The Omega Seamaster 1948 celebrates the collection’s 70th anniversary – and its understated elegance proves to be another great hit
the Omega Speedmaster. We’re all well-versed in the story of the Apollo 13 space mission and the part the watch played in accurately timing the spacecraft’s re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, ensuring the astronauts’ safe return. The story not as often told is that of the Omega Seamaster. Most will quickly recognise it as the “James Bond watch”, adorning the wrists of Agent Bonds from Pierce Brosnan in
1995’s Goldeneye to Daniel Craig in 2015’s Spectre; however, fewer know that the watch’s history dates back to 1948, when it made its debut as part of Omega’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
The Seamaster remains the oldest in Omega’s stable of collections, modelled after the water-resistant watches that the brand supplied to the British Royal Air Force between 1940 and 1945. During the war years, the watches became an imperative tool for British airmen and sailors, valued for its waterproof properties and reliability. When the war ended, Omega set about to improve on the military timepieces so they would fit the civilian lifestyle, with even better water resistance thanks to Omega’s unique use of O-ring gasket technology on the dial.
The Seamaster collection remains one of the world’s most reputable and universally recognised designs today.
To mark the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster this year, Omega has debuted a very special pair of watches that take us back to the start – to 1948, with the appropriately named Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions. The two references pay tribute to the brand’s military roots without going overboard. There’s a hint of the 1940s and
’50s in the two watches, like the vintage embossed logo at 12 o’clock, but they remain contemporary and appropriate for modern tastes. The two models are quite similar, with slightly different movements and different but cohesive styling. Both watches come in a 38mm stainless steel case, with a polished bezel, a domed opaline silver dial and a polished crown. The main differences are in the diamond-polished 18K white gold hands and the dial.
The Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds comes with leaf-shaped hour and minute hands and a small seconds register, while the Seamaster 1948 Central Second timepiece comes with Dauphine-style hour and minute hands fi lled with white Super-LumiNova. The Small Seconds model houses the Omega calibre 8804 with a power reserve of 60 hours, while the Central Second model runs on the Omega calibre 8806 with 55 hours of power reserve. Both movements are automatic and METAScertified, so you can be certain of the watches’ integrity, having gone through one of the strictest series of tests in the industry.
More of the brand’s British Ministry of Defence heritage is etched on the screw-down caseback. The flat sapphire crystal is oriented by Omega’s patented Naiad Lock system
(the Greek word naiad refers to mythological water spirits) to allow for decorative elements. In this case, the glass is laser- engraved and lacquered by hand with the 70th anniversary logo, a Chris- Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft, the fi rst jet plane used by the Royal Air Force. The ring around the sapphire glass is also laser- engraved with “Seamaster, Limited Edition” and the numbering – there are only 1,948 pieces of each model made, in a nod to the watch’s debut year.
So far, 2018 has been an incredibly good year for Omega, which has released several new models and limited edition references that have kept the watch world in high spirits. It’s amazing to see the brand dive into its archives and create these vintage-inspired timepieces. The world is Omega’s oyster – and we can’t wait to see what other releases it has in store.