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 .

Name:
Location: Chicagoland, United States

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

Sunday, June 19, 2005

nickmtl Asks: 3303 or 3301 are they okay when fixed ???


I am cross-posting the following post from TZOF for future reference as this question comes up from time to time and TZ's Search feature is hopelessly broken...:

nickmtl Posts: 3303 or 3301 are they okay when fixed ??? [Jun 19, 2005 - 09:54 PM]

I'm looking at the s.steel, titanium and titanium/gold America's Cup Chrono which have the 3303 movement, and I figure that since these are some of the first 33xx movements, the design flaw may arise.

It is a fair assumption that it might.

I would like to know that if I buy from an AD, and it ends up broken to be fixed by Omega, are they reliable afterwards ???

Keep reading...

What's been your experience. Thanks.

Nick

I don't have any personal experience, because I have chosen not to purchase one. However in the 20 or so minutes since you posted I found the following posts in the forum without the facility of a search feature or links:

steve burns Posts:Unacceptable.... [Jun 03, 2004 - 03:53 PM]

I had the watch one month, when it stopped. Since there were no quality service centers in the USA, I had to send to Bienne. ($50.00). After 6 weeks, I received the watch back. As soon as I opened it, I could see something was wrong. The minute hand was not centered. I started and stopped the Chrono again..still not centering. How could someone send a watch back like that. Omega asked me to send it back. What they SHOULD have done, was to Fedex me a new one. I asked my dealer to speak to the Omega rep about a replacement. The rep said Omega would not replace. I then wrote Omega Bienne, and they finally did replace the watch. The whole process took about 3 months. So, I was let down by 1)Original quality 2)after sales service (no reliable service centers) 3)customer service (rep). Whats left? I had told them I had several Omega's, and was contemplating at least one more.

and:

steve burns Posts: Masa==you have said it in a nutshell... [Jun 20, 2004 - 07:19 PM]

First they tried to hide the problem and denied it existed..
Then they sold product they knew might be faulty...
Then they did not recall the faulty product...
Then...their customer service was terrible...
Then... their repair facilities were inept....

For all those having problems...they should have fedexed replacements by next day air...not have them send units for 5 and six week trips to Spa Bienne. NOt only that, there should have been some compensation to those who have had problems. Something as simple as a hat, or t-shirt..to show the company cares. I used to get chocolates every Christmas from Breitling! When you buy a product from a respected company like Omega..you expect exeptional service, as well as honesty. They may think they are ahead, but in the short term they will lose customers..they already have.

I hope this message will be relayed.

JDWHITFIELD Posts: My Omega nightmare!! please read and comment [May 14, 2004 - 10:52 AM]

Dear all,

I thought I should share my experiences with you all as I see that many people on this forum are having quality problems similar to mine. It all started when I was referred (by a member of this forum) to a certain popular D.C. based dealer. I ordered my Americas Cup Chronograph, which, upon arrival I see there are numerous bits/flecks of dust or something on the dial. I send it back to the dealer and tell him it is unacceptable. He tries to 'convince' me that this is normal and acceptable and within Omega's quality control threshold. I mention that I have $50 watches that have cleaner dials that this one. Reluctantly, he sends me another ACC as a replacement. Needless to say, the replacement also has little bits on the dial, the hands & bezel do not line up 'perfectly' and the bezel sits high(about .5 to 1 mm above the crystal...looks ridiculous) I share this info with the dealer and he makes me feel like a fool for concerning myself with these trivialities, so I keep the watch when in retrospect I should have just got a refund.

Anyway, a couple of weeks later the minute totalizer breaks. I am told that this is a common problem with this movement and so I send it in to be fixed.

A couple of weeks after I get the watch back, I am cleaning the watch and I accidently, very gently, bump the watch which precipitates the breaking of the watch. A loud rattling ensues and the watch stops completely and so off it goes AGAIN to be fixed (MI. service center)....after some time I get the watch back, they wouldn't fix the bezel by the way as they said it wasn't that bad. Well, as soon as I look at the watch I see all this little marks on the subdials and the base of the subdial hands. My watchmaker explains that probably they used unprotected tweezers to remove the hands and therefor scratched up the dial and ruined it!!. I send the watch back to Omega Lancaster and demand a replacement....WELL, they send me a replacement, but of course, there is this piece of what looks like a grain of metal slap bang in the middle of the dial, so, I send it right back and tell them...EITHER SEND ME A PERFECT WATCH, or give me my money back. They tell me that maybe my expectations as to their level of quality control are maybe too elevated!...I explain that I have numerous watches from a $50 Poljot to $3000 Rolexes and I have never had problems like this especially the inabilty to produce a dial without crap on it!..

