This is more of a story about my Omega Seamaster 300 CK2913 than a review. The story every collector dreams of happening to them — ideally 10+ times.
But in reality, such lucky moments do not come often. It’s another reason why I will try to share it with you as I experienced, taking you through every gripping detail.
Head back to April 8th and I was sitting in a sweaty corner of Budapest Airport that fails to pass as a restaurant, waiting for my flight to Leeds. While reaching for another fry over the table, I saw a message on my WhatsApp flash on the screen. Tired after a long day of pitching my business to clients, I slowly took the phone. My heart almost literally stopped beating when I saw the picture. The picture you see below was all that shone.
Well, imagine you have to fly to Leeds for another business meeting knowing there is a watch like that waiting for you at home.
The message that came after made the temperature in the airport hall spike quickly; I could not keep my palms dry! The news from my watchmaker said that a random guy, mostly known for being a loyal customer at a local cheap, dark and stinky local pub stopped by at his friend’s shop and brought him this Omega Seamaster 300. When I heard this, all the lucky barn or flea market find stories came surging through my mind. I recounted all my wanderings through flea markets, overturning cheap watches while trying desperately to find something of interest. I’d never seen anything worthwhile, but it seemed my luck was about to change – maybe.
What I was looking at appeared to be a super honest and abandoned Omega Seamaster 300. I sent it right away to Mike and a few other friends to run a mandatory sanity check. The price was a bit of an issue. The guy that collected the watch from the pub goer was smart enough to do a Google search; it’s one of the seldom moments I’ve hated Google. Considering there were two other middlemen involved, I knew it could be a happy story, but without the cheapest ending.
Well, imagine you have to fly to Leeds for another business meeting knowing there is a watch like that waiting for you at home. Those were a long few days indeed. The best I could do was make sure the watchmaker did everything necessary to hold the watch for me while I was traveling. Until I got back from Leeds, I tried not to think and cry at the idea of what a ridiculously small price the pub guy sold it for. But let’s scratch emotions out of the equation. I was amazed that even in such a small city as Bratislava this kind of watch could surface. I’ve never managed to identify the pub guy to find out more about where, when, or how he came to possess such a watch. Maybe the Extract from the Omega Archives will add some details.
After a bit of back and forth sparring, I finally made a deal with the guy who purchased the watch from the pub goer (but I am still planning to). Buying the watch not only resulted in a great story, but also realizing that I now own one of the most honest Omega Seamaster 300 CK2913’s that I know of. As we’ll see, the watch is that good. After the deal was done, I met my watchmaker in his workshop on a quiet, sunny Saturday, and we decided to give it the “full spa treatment”.
The honest condition is hard to miss. It contained the original plexi with millions of tiny scratches hiding what we hoped was a beautiful dial. The case was in original condition with no polishing, deep cuts or scars. On the negative side, the bakelite bezel insert was long gone and so was the crown. As if glued to the case, the bezel displayed no interest in turning. The look of the random bracelet gave the pub-find Omega Seamaster 300 a proper rough look. It gives an idea on what the owner must have bee like and underlines one crucial thing – it is a watch meant to be worn. SOme would say it’s a proper tool watch. The bracelet also suggests that the previous owner didn’t give a single damn thought about the value, originality and condition we all crave so much. In this case, that appealed to me as it meant he used the watch properly. He “lived” the watch.
I am happy to say that this Omega Seamaster 300 ref. CK2913-8 is preserved in fantastic condition (meaning the parts that matter) and this is no overstatement. We were afraid the automatic movement might be dirty as the crown was missing, but the opposite was true. When the crown fell off, the owner probably put the Seamaster back into the drawer where it was hidden for decades. When Tomas (@watchmaker_tom), my trusted watchmaker, freed the 501 movement from the case, he confirmed the movement had probably never seen a screwdriver blade before.
When we released the dial from beneath the plexi, we found precisely zero flaws on it: no staining at all. The patina is perfectly even and makes for a perfect match when comparing it to its modern carbon copy cousin, the Speedmaster 60thLE that took so much flack from haters for its faux patina. The indexes completely match the hour, minute and lollipop second hand. The only broken detail, but I am in no way getting sad over it, is a tiny crack in the lume on the hour hand. Thankfully it is nearly invisible.
With the help of Omegaforum.net members, I managed to source missing parts or parts that needed to be changed. The movement was in great shape; only the setting lever spring was broken. The setting lever spring allows for the crown to hold its position when it is out for setting the time. But it wasn’t a big deal as my Omega Seamaster 300 was working despite the broken setting lever spring. I decided to source new anyway which was a 30 euro fix.
Finding a replacement for the Omega plexi was not a complicated task either. The gasket I bought did not fit, but the original one was in good shape, so we used it. The tricky part was to find a crown that fits the original crown tube. I haven’t had much luck since April, so for the time being, I fitted a modern replacement with the same diameter and stem size. If you happen to have an original Omega Seamaster 300 crown you don’t need, I will be happy to get in touch.
I am the kind of guy that likes original AS FOUND condition. An example of this is that I own one particular vintage diver with such a severely cracked and scratched glass, one can’t see the dial. I wear it as is anyhow. But I couldn’t do that with this Omega Seamaster 300 as I wanted to see the dial. Regarding the bare bezel, the watch looks completely different without its bakelite insert. It’s a bit sad, unbalanced and purposeless. Finding an original one would be like trying to find a BMW 507, though, so I decided to order the best aftermarket version possible.
Unfortunately, the well-known bezel restoration magician Aldo was not responding to my emails, so I bet on a tip from my friend Markus (@vintagewatchzilla), a well-known Omega collector from Vienna. He advised me to try a person who could do the job as well. After some discussions with this artisan, we decided not to separate the bezel from the case, and I shipped the watch head to Germany.
What a pleasure it was to see the bezel coming back from René (@of_golden_times). It will never be the original, but I am thrilled with the result. I have no idea about the manufacturing process behind the process of this bezel, but the result looks very authentic. There are tiny scratches that create an authentic patina that matches with the case. Even my watchmaker, who is usually very critical and demanding, liked the result as well. Unless you make super-macro shots, you won’t see little tells such as the transition of how the numbers meet the black background.
A second detail that is a bit off is the lume dot. We did not manage to match it perfectly to the dial indexes, but I think I can live with it.
To remove the bracelet that was included with was a tough job. I spent two hours fiddling around with various tools to ensure that I wouldn’t add any unnecessary scratches to the case. When deciding what to fit to the watch instead, I like my Omega Seamaster 300 CK2913 on a leather strap. And finally, the precision after full service is within seconds a day.
The Omega Seamaster 300 was never on my active watch list as it was too rare and expensive. But the moment I saw this lucky find, I knew I wanted it and had to have it. My example of the ref CK2913-8 is the last of eight variations with an arrow minute hand and lollipop second hand. It was produced around 1961. The Omega Seamaster 300 is of ultimate quality is a perfectly sized daily wearer. I don’t want to go into many technical details or version differences. What I do suggest is for you to wait for the upcoming reference book “SEAMASTER ONLY”, scheduled to be published in mid-2020. Happy watch hunting.
During the day time, Tomas is an entrepreneur in the advertising, automotive and IT software industries. At night he turns into a watch enthusiast searching for quirky movements or vintage pieces with strong stories behind. Tomas was born and bred... read more