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Vintage Omega Seamaster

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Looking to purchase a vintage Omega Seamaster. However, I do not know much about vintage watches. How do you recommend I go about making a purchase? I love the look of the old Seamasters...just do not want to get scam with a fake.
post #2 of 26
L'ebay. Or flea markets. Have picked up a few there.
post #3 of 26
I'd be careful with ebay, unless you know very well what you are buying you could/will be taken. An alternative would be the Salescorner in
post #4 of 26
I'm not very cynical about the market for fake vintage Omega's on Ebay. They generally aren't worth enough to copy, and anything you're going to be shopping for will have a few years of petina on it already - so just avoid "too new" looking watches and there's step 1. Step 2: buy from trusted sellers. Step 3: find a model you want.

I have had my 1975 Seamaster for 9 years now (ref 176.007), it looks exactly like this one (mine has a brown croc strap):
That watch was bought in a no-reserve auction for $760! Which is a steal. I came VERY close to bidding on this one so I'd always have a replacement, but I couldn't swing it right now. So that brings me to step 4: get lucky. There are a million watches out there, take some time to research and find the exact one you want. It'll make the adventure much more rewarding.

Omega is a great marque to start collecting, since they can be had for just a few hundred dollars and look amazing after a little cleaning. I get far more compliments on mine than my friends do with their new Rolexes.
post #5 of 26
^ Actually, there is a lot of reason to be wary, if not outright cynical.

The demand for vintage Seamasters/Constellations have driven many to, while not quite fake them, certainly deceive potential buyers as to the provenance of the watches they peddle.

Nearly every vintage Seamaster/Constellation I have seen posted from 'personal collections' here on SF is off in some way.

Hands have been swapped for plain wrong and ill-fitting ones.

Dials that are refinished, poorly. Plain fake dials.

Poor re-lume jobs on the hands/dial.

Cases that are polished to heck, with all the fine detail gone.

Mismatched crowns that compromise the water resistance of the watch.

And that's all without even looking inside the case - regulators pushed to the max of '-' or '+', wrong movements for the case, non-Omega movements, visible corrosion, etc...

If you are really interested in vintage Seamasters or Constellations, then take the time and effort to read up on them so that you are at least an informed newbie - I'm 3 years in and am still learning things.
post #6 of 26
Yeah, I'm interested in a Constellation and it's amazing how much info is out there on them and how difficult it's been so far to start to parse which watches are legit and which are (in the parlance of the various watch forums) frankenwatches. It definitely takes a lot of homework, but if I manage to find a legit pie pan constellation at a decent price, I'll be psyched.
post #7 of 26
For the prices being paid for all-original vintage Constellations in good nick now ($3-5,000) you could probably get a new watch that is a 'better' watch in just about every sense of the word - like a Dornbleuth or IWC.
post #8 of 26
Apropos, what do you think of this one on Finertimes? Who are your most trusted sellers on the net?

post #9 of 26
There is a watchmaker with an ebay store who specializes in servicing and restoring vintage watches:

I don't see any vintage Omega's there at the moment, but he does feature them pretty regularly.
post #10 of 26
I am about to head down that road as well, and hopefully end up with a vintage Heuer chrono. It's an interesting world out there for vintage watches. And the market seems to have really amped up in the last few years. Prices have definitely gone up.
post #11 of 26
Some independent jewelry stores still dabble in vintage watches. In NYC, Louis Martin comes to mind. I enjoy looking at all the pieces in their window. In San Francisco, Geneva Watch Repair is great. They provided excellent service on my Seamaster when I was in town for a project, had a several vintage pieces for sale and the owner was splendid to chat with.
post #12 of 26
post #13 of 26
There are some things about vintage watches that you need to be aware of.

  • Water Resistance

The farther back you go, the less likely your watch is to have decent water resistance. Modern rubber and sealing technologies are what make water resistance so ubiquitous. So if you expect to do more than just splash some water in the general direction of your watch while washing your hands, be careful what you buy. Even going out in the rain can be a hazard with some watches. If the watch is supposed to be water resistant, make sure that they've tested the seals and are able to tell you what the results were. If not, find out from the watchmaker what he or she would recommend as far as water exposure is concerned.

  • Crystal Material

Believe it or not, many vintage watches use acrylic crystals. Back then acrylic was seen as high tech and cutting edge. It scratches easily, but can be polished out and replacement crystals are generally available. You're not going to find a vintage watch with a sapphire crystal.

  • Movement accuracy

Vintage watches, even if they are properly serviced, don't keep the same time that a modern automatic or hand wind watch does. That is not to say that they are awful, but don't expect the +/- 10 seconds per day that an ETA 2892 will commonly provide.

  • Shock Resistance

Modern movements are more shock resistant than most vintage movements, so be extra careful about dropping it.

  • Modern alternatives

If you're interested in a vintage look with modern materials, check out the Visodate from Tissot:


Christopher Ward also makes a comparable watch with a vintage feel:


Edited by LeeReynolds - 7/22/11 at 4:35pm
post #14 of 26
Originally Posted by Cant kill da Rooster View Post

Apropos, what do you think of this one on Finertimes? Who are your most trusted sellers on the net?
I'm sorry, but I don't have any experience with that iteration of the Seamaster.

I prefer transactions done man-to-man on watchuseek, et al. Beware the Asian seller, especially if operating out of Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, etc.
post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
great info guys. thanks a lot!
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