This 1969 Omega Cosmic is the watch I wore when I got married two summers ago. Now, being a watchmaker, the choice of which watch to wear for such an important day comes with an added pressure. It’s gotta be technically advanced and socially interesting. It has to have some of my own DNA in it as well as a fresh perspective. It needs to look amazing and it needs a good story. Check!
I love vintage watches. They are literally a record and a recorder of time. When I got this watch it had already lived a very full lifetime as was evident by its condition. So before I was to give it the responsibility of carrying such an important torch, some personal touches were needed.
The story begins with my good friends Darren and Linden of Montreal. One evening while Julia and I were having dinner with them, they brought out a bag of watches that they thought I might have interest in. I was still a watchmaking student at the time and this was definitely up my alley. There were three watches in the bag and none of them were functioning. They asked if I wanted them and when I noticed the beaten up Omega I paused. This one used to belong to Lindens Grandfather from San Fransisco. It originally had a white dial that was stained and cracked. The glass was broken and the hands were badly damaged. I said “Are you sure you want to part with this one? It might be worth something.” To which they replied, “Howie, you’re the only friend we have that would appreciate a broken watch as a gift, so it’s yours”. This is where the adventure began. I did some research into these Omega Cosmics and discovered that the same reference had a sweet black dial. It became my mission to fit it with that dial. I spent many months waiting for one to come up online, and when it did, I was on it!! (this theme is present in many of my posts….perhaps I have a problem?)
The dial fit perfectly! Now was time to service the movement. It is a classic 601 Omega hand winding caliber. It was in fairly good condition. (no photos because it’s a front loader and I don’t want to remove the crystal) Easy enough to service and I did without issue. The case had lots of scratches and the brushed finish had faded and needed retouching. I re-applied the sunburst satin finish by hand using an Artifex wheel. This is usually done with a lapping machine but I did not have access to one. I think it turned out pretty good.
Next were the hands. I thought that I may have to replace them but I couldn’t find an exact match. So I figured I go for it and see if I could fix em. I spent a good while lightly hammering, bending and eventually painting them. The minute hand is not perfect but it makes it special. It’s not a watch I would ever part with so why not give it some character? So once I fit the hands, I knew I had something awesome. Once I fit a new crystal, that left me with a month or two before the wedding. This was incredible timing. I ordered a Fluco strap and then hit the runway. The wedding runway.
I’m so grateful to my friends for gifting me this watch. I think of them every time I wear it (my wife too ;). I think my next goal is to get that sweet “beads of rice” bracelet that may just send it into outerspace!