PLAIN SAIL­ING

The Omega Sea­mas­ter 1948 cel­e­brates the col­lec­tion’s 70th an­niver­sary – and its un­der­stated el­e­gance proves to be an­other great hit

#Legend - - OMEGA -

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.

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