Brands I Love, Part 2: the Omega Dynamic, circa 1970
Sometime in 1970, on his first trip to Switzerland, my father, Luis G. Bernas, walked into a watch shop in Zurich and bought an Omega Dynamic.
Omega’s Dynamic line of watches is rare, especially when compared to the more popular lines like the Speedmaster and Seamaster, both of which have been in production for over 50 years. In fact, Dynamics were only released three times by Omega: the first was released in 1969 and discontinued by 1975. (The watch shown above is from that series.) The Omega Dynamic was then released again as a quartz watch in 1984 and then once more between 1997-1999 as an aviator watch.
Pop’s watch had been almost forgotten. Because the line had been discontinued, its leather strap was no longer easy to find (especially not in Asia). Several months ago I discovered — to my horror — that the watch was wearable only because a metal bracelet had been soldered onto its casing. The watch itself had also fallen into a state of disrepair: the date could no longer be adjusted, the crystal face was scratched and one of its hands was bent out of shape.
It took me several months of approaching antique watch dealers in Singapore, asking if they could restore it to its original state. Most refused outright because of the risk to damaging the watch. One even tried to convince me that I should be satisfied with its current condition. But I refused. It wasn’t the way the watch was originally designed. More importantly, it wasn’t the way my father wore it.
Finally, I found this shop in Tanglin Mall whose technicians were not only willing to take on the job, they were also certified to service vintage Omega watches. The repair work would take several weeks. Parts would have to be sourced from Switzerland, including the watch crystal. I would also have to source the accompanying one-piece leather strap on my own.
Months after I started this project, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Apart from some minor scratches on the watch face (which in my opinion, only give it more character), the watch is fully restored and as good as new.
My father passed away in July 1987 at the very young age of 49. But now I am satisfed to know I will have a part of him with me everywhere I go. Years from now, his grandson, my nephew who bears his name, will inherit the watch. With luck, he will my pass father’s watch on to his grandson.