Building an Omega Speedmaster Professional - Lessons Learned

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airking

Active member
Mar 27, 2018
44
107
33
#1
I recently built an Omega Speedmaster Professional. I figure I share my experience with my fellow watch enthusiasts. If you're considering doing the same, I hope this helps you and if you are not, I hope you at least find this educational.

Why would you do this?

Aside from the fact that its a really nice and versatile watch, the watch has been in production for probably half a century with a design that hasn't changed much and new and used parts are quite prevalent. Does it make financial sense? I would probably say no. You can build one for less than the cost of one but not by much. And you have to be willing to make some compromises if you do. So building one cannot just be about saving money. I'm not a professional watchmaker but I do enjoy modding watches and building things. So for me, it was a challenge that I wanted to accomplish.

The Movement

This is one of the hardest parts to find. You can find a genuine caliber 1861 or 861 for sale but they are quite expensive. I've been on the lookout for one for a while but I wasn't able to find one that was cost effective. I settled for a Breitling movement that was based on the Lemania 1873 (same base caliber for the Omega 1861/861). I was able to find one for a decent price as it was sold as a damaged Breitling Callisto watch (visually the only damage I saw was the chronograph reset pusher was missing). I was probably over optimistic and took the risk and bought the watch for the movement before doing a full investigation on compatibility.

What I found after purchasing was that everything was compatible except the chrono pushers. The movement has buttons that vary in length depending on the case you use. The Callisto is a small watch (36mm) and as such, the movement's chronograph button/pusher are very small in length. The Omega 861/1861 has buttons on the movement that extend more outwards than the Breitling Callisto (Speedmaster is 42mm). Other than that, everything else works (movement holder, dial, stem, hands all work). So in order to make this work, I would have to try to find the right movement chrono button part(s) and swap them in OR mod some type of extension so that the chrono pusher can press the movement's button.

Case Set

The other hard to find part is the Speedmaster’s mid case. I was able to find a complete case set for sale on ebay. It included the mid case, crystal, bezel, chrono pushers, movement holder and caseback. These parts can also be purchased separately if needed.

Dial/Hands

These parts are readily available and are not excessively expensive unless you decide to get a rare dial config (i.e. panda, white dial, racing dial, etc…). I went with the pre-owned/pre-mounted dial that was in decent condition.

Assembly

dpWj94v.jpg

The assembly was pretty straightforward. I took the movement out of the old watch, then took the hands and dial off.

cpclU7u.jpg
DDGEOOc.jpg
yKBOPMY.jpg

I then installed the Speedmaster dial and hands. As mentioned above, it was a direct fit.

p6Dywuk.jpg
GCW2070.jpg
Ea7Gcvh.jpg

I extended the chrono pushers by using some miscellaneous chrono pusher pins that seemed slightly longer than the stock ones.

ai66G0N.jpg

I also used some rodico and a piece of a paper clip to make the reset button a little longer.

fwPV19b.jpg

Its not a final solution and I eventually plan to find the correct parts and switch them out.

The only other thing I still need to get is a dust cover. Unlike other watches, the Speedmaster’s movement holder is actually held in place with the dust cover. Other watches use screws and tabs. For the time being, I used a screw/tab as well (not pictured) but eventually I will purchase a dust cover.

y0qcM9F.jpg

I really considered to keep the Breitling crown lol.
Zkld6Tk.jpg

But then decided to stick with the stock look.

vuPTJqf.jpg

Performance

The watch runs about 25 seconds slow per day. The chronograph works and the minute counter works but the hour counter doesn’t seem to work. It’s acceptable for now but I will eventually have to get this serviced. This will be challenging because I will have to find a watchmaker comfortable enough to service this “franken” watch.
I also mistakenly removed the “stem bolt for hammer” pin (part 1759) and now the watch functions as a mono pusher (the button @ 2 starts the chrono and then pressing it again stops and resets the hands). That's what I get for being curious lol.

FInal Thoughts

Overall, the project went pretty well. Its still a work in progress. But with that said, I have been wearing this watch for a few days and its pretty nice. Eventually, I will have the watch serviced and replace the chrono pusher parts with Omega parts. Will post some pics of the completed watch shortly.
 

Rx4Time

Administrator
Staff member
Administrator
Dec 23, 2017
330
484
113
#2
Very nice! This is a buid that I haven't seen discussed previously, which is surprising considering how popular the Speedmaster is. Since they're all genuine parts, I don't see any reason why a watchmith would be afraid to touch it for a service. If you are concerned or just don't want to deal with the headache of looking locally, we have a number of great watchsmiths around here. Enjoy it! It's a wonderful build!
 
Mar 8, 2018
12
13
3
#3
This is the kind of stuff I love about the rep watch world. Nice job. - Also Ofrei has the part 1759 and 1784 (the operating lever for the hour hammer) and if that isn't the right one, let me know and I can order it for you.
 
Likes: airking
OP
OP
A

airking

Active member
Mar 27, 2018
44
107
33
#6
Just as an update: I got this watch working at appx -10 second a day by regulating it myself. I need to invest in a timegrapher. But for now, I've just been moving the regulator screw real carefully and then observing the timing.