Anyway, they tell me they will have one "specially" made in Switzerland for me, a couple more months of waiting and it finally arrives. I now have in my posession a ACC that funtions/looks perfect, but I am so tired and Jaded by my whole experience that I am going to sell it, so it's off to sales corner for this one. What a complete nightmare this has been, and it seems like many other people are going through hell like me, I hope my words can prevent someone else going through this ordeal. Best of luck to you all and any feedback would be interesting.....Cheers....

azsmiley Posts: Another Update....... [Jun 10, 2004 - 10:25 AM]

Ok, I am sure you guys are getting tired of hearing from me, and my BA service issues but wanted to give an update anyway.

Well, I get the "brush off" email from Maria at Omega/Bienee saying the folks in Lancaster are "on the job", and that I am sure to hear from them shortly. She even gives me the name of Debbie Roberts at Omega/Lancaster. So, I call Ms. Roberts first thing this morning, and I actually get to speak with her. She immediately recognizes my name (likely in vain at Omega by now), and tells me the are locating the parts needed to complete the repair of my BA, and will have an answer on when they can get my parts to Swiss Service and have the repair completed. She also mentioned that there would be no cost to me for the repair, and for the recommended 3-5 year service (since my watch is barely 2 years old). She promised a call to Gail at Swiss Service and myself by the end of the day with a status, so I'll keep you guys posted.

I am still very disappointed in Ms. M, and the misleading emails and communication from her. I have nothing yet to judge Ms. Roberts on, other than her committment to contact us by the end of the day. I hope, pray and trust we are now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel (truly hoping it's not a train coming from the other direction).

and

azsmiley Posts: Last of the updates on my 33XX BA [Jun 17, 2004 - 10:11 AM]

Ok, as many of you I am sure share the sentiment of thanks and joy that this is my last post about my BA at Swiss Service, it does actually end in some good news.

As I type, it is leaving Swiss Service in LaGrange, Illinois and is headed home to Phoenix. It is leaving 2 days later than expected, but that's not the fault of Gail, or the other wonderful folks at Swiss Service. It is the fault of Omega USA, and all the way up the ladder to Klauss Lehmann himself.

Originally, Omega USA had commited to pay for all repairs related to the "chrono-hand reset" issue. Sadly, it took Klauss over a week to pick up the phone and call Swiss Service to authorize this (by the way - he is the only one with authority to do so). Now, I give him credit for "finding" the required parts 1 day after I got Omega/Bienne and Omega USA involved. I also give him credit in the end for paying 100% of the repair bill at Swiss Service, which I never expected, but greatly appreciate. To that end, I will write a letter to Omega/Bienne thanking them for ultimately supporting the repair of my BA.

However, the fact that this took months to coordinate and achieve, should scream to Omega the need for a process to handle the 33XX repair issues. I think that we all gravitate to Omega and create a loyalty to the brand for a very small group of reasons:history, quality, and customer service are a few of the reasons we proudly display our commitment to the Omega brand on our wrists daily. I trult believe in return that Omega owes it's customers the absolute best efforts in those areas. Now, if I get her back, and have additional issues (which some others have), I will not complain, or even post the issue at this point, knowing I will immediately pack her up, and send her once again for repair. But, to this end I appreciate what Omega has done in the end, but saddened by the fact that true customer service took so much pushing.

I wish all those who own the 33XX based models all the best, and truly hope they are worn for many years to come, and in the best of health.

Jim Burdges Posts: Couple of things would be very helpful..... [Jun 20, 2004 - 07:17 PM]

A clear sign of a lack of professionalism is silence. When I send a watch for service to Bienne, I never hear anything back from them unless I follow up with a query such as did they even get the watch? Omega could greatly improve their service image if they would routinely send an email upon receipt of a watch and then automatically (like once a week) send an email on the status of the repair.

I recently sent a BA to Bienne for repair. The watch was returned 6 weeks later after a major service. However, they did not regulate the watch, so I had to send it right back to Bienne. A world class repair center in the USA would greatly improve Omega's image and bottom line.

Thanks,

Jim

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... even though I'm sure I'll be called to task for posting what I have soon enough.

I hope you find this information useful in your research.

-- Chuck

4 Comments:

Anonymous Chris Launder said...

