Last week in our Then and Now post, we touched on the Omega Seamaster 300. Now lets take a closer look.
The 300 was the first real dive watch in the Seamaster line, although originally the watch was rated to only 200 meters. That was in 1957. The Seamaster 300 had been released that year along with two others in the –master series of watches intended for professionals, the Speedmaster and the Railmaster.
But back to our hero. Those first watches from 1957 had a broad arrow hour hand, straight lugs, and no crown guards. By 1960, the broad arrow had jumped from the hour hand to the minute hand. Yes, we thought that was odd too.
1962 was a transitional year for the Seamaster 300. Both stick (or baton) hands and the curious dauphine hour hand with broad arrow minute hand were mounted on those watches.
By 1964, twisted (or lyre) lugs appeared and the stick hands had won out over the broad arrow set. The sticks stayed until 1967, when the sword hour hands appeared. (These sword hands were said to be the inspiration for the British Ministry of Defense to requisition similar hands on the MilSub version of the 5513 ordered from Rolex.)
And of course, all this time, dials and bezel inserts were morphing too. Hour indices were straight, then darts, thick and thin. Bezels grew minute tick marks where only hour marks had been before, and fonts changed for the numerals as well.
The late 1960s saw several introductions. In 1967 a date function appeared. And just the other day, I saw a photo on Instagram of a watch signed Seamaster 120. The lesser rating but similar look of the 120 may lead you to believe it predated the 300. Actually, the 120 was released in 1966. Omega was cashing in on the popularity of the 300, but aiming the 120 squarely at amateur divers.
Around that time, the Seamaster 200 saw the light of day too. Both the 120 and the 200 had a late 60s – early 70s vibe. Cushion and turtle cases, along with brightly colored dials and bezels were the rage back then, and these two watches embodied both. Chronograph versions also appeared.
By this time the Seamaster line was growing more and more limbs. The Seamaster 600 PloProf and the Seamaster 1000 had made their entrance. That’s a story for a different day however, so we’ll keep tracking the 300 here.
Actually what happened was the 300 disappeared in the wake of the introduction of the “modern” Seamasters. These included the Seamaster Professionals, which eventually spawned the Seamasters of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond.
Bond (probably Q Branch, actually) would eventually forsake the Seamaster Professional for the Planet Ocean before Omega would finally reintroduce the Seamaster 300 Master Coaxial in 2014. This new 300 is a terrific homage to the Seamaster 300 of 1957 – broad arrow hour hand, straight lugs, and no crown guards to be seen anywhere.
Commander Bond had come home (Rolex lovers will disagree with me), and the prodigal Seamaster 300 had as well.