What do you think of WATCHCO in Australia? Is there really any chance he has so many surplus parts for the Seamaster 300 – that he can produce all those watches? He claims that Omega is still making parts for this watch!
Chuck A., Chicago
Watchco was formerly a national-level distributor and authorized service facility in Australia for Omega. Yes, the surplus parts are real, and yes, some of them (like the Luminova dials) are of recent but otherwise official and authentic manufacture. I’m not sure about the assertion that Omega is *still* making new parts for the Seamaster 300 in particular though or what remaining stocks might be.
And the Watchco SM300s are quite nice when you can find them. :)
So, you really believe he just happened to squirrel away parts for 40 years – for a watch that just happens to be one of the most collectable of all time – only to decide recently that he should use those parts to assemble them now?
Yeah, I don’t believe it! I think the movements are legit and the cases are Chinese or Italian. Maybe he even makes the cases – who knows but if he really has that many NOS parts it would be the greatest story I have ever heard in 30 years in the business!
Look there are at least three guys selling these watches on EBAY now!
Two are in Australia – one in California – one in Israel! Sorry , no way this many guys have NOS Omega 300,s ! And they don’t have a couple they have an apparent unlimited supply!
Chuck A., Chicago
I’m not sure what to tell you, Chuck. These NOS Seamaster 300s are not a new phenomenon at all. They’ve been on the market for about seven or eight years or so now as best as I can remember, before the Chinese got so good at making really good fakes. They’ve also passed the scrutiny of many, many collectors over the years and do not display any of the telltales contained in well-accepted guides to spotting fake SM300’s. They’re so well regarded that pricing for these “NOS” recreations frequently outstrips that of even vintage originals and nearly approximates that of some of Omega’s modern Seamaster Professional models still offered at retail.
It also might perhaps be misleading to call these parts and watches “NOS,” a term that has become prone to misuse by collectors and abuse by sellers. NOS (New, Old Stock) when referring to a complete watch like the SM300 to me would imply that the watch itself left the factory as a complete and whole unit. Instead these are assembled from some parts that are indeed of vintage manufacture but never used as well as spares that are what I like to call “New, made to Old Specifications” with minor updates like substitution of luminova for tritium-based luminous paint. To its great credit, Omega has been known to undertake new production runs to manufacture parts for some models to cater to its vintage enthusiasts and owners of older watches. Another model that benefited this way was the Omega Flightmaster, some of which have been restored by Bienne from essentially a lump of barely recognizable rust to into what was by all rights a brand new Flightmaster.
And again, the company now known as Watchco (which itself also changed ownership a few years ago) was formerly a national-level service facility with sizeable stocks of parts and spares. They have assembled spares for a number of models into complete watches over the years, assembling “new” Seamaster 120s and Seamaster 200s among others, though the SM300s are the most popular.
As for the number online and eBay sellers who don’t seem to be confined to Australia, there are several potential explanations. One of them is simply that Watchco wasn’t the only facility who had access to the parts channels and they could have potentially been made in any number of places. Indeed, referring to all of these “NOS” creations as Watchco constructions may not be strictly correct in every case. Another explanation is that the interwebs and online commerce have effective made the world a smaller place, the geography of the collector community smaller and with several years having passed it’s entirely likely that watches assembled in Australia from parts made in Switzerland could well have migrated about the globe.
I hope this answers your question.