Key Models from the Omega Seamaster Collection

Key Models from the Omega Seamaster Collection

In 2023, when watch collectors talk about which dive watch is best, they often go to select a few from Swiss brands: the Rolex Submariner, the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms, and the Omega Seamaster. The latter is often compared to the Submariner in magazines and YouTube videos, discussing the merits of each one, their history, and which offers the best value. Plenty has been written about the history of the Submariner and how it compares to the Fifty Fathoms (and the fact that the latter was released before the former.) So, in this article we’ll take a quick look at the history of the Seamaster going back to its ancestor, and discuss a few key references from 1948 through 2023.  Everest Journal Key Models from the Omega Seamaster CollectionSource:

Before the Seamaster: the Omega Marine 

Even though Rolex was first in making a water-resistant watch in 1926 with the Oyster case, Omega also got an early start in making water-resistant watches. While Rolex made a water-resistant case using a screw-down crown and case-back, Omega went about it differently. To keep things simple, Omega made a watch case composed of two parts, one containing the dial and movement that would slide inside the second part, creating a seal. This was in 1932 and the model was called the Marine. It was, actually, the first official watch made for diving. As we will see below, the first Seamaster doesn’t look anything like the Marine, however the 1932 model paved the way for Omega to release the Seamaster. 

Everest Journal Key Models from the Omega Seamaster CollectionSource:

The First Seamaster from 1948 

After creating the Marine, Omega developed a new type of water-resistant timepiece. The Swiss brand was inspired by the design of World War II submarines and by the practicality and legibility of the field watches worn by WWII soldiers. (See this article about military watches from that period.) This inspired the creation of the first Seamaster in 1948 which was resistant up to 60 meters thanks to a new case construction using a rubber gasket. (Previous water-resistant watches from other brands used less reliable gaskets.) Its dial was particularly legible and elegant, showing an alternation of polished applied markers and painted Arabic numerals at the cardinal points. 

Everest Journal Key Models from the Omega Seamaster CollectionSource:

The Seamaster 300 from 1957 

Given that the Blancpain Fifty Fathoms was released in 1953 and the Rolex Submariner in 1954, Omega realized it had to come up with a purposeful dive watch of its own. While the 1948 Seamaster was water-resistant, it wasn’t made for diving and couldn’t be used by the professional divers that were boasting the benefits of the aforementioned divers. This is when Omega released the Seamaster 300 along with the Speedmaster and the Railmaster, their three “Master” watches. The 300 was characterized by large Sword hands, Arabic numerals, and a fully-graduated bezel.  

Everest Journal Key Models from the Omega Seamaster CollectionSource:

The Seamaster Professional Diver 300M

The 1990s was an important decade for Omega and the Seamaster. Not only did it become the official James Bond watch for a few movies to come, but it also saw the birth of the Seamaster Professional Diver 300M in1993. The latter has become perhaps the most iconic iteration of the Seamaster, given the engraved wave pattern on the dial, the fully-graduated bezel with large numerals and scalloped edge, and the skeletonized hands. The Professional was also the only Seamaster to come with quartz movements which helped perpetuate its popularity during the Quartz Crisis. (As far as I know.) 

Everest Journal Key Models from the Omega Seamaster CollectionSource:

Final Thoughts 

The Seamaster collection has evolved quite a bit over the past couple of decades. Omega has added several new models and revived old ones. The Swiss brand has also been partaking in the race for making the diver with the deepest depth rating, fighting its primary rival, Rolex. (Omega’s Ultra Deep beats Rolex’s Deepsea Challenge.) Regardless of which brand makes the most robust diver today, Omega and the Seamaster have had a long history. This brief article was meant to highlight key models from the Seamaster family. It is by no means an exhaustive analysis of all references from the Seamaster line and of what makes each reference unique. 

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