As is often the case with me, a somewhat impulsive eBay bid with no real agenda starts a ball rolling and before you know it I find myself floundering around in unfamiliar territory and in this particular case on the edge of what I am comfortable with on the expenditure front. Back in May last year this scruffy looking Omega Geneve dress watch found its way into my possession for something south of the going rate.
Not too bothered by the exterior, I was instead rather taken by the tidy looking 565 inside.
A week or so later I screwed up enough courage to place an order with Cousins for a new 166.0324 case, justified by my temporary abandonment of efforts to find a Seiko 62mas. As it turned out, Cousins had no stock, with no delivery date in sight and so I sort of forgot all about it, Geneve relegated to my parts drawer. However, my order with Cousins was still active and somewhat unexpectedly they came through mid July, with a subsequent order then placed for a new dial, hands, case clamps and 563 stem. We start then with most of the ingredients, Seamaster case off stage left somewhere:
One slight area of dissatisfaction with the parts was the colour mismatch between the lume in the hands, which has a vintaged yellowish tone and that on the dial, crisp, off-white. I had even entertained thoughts of getting the hands relumed to match but then, on a weekend walk around York, I was rather taken by this old Lator chronograph in the window of Harpers
The aesthetic of the mis-matched lume works somehow and so I abandoned any further thoughts of reluming the hands. Back to my little project. The first step is of course to remove the movement and familiarise myself with its architecture. The Geneve dial is rather nice!
Hands off and flip the movement over to try to find where the screws securing the dial feet are hiding. Ah, here’s one:
Dial off, and we hit the first minor (but relatively costly glitch). Everything is nice and clean and functioning, the date ring looks good – but – it is convex, designed to fit under a convex dial.
Now this is not necessarily a problem if you don’t mind a big gap off to the right hand side of the date window but I could not live with this so all I have to do is order a new date ring from Cousins, right? Wrong. They have date rings, but all convex. As do Ofrei. As do Jules Borel. None of them have stock of the flat style date rings. So, progress stalled. Then I happened upon an auction from an Aussie seller who had a white on black date wheel for sale for an eye-watering $79 plus $14 shipping. Crazy, I know, but I had too much invested already and no other choice. The date ring turned up after a week and I could then continue. Here’s the movement with the calendar plate and old date ring removed;
and here it is with the new date ring
Refitting the calendar plate was pretty fiddly, involving a couple of false starts but I got there in the end. With the date ring fitted, the dial goes on easily
But then another infuriating problem. When I popped the movement into the new case, it stopped running. Out of the case, it restarts. Back in, it stops again. The problem is obvious. The seconds hand came from Cousins with an upwards curve and although I had made some attempt to correct this prior to fitting, it was still evidently fowling on the interior of the domed acrylic crystal. So the hands had to come off again, followed by a proper straightening of the seconds hand. Back on and we can proceed with the operation, evidently now on the home stretch. The only remaining job to trim the new stem and fit it to the crown. I always tend to bugger this up first time and true to form, I did this time too, taking too much off. So I had to order two more stems and wait a couple more days to continue. This time I played it safer, taking only a little off at a time, reaching a point where I thought I had it right. Here’s the nearly complete watch at this point:
But I was having real trouble getting the stem to seat properly and even when I managed to get it to lock in place, it would not hand wind, nor click obviously into the setting position in any kind of consistent fashion. I wore it for a day and then took the stem out again, shortened it by a little less than another millimetre and suddenly it was playing ball, helped by the fact that I also greased the o-ring in the crown, having omitted to do this earlier.
With everything now seemingly aligned and content, it is time to close up the case back and declare a finish.
In spite of the fact that all of the exterior case parts are brand spanking new, the watch retains every bit of its vintage style, minus of course the authenticity associated with 50-odd years’ worth of patina. This is no better illustrated than with a view from the side, taking in the profile of the domed acrylic set against the narrow castellations of the bezel.
One more in repose followed by a couple showing off the perfect landscape of the domed crystal, classic dial and iconic bezel insert.
I have to say, I am really pleased with this one. It gave me a few scares, but it really is lovely and is running beautifully (and continues to do so a year later, coincidentally on my wrist as I type).
Hi Martin really enjoyed this article, thanks.
Do have a question, I hope you can enlighten me?
How can I determine if the date wheel is convex without the proper sm300 dial and do you have the part number for the non-convex date ring? (Would that be 1500N, version?)
Thanks Koen. If the movement in question is fitted to a watch with a domed or convex dial, then you can be sure that the date ring will be convex itself to clear the downwards curve of the dial. If the dial is flat, then there would be no sense in fitting a convex date ring. I’ve somehow lost track of the part number of the white on black flat ring that I sourced for my watch but I did subsequently obtain a black on white flat date ring (which I still have) and the part number for that is 560 1580A. I have a feeling that all of the 1500 series are all convex and based on the logic of the numbering conventions on Cousins’ site, I am guessing that the white on black flat ring may have the part number 560 1580N. I hope that helps.
Hi Martin, thanks for your insight. I did already made an order with cousins and ordered everything needed including a1500N date wheel. I did some more researching and found that more people have used the 1500N.
This link has some valuable info: http://www.rolexforums.com/showthread.php?t=208671 the first post in this thread has a link that shows a sm300 with a 1500N (maybe not the right one) but i think it doesn’t look too shabby.
But anyway thanks for the inspiration you gave!
I’ve seen that post by Jocke before and noticed then that he used the wrong date wheel. The 1500N he used is the convex wheel and you can see in the photo here:
how it drops away from the outer edge of the date aperture in the dial. I know plenty of people have done this too, including Watchco, but that doesn’t make its use correct; just expedient given the moderate difficulty in obtaining the correct part.
Yup, you’re right didn’t notice that before. But for now, until I find the right one, it will work. Do you know if omega still produces the 1580 variant? Cousins don’t have them, but maybe a befriended watchmaker can order them?
For now it’s waiting for cousins to fulfill my order, right now it’s status is “order parked”..
I don’t know if they still produce them, but the black on silver version I still have knocking around in a drawer somewhere, I ordered from Jules Borel who had it on back order. The fact that they subsequently delivered suggests that these parts may still be available and ordered (or at least could when I put my watch together).
Thanks so much for sharing.. I guess I’ll wait for the all the parts (inc convex wheel) and see how much it will bother me. If it bothers me I can always look for a non convex one..
Just had cousins on the phone and they said it would be send out today, almost can’t wait..
Antonio Luiz said:
HI, congratutalions Man
Your project is realy wonderfull
I have one 611 movement that I ‘d like to use in one similar project.
Can you infirm where I can get the rest of parts considering that I have Just the movement? I live in Brazil.
My 611 movement is like yours, with date information.
I Will awainting forward for your return.
Hi Antonio, I built this project nearly 10 years ago when many of the parts were still freely available from watch materials houses. I sourced mine from Cousins in the UK but availability has long since dried up as Omega stopped supplying parts for open sale.
This is a beautiful build. I was saddened to find that this was published in 2012, I’m sure by now cousins and any other parts suppliers will no longer source this sort of case or dial.
These days I’m almost confident I will be able to find a movement to fit into that case, however, I’ve had 0 luck in finding an identical or slightly similar case. Has anyone come across a case in recent days that is somewhat similar in style to this.
Let me know if anyone has come across this case for ANY movement.
I don’t know if there are any third party vintage Seamaster cases out there but if there are, you might want to exercise caution when it comes to your expectations over quality. Good luck with your search!
I am in same boat have everything needed to put together a 165024 but I cant find the case and dont know where to look for If you could give any help please