, thanks for that. Pam doesn't think he has any great knowledge anyway. It was a Sunday, so maybe he was just covering the shop? I did notice not much was coming back to my questions, not just about the Omega, but other watches as well. I assumed it was just stuff lost in translation. It was an interesting shop, apart from watches, there were old model cars, some prints and art, clocks and a little furniture. But the shop has been there for as long as we have been visiting this area, which is a few years now. 

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No update as for the last two days, the shop hasn't opened! I went yesterday morning and only then checked it opened at 13.30 (till 19.30). Went today at 14.30 and still shut. A neighbouring shop said best to come at weekends, as always open. It's a relatively small shopping complex, with various shops and restaurants, but there is always a (generally upscale) market of one sort of another at weekends, which is why we first went there - for a farmers market. 

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And there was me getting all excited to hear about the negotiations and whether it had any history... It gets nerve wracking this watch collecting lark when there's something a bit special in the offing. :)

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24 minutes ago, artistmike said:

And there was me getting all excited to hear about the negotiations and whether it had any history... It gets nerve wracking this watch collecting lark when there's something a bit special in the offing. :)

Tell me about it! I decided to search the net for info on the company and found an entry in an expat forum from 2010. Different location and opened at two, a now defunct website, but good feedback from expats about the owner, who speaks excellent English, so if he is still the owner, it wasn't the guy I met on Sunday. Interestingly, they were a Zeno stockist in 2010. Two comments from last year on Google from I assume expats - the first complaining the shop wasn't open on a Sunday, the 2nd in reply, saying stick with him, he's a good guy and lastly, a Facebook page not updated since 2016.

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Firstly, can someone explain what the term 'service parts' mean? Are they original parts, or more obviously,  those added at an actual service and if the latter, how do they know? Lots of references throughout the chatter to this term. Thanks. 

Well, 3rd time lucky today as 'Pete' was there in person and as stated above, did speak very good English. He seem's a good guy. Been in the business for over 20 years, explained the foibles of Thai watch collectors (no heavy wear or damaged goods) and happy to discuss the watch. He explained he only deals in pre-owned Swiss watches, as well as being a small outlet for Zeno. All of his watches are bought directly from Switzerland via a network of collectors he has 'built up'. This is only the 2nd Omega 1000 he has had. There is no paperwork. 

He uses various guides and for this watch, a 15 year old manual (which he bought at auction) called Omega Mania, which he said was produced by Omega, (or that's what Pam thought he said). I should have asked directly, but forgot. Seems more like an auction guide to me. This is the page that shows the watch: 

IMG-20210220-200353.jpg

It states the watch featured was made in 1975. This is the year before the guide posted by Mike in an earlier post above, states the watch went into commercial production with the calibre 1012, rather than the 1002, as per the watch featured. But the original batch started being manufactured in 1971 and only 150 were known to have been produced. Would one of that batch really have been made as late as 1975???

And that seems the tale of this model generally. More questions than answers. Even the authoritive guide supplied by Mike warns not to treat it as a definitive guide and that record keeping wasn't so good back in the day. Even the Omega archive website gives scant information and surprisingly, no accompanying photo. In this thread from the Omega forum from 2019, the OP states he contacted the Omega archives about the watch only to learn, there wasn't anything there! 

https://omegaforums.net/threads/seamaster-1000-the-grand-dial-question.106826/

Of note in that thread is the OP's photo's and in particular the photo's from the entry by Janv on December 28. The OP's watch has an original bezel, with a 3rd generation dial. This is possible as many dials were damaged by water, based on the depths they were professionally being used at (no helium valve). For reference see Janv's photo's (he has 5 of these watches). 

Then we get to this auction guide which seems to have various data that appears inaccurate as you scroll down (dates, dials, calibres et al). 

https://www.collectorsquare.com/en/watches/omega/seamaster-1000/lpi

So on to the watch I am viewing. As I said, no paperwork and the watch was purchased directly from a known and trusted Swiss collector. He was amazed by what I was questioning him on, but completely relaxed. He conceded that for a watch of this age, various changes could have been made (a bit like Triggers broom) and not having access to it's insides, I could only really discuss the outside. 

