Since the Seamaster’s launch in 1948, it has been the vibrant, beating heart of Omega's collection.
The key to its longevity, in part, lies in its adaptability: It comes in dive watch models, which were worn by professional divers (and James Bond), or dress models favored by the likes of Mad Men’s Don Draper.
Omega released the first Seamaster in 1948 to coincide with the Summer Olympics held in London. In a city ravaged by the Blitz, the Olympics represented a time to look forward while still being respectful of the past. For Omega, whose 100th Anniversary took place that year, the manufacture’s role as Official Timekeeper represented the ideal opportunity to launch a new collection. Advertising material of the time touted the extreme ruggedness of the Seamaster, which would prove all the more important with the 1957 launch of the Seamaster 300 diver’s model.
This particular Seamaster is of the dressier variety, but with a thick, no-nonsense 35mm steel case and lugs that make for an enduring design. Beneath an acrylic crystal sits a multi-tone tritium dial — heavy with awesome patina — with matching dauphine handset and a sophisticated mix of applied dart and Arabic indices. Powered by an automatic Omega Calibre 354 bumper movement, it also features a signed crown and screw-down case back.
Light on the wrist and a delight to wear, the Seamaster is an icon of the watch world — and this one is the perfect entry point into the world of vintage timepieces!
The Omega Story
The story of Omega is one that captivates generations of horological devotees. The second-largest watchmaker in the world in terms of annual turnover, the Bienne-based firm has been continuously producing watches since 1848, which it does today under the auspices of the Swatch Group.
Founded in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland as La Generale Watch Co, Omega was well ahead of the horological curve from the beginning, developing the first minute-repeating wristwatch in 1892 as well as the eponymous “Omega” caliber in 1894. This 19-ligne movement was revolutionary in that its parts could be replaced by any watchmaker in the world without modification, while its winding and time-setting via the crown provided an industry standard.
Omega became the timepiece supplier of choice for the British Royal Flying Corps in 1917, while the Americans followed suit in 1918, choosing their watches for the U.S. Army. Awards for precision chronometry became almost commonplace, while 1932 saw them become the first watch brand to time an entire Olympic Games. Their Marine, which debuted the same year, is regarded as the first commercially available diver’s watch.
During the Second World War, Omega supplied well over 100,000 timepieces to British forces, making it the largest watch supplier to the British and her allies. These watches, from the unique 6B/159 to the famed “Dirty Dozen” W.W.W, remain highly collectible today.
1948 saw the launch of the original Seamaster: Built upon the tool watch legacy of the brand’s timepieces from the War, it’s since become a byword for reliability and legibility, both as a dress watch and, more recently, as a serious diver’s tool. The Speedmaster, released in 1957 and originally marketed for the auto-racing market, first rocketed to space on the wrist of American astronaut Wally Schirra in 1962. However, it became a household name when, in 1969, it accompanied Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, and later helped save the space-stranded crew of Apollo 13 in 1970 by timing a critical rocket burn.
Today, Omega’s watches — all of which feature in-house movements — run the gamut from svelte dress pieces to the venerable Speedmaster in all its guises. Providing an unquestionable value proposition, Omega is a brand that deserves to be at the center of every serious watch lover’s collection.
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