It is always a pleasure when people contact me through the site, and even more so when they want to sell a family watch. These watches handed down have more integrity and originality, and for some reason the history seems to stay with the watch.
This watch got the moniker “The Chef’s Watch” as the current owner, Dan, is a professional chef. It came to him from his father, who had given it to his grandfather. One of the first photos he sent was this:
Well if a speedmaster can survive Apollo it ought to survive a kitchen!
Here is what he sent me: The watch, with a fresh Omega service document, a bag of replaced parts, (including hands thank heavens) and a 1039 in fairly used condition – hence the service bracelet.
The watch was bought on board a US Navy ship. Now I think about it, I should have called it the “USS Joseph Strauss” (pictured above) watch and increased the military connection!
Here is the Dan’s grandfather, wearing the watch, starting his plane.
Here is the extract from the Dan’s email to me:
The watch was bought by my father Tom Ryan Jr in the ships store on the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) in approximately 1969 to 1970 somewhere in the oceans off the coast of Vietnam. It was a gift for my grandfather to wear while flying his plane.
Attached is the picture of my grandfather,[starting his ‘plane] as well as a picture of my father’s ship where the watch was bought.
Such a lot of history in such a short note. Here we can see the Owner’s last name scratched into the case back. In many cases this would devalue the watch, but here again I would argue the history and provenance of the watch becomes stronger as a result:
It really is a privileged to acquire an important family watch like this and a watch like this is not one I would ever plan to sell as I can feel the originality and the history.
Here it is, with the service 1171 bracelet removed. It looks in very nice condition.
When we turn it over we see a small area of corrosion, that I had not reckoned on. This is not uncommon, and the history of the watch far outweighs the damage.
I have sent it to the workshop, for a service and to return the vintage hands onto it. After examining it, Simon Freese declared the watch was in fine order, not needing a movement service. We did need to replace the crown, and changed the hands as planned. There was also a minor issue with the setting lever screw, which had come loose (The screw that releases the stem from the movement).
Here it is before the hand change. You can see how white the hands are, they blow the white balance on the camera, also note the greenish tinge to the luminous material in the hands which contrasts with the original yellowish lume on the dial plots:
Here we have the old hands ready to go back on:
The watch is still at the workshop, and I have put into Omega for an extract of the archives, and it will be very interesting to see where Omega shipped the watch originally.
More on this watch later, when it returns and I have the extract.