As far as I can tell, the dial and bezel are a match, the hands are legit, as is the bracelet. The movement is 99% likely to be genuine (cal 1002, but not known to be used when the watch was produced for general sale) which leaves the case. And that's where the guide I have been using suggests the case isn't an original. 

This is the guide supplied by Mike that I have been using, for ease of reference, which provides photo  examples of originals and copies, but with proviso's:

https://www.omegaseamaster1000.com/

First up is the machining. It states original cases had a radial finish, copies a sunburst finish. The watch I am looking at appears to have the latter, I say appears, as being honest, only in one area near the lugs, could any albeit very faint, sunburst be seen, just. I can't use a loupe, but Pete can. He suggested the whole case has been machined, perhaps in response to earlier damage. It basically just appeared matt. 

And if you look at the photos I referenced above from Janv, you will see absolute evidence of a sunburst finish on a watch where everything, including the case, looks well and truly battered / original. In fact, I haven't found a singgle pic with an obvious radial finish. 

How easy would it be to create a copy case on a 50+ year old watch, especially circa that time? Especially considering the curved and grooved case back? 

The 2nd issue is the lugs and I would appreciate some help here. According to the guide, the originals should have a 'stepped lug' (an example is given), whilst copies don't. I can't honestly tell what this watch has. But I suspect the latter. 

The 3rd concern from the case is at the back, where the bracelet fits. The guide states originals are stepped, copies are rounded. As far as I can tell I have a set of each at either end of the case! Very strange. 

One final puzzle. In the guide, the crowns for both calibres used are flat topped and appear identical. Whereas many of the pics I have seen (and in above links) show a dome shaped crown. These are not mentioned in the guide at all. The crown on the watch I am looking at is flat topped. 

As far as Pete is concerned, based on his guide, the trustworthiness of his source and his knowledge, the watch is genuine, maybe bar some replacement parts. The price reflects the changing market conditions in Thailand. It's worth noting that tourism and exports, two big earners here, were going belly-up long before the virus appeared, after all Generals aren't designed to run Countries. Not to mention the absurdly high value of the Baht. Many economists here claim the economy is on the verge of collapse. 

So that's where we left it today. Pete's not budging on his price and gave me his card to call him if needed. He's not open tomorrow, due to some other business committments, but would meet us at the shop if I decided to go ahead, having given it some thought. My thought is that I send everything off to the author of the guide for his thoughts, including a valuation, which he kindly provides an email address for. 

And the watch? It's brilliant! Fits like a love. 

The phone pics haven't been played around with at all, bar the close up of the bracelet clasp, where I adjusted the contrast, to make it easier to read the engraving. 

IMG-20210221-004749.jpg

IMG-20210220-200655.jpg

IMG-20210220-200045.jpg

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IMG-20210220-195734.jpg

IMG-20210220-201741.jpg

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Just a quick reply before I have to go out, and then I'll continue when I come back....  :)

Wow, what a hunt, this reminds me of the early days of sorting out Moonwatch models with the late great Chuck Maddox, when all sorts of things came to light, including the fact that Omega keep lousy records, don't assemble watches in the chronological order of the manufacture of parts and their parts and movement bins, from which watches were assembled, could have parts made at different times, to different specs, so tracking the history of any given watch, that had been serviced, was almost impossible!

Firstly, service parts are those replaced at a service. Sounds simple but that means they could either be parts made at the original manufacture of a model, when they over-manufactured to allow for servicing later. Parts manufactured later on to service watches where original parts weren't available because they had run out, and they may have been made to the original spec or 'improved' in some fashion in light of servicing experience at Omega. Then you get model changes where you have original parts and 'improved' ones for the new version that may also fit the original design and are interchangeable throughout the model's history. Think Speedmaster bezels for example..  ........ As you see, things can soon get very complicated !

The Omegamania guide that you have there is collectable in its own right. It is in fact an auction catalogue from the very famous Antiquorum 2007 Omega auction of important vintage Omega watches. It's a huge volume of over 600 pages and considered 'The Bible' of Omega collectors, though of course there are errors and omissions even in that.

