Scuba diving became a huge leisure pursuit in the 1950’s and watch manufacturers were quick to offer timepieces designed to suit the activity. In 1953 Blancpain introduced the blueprint for future dive watches with it’s rotating “time elapsed” bezel, luminous dial and hands and screw down crown . Rolex were quick to follow in 1954 with their Submariner model and various other manufacturers followed suit soon after. In 1957 Omega debuted their offering the Seamaster 300 reference CK2913, along with it’s brothers the Railmaster and Speedmaster. The first generation Seamaster 300’s looked very distinctive with their broadarrow hands and narrow acrylic bezel.
The CK2913 had a seven year run and was replaced in 1964 with an updated model reference 165.024 (no date) and 166.024 (with date) The 165.024 is the subject of this post and as you can see looked remarkably different to the earlier model with it’s larger 42mm case, much bigger luminous markings on the dial and easier to read sword hands. The bezel was more business like with minute markers all the way around for more accurate timings underwater. It proved to a big success both with the civilian and military markets.
This particular SM300 came in for a service and to be made water resistant once more. With the caseback removed you can see the 24 jewel, automatic, calibre 552, 19,800bph movement, plated in copper and looking gorgeous with its regulators swan neck fine adjuster.
With the movement uncased you can see the dial and hands are in very good shape, albeit the lume on the hands is very fragile.
With the dial removed we can have a peek at the calendar side.
And the going train side is just as good looking. There’s something about vintage Omega movements that just gets you!
The movement was fully stripped ready for cleaning and inspection.
Whilst the components were having their trip through the cleaner I turned my attention to the fragile hands. As can be seen it wouldn’t have taken much of a jolt to knock out the hour hands luminous compound, it had a crack running down one side and across almost to the other.
A couple of coats of fresh binder was applied to the back of both hands which should hold the compound firm.
Once the inspection was finished reassembly began, a new mainspring was the first thing to be fitted.
The barrel and centre wheel back in place.
The ratchet wheels fitted and going train in place ready for the bridge to be replaced.
The balance and cock back in place with the incabloc spring about to be closed down on the jewel cap.
The dial and handset refitted.
With the movement assembled my attention turned to the case, there were a few replacement parts to be fitted.
The first thing to be addressed was the crown, the originals seal had perished so a replacement was fitted.
The crystal was also earmarked for replacement, I always aim to get the minute Ω on the underside of the crystal oriented correctly, a small point but I know it would bug me if it was cockeyed on my own watch!
The case components had been for a dip in the ultrasonic bath ready for the crystal.
The bezels insert had quite a bit of wear, the numerals had faded and it had also started to split.
A replacement with the correct font was sourced, a variety of 1’s at the 10 marker were used, some were sans serif so it’s important to make sure you find the right variety.
In this shot it’s ready for the caseback, a new seal was has been fitted and silicone greased.
The inside of the caseback with the model number and the Acier Inoxydable script (Stainless Steel in English).
And a shot of the caseback with Omegas famous Hippocampus logo. The caseback design remained unchanged throughout the SM300’s production.
Time for pressure testing to 6bar. Into the chamber and up to pressure.
Wait 15 minutes or so then submerge. The way it works is that if there is a leak somewhere the case will become pressurised inside.
Then when the pressure is released the pressure will escape the way it came in leaving a tell tale stream of bubbles. Happily this was fine and passed with flying colours.
And here she is all done. One of the most iconic dive watches ever made I think you’ll have to agree.
And a couple of shots with it back on it’s signed bracelet.