As you can see in the above picture, the answer is yes you can mod or modify The Omega FOIS. However, there are quite a few things to consider when going down this Rabbit hole. Rabbit hole you ask? This is definitely one of those mods that can lead you down a Rabbit hole if you let yourself. I probably get at least two to three emails a week asking about this particular mod. My first question to customers is to ask them how they want to mod their watch or what look are they going for. My second question is are they sure they want to modify a Limited Edition Omega Speedmaster watch. If you are ready to modify your Omega FOIS continue reading and hopefully I can give you an idea of the options available, what is involved and a guesstimate on the cost.
What are my options for Modifying FOIS?
Most of the inquiries I get revolve around the Ed White look for their FOIS. The Ed White is the most popular mod and there are a few ways to accomplish this. Note: I am not going to get into the differences between the FOIS and the Ed White models, that’s for another post. Let me proceed starting with the easiest and least expensive Ed White mod to the more involved and most expensive. The first and easiest is to simply replace the hands with the 321 baton hour-minute-subdial with drop chrono-sweep hands.
The second option would be to replace the dial and hands with the aforementioned hand set along with the 3594.50 raised logo dial. The 3594.50 raised logo dial is from the Omega Broad Arrow Replica. The third option would be to replace the crown with an original Ed White crown combined with the dial and hand swap. The next option would be to replace the sapphire crystal with a hesalite crystal along with any of the other options. It is very important to note that swapping the crystal is something I will not do. The FOIS case is made specifically for a sapphire crystal and a hesalite crystal simply will not work. I have seen posts and pictures that say it can be done, but I have tried it and the answer is no. Some may disagree and I am sure there is a hack where you could make it work. Some of the hacks or options would be to glue the hesalite crystal to the case or use the crystal gasket from the sapphire crystal in combination with tension ring on the hesalite crystal. I don’t think so. I am not a big fan of hacks that involve glue. Let’s move on to the next option. Now that the new 321 Ed White is available, adding the New Ed White dial and hands is an option. Great thing about this option is the factory patina on the dial and hands. Only downside is the dial feet have to be modified to fit the 1861 movement on the FOIS and if Omega will sell the dial. You could also add the bracelet, case back and/or bezel from the new 321. The case back on the new 321 Ed White will not work on the FOIS case. I do know that the new dot over 90 321 bezel does not snap on to the FOIS case, you would have to glue it(As stated above, I am not a big fan of glue). As you can see, I am going down a rabbit hole. The price range on the above mentioned mods is somewhere between $500.00-$3000.00 depending on parts involved and complexity of mod. Continue reading below with some more options.
Other FOIS Mod Options
There are quite a few other mods available for the FOIS and your imagination and parts availability are the only limitations. Any Moon watch dial that works on the 861, 1861 or 1863 will work on the FOIS. Dial dimensions for the FOIS dial are the same as the dials on the aforementioned Moon watch movements. One thing to note is that Omega has stopped selling a large majority of Moon watch dials starting around July 2021. Even with a parts account most of the limited edition dials are no longer available. 321 dials could also be used on the FOIS, but the dial feet on the 321 would have to be modified to fit on the 1861 FOIS dial. Any hands from a 861, 1861, 1863 or 321 movement will work on the FOIS. There are any number of hand combinations that could be applied to the FOIS, only limitation is your imagination. Most all hands for 861, 1861, 1863 and 321 are available. Another simple mod would be to replace the case back with a 105.003 double beveled, 145.012 single beveled or exhibition case back like the one on the “Sapphire Sandwich” 3573.50. Lastly, there are a number of Omega bracelets available in the 19mm lug size, just a matter of confirming they will work on the FOIS. The bracelet option is a tricky one. The bracelet may look like it will work, but there is simply no way to know until you try it. The lug dimensions and alignment are the biggest factors involved. It is rather difficult to spend $700-$800 on a new Omega bracelet and the end pieces of the bracelet do not line up properly with the lugs. A good and less costly option for the Vintage Omega bracelet look would be Uncle Seiko or Forstner.
What is involved in FOIS Mod?
The most important and time consuming aspect of the FOIS mod is choosing how you want to mod your watch. Namely, choosing the dial, hands, bezel, case back, bracelet etc. and confirming these options will work. No sense searching the inter-web for parts, spending hundreds or thousands of dollars to find out the parts you bought will not work(confirm parts with your watch maker). Once you have chosen the mods you want to perform and have confirmed the parts will work, choosing a watch maker with the expertise is the next step. Choosing the right watch maker is key. You will want your watchmaker to inform you whether or not the parts you have provided are going to work before taking your watch apart. You certainly don’t want a watchmaker to dive in, take your watch apart and suddenly realize your parts will not work. If possible, choosing a watch maker that is Omega certified with a parts account would be best.
So you have chosen what type of mod you are going to perform, confirmed and acquired your parts, found an experienced watchmaker. Your next step is to simply strap on your newly modded FOIS and enjoy. A very important key to modding any watch is keeping the original parts and stressing this point to your watchmaker. If you do not have a discussion with your watch maker about keeping the old parts they may not take the care needed so the parts can be used in the future. Saving the original parts is especially important if the watch is a Limited edition.
What is the cost of FOIS Mod?
The prices for an FOIS mod very greatly depending on how much you want to mod the watch. I am not going to give a price list for every option, there are just too many. As stated at the beginning of post, I would say a good guesstimate for price range would be $500-$3000. All depends on price of parts, watch maker charges and do not forget shipping.
In closing, I hope this article has given you an idea of the options available, what is involved and a guesstimate on the cost. I most likely missed quite a few options, but as stated earlier this is one of those mods that can lead you down a rabbit hole. I love to talk Omega watches and mods, especially brainstorming ideas with customers. For any inquires and/or pricing on how to modify your FOIS, contact Tambowatches.