Vintage Heuer / TAG Heuer watches, and a few others. Plus Handmade straps..

Posts Tagged ‘Omega Speedmaster

Omega Speedmaster Pro 145.022 ’69

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Omega Speedy 145.022

Omega Speedmaster Pro 145.022 – 69, Cal 861.

I’ve had this watch some time, maybe a year or so. I took it in part trade for my old Silverstone Fume. It was a lovely watch, but had a few cosmetic issues that needed sorting, so it’s been left unloved in the watch box, until now. The minor restoration process is detailed further below.

I’m no Omega expert, but I do love the old ‘uns. Here is some information that was supplied by the previous owner, explaining the finer details of the watch…

This 1969 Speedy Pro features the rare Seahorse ‘hippocampus’ caseback with none of the later NASA engravings. It is worn from 40 years of use but the hippocampus is still visible.  The inside is engraved with the model number 145.022 69 with “69” being the year of production. It features a rare tritium stepped dial in with painted Omega logo. Take a close look at the “R” on the end of the word Speedmaster. Original dials have a long stylised “R” whereas later dials and service replacements had a short-tailed “R”. The stepped dial (step down to the minute track) was only in production for a short while on cal 861’s and Omega switched to a gradual slope in the early 70’s.

The bezel features the rare “225-220-190” markings (this was actually a mistake made by Omega and later models read “225-200-190”).

The restoration process..
Please do not confuse my efforts as anything other than a hobbyist ‘having a go’, I’m no restorer, but I do like a challenge, but the possibility of it going horribly wrong was always on my mind.

These projects are personal choice, I know some don’t approve.. but here is my story..

It needed a few minor cosmetic issues dealing with –  main hands had paint loss, lume loss, crystal a bit worn.. 
but one issue stood out like a sore thumb. (to me) – sometime in it’s past a watchmaker must have cleaned the old lume away. These super thin lume markers don’t usually fair well over time.. usually leaving just a ‘stain’ of very thin patina on the hour markers. This had been completely cleaned away on my example, leaving behind the bright white painted hour markers.

I had a tough decision, do I leave as is or have it re-lumed in vintage tones. I decided to go re-lume, as the dial looked totally out of place in a vintage piece. I contacted jedi lume master James, but even he had reservations… Apparently to get very detailed/delicate re-lume edges requires a thicker solution, which is almost impossible to apply on the thin Speedy markers, especially with my ‘Stepped dial’. The chances of crisp square lume was minimal.. overspill being a major possibility with a thinner lume solution. Sometime later, I mentioned the same to Abel.. he was willing to have a go, but I was a little worried, as I didn’t really want fresh ‘puffy’ lume.. I wanted it to look how it would have before the old lume was cleared away.. sort of eroded, uneven.

So, I dropped the re-lume idea.. but I didn’t want to give up. 
I thought about trying to recreate that ‘stained thin degrading lume’ we see on Speedies that have lost some lume. I experimented with many substances. 
I experimented on some gloss paper with tea and coffee.. but that produced a ‘flat’ brown. I wanted to get that mottled honey-golden-brown effect, and I didn’t want a uniform colour. I tried adding some yellow artist paint to some coffee – that worked better, but still wasn’t anywhere near what I was after. I even tried rubbing some small rocks together to get a powdered stone to mix with my coffee solution!! – that didn’t work.. I was obsessed with finding a solution.

Then… a breakthrough..
I was watching a clip online about the making of a recent UK TV series that was based in industrial Birmingham (UK) in circa 1918.. the video featured the set designer going through ‘house sets’ explaining how they did this, that and the other. He said that the period wallpaper had a ‘nicotine’ wash added to give it that genuine faded old golden smokey look.. and I got an idea…

Ironically, the set designer was technically ‘wrong’ (AFAIK), this ‘nicotine’ wash shouldn’t be called that – it’s the tar that makes that ‘old faded golden brown’ colour. 
So, I got an old clean margarine tub, (lid still on) cut a hole in the side and slid in a lit cigarette horizontally & let it burn. I did this multiple times. 
This left a tar residue on the inside of the tub. I then let it ‘air’ outside for a week or so.