These problems that you have located are regrettable for a company such as Omega, however, people who are disenchanted are , quite rightly, much more vocal than those who are completely happy with their purchase, such as I. And i am sure that there are many 3303 owners out there that are also satisfied.
My BA was purchased about 2 years ago, hasn't missed a beat , and seems to keep better time than my Patek ( but only just ), it hasn't been mollycoddled, has been worn as my ' daily beater' and I can honestly say that there hasn't been one day I have regretted buying it . Just a view from a member of the ' silent majority', Chris.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005 6:10:00 AM  
Blogger Chuck Maddox said...

chris launder said...These problems that you have located are regrettable for a company such as Omega,

Agreed. I should point out, these are just a sampling of the problems that people have reported with Omega's repair service when it comes to the c.33xx movement. These are by no means all of the issues, nor do they include the initial issues reported by these and other c.33xx owners. What I posted above was what I was able to locate on TZOF in about 20 minutes without a working TZ Find feature. I'm sure I could find additional posts along these lines with a little more digging.

however, people who are disenchanted are , quite rightly, much more vocal than those who are completely happy with their purchase, such as I.

While we have no way to gauge or confirm that, this does seem reasonable.

And i am sure that there are many 3303 owners out there that are also satisfied.

I know that there are many satisfied 33xx owners out there.

My BA was purchased about 2 years ago, hasn't missed a beat , and seems to keep better time than my Patek but only just ), it hasn't been mollycoddled, has been worn as my ' daily beater' and I can honestly say that there hasn't been one day I have regretted buying it .

Congratulations on the performance of your BA.

Indeed, I don't believe I've ever heard anyone complain about the accuracy of a c.33xx equipped Omega chronograph. Most of the problems reported (save for a couple of rotor disengagement's) have been related to the chronograph portion of the movement, not the timekeeping "bits".

Unfortunately, Omega seems prone to fall back to a "Shock damage" excuse often when explaining failures of this movement. Even with people who have not worn the watch experienceing issues much and "babied them" when they did wear them. I wouldn't recommend mentioning "daily beater" usage to Omega should one need to have a c.33xx serviced. But, that's just me.

Just a view from a member of the ' silent majority',

All comments are welcome, even if we can't easily determine percentages of satisfied/issue-suffering customers.

And I wouldn't categorize the "majority" as silent... There are a number of satisfied owners who are vocal in their praise of the c.33xx, a few are very extreme in their voracity of their beliefs about this movement family. Which is fine. I prefer prospective owners to hear from all sides of the subject at hand. Preferably before their wallet clears their pocket.

Chris.

I hope for the continued superb running of your BA, Chris. Thanks for participating!

-- Chuck

Thursday, August 11, 2005 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am considering purchasing an Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer with the 3301 movement and column wheel. I've been reading your blog and have only seen problems relating to the Speedmaster BA and even then not recently. Have you ever heard of these problems occuring in the Seamaster?

Thursday, November 02, 2006 2:19:00 AM  
Blogger Chuck Maddox said...

anonymous said... [Thursday, November 02, 2006 2:19:34 AM]

I am considering purchasing an Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer with the 3301 movement and column wheel. I've been reading your blog and have only seen problems relating to the Speedmaster BA and even then not recently. Have you ever heard of these problems occuring in the Seamaster?

Hello Anonymous... Yes, I've heard of problems occuring in the Seamasters. The most recent one was posted on 17 October 2006 in the TimeZone Omega forum by Bipaboy...

Quote:

“bipaboy Posts: [8] My Seamaster 300M Chrono woes! [Oct 17, 2006 - 11:13 PM]

My America's cup seamaster 300m chrono's (3301) start/stop button stopped working today. I can't stop the chrono anymore but the reset button still seems to make a click when i push it. I just bought this watch this summer but the recently acquired COSC cert says it was tested in 2004 so i guess it was prob. made sometime in 2004. Before i purchased this watch i had read of some of the problems but I had fallen in love with the watch and had to have it. Now Chuck can add one more to his list of reported 33xx problems.”

Unquote...

Whoops, I didn't get around to posting a link to it here before, sorry!

But to sum up, Yes, there have been problems with the Seamaster in both America's Cup and "Post-"America's Cup models, they are still occuring and have occured recently (16 days ago by my count). Advocates of the c.33xx contend that such failures are normal and should be expected. It's intersting that the failure reported (in this and the vast majority of non-rotor disengagement issue) have the same description of the fault as identified in the post Shaun T. made back in March of 2004 from an Omega Service bulletin.

In the end, you will have to decide for yourself which path to take. While I have no problem sharing with people my decision and decision making process, I don't tell people what to do, I only strongly encourage everyone to do their research before reaching for their wallet.

Best of fortune regardless of which path you choose to travel...

-- Chuck

Thursday, November 02, 2006 8:05:00 AM  

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