Collect virtually anything and you’re guaranteed some surprises. And vintage LCD watches are no exception.
It doesn’t seem to matter how long you’ve been collecting for, something new that you didn’t even know existed, might turn up NOS on eBay just next week.
Such is the case with the Omni Quartz LC 24 World Time Zone Alarm Chronograph Countdown Timer watch.
The seller had several of these, SS and gold, plus some other models that they had received in a bulk lot . All NOS in their original boxes (unfortunately no manual, and that really would have been useful in this case – World Time watches have varying degrees of complexity, e.g. some can adjust for Daylight Savings in individual countries which is really useful).
They did give the caveat that the watches had been sitting with their original batteries in for the past 25-30 years which always makes buying one a bit of a gamble. Depending on the manufacturer, some chose cheap batteries for their watches that invariably leaked over the years damaging the watches as time passed.
And such was the case with this one. It had had its battery removed at some point (probably recently) and the damage was already there. I did get it mostly working, probably 90%, and should have been happy with that, but instead aimed for 100% and stripped it down for a deeper clean.
Pinball Ninja Clay Harrell has a saying “The enemy of good is better” and is just as true for watch repair and restoration as it is for pinballs.
One thing this watch has that I’ve never seen in another are springs. We’re not just talking an alarm spring, this thing has 10 tiny springs that try to jump out of the watch as it’s opened. And one of them disappeared. I’ve got a tidy workstation but this freakin’ thing vanished.
So I bought another one. Gold this time, which I don’t normally do since I much prefer a stainless steel/silver plate to gold, but needs must and this was the only one for sale. I was still annoyed I only got 90% of the performance out of the first one anyway so had high hopes for the second.
The gold one duly arrived and the module was in worse condition than the silver one. The original battery was still in it and had leaked quite a bit. Cleaning the green out and a new battery in I could get it to reset (push all four buttons) but then it would do some weird stuff, only show some (wrong) characters on screen, alarm would go nuts, display would disappear and not come back unless a full reset was performed, that kind of thing.
So this one was stripped completely too, and I took even more care when disassembling it. Incidentally, when it comes time to put these back together you have to hold the module in your hand, holding a custom nut in the module while you try and put the screw through to stop it falling apart again.
Battery in, full reset, and bingo! This one is 100% working, and it’s very cool. And now, looking on the bright side, I have the option of silver or gold, as long as I don’t mind moving the module between watches.
The world time is a cool function – even includes Wellington, NZ, along with some well-known and less well-known cities (Karachi, Caracus, Denver). Plus there’s some time zones that have an ellipsis instead to fill in the city of your choice if you happen to be in that zone.
I can’t work out if there’s a daylight savings setting though (I suspect not). There is a tiny world map (bottom left corner) when you’re in World Time mode which is pretty cool too. Great watch – in silver or gold!