Chuck Maddox’s Watch Blog

This page is a journal of my journey in the field of Horology, which is timekeeping. In other words, watch collecting. Which in my case is the collecting of chronograph watches. To contact me, email me at: cmaddox3@sbcglobal.net .

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Location: Chicagoland, United States

The Extremely wordy version of my Resumé is located here: http://home.xnet.com/~cmaddox/resume.html

Monday, July 10, 2006

Another repeat BA failure, from the UK this time...

Over at Watch-U-Seek's Omega forum, new member Nish reports multiple failures of his Broad Arrow Speedmaster...:

Nish Member Join Date: Jul 2006 Posts: Broad Arrow Movement

I bought a Broad Arrow a couple of years ago and wear it almost every day. Within the first 6 weeks the second hand for the chronometer became unaligned. I was told this was not uncommon with watches made pre 2002 and the watch was sent to Omega who rectified this within 3-4 weeks.

I would have thought that would have been the last time I would have experienced this issue, but the second hand has once again become unaligned at some point over the last couple of weeks. Is this normal? Is there a reason for this problem? And what can I do to prevent this happening again?

Any help would be much appreciated.

P.S. I'm in the UK so not sure if that has any bearing!

Here are my thoughts [within context with Nish's comments in the bolder text] ...

Nish Member Join Date: Jul 2006 Posts: Broad Arrow Movement

I bought a Broad Arrow a couple of years ago and wear it almost every day. Within the first 6 weeks the second hand for the chronometer became unaligned.

I'm sorry to hear of your BA's problem, unfortunately I'm not surprised...

This is #3 of the four common problems admitted to by Omega as documented by Shaun Thorton back in March of 2004:

“3. The chronograph hand does not return properly to zero.

If the return to zero pusher is pressed strongly while the chronograph is running, the hammer operating lever may bend slightly. As a result, the return to zero function no longer works properly.

Solution...

On movements with the above-mentioned problem, the column wheel operating lever must be replaced with the new modified version. The new column wheel operating lever is available from Omega”

I replied to Shaun in this reply:

“I find it hard to believe that someone in testing this movement (or an example of this movement) prior to announcement of models using these movements didn't "Torture Test" them... I run across people who seem to believe that all chronographs are flybacks and press the reset button when they shouldn't. It seems to me that someone, be it Omega or Piguet dropped the chalupa when they apparently didn't put the movement through the ringer before shipping product.

In addition to being a Operator issue and a pre-annoucement product testing issue, this is either a design, engineering or materials issue which probably should have been caught prior to announcement. The lever in question is not strong or resilent enough for real-world use or abuse.”

I was told this was not uncommon with watches made pre 2002

The BA only reached dealer's shelves towards the end of 2001, however, this problem has been reported with newer models, as I will post links to below...

and the watch was sent to Omega who rectified this within 3-4 weeks.

You're luckier than some. Most people have a longer wait and more than once people have had to sent a supposedly repaired watch back for additional work because the repair wasn't effective..

I would have thought that would have been the last time I would have experienced this issue,

This would not appear to be a reasonable expectation for this movement... As I documented in this post in my blog:

SUNDAY, JUNE 19, 2005 nickmtl Asks: 3303 or 3301 are they okay when fixed ???

My Comment:

That's from a quick 20 minutes or so of looking, the rest of the time has been formatting this response. I have not posted every note I ran across from the posters above, and there are likely more people who have had problems with repairs of c.33xx's. I'm not going to gather and post all of them because I feel the above is enough to illustrate that people have had issues with their c.33xx repairs. Hopefully it isn't necessary to detail them all...”

but the second hand has once again become unaligned at some point over the last couple of weeks.

I would be lying if I said I was surprised.

Is this normal?

Normal? I don't know, but repeat problems seem to happen a lot with this movement family.

Is there a reason for this problem?

Well, if Omega is true to form, they will claim that the watch was subjected to "shock damage" or "owner misuse" or anything other than a known issue with the watch itself. Reset alignment is on of the five [the four Shaun T mentions and rotor separation] separate discrete issue that frequently occur with the F. Piguet based c.33xx movement family.

It is a known issue that Omega has supposedly identified and supposedly corrected with retrofit parts. I suppose it is possible that your initial problem didn't get the "Retrofit/Rev.B" parts from Omega, but if you were told at the time of your repair that “this was not uncommon with watches made pre 2002” I would think they'd know enough to replace the parts with the newer versions.

And what can I do to prevent this happening again?

Short of having the watch fixed and leaving it unused on the shelf or selling it, I am not sure.

Any help would be much appreciated.