The thing is that NOTHING is fixed and definite when you come to defining what should or should not be on any particular model after it's been serviced, or even before come to that. Omega don't, or didn't in those days, work like that. John Diethelm, who was the Omega employed expert on all things vintage back in the day, when it was possible to chat freely with their vintage guys, said that and he was the one guy who knew ! ...

..... to be continued when I come back later.... :)

 

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 .........................................   Right, so I'm back.

So, if you consider that the watch may have been back to Omega, or another watchmaker, more than once, you can start to see just how convoluted it becomes to track down which are original parts, service parts and parts that may have been re-manufactured at a later date to service original watches or produce new editions. Hence, why the site that I referred you to is so valuable in that much of the research as to possibilities of parts has already been done, but that doesn't mean it is definitive, there always seem to be variations that pop up that no-one has seen. Sometimes of course watches also have modifications done to them that aren't to spec, and that's another minefield!

So, the author of that website is the guy to give you as much lowdown as is possibly known, he's obviously done the sort of research that Chuck did with Speedmaster variants and he may be able to give you an answer as to this watch's provenance. So I'd definitely give him what you have and see what he says. Like most top experts his opinion will carry weight when it comes to value. It doesn't mean he's always going to be totally right but the market will listen to what he says.

One little thing perhaps worries me. If that's been in the hands of a collector, he would have kept any paperwork, receipts and service details, knowing how much they add to the value and I would have expected there to be something, if only purchase receipts. Having nothing is perhaps a bit of a concern. Mind you if it had been in the hands of a diver they probably wouldn't have been so fastidious about matters like that and if it's a franken version, any paperwork wouldn't have been 'useful' to the sale and may just have been thrown.

So, that chap is the one to ask as far as authenticity is concerned and then go from there.  Just my thoughts, it looks a fantastic watch and even as a franken would, I suspect, be worth the money, and you never know, you may have the opportunity to buy something a bit special. I, for one, wait with bated breath... :)

 

 

 

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I have the OmegaMania auction book too, but mine was produced post sale and has the sold prices.  That watch fetched CHF 21,240 including fees, but that sale made exceptional prices.  It was considered only the best Omega would qualify, and every watch came with a two year Omega warranty.  A Dynamic De Ville made CHF 2,500, whereas retail would have been half this or less back then.

A Journey through Time, the Omega commissioned bible for this brand (and the most expensive book I have ever bought) does feature this model too, but a prototype so it is not fair to use that for comparison.  It does state the prototype has a flat back whereas production models were slightly concave, if that helps?

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1 hour ago, scottswatches said:

I have the OmegaMania auction book too, but mine was produced post sale and has the sold prices.  That watch fetched CHF 21,240 including fees, but that sale made exceptional prices.  It was considered only the best Omega would qualify, and every watch came with a two year Omega warranty.  A Dynamic De Ville made CHF 2,500, whereas retail would have been half this or less back then.

A Journey through Time, the Omega commissioned bible for this brand (and the most expensive book I have ever bought) does feature this model too, but a prototype so it is not fair to use that for comparison.  It does state the prototype has a flat back whereas production models were slightly concave, if that helps?

Yes, there were some silly prices at the time, but it helped sellers after that to escalate prices quite a bit. However, look at where prices have gone on some of those watches now, it's absolutely frightening.

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Thanks once again to Mike and thanks to Scott - yes, the watch has a concave back. 

The Omega book isn't mine, it's owned by the guy selling the watch and he stated he bought the guide  at auction. It's pretty hefty. So the watch featured made over 16k - wow. For a watch first produced in 1971 and where it is believed only 150 were made, all for private consumption - I am actually struggling to believe that 4 years after the initial order and whilst they were preparing to produce an amended model for commercial sale, they made what must have made what amounted to an almost one-off, but who knows?

Okay, I will send everything I have to the author of the collectors guide and wait for his response. 7pm here now and early tomorrow I have to return to Hua Hin, so it will have to wait until tomorrow when I am back. 

My thoughts are that everything on the watch bar the case is a genuine part. Whether it was a watchmakers build from NOS, or was used to replace a battered old case is open to conjecture. What is obvious in it's current guise, is that it hasn't done any serious diving. The worst damage I can see is on the underside of the lugs. 

As soon as, I hear anything, I will report back. 

 

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