If you’re looking for a vintage Omega watch with a tight budget, it might be worth it to look for one that needs some work.
This Omega Seamaster De Ville with an in-house 600 movement needs to be serviced, and it needs a new crystal. The original lume was also as good as gone, so we decided to relume the hands.
The reference number is 14915, which is not in the Vintage Omega Database or Bestfit. However, Cousins UK has this ref included on their website. Have a look at this article if you want to know how to identify an Omega watch.
It would be nice to be able to look it up, but I don’t doubt that this watch is authentic.
The serial number is 19258453, which dates the watch to 1963.
Remove all power from the mainspring as usual. Move the click away from the ratchet wheel and slowly let the crown slip between your thumb and index finger.
Before I lift the balance, I remove the regulator. It’s tarnished, so I want to polish and clean it.
By the way, the 600 and the 610 are the only movements from the series that have a Reed’s regulator. The other ones have an excenter regulator, like this Omega 601 in an Omega Seamaster Cosmic that I restored in May 2018.
Remove the balance and the pallets. I always store them upside down in a tray underneath a dust cover.
Remove the ratchet wheel and the crown wheel with the seat or shim. Crown wheels are usually secured with a left-handed screw, but, in this case, it’s secured with two small regular screws.
Most of the screws in this movement are tarnished and so are some parts. I already removed the regulator to clean and polish it. The crown wheel and the ratchet wheel are also tarnished but they’re different. Polishing them with high grit sandpaper and Diamantine will look bad because of the sunray brushing. I’ll do my best with peg wood and a fiberglass brush.
Remove the sweep second cock and lift the sweep second pinion. Be very careful with the pressure spring for the sweep second pinion. It’s thin and bends easily. If that happens, it’s very difficult to get it back to the correct shape.
Remove the train wheel bridge and lift the fourth wheel, the third wheel, and the escape wheel.
Remove the barrel bridge and lift the great wheel and the barrel.
Flip the movement around and start with the bottom plate.
As you can see, the bottom plate also shows some tarnished parts, especially the set lever spring and the pressure spring for the setting lever. Officially, these parts should be replaced but a generic set lever spring is $10 and a pressure spring is $54. A genuine Omega set lever spring is $68 which is getting ridiculous.
Replacing parts is something that you’ll need to decide for yourself. New parts are in better condition and they’ll look better but it’ll cost you. If you buy a fixer-upper because you’re on a tight budget, it doesn’t make much sense to spend that much on new parts while the old ones will do. I did my best to get them as clean as possible without removing too much material.
The shock protection system on the bottom plate is different than the one on the top plate. It consists of a bloc, a jewel hole, a capstone, and a spring. Remove the spring so you can lift the jewel hole and the capstone. Put the spring back in place.
Pre-clean the pivot holes and bearing jewels with peg wood. Install the balance on the empty base plate and remove the jewel hole and capstone from the top Incabloc.
Clean all the parts in the watch cleaning machine.
First, replace the jewel hole with the capstone in the bottom Incabloc. Don’t forget to lubricate the capstone.
Flip the movement around and fit the barrel, the great wheel, and the barrel bridge.
Place the escape wheel, third wheel, and fourth wheel in position and reinstall the train wheel bridge.
Install the crown wheel and the ratchet wheel. Don’t forget the seat for the crown wheel.
Place the friction spring for the sweep second pinion and the pinion itself in position and reinstall the sweep second cock.
Turn the movement around and reinstall the motion works and the keyless works.
Flip the movement to the top plate and reinstall the pallets. Wind the watch a couple of times to check the pallet fork. It should snap to the other side with the lightest touch.
Place the balance in position and the movement should come alive.
Now it’s time to clean and lubricate the top Incabloc block. Use peg wood to clean the capstone before you clean it with One Dip or something similar. I like to use Zippo lighter fluid. Lubricate the capstone and reassemble it.
Place the hour wheel and washer in position and fit the dial.
As I mentioned, nearly all original lume was gone, so the owner and I decided to relume the hands.
Remove all the old lume with a needle and a fiberglass brush. Always remove the lume from the back so you won’t damage the finish of the hands.
This Omega is from 1963, so make sure to mix a lume that looks like it could be 56 years old and it also needs to match the lume on the dial. Check out this article if you’re interested in the entire process of reluming watch hands.
I also fitted a new crystal because the old one was too badly damaged. It’s better to use an original crystal because these are monobloc cases, so the crystal needs to have very exact dimensions for a good fit and water resistance.
Make sure to line up the little Omega logo on the crystal with the logo on the dial. It’s not important but it’s a nice touch if someone notices it.
What do you think of this Omega Seamaster De Ville? Do you have a similar one? Let me know in the comments below.