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Custom Speedy Mod - My Journey (Pic Heavy)

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So having owned my Speedmaster Pro for the last 6 months i decided pretty early on that I would go down the custom mod route. There are many that have gone before me and lots of examples dotted all round the net so there was plenty of opportunity to research, but the main thing I decided early on was that I wanted to create my very own configuration, one that was completely unique and individual to me.

So before we go on any further, if you are a purist i'd probably suggest you look away now.............

For those remaining, this is what we started with. It's a standard calibre 1861 2011 Speedmaster Professional, model reference 3570.50:



So what have we done, lets break it down:

Dial:

Iíve been hankering for a white dial watch to add to my collection for as long as I can remember; the clean and clinical dials just have something about them that draws me in. Unfortunately i've yet to come across one (within my budget) that has tempted me to pull my purse strings so the search continued. Little did I know it was staring me in the face all along. Having seen, and admired, a number of similar mods it never occurred to me to do one myself but a lightbulb moment one day led to the beginning of a journey that has been interesting, exciting, educational, frustrating and of course expensive.

Commonly referred to as the ĎPanda dialí but also named Ďthe Dominoí by the late great chuck Maddox - the Mitsukoshi Speedie was a limited edition run of 300 watches (reference 3570.31) made for the Japanese fashion company and department store, Mitsukoshi. It's a white dial (it actually changes from white to ivory to silver, depending on the light), with black sub dials and applied logo and indices. In my opinion, the very best of the endless limited edition Speedies and one Iím surprised Omega havenít since rolled out into a larger production run. When I saw an NOS dial appear earlier this year during the Watchco sale it was a no brainer and it was soon on it's way to the UK. I believe these are now becoming quite rare and Iím not aware of any retailer now offering these for sale whilst iíve also read that Omega are no longer releasing replacements. If anyone is thinking about doing a similar mod and you come across one for sale Iíd pick it up asap if I were you!



Bezel:

A last minute purchase and not part of my original plans, i didn't know this even existed until someone recently posted a link to a Speedie editions list published by the Ace List. The Pulsations bezel, also known as the 'pulse register' or 'doctors watch' was originally available on the Speedmaster for a limited time between 1967 and 1969 and was fitted on the regular production run calibre 321 model reference 145.012

On this bezel, the tachymeter scale is replaced with a scale used for measuring a persons pulse and with the bezel marked 'gradue pour 15 pulsations' (graduated for 15 beats - available as a 30 beat scale by some manufacturers but never by Omega as far as i know). This type of bezel works by simultaneously starting the chrono function whilst counting the pulse. Once the pulse count reaches 15 beats, you stop the chrono and the pulse rate (in beats per min) is then indicated on the bezel where the chrono hand has stopped. Pretty neat.



Hands:

The source of much frustration, in fact it continues to frustrate but more on that shortly.....when I started this mod I knew instantly that I would keep the Mitsukoshi true to form and fit the silver baton and sub dial hands as per the original LE configuration. Yes this has been done before and there have been many concerns raised about the legibility of the hands against the white background but I like the clean, modern look so I can live with the readability of the dial. I did however want to add a bit of individualism so I decided to add some colour, and the sweep second hand was clearly the opportunity to do that. So what was the criteria? I wanted colour, I wanted something different, I wanted the red chrono hand from the Alaska Project LE....yeah right, snowballs chance in hell of finding one of those (Omega does not offer these, under any circumstances, not even to those with a parts account, relative working for the firm, celebrity - forget it!). I then spent the next couple of months looking for a suitable replacement, including raiding the entire Ofrei's catalogue and buying up almost every hand that fits a calibre 1861. Unfortunately nothing quite hit the spot, I even went down the custom painting route (with some help from dreamboat - thanks for your help) but although good the finish fell just short of the levels my my OCD would allow. Back to the drawing board....

So what did we end up with? Well those eagle eyed amongst you would have got it already from the first picture above. This really was nothing more than a punt, and I had no idea if it would fit but I picked up a 'red tipped' sweep second hand from the calibre 2500 Planet Ocean (model reference 2201.50). I say red tipped because that's how it was labelled when I purchased it and I'm frustrated with myself for not checking when it arrived but its actually orange tipped but it certainly adds something IMO. I may continue to look for that elusive red.....



The Reveal:

So I've rambled on for too long, I'll keep the rest pretty short........parts sourced, everything was shipped off to Duncan @ Genesis Watchmaking (well who else!) and a couple of days later the following arrived.













Thanks for your time, and i hope you have enjoyed my journey.
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Comments

  1. GIB984's Avatar
    Very nice work mate - love the panda dial

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