Osman Bhurgri’s Vintage Squale Quartz
A really interesting restoration in the Page and Cooper workshops.
Our friend Osman is an enthusiastic collector of interesting and unique watches and was very keen to have this much loved Squale preserved and brought back to life. But at the same time, he was realistic in terms of what could actually be done and how much it would cost!
He also wanted to be assured that his investment, not just in terms of money, but in the timing of the repair, was well judged.
Many people, when restoring a watch a classic car even, look for the ‘return’. But at some time in their existence many highly collectable watches and indeed cars may be out of fashion and it’s the pure love for these wonderful objects that inspires informed connoisseurs to preserve these inspirational pieces for future generations.
Osman wanted expert advice. Through our close friendship which began with his purchase of one of the first Squale Vintage Masters (now itself a collector’s item), Osman knew that we spend many hours at each of our watchmaker’s factories examining their archives to source ’new’ old stock parts. Original Squale parts from the 1960’s and 1970’s are hard to find and becoming more scarce with every passing day.
It just so happened that we had recently acquired the last and very rare NOS movement for Osman's watch, together with a pack of service parts. Not all the replacement parts we needed as some were not available, but these we were able to bring back to a serviceable level without over-restoring them.
Osman decided to entrust his Vintage Squale to the Page and Cooper workshop as he wanted the restoration carried out under our close supervision. Madalina, who heads up our service facility, checked the watch in and Henry, one of our most enthusiastic watchmakers, undertook the project.
We’ll let Henry take up the story now…
“When I received the Vintage Squale, we stripped it down to its component parts and inspected it in detail. The original movement had a dead circuit. Fortunately we had in stock this NOS movement from the 1970’s still in its original packing. Our only one. Apart from the movement, the watch was very dirty inside. The gear train was entirely dry with residual debris and there was also corrosion. This is the reason why, if you are an enthusiast, your watch should be serviced regularly. It is essential to take it all apart, check thoroughly, replacing worn and/or damaged parts and clean in the correct way using ultrasonic cleaning machinery. Once fully clean, one can examine each individual part minutely and only then re-assemble, checking each and every item, oiling and testing as the work proceeds.
To be honest, with Osman’s watch I didn’t pay much attention to which piece of dirt actually stopped it from working. If I removed one particle of dirt, the customer might shake the watch and another piece of detritus could re-start the problem. No. When I have a watch in my hands for service I proceed to carry out the comprehensive servicing procedure. There is no such thing as a partial service. It was a full strip down, clean, rebuild, lubricate, set up, case up, test and so on. And, by the way, every watch needs to be serviced at least once in five years. Otherwise you begin to destroy it, by running it dry (pivots and teeth start to grind down), not changing seals (to keep it water resistant because seals become brittle). Basically imagine running a car for ten plus years without changing oil, filters and tyres! Physics, mechanics. People forget that these tiny mechanisms are complex with many moving parts.
A particular feature of Osman’s restoration was to leave the ‘patina’ and ‘life experience’ of his watch intact. Quite a nice thing to leave its individual history on show. Patina is acquired over a period of some 20 or 30 years of use!
One last thing. We had to replace some of the lume which had fallen off both the hands and dial. We had to match the original ‘creamy’ one but, creamy luminosity no longer exists! We matched a modern luminous material which seamlessly blended with the original.”
And there you have it. A satisfied customer, a beautiful watch and our technicians, satisfied to have met the challenge of another unique opportunity to demonstrate their horological skills. Osman’s fine Squales are living out an exotic existence in the Middle East in the glamour of Dubai.
Page and Cooper, always ‘at your service’. If you want to find out more about our watch servicing, including restoration, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
You can follow Osie at instagram.com/vintagewatchdubai