A SMILE ON YOUR DIAL?
A dial is, perhaps the most significant aesthetic feature of a timepiece. In spite of the quality of the watch’s movement or its features for timekeeping when the dial is stained or damaged, it makes the watch look poor, worn out or worn and lowers its value.
Many collectors are dissuaded by discolored and flaking dials on other than original Omega Constellations. A lot of people avoid these watches due to the widespread belief water is the main reason for dial degrading. The belief isomega that dials with discoloration are a good outward clue of a possibly rusty movement and should be avoided.
There’s another reason for dial discolouration, and it behoves the canny buyer to look more closely at watches with discoloured dials.
Sun damage is yet another cause of paint failure and sun can mimic water damage to the paint on dials in many cases.
Beautiful movements with no water damage could be found beneath, and this kind of damage to the paint, although not good for collectors of old watches, is perfect for restoration. However, even experienced buyers must be cautious when purchasing watches with severely worn-out dials. You have be able to discern with care if the dial of the watch is damaged due to moisture or sunlight.
The first thing to do when you come across an Omega with a badly discoloured dial is to examine the bonnet with a jewellers loup. A clean, rust free movement is easy to identify, and when the seals on the case are holding up well, there will be no tell-tale rust spotting on the parts that are not copper-plated of the mechanism, and there will be no corrosion of the case, specifically in the seam between the caseback and the case.
If the movement has held up to the elements and its history of use, you’ll have two options: Purchase and restore (or restore) or continue on your search for an old Omega with a genuine dial. If you decide to go with the restoration option then you can have the watch shipped by Omega in Bienne, wait for quite a while, and ultimately get the watch back with a brand new factory dial.
With regard to Pie Pan Constellations, however it is believed that Omega has run out of factory dials and will be replacing the old Pie Pan dials with convex Constellation dials from the same time. Due to the likelihood of not being able to locate the authentic Pie Pan dial, you might want to consider one that has been re-dialed.
So if you choose to make a new dial, what are you taking a risk with? If you’re able to locate an excellent re-dialer – which are scarce and hard to come by A dial that is refinished to look like an original will indeed make a watch look more appealing.
But, from the standpoint of collecting original Omegas it might not enhance the value of the piece – there’s an exception, and we’ll go over that later. From a vintage collectors point of view, a refinished dial diminishes the value of a watch when compared with an original intact dial that may be adorned with a beautiful patina.
What is the reason? The reason is that refinished dials are not identical to original factory-made dials. Some refinished dials do not last as long , and they aren’t as long-lasting as original dials. Dials made by factory may be baked on, anodised or other manufacturing finishes such as clear coatings that cover both the markers and the dial to prevent the process of ageing.
Refinished dials are usually painted or have ink stamped script and are finished at less quality and longevity. They are more likely to mark and do not usually have the same level of detail as the original dials.
Also, many original dials have the markers that are soldered to the dial while in the majority of refinished dials that I have observed the markers are placed on the back of the dial rather than soldered (for the obvious reason that soldering can damage the paint on dials that have been re-finished) Sometimes, this glue can be so dense on the reverse of the dial it interferes with the operation of the watch, particularly on models with dates.
A poor re-dial that has inaccurate details could result in the value of your watch crashing faster than a souffle put in a refrigerator! It’s fair to say that there are more slap-dash or incompetent finishing houses than professional re-dialers of the highest quality. If you happen upon someone, be sure to treat him like the king of the hill.
Then, let’s look at the other exception mentioned earlier. With the expansion of the vintage watch market and accessibility of stock the masses have the chance to purchase Omega watches. A new niche has emerged in the vintage watch market with watches that are almost showroom new. The market is driven largely, by newcomers. I’m able to confirm this from the constant flow of emails from such individuals and for them, ‘look’ is very important . ‘patina’ or uniqueness are often overlooked. This type of buyer will pay massive sums for wearability and style Therefore, you’ll see at times, quite expensive prices being paid for watches that have been refinished.
I imagine though that quite a number of collectors who are new to collecting, if they’re serious about it, will eventually develop a greater level of collecting sophistication and become keen on the finer points of quality, originality as well as the richness of patina, among other collectibility factors.
Due to the diminishing supply of new-old-stock Omega dials, including Pie Pan Constellations and other early models Re-dialling is increasingly the norm. But, from a perspective of collectability, re-dialling should be a possibility when you don’t have other options.