Restoring A Neglected Speedmaster - Omega Speedmaster 2998-1: Omega Caliber 321
As far as collectable Omega Speedmaster's go, the reference 2998-1 is high up there. This particular example is owned by a vintage Omega collector that I deal with quite frequently. He recently acquired the watch and had no record of the service history. What were we to find? Let's dig in.
The first thing I noticed was the poor condition of the screws and other metal components. Over the years the movement had been mishandled and damage from a poorly fitting or damaged screwdriver set had occurred. Due to the nature of this watch we refinished all the screw heads by hand to bring back their original lustre. Below you can see a before and after.
Here is a closer shot of the before and after.
Next, we come to the worn bushings. The top and bottom holes in the plates were badly worn and needed addressing. These aren't pressed in bushings that you would see in more modern watches so we actually need to bore them out, make new bushings, or adjust stock ones and fit them. In the first image, you see the hoe to be bored. After cutting we can clean up the hole ready for the new bushing. Once they are modified to fit we can see them installed and doing their intended job.
The next issue that needed fixing was the worn minute and setting wheel posts. These wheels and pinion on the dial side engage to set the time and over the years, due to lack of servicing, have worn down and become sloppy. Many modern calibers will use posts that are pressed into the plates so that these can be changed relatively easily. Not the caliber 321, however! We first need to find dead center of the post so that we don't throw the whole thing off-center. We can the bore out the old worn posts. Once they are removed we have to turn up brass plugs to fit. The plugs are bigger at the base so we have a sturdier framework to be dealing with.
Once the plugs are turned to the correct size we check the fit of the wheels before removing the workpiece from the lathe. When we are satisfied, the plugs can be parted off and installed in the movement.
With all the appropriate repairs completed, we can now get to cleaning and lubricating the movement.