For anyone that is curious, turning the screw clockwise will slow the watch down and counterclockwise will speed the watch up. I spent hours trying to find this information and there were plenty of people who regulated their speedmasters but no one explicitly mentioned which way dictates the speed.

All the watchmakers I've talked to so far want loads of money to do a full overhaul (no one wants to just install the stem for hammer). For some reason, I thought the Speedmaster would be one of the cheaper chronographs to service but I guess I was wrong. Seems like a pretty simple movement compared to the 7750.
 
Likes: PACCBET

Pamcali

Diplomat
Diplomat
Sep 2, 2018
26
9
8
#8
I recently built an Omega Speedmaster Professional. I figure I share my experience with my fellow watch enthusiasts. If you're considering doing the same, I hope this helps you and if you are not, I hope you at least find this educational.

Why would you do this?

Aside from the fact that its a really nice and versatile watch, the watch has been in production for probably half a century with a design that hasn't changed much and new and used parts are quite prevalent. Does it make financial sense? I would probably say no. You can build one for less than the cost of one but not by much. And you have to be willing to make some compromises if you do. So building one cannot just be about saving money. I'm not a professional watchmaker but I do enjoy modding watches and building things. So for me, it was a challenge that I wanted to accomplish.

The Movement

This is one of the hardest parts to find. You can find a genuine caliber 1861 or 861 for sale but they are quite expensive. I've been on the lookout for one for a while but I wasn't able to find one that was cost effective. I settled for a Breitling movement that was based on the Lemania 1873 (same base caliber for the Omega 1861/861). I was able to find one for a decent price as it was sold as a damaged Breitling Callisto watch (visually the only damage I saw was the chronograph reset pusher was missing). I was probably over optimistic and took the risk and bought the watch for the movement before doing a full investigation on compatibility.

What I found after purchasing was that everything was compatible except the chrono pushers. The movement has buttons that vary in length depending on the case you use. The Callisto is a small watch (36mm) and as such, the movement's chronograph button/pusher are very small in length. The Omega 861/1861 has buttons on the movement that extend more outwards than the Breitling Callisto (Speedmaster is 42mm). Other than that, everything else works (movement holder, dial, stem, hands all work). So in order to make this work, I would have to try to find the right movement chrono button part(s) and swap them in OR mod some type of extension so that the chrono pusher can press the movement's button.

Case Set

The other hard to find part is the Speedmaster’s mid case. I was able to find a complete case set for sale on ebay. It included the mid case, crystal, bezel, chrono pushers, movement holder and caseback. These parts can also be purchased separately if needed.

Dial/Hands

These parts are readily available and are not excessively expensive unless you decide to get a rare dial config (i.e. panda, white dial, racing dial, etc…). I went with the pre-owned/pre-mounted dial that was in decent condition.

Assembly

View attachment 35606

The assembly was pretty straightforward. I took the movement out of the old watch, then took the hands and dial off.

View attachment 35607
View attachment 35608
View attachment 35609

I then installed the Speedmaster dial and hands. As mentioned above, it was a direct fit.

View attachment 35610
View attachment 35611
View attachment 35612

I extended the chrono pushers by using some miscellaneous chrono pusher pins that seemed slightly longer than the stock ones.

View attachment 35613

I also used some rodico and a piece of a paper clip to make the reset button a little longer.

View attachment 35614

Its not a final solution and I eventually plan to find the correct parts and switch them out.

The only other thing I still need to get is a dust cover. Unlike other watches, the Speedmaster’s movement holder is actually held in place with the dust cover. Other watches use screws and tabs. For the time being, I used a screw/tab as well (not pictured) but eventually I will purchase a dust cover.

View attachment 35615

I really considered to keep the Breitling crown lol.
View attachment 35616

But then decided to stick with the stock look.

View attachment 35617

Performance

The watch runs about 25 seconds slow per day. The chronograph works and the minute counter works but the hour counter doesn’t seem to work. It’s acceptable for now but I will eventually have to get this serviced. This will be challenging because I will have to find a watchmaker comfortable enough to service this “franken” watch.
I also mistakenly removed the “stem bolt for hammer” pin (part 1759) and now the watch functions as a mono pusher (the button @ 2 starts the chrono and then pressing it again stops and resets the hands). That's what I get for being curious lol.

FInal Thoughts

Overall, the project went pretty well. Its still a work in progress. But with that said, I have been wearing this watch for a few days and its pretty nice. Eventually, I will have the watch serviced and replace the chrono pusher parts with Omega parts. Will post some pics of the completed watch shortly.
Amazing work!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Natas78

Member
Supporting Vendor
Mar 10, 2018
26
30
13
Belgium
#9
Awesome job. I have a complete speedy case for a seagull Venus movement, but no dial or hands. Might make a dial one day just to get it out of my drawer :)


Verzonden vanaf mijn iPhone met Tapatalk Pro
 
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OP
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airking

Active member
Mar 27, 2018
44
107
33
#10
Awesome job. I have a complete speedy case for a seagull Venus movement, but no dial or hands. Might make a dial one day just to get it out of my drawer :)


Verzonden vanaf mijn iPhone met Tapatalk Pro
If you can verify if the Venus movement will fit with the gen dial (subdial spacing is same as lemania), that would make a nice franken!

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