My first ‘serious’ piece was an Omega gold manual calendar strap watch, model number 132.5017. I acquired it in 1999 after passing a pawn broker’s shop one day in the Yorkshire town of Selby. Suddenly I recalled the fine watches I had seen as a child in jewellers’ windows and I realised I could purchase now what was unaffordable back in 1977 when the model that caught my eye was made. The saleswoman who showed me the Omega remarked, as she wound up the movement and set it running, how smoothly the second hand on mechanicals glided in comparison with quartz analogues. This truth of this simple remark converted me and I purchased immediately.
Without realising it, my debut acquisition was a creditable choice. The 17 jewel movement, a caliber 1030 manual wind, is a respected one and a high-beater. In watch-making, a high beat has greater potential for accuracy than a low beat; there is a trade-off, however, between time-keeping and durability, since high frequency generates more wear. A beat rate of 28,800 beats per hour (or 8 per beats second, or 4 Hz) became the industry standard during the 1970s and all of my mechanicals share this frequency. Watch dealers, as soon as they pick up a piece and turn it in their hands, start to describe the model features. The patter for a 132.5017 might runs something like this:
‘Circular 9ct gold case, 34.5mm in diameter, with polished bezel. Gold coloured dial with applied black and gold hour batons. Matching baton minute and hour hand; gold sweep second hand. Date window at 3pm. Gilt crown signed with Omega logo. Stainless steel (SS) brushed solid caseback. Domed hesalite crystal. Worn on a black leather strap and Omega gold buckle with logo.’
It was a great starter piece yet like many collectors I sold it because I desired something better and need to sell to fund the purchase. Now I wish I had kept it and share the nostalgia for my first vintage so many aficionados feel. At the time though I wanted an automatic and a switch from gold to stainless steel.
Sadly, I have no usable images of the 132.5017 and so have appended an illustration found on line to this blog.