From arm­ing divers to as­sist­ing secret agents, the Omega Sea­mas­ter, which is 70 this year, is an icon in its own right

Singapore Tatler Jewels & Time - - Contents - Text Ter­ence Lim

The Omega Sea­mas­ter turns 70


The Omega Sea­mas­ter line was launched to co­in­cide with and com­mem­o­rate the brand’s 100th an­niver­sary. The watches were mod­elled af­ter the water­proof time­pieces used by the British mil­i­tary dur­ing World War II. The first Sea­mas­ters were fit­ted with self-wind­ing move­ments in stan­dard as well as chronome­ter vari­ants.


The year when diver Gor­don Mclean, wear­ing a Sea­mas­ter, reached a record depth of 62.5m in Aus­tralia.


Omega rolled out its “Pro­fes­sional” range of Sea­mas­ter watches with the Sea­mas­ter 300. Af­ter decades of suc­cess­fully ac­com­pa­ny­ing ex­plor­ers and div­ing spe­cial­ists to great depths, the watch­maker felt it was time to make its long­stand­ing as­so­ci­a­tion with divers a per­ma­nent one.


Af­ter four years of ex­ten­sive re­search and ex­per­i­ment with pro­fes­sional divers, Omega un­veiled the “Plo­prof ” Sea­mas­ter 600. (Plo­prof is the port­man­teau of “plongeur pro­fes­sional”, which means pro­fes­sional diver in English.) Divers from Comex, a French un­der­wa­ter re­search and ex­plo­ration firm, took the watch on test dives in the late 1960s, and set a world record for un­der­wa­ter ex­plo­ration at a depth of 253m in the Ajac­cio Gulf in France.


Omega upped the ante a year later with the launch of the Sea­mas­ter 1000, a ticker that was cre­ated and tested along­side the 600. It then made his­tory for its dive with In­ter­na­tional Un­der­wa­ter Con­trac­tors sub­ma­rine Beaver Mark IV (above) while be­ing at­tached to its ro­botic arm. The watch sur­vived the dive of more than 1,000m be­neath the ocean’s surface.


In the 1980s and 1990s, Omega con­tin­ued its as­so­ci­a­tion with divers and es­tab­lished its sta­tus as their tool of choice. The lessons learned also helped im­prove the qual­ity of Omega watches over the years. The Swiss watch­maker and its Sea­mas­ter line broke new ground in 1995 by ap­pear­ing in a James Bond movie. British ac­tor Pierce Bros­nan be­came the first Agent 007 to sport a Sea­mas­ter Pro­fes­sional 300 in Gold­eneye. The part­ner­ship with the British spy movie franchise has lasted 20 years with British ac­tor Daniel Craig sport­ing the lim­it­ededi­tion Bond Sea­mas­ter in Spec­tre (2015).


To cel­e­brate the 70th an­niver­sary of its first fam­ily of watches, Omega re­leases two limited-edi­tion Sea­mas­ters in­spired by the orig­i­nal design. The Sea­mas­ter 1948 Small Sec­onds (top right) and the Sea­mas­ter 1948 Cen­tral Sec­ond (top left) come with stain­less steel cases, pol­ished bezels, opa­line sil­ver-domed di­als. There are, how­ever, subtle dif­fer­ences: the for­mer sports leaf-styled hour and minute hands, while the lat­ter fea­tures dauphine-styled hands filled with Su­per­lu­mi­nova. On its flat sap­phire crys­tal on the case­back is the 70th an­niver­sary logo, a ChrisCraft boat and Gloster Me­teor air­craft, the first jet used by the British Royal Air Force—a nod to the brand’s pre- Sea­mas­ter mil­i­tary links. Only 1,948 pieces of each vari­ant will be avail­able world­wide.

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