Given that I buy old watches generally in non-working condition, it is incredibly rare that I am shocked in a good way when I get to the movement of a watch. This 1967 Longines was that exception. Once I got the scratched crystal off I saw that the dial was perfect on this watch. Not a speck of dust, a fingerprint, anything. I then got the movement out of the unishell (sometimes this can be a pain) and turned it over to reveal a movement that had not been touched by human hands since it left the production line 46 years ago. It had none of the scratches, dust, dirt, hair, or marks that are all too commonly the sign of human intervention. The case also had no service marks. It was common practice for watchmakers to leave a mark with a tiny engraving on the inside of cases. This watch had been bought, had an ugly stretch band put on it, and was then never worn. It only required a quick disassembly and cleaning to remove the factory oil, some new oil put in, and a slight regulation to get it running just as perfectly as it did all those years ago. Oh, and I also added a new leather band that matches the watch’s elegance far better than a stretchy band.
The caliber 284 is beautiful in its simplicity. It is a relatively wide but slim movement that is incredibly service friendly. I highly recommend this as a good movement to experiment on if you ever feel the itch to get into watch repair.
The dial is somewhat different with hands that are simple but just ever so slightly different from conventional hands in their shape, and the Roman numeral markers at 3,6,9, and 12 are also great touches along with the crosshair.
Usually there are several terms in the watchmaker’s lexicon that I need to use when describing a restore, but in this case only one comes to mind: Near Mint.
Sometimes you don’t appreciate the beauty of something until it really all comes together and is seen in its finished entirety. This vintage Omega took so long to complete it became a regular site on the workbench and was ignored. I was so happy to finally be done with it and to get it off the bench, that I didn’t recognize how striking it was until I started photographing it.
This watch took over three months to complete and has parts sourced from three continents (I am a stickler for genuine parts, and since these aren’t made anymore they are sometimes hard to track down.) It did not take so long because it was hard, but the combination of a rookie mistake and obtaining the rose gold buckle caused this watch to sit on my bench for months.
Time to admit my embarrassing mistake: As I was re-assembling it I applied a tad too much pressure and broke the escape wheel. It happens but it’s frustrating as hell and because movements like this aren’t made anymore, neither are their parts. Trying to find this tiny little part at a reasonable price proved so impossible I literally bought an entire other movement for the same price as someone wanted to charge for the escape wheel.
On to the watch itself: This is a manual wind caliber 267 with a serial number dating it to around 1958. Often called “jumbo” this watch was large for the time, but at 37.5mm it’s about average size by current standards. I have read some people calling this series of calibers the “unmarked Seamasters” but have not verified this. This one has a rose gold plated case (worn in some areas.)
As you can see, this watch shows its age but without question maintains its beauty. The two toned dial has a great super-light patina on it. Even with this patina, the rose gold markers are radiant. The case, although worn in places still shines like the day it was created. The black band helps to accentuate the character of this watch, and the rose gold buckle to quote one of my favorite movies “really ties the room [in this case watch] together.”
I hope you enjoy this watch and the pictures. Bringing watches like this back to life is why I love doing this.