Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Omega kaliber 321 ikke bygget siden 1960


OPSAMLING OM OMEGA KALIBER 321 SOM IKKE ER PRODUCERET EFTER 1960

EN LANG – GANSKE NØRDET GENNEMGANG AF SPEEDMASTER VÆRKET OG KASSERNE, SOM ER PRODUCERET OG ANVENDT UDEN AT FØLGE EN SKARP RÆKKEFØLGE, I ALLE FALD FRA 1960 TIL 1969

Artiklen koncentrer sig omkring det interessante i at Omegas smukke kolonnehjuls kronografværk kaliber 321, brugt i måne-Speedmasterne, trods det at den blev sat i ure frem til 1968/69 ikke er produceret siden 1960.

Den vil via korrespondance med Omega vise, at kasserne heller ikke er produceret i de årstal der står på dem i den periode.

Der er helt enkelt sket det, at allerede i slutningen af halvtresserne, besluttede Omega sig for, sammen med datterselskabet Lemania, at få udviklet et lettere serviceret, og billigere bygget, knast styret version af værket til Speedmaster.

Man besluttede derfor, at sætte skub i fremstilling af kaliber 321, så der blev produceret nok værker, til at kunne holde frem til udviklingen af den knaststyrede version kunne overtage (den fik betegnelsen kaliber 861)

Der blev produceret 321 værker nok, til at dække Omegas behov i Speedmaster (og visse Seamasters m.v.) i mange år, og disse værker blev specialbehandlet og vakuumpakket i plast, så de kunne holde sig helt rustfrie, indtil de skulle tages i brug.

Indfasningen af det nye kaliber 861 skete så, sjovt nok, men lidt typisk Omega, over en årrække mellem 1963 og 1968. Se indlægget om de forskellige Speedmaster reference fra starten frem til netop ca 1968 her: LINK

Artiklen her bygget på en kort gennemgang af værkets egen fortid, og dernæst en række gode svar fra John R Dietholm, som var med hos Omega i denne tid, og på tidspunktet for svarene, ledede Omegas vintage afdeling.

Dernæst følger et svar jeg har fået fra Alain Monarchain fra Omega. Alain har samme fortid som John Diethelm stort set, og kan rigtigt meget af den historie, som der her for første gang blev lukket helt op for.

En krølle på svarene er også, hvorledes Omegas ”pre-pro” model 105.003 med lige horn og skive uden ”pro”, trods mange bagkasser med 65 som indikation af 1965, kan være leveret helt frem til Oktober 1968, længe efter at Omega havde skiftet Speedmaster kassen ud med de nye snoede horn og den nye ”pro” skive” var introduceret.

Herfra har jeg valgt at gå over til engelsk. Dels fordi mit oprindelige referat foregik på et engelsk forum, dels fordi korrespondancen med de to venlige herrer fra Omega, foregik på engelsk og ville tabe autentitet ved en oversættelse:

This part will explain why I contacted Omega as I did not understand the movement reference number I saw on several Speedmasters:

On receiving a Speedmaster 145.012 ST 67 - I wondered why it had a movement number in the range 26 mio which should indicate 1968 but the back said 67 AND the certificate I go from Omega said 1967. A small difference one should think, but if there is a difference, then the fact that it is small may just cover over much bigger differences.

I started corresponding with Omega and their vintage department and museum department

It turns out - that the calibre 321 was produced only until 1960 - and from that year - all calibre 321 was given a number sequence to watch the expected year to be released. As this did not match how they were used, and errors made when picking the next batch, Speedmastes can easily be found with serial numbers which do not at all match the expected production year.

Following this came a long row a mail correspondence - bringing me closer and closer to the answer – and the fact now seems to be that the last 321 left the Lemania factory in 1960.

Therefore the movement number cannot for Speedmasters after 1960 be used to really identify the year of production for the movement – and my guess is, that this can also be the fact before 1960, although Omega claims, the production then, to higher degree followed the actual use of the movements.

I have a speedmaster with 321 - movement produced as described at that latest in 1960 - fitted into a 1967 case and sold in October 1968

It is clear, that the movements for 321 produced at the latest in 1960 in a special process was frozen and then kept on stock till they were used up till late 1968

I have the full correspondence with Omega and the vintage museum in this - but of interest, I anyway copy some of my correspondence with gentlemen from Omega:

The first answer was:

Dear Sir,

In fact the basic production for the movements of cal. 321 was indeed made from 1940 and until 1960 –

-       this means, like for the production dates of the cases, that not all movements have been produced at the delivery time; kept in perfect working order (deep-freezing special system), such movements have been produced well in advance and then used, as required for the delivery time as complete watch.
-       This explains, therefore, that production dates of cases and movements might be very different on from each other

Best regards
John R. Diethelm
OMEGA MUSEUM - Vintage Information
I asked a bit further into this interesting information, and received an even clearer answer this time:

Dear Mr Hannover,

We have indeed produced all movements of cal. 321 from 1940 until 1960 = total units: 40’800 – when “freezed”, then the movement number was already engraved on each movement plate.

