The Omega Speedmaster Mark 4 Professional
Automatic was launched in 1974. It was fitted with Calibre 1045, a
second generation of automatic chronometer movements. The first one was
cal.1041 but while the two movements were designed and released in a
span of just two years, the 1045 will be remembered as the ugliest Omega
movement ever manufactured.
And by ugly I mean cheap crap containing cheap plastic parts
and cheaply stamped unfinished sheet metal levers. The shame of Swiss
manufacturing, a disgrace to fine mechanical engineering; a blasphemy to
design, an abomination of horology.
Rightly, you ask “why?” The answer is simple: the writing was on the
wall - the end of mechanical watches was nearing fast. The Swiss Titanic
was sinking, and in desperation, Raoul-Henri Erard and Albert Piguet
thought that the cheaply made calibre 1045 will be the lifebuoy they
desperately needed. It surely wasn't.
As Napoleon once said, “What is history but a fable, agreed upon?” - and
horological history, like all else, is written by the winners. Omega
reference book ‘Omega - a journey through time’ mentions calibre 1045
briefly, as a 'derivative' of 1041. By definition, derivative is a
product having a value deriving from an underlying variable asset. And
while 1041 was an asset which could lend itself for improvement, 1045
failed to deliver any value at all.
The bottom line: stay away from any 50 year old watches containing
plastic parts. Such watches are not only difficult to repair, but
finding spare parts, is almost impossible. Even when parts are
deteriorates over time. Common signs of deterioration include
discoloration (yellowing or opacifying), crazing and cracking, warping,
or parts simply 'become sticky'. None of what you want or need in a
Today, we have completed yet another restoration of Omega calibre 1045.
And by 'we' I mean Andrew who slaved for two days to get the Mark 4 back
into working order. "Never again" I say, but then again, watchmakers
are like dogs - throw them a stick and they'll run to catch it.
You should be smarter: as a collector, you simply cannot afford to put
you’re hard earned cash into a watch - regardless of brand - which fails
a basic longevity test. There are literally thousands of great Omega
models out there waiting for you; so save your pennies for cooler stuff.