Then, using a 0000 size sable artists brush, and a touch of water.. I used this residue to do some testing on glossy paper.. and voila.. several layers, allowing to dry between coats, created a really rich golden-brown-mottled-tobacco effect.. After plucking up the courage.. I set to work on the dial. The mottled, aged effect came up wonderfully.

I had James fit genuine Omega hr/min hands, which I also tinted (the lume) with my 0000 brush – that was very tricky, I can tell you. 
He fitted was a new gen Omega crystal.. which I was pleasantly surprised to find cost bugger all… (around £25ish).

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Omega Speedmaster 145.022

Written by Heuerville

December 29, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

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Omega Speedmaster Mitsukoshi ‘Domino Dial’ Project

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Speedmaster Domino Dial

Omega Speedmaster Pro ‘Moonwatch’ 3570.50 with Mitsukoshi Dial

Amongst the Heuer community, there is a healthy respect for vintage Universal Geneve and Zenith chronographs. Some of them are stunning, and a few really caught my eye. I looked into them, as you do, and there were a few disappointments, namely they are fairly small, quite pricey, and very hard to find in the right condition. My thoughts turned to a white ‘panda’ dial Carrera, but again, these aren’t exactly easy to find…

Then I spotted an Omega ‘Mitsukoshi’ custom conversion online somewhere & I dug a little deeper. I loved the look of it so found myself a standard black dialed Speedmaster Pro, and sourced a handset & dial from Ofrei. The conversion was fairly straight forward, my watch guy making short work of the parts swap. Click here to see the original regular Speedmaster that I bought.

During my time with the standard model, I actually really liked it, and while I waited for the Mitsukoshi parts to arrive, I managed to grab a ’69 example as a part trade to fill the hole it would leave after the conversion.

So, what is a Mitsukoshi?  Put simply, released in 2003 it was a limited edition Speedmaster Pro of 300 released by Omega in conjunction with one of Japan’s most famous departments stores – Mitsukoshi (they have a selection of exclusive worldwide Japanese restaurants too). The watch is essentially a regular Speedy with steel handset and a ‘domino’ dial. They were available exclusively from their store(s) in Japan, although a handful collectors managed to buy internationally. It is a stunning clean design and the 300 sold out very quickly. They do become available on the second hand market now and then, but they command big bucks.

My conversion isn’t identical to a true Mitsukoshi, which has all steel hands. I opted for a slightly different hand set-up, as I thought it was more ‘vintage-esk’ in it’s look, more like the Universal Geneve’s and Zeniths I admire so much.. therefore I only had the hour and minute hands changed from painted white to steel. The central sweep chrono hand and the subdial pins remain painted white, which I think looks better.

Speedmaster Mitsukoshi

Written by Heuerville

December 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

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Omega Speedmaster Pro ‘Moonwatch’ 3570.50

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Omega Speedmaster Professional ‘Moonwatch’ 3570.50.  2001

What? an Omega. Yes, my first, and I love it. Maybe it was a subliminal message, as I spent two weeks glued to the 2012 Olympics, obviously sponsored by Omega. I really wanted a modern bulletproof watch for day-to-day wearing that had a vintage look, and the Speedy fitted the bill perfectly. I’m really smitten by it, it’s such a classic design. I know that amongst us watch hounds, the Speedy isn’t exactly new, but maybe familiarity breeds contempt. As someone who focuses pretty much exclusively on vintage Heuers, this is a real eye-opener for me. It’s a beautiful design, the case is just sublime. The size, weight and feel is perfect. If you wanted one watch, that does pretty much everything, you can’t really go wrong. Dump the bracelet, get a nice leather strap, and it has classic vintage looks – what more do you want!

Here are the stats, which I’m sure any self respecting watch nut is fully aware of..
2001 model.. Calibre 1861, rhodiumplated, “fausses côtes” decoration, 18 jewels, straight-line lever escapement, monometallic balance, shock absorber, self-compensating flat balance spring.

Below is a photo of my Speedy with a reflection of Neil Armstrong and Old Glory on the Moon, which I took as a salute to him on the day of his funeral. God Speed Neil.

Written by Heuerville

September 15, 2012 at 8:09 pm

Posted in Non-Heuer

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