I feel that Eric has given you good advise thus far in the thread on Watch-U-Seek you started.

I would recommend that you send a pointy but polite letter/message to Omega frankly expressing your disappointment in the reliability and durability of their product. I would also recommend including quotes from Omega Marketing materials from around the time of your purchase of the watch as well as current brochures. You know the type, with copy extolling the virtues and strengths of their products and relate to them that you are expecting Omega and it's products to live up to their marketing copy.

P.S. I'm in the UK so not sure if that has any bearing!

It is interesting to hear that you've had problems in the UK. One of the claims of the "propaganda/apologist squad of the c.33xx" [as I affectionately call them] is that the c.33xx problems are largely limited to the US market or Northern North American markets. However, I can name a number of problem reports occuring outside that region:
  • Another Cal 33xx woes....   -  Initial J  -  Mar 12, 2006 - 06:27 PM c.3301 Schumacher Legend 5800/6000 with reset misalignment error (just like yours) reported in a shop at the Hong Kong International Airport. [I had reported in a reply within that thread that Initial J's report was the third incident reported to that point in the 2006 calendar year]
  • another one   -  andrew milligan  -  Mar 13, 2006 - 12:23 PM Bought a used Americas Cup Chrono in January, but from a UK high street AD, who offered 12 months warranty. Reset failed a week later ... [Of course the used watch could have been bought in the US/NA and brought into the UK]
  • Anonymous Australian poster “P.Lilovac” reported that his BA [purchased two weeks prior to this post P.Lilovac Thoughts on my BA Mar 10, 2004 - 07:30 AM] on developed the reset problem in this post [P.Lilovac Posts: The truth hurts: Faulty BA [May 26, 2004 - 10:24 AM]. Although P.Lilovac did not register with TZ nor did not disclose his location, it was determined that he was posting via an Aussie ISP/assigned IP address]
  • Another anonymous Australian poster “sebastian.melmoth” aka “Thomas” also reported a failure of his Broad Arrow Speedmaster in this post: sebastian.melmoth Posts: Again verbose; mine was a minor reset problem, but ...... [Mar 16, 2006 - 07:35 AM] I still love my column wheel speedmaster Sebastian (or Thomas or whatever his or her real name is) also posted pictures at one point of (supposedly) his Omega Rattrapante DeVille with an Aussie address on it, he also posted via an Aussie ISP and IP address (but a different ISP/IP than P.Lilovac).

    It has been theorized that P.Lilovac and Sebastian/Thomas is one and the same person. We'll never really know because all three of those names have been banished from TZ and Chronocentric for failure to obey the rules of participation.

    In either case, there are three (and possibly four) documented instances of problems outside of the US/Canada linked to above. Your issues would add two more outside of US/North America. And I know I've seen at least one or two reports in other parts of Europe.

    So this is not a problem limited to the US or Northern North America as some people theorize.

    Again, I would document everything you can, and send a direct and frank letter with as much information as you can gather to Omega immediately. I doubt that Omega will give you a refund nor will they offer to exchange your product for a new one. But you also might be able to exact some sort of action if the UK has any sort of "Lemon law". If there is similar laws on the books in the UK you may be able to use them to seek a satisfactory outcome.

    You may find the following post within my blog of a selected list of c.33xx links I've saved over the years to be useful/helpful in your quest for information on this topic. You might find it useful to read every post within each thread for information. Also as that listing is somewhat dated, you might wish to do a search on c.33x3 and c.33xx on both my blog and the various Omega Discussion forums on the web for additional threads. You also are welcome to email me if you'd like...

    I suppose things could be worse for Omega... They could have the problems that Dell is facing with their laptops:

A Dell notebook computer that burst into flames last month in Osaka, Japan, has damaged more than just the conference table where it sat smoldering. The incident, publicized in photos on the Internet, has also hurt Dell's recent attempts to improve its image. [New York Times 10 July 2006]

At least there have been no reports of c.33xx's exploding into flames, yet.

I wish you the best of luck and please keep us informed...

-- Chuck


1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Chuck,

Re: The Australian correspondent named 'Sebastian Melmoth.' That was the pseudonym that Oscar Wilde used while in exile in Paris. Why is exile? Because "he licked his stamp on the wrong side" so to speak, which at the time was in breach of section 11 Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1885. I leave you to your own conclusions.

By the by, I did thank you at the time for the well crafted amendment that you made to your excellent Speedmaster Mark site. However, for some reason, the e-mail just bounced back. I would hate you to think that I am ungracious.

Yours sincerely,

Owain Blackwell

Saturday, November 11, 2006 5:14:00 PM  

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