Therefore, the movements were used as required until 1968 when the replacement calibre 861 was gradually introduced. In other words, we had delivered “old” cal. 321 watches at the same time of the “new” references having the new cal. 861. This explains why certain movement numbers were not in “ sequence”.

The only reason for a change of calibre was due to the fact that any repair of the cal. 321 was extremely time consuming – hence, the production of cal. 321 was stopped in 1960 and this calibre was used-up until the replacement cal. 861 was ready for manufacturing; a entire new concept of production had been made and the actual cal. 861 is much easier to repair, without having lost anything of its high chronograph quality.

The movement number cannot be delivered as a continuous sequence and might have been delivered without taking into consideration “when” they were produced. Basically, we never had a continuous numbering of the movements for cal. 321 – a “package” of numbers was then assigned to the production lane, without taking into consideration when they have been produced.

As a matter of policy, the indicated date is the date of shipment of the complete watch and not its production date.

Hope this is now clear for you !

Have a nice day

John R. Diethelm
OMEGA MUSEUM - Vintage Information

OMEGA SA
RUE STAMPFLI 96
2500 BIENNE 4
SWITZERLAND
T. +41 (0)32 343 97 04
F. +41 (0)32 343 98 70

I got more curious and wanted to know, it the cases was then also produced over a longer periode, and if the year indication on their back could therefor by wrong. This appeared to be the case, judged from comparing actual watches with the belonging certificate I could receive from Omega.

The conclusion was, that the cases were not necessarily used in accordance with the year indicated on their back.

Once again mr. John R Diethelm was very helpful.

Dear Sir,

We have following information about the production of cases for the OMEGA – Speedmaster:

The cases for the “Moon watch” have not always been produced at the same time as the watches were produced, therefore, you might find in 1968 cases having the ref. 145.012-68 if they have been supplied in the year 1968…otherwise you might find some “older” cases with the reference +145.012-66 ( -67) fitted with a movement having been produced later…
Therefore, the production year of the CASE is not always identical with the production year of the movement or even of the complete watch delivery time.

Best regards
John R. Diethelm
OMEGA MUSEUM - Vintage Information
I could also notice, comparing certificate and watch of a pre.pro reference 105.003 that this was not produced in 1965 as stamped on the case-back, and that it was actually not sold untill 1967, after the introduction of the Pro model
This lead to more questions, not about this reference, and once again the people at Omega were helpful and could tell med, that they had reference 105.003 in their archives as late as 1968.

I finish of with mr. Alain Monachons of Omega´s explaination about the specific productiontime of reference 105.003

Dear Mr. Hannover,

We are happy to here that you are so interested in the 321 caliber and the “Speedmasters” which used it.

To answer your questions the -65 in the case back refers to the date of manufacture of the case and not the watch as a whole. It is often the case that a large series of cases are made and then used for several years after.

The production date of November 1967 for your watch is correct and we have found examples of the 105.003 on the archives as late as March 1968.

We have also recently found another set of archives which allow us to tell exactly which dial was fitted to the watch upon delivery and it would appear that the 105.003 was never delivered with the word “Professional” printed on the dial. This was reserved for the .012 series of watches with re-enforced asymmetrical case.

Hopefully this information clears up your questions.

Best regards,
Alain Monachon
OMEGA MUSEUM - Vintage Information
OMEGA SA
RUE STAMPFLI 96
2500 BIENNE 4
SWITZERLAND
T. +41 (0)32 343 92 71
F. +41 (0)32 343 98 70

alain.monachon@omega.ch
www.omegawatches.com



Info about the devlopment of the 321 from start to finish :
KALIBER 321 and what it was based on:

The calibre 321 is based on a mutual development between Lemania and Omega, carried out by Albert Piquet and Jaques Reymond - first transformed into Omega 27 CH. This was a two subdial version of the movement, without 12 hour subdial.

From 1940 it was developed as three subdial movement including 12 hour chronograph sub-dial.
This was named CH 27 12 – later CH 27 12 T1 in 1941 and CH 27 12 T2 100% identical with 321 in 1946, and then in 1949 when Omega went over to 3 digit calibre numbering – as Omega 321

The conclusion is, that calibre 321 has been unchanged from 1946, named changed into 321 in 1949, and produced up till 1960.

Caliber 861 was in 1968 replaced by a cam controlled chronograph – Omega 861 – a gilt movement with flat balance and trapeze shaped bridge – replacing the 321’s Y or wishbone shaped bridge.

Later it was rhodinized and changed name to a four digit series – 1861.

2 comments:

  1. May I ask you about cal 321 145.012 67 "SP" editions? Thanks, Horace (H2Finally at gmail dot com)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don not have any particular info about the SP versions other than that all 145.012 are with the caliber 321 - build up till 1960 last time
    best regards John H

    ReplyDelete