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Omega f300 Hard Metal Mystery


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Prototype or just very rare model?

There has been some discussion about this watch over on TZ-UK where it was described as a prototype but the case number of 198.0055 does appear in the Omega Dressings Component Catalogue and the sapphire crystal (062SN0378) can be ordered from Cousins, Boley etc, although it will cost you in excess of £200.

What make the watch special is the "hard metal" case.  Keitht has written about these before usually in relation to Bucherer and IWC although he also had a "hard metal" Seamaster.  But I don't think I've seen mention of a "hard metal" f300 before.

Sadly, although the Dressing catalogue lists 198.0055, it merely marks the case material as "ST" for steel, and makes no mention of the "hard metal" aspect.  But is does list it as having a sapphire crystal which is unusual for the f300 models.

I've certainly never seen another, and nor come across any other f300 with case marked 198.005. It's not mine :sad:.

Omega-f300-Hard-Metal-Sapphire-Crystal-1

Omega-f300-Hard-Metal-Sapphire-Crystal-1

Omega-f300-Hard-Metal-Sapphire-Crystal-1

Omega-f300-Hard-Metal-Sapphire-Crystal-1

 

 

 

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i assume that the case is tungsten, whatever it is its stunning, like frozen mercury,i have a tungsten chono and its pretty special

This was my assumption as well -- looks like one of the tungsten Rado cases.  The bluish tone is pretty distinctive, and they are also susceptible to cracking (although incredibly resistant to scratching, compared to steel.)

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Guest Bruce

I believe it is tungsten-bombarded “1200 Vickers” stainless steel --- Google it. :)

i wont pretend to understand the science behind it, but i always think this sort of thing is a brave move by manufacturers, trying new or unusual materials. apparently though there are quite serious health risks when working with Tungsten?

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Have you have a chat to Tom (dickstar1977) Paul? If he doesn't know then no-one will.  :lol:

I have a vague recollection from when I used to collect old Omega watches fanatically that they made this case in a few different metals - steel, various gold, gold plated and this 'hard metal' which had a ceramic look to it. All of them were made in mock-ups and all made it into the 197(?) catalogue as options, but a couple of them never got beyond prototype status.

I may be wrong, but I think this falls into that category. I have never seen or handled one in the flesh and I can count on one hand (three fingers, in fact) how many I've seen in various rare watch auctions and on collectors forums over the years.

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I believe this IWC electronic is also the same material.  There is a definite blue tinge to the metal, and the curator of the IWC museum said their example of the same watch used a special metal (but he didn't know what it was).  It is the only example of an electronic watch in their museum.

The strap on mine has serious erosion on the inside, so it might be hard but there is a good reason it didn't take off!

DSC_0035-2.jpg

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 The cases are treated with “Tegiment” process. This is the process where the ice-hardened outer layer of special anti-corrosive stainless steel is hardened to 1,200 Vickers which is four times harder than nickeliferous high grade stainless steel used in other high quality stainless steel watches. This steel process is rarely found in watches, but is more often found in surgical instruments, and aerospace and aviation. The bracelet is treated in the same process to give it equal strength to the case.

Materials can also be hardened cryogenically,  I assume when the Sinn blurb says "ice-hardening" this will be their process.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryogenic_hardening

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I believe it is tungsten-bombarded “1200 Vickers” stainless steel --- Google it:)

I did 

:lol: :lol:

Another possibility for the Omega "tungsten-bombarded" blurb

Recent developments in fusion have led to reconsider the use of high-Z material as Plasma Facing Component (PFC). Tungsten is presently a good candidate according to its high energy threshold for physical sputtering and its lack of sensitivity to chemical sputtering. We present here a new deposition process of Tungsten, based on Plasma Assisted Chemical Vapor Deposition (PACVD). This process has been used to deposit tungsten and rhenium on several substrates. The analyses of the coating properties have shown good adhesion on graphite, stainless-steel and copper. 

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  • 6 years later...

Good morning, I have a very similar watch, but mine doesn't have a screw back. I believe that in this case too it is a prototype, perhaps earlier than what I saw in this 3D.

I asked Omega for information, I await an answer. Most likely I will send the watch to Omega in Switzerland and ask for more information

 

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3 hours ago, SolaVeritate said:

Its strange.. 99.999% of seiko 5s that turn out to be in an 'unusual' case are called 'Frankenwatches' but when we find an Omega in an unusual case it is looked on as a 'prototype'. 

I would ask "what are the chances?" but I guess they are 99.999%

I think we're looking at two different things here - the watch in the original post, with Omega markings in the caseback and discussed by people who have shown they know something about the subject. And then the latest post, an ordinary brushed steel case with an unmarked caseback, except for a sort of number scratched on with a biro. I'm agog to find out what Omega says about it. :biggrin:

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15 minutes ago, spinynorman said:

I think we're looking at two different things here - the watch in the original post, with Omega markings in the caseback and discussed by people who have shown they know something about the subject. And then the latest post, an ordinary brushed steel case with an unmarked caseback, except for a sort of number scratched on with a biro. I'm agog to find out what Omega says about it. :biggrin:

Umm.. yeah. OK, so after all the people that have shown they know something about it.. showed they know something about it.. was it a discovered jewel of horology or was it left with no-one quite the wiser? -thats not my point anyway. 

The second watch, in my view falls into the same category.. its legitimacy makes no difference.. again..  - thats not my point.

Simply because both watches fall into the box of 'unusual' and both have a name 'omega' on them.. People automatically begin to look more closely at them and begin to wish them as important or perhaps 'prototype'. If these were a more common watch, people would just pop them into the category of 'altered' and dismiss them.

Like I guess.. chances of any watch being legitimately 'discovered' as a true prototype is remotely rare and 'maker of watch' would have nothing to do with it. 

When you think about it.. it would be rarer to discover a real lost prototype of a common watch because it wouldn't be 'romantic' enough for people to actually pay attention to it.

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Going back to the "hard metal" discussion, I believe that this term (in relation to the Omega watch originally discussed in this thread) may actually refer to tungsten carbide as opposed to either tungsten used alone or as tungsten-bombarded steel. Tungsten carbide, a form of which is apparently referred to specifically as Hard Metal/hardmetal, is essentially an alloy of tungsten and carbon, which in its monocarbide form has the chemical formula WC and a hardness that can rival diamond for the hardest known material. In practice, the basic tungsten and carbon alloy particles are embedded in or mixed with a binder (often cobalt) of lesser hardness, to produce a metal-like substance technically known as a ceramic cement of tungsten, carbon and binder.  A good account of both tungsten and tungsten carbide can be found at https://www.thomasnet.com/articles/metals-metal-products/tungsten-vs-tungsten-carbide/

Tungsten carbide has a surprisingly long and interesting history going back to Germany in the 1920s. During World War One, the Germans found themselves running short of industrial diamonds used for the manufacture of diamond wire-drawing dies. Researchers therefore began the hunt for an alternative material with sufficient hardness. and in 1923, the first variety of tungsten carbide (or "hardmetal") was submitted for patent. In Germany, World War Two saw a huge rise in tungsten carbide manufacture and use, primarily due to military uses including the production of armour-piercing shells that had a core of tungsten carbide. For those readers who would like a complete history of tungsten carbide, I can refer you to the following site, https://sumitomoelectric.com/sites/default/files/2020-12/download_documents/82-03.pdf. I have not read the whole of this document but it seems to be most helpful. 

  

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