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May 11, 2012 at 5:33 pm #48249
I have worked on many watches over the last few years, mostly accutrons however in the past year or so I have become more interested in working on mechanical style wristwatches. Have recently repaired two different Omega Seamasters. This week I bought a Constellation online that was described as “will run and stop”. I figured it had broken balance staff but bought it cheap enough to not be worried about that. It arrived running today and guy who sold it must have not known about automatic watches because it hasn’t stopped yet. Runs dial up, down, as well as crown up or down. I have worn it keeping perfect time for the last 5 hours.
Issue is it has bad dial but it is in one of those cases that requires a split stem. Back comes off but stem still needs to be split to get movement out of case back. I have read many articles on removing this stem but have never done it myself. Saw one photo where a small pry bar type tool was used to remove crown. Read where someone said proper tool to use to remove this crown was hand remover and just pull straight away from case. Read another thread somewhere where person built tool to insert into opening between case and split stem. I have another dial I think will fit but have to get movement out of case first to be sure. The stem in my seamaster broke last week as I was setting it and I took it apart to get half stem out and put it back together, just don’t want to have to do that again if I can avoid it. If anyone has experience with these stems I would appreciate the help.
ThanksMay 12, 2012 at 5:22 pm #51558randyParticipant
Congrats on getting a running watch !
I’ve seen this a few times, where someone doesn’t realize that you have to wear an “automatic” to keep it running.
Most split stems will simply pull apart with enough pressure.
A hand remover will work sometimes, but they sell a crown remover as well, which is a bit more “robust”, and they are worth the money in my opinion.
I am not real familiar with the Omega Connies and the crown set-up, so I would find someone else to verify that a crown remover is the preferred tool.
Bob will probably know, or someone in one of the Omega forums online.
If it will pull apart, you always risk that one of the pieces can break, just from age/fatigue.
Best of luck
RandyMay 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm #51559
I figured that breaking might happen. I have a couple of the inner pieces that I found in some movements I picked up for parts.
CharlesMay 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm #51560
I don’t remember (which means almost nothing) seeing an Omega movement that doesn’t offer a way to release the crown when the case is opened from the back. I’m curious which movement you have. Can you post the calibre number up here when you have a chance?
I usually use a large modified nipper tweezer to remove them (visualize a finger nail clipper which we’ll get to in a second). I ground down the sharp jaws so that they became dull enough to prevent marring the stem. Then just slide it over the crown and clamp down a little on the stem using a little finger pressure and pull straight back. Works everytime!
Now for the finger nail clipper. A large straight jawed nail clipper will also work great if you un-pin the lever and then hold it in the same manner as the nipper type tweezer that I mentioned above. You should also dull the cutting edges as sited above. The only problem with the nail clipper is that most are curved in the front for clipping nails. It’s a fairly small radius which might not work on larger watches without some modification. Some of the older ones are straight so maybe you have one laying in a drawer somewhere. If so you’re ready to go!
Hope this is helpful Charles,
BobMay 13, 2012 at 7:33 am #51561
I’m sure there is nothing rare about the caliber movement I have. Just have to be able to get it out of case to check. Am guessing from the case that it is from early 70’s which would make it a 1001 or 1012. Could possibly be 752, whichever of that caliber family has sweep second. Since I originally posted this I did more research to be sure of what I had read about these split stems. I see Bergeron has split stem remover which does exactly what you do with clippers, it’s much more expensive. I just wanted to be sure before I started pulling on that stem. As I said last week I broke a regular stem on seamaster I have been fixing up. Had just installed new omega crystal and went to set time. As I pulled stem past quick set click and before it went into set mode dang thing broke at groove detent fits into. Had to take off hands, dial, date ring parts, then remove most of the set bridge parts just to get piece of stem left in watch out. Fortunately I had spare stem.
CharlesMay 13, 2012 at 10:49 am #51562
One way to check if the calibre is one of the 1000 series without opening the case is to listen to the beat. The 1000s are all high beat (28,800) where the 500’s and 700’s are slower beat (19,800). If you are able to get into the back then I think there should be a small indented “button” near the stem that can be pressed to release the stem. Pretty sure but I could be wrong as I don’t have a movement here to check.
Let us know what you come up with Charles,
BobMay 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm #51563
Thanks for the help. I finally decided to open up watch to see what I had. As I said watch was of a style that when back was removed the movement remained in back and tube for stem was made into the back so could not get to stem release. Used hand puller to remove stem. It came out without doing any damage however it did not spilt. After I got it out I then split it and put male part back in movement. Took other part and put omega crown on it. By the way it takes a little feel to find right spot to line the two halves up when replacing them when movement is in case and can’t see other end of stem. Didn’t think of listening to beat to determine caliber family. Turned out it was 1001. Now I have to decide what to do about dial. One I have will work but it is pretty bad shape as well. Weighing options of sending one off to be refinished or looking for non-running constellation with good dial and switching.
CharlesMay 13, 2012 at 2:25 pm #51564
Thanks for clearing that up for me. My mistake. I get it now. I guess you can’t release it if it’s covered by part of the case!! I was visualizing something different but after reading your first post again I see that you did say it was still in the case “back”, and not the front. Sorry about that!
Yeah it can take a little practice putting the stem back together. If you apply a little pressure while turning the crown you can usually feel the stem “drop” a tiny bit when it’s in position. When separating, if the joint seems dangerously tight I try to inject a little oil into tube. This usually helps. This oil can quickly migrate into other parts of the movement and case if too much is injected. If that happens then a cleaning is called for. Better that than damaging parts though.
Those are great watches so good luck and enjoy it Charles!
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