Monday, March 1, 2021

The smallest automatic watch movement in the world: Omega Cal 661

In 1961 Omega released a new watch mechanism: Calibre 661. By the number of components per volume, it was the smallest ever industrial manufactured automatic movement in the world. To this day, this record is still unbeaten!

The watch arrived in rather poor condition suffering both water damage, broken escape wheel and worn out auto rotor post. Most annoyingly, it also suffered from a 'jellified' rubber casing gasket. While most vintage Omega watches manufactured in 60s and 70s do suffer from this issue, this DeVille was definitely the worst one I've worked on in years.

The restoration project commenced in December 2020 and was completed 3 months later, on February 26, 2021. Sourcing the original parts was a challenge. The main goal of this restoration was to preserve as many original parts as possible, especially the original dial and hands. The escape wheel was re-fitted (riveted) on new a pinion. The timekeeping result was rather pleasing with a healthy amplitude. The final touch: a new-old-stock leather strap by Hirsch found in the junk box.

To viewers interested in the total restoration cost: $460 was spent on replacement parts and the labour cost was $1,100 (Australian dollars). Was it worth it? This is always a question only the watch owner can answer for him/herself. Turning a broken and discarded watch into a family heirloom which once again keeps time is always money well spent.

My special thanks goes to Michael who spent countless hours recording and editing this video.

I suggest you watch it on your 'big screen TV' rather than on a small hand held device. In any case - and this is not a spoiler - the 'before' and 'after' shots will impress you.


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