Last year, we introduced one of our largest projects ever, the Speedmaster Chronicles. Five videos with five men, including James Ragan (the man who turned the Speedmaster into the Moonwatch), Omega’s CEO, a well-known auctioneer, Mr Speedy Tuesday and an anonymous collector, who all shed their light on one of the most iconic watches ever created, the Omega Speedmaster a.k.a. Moonwatch. Today we’re starting with another big video project, namely “The Seamaster Chronicles” – and you probably guessed it… we will have an in-depth look at Omega’s diving icon, the Seamaster.
In a series of three videos, we will explain how a watch that sprouted from the watches that Omega delivered to the Royal Air Force during WWII, has become so much more. The very first Seamaster was introduced by Omega 70 years ago, in 1948. It has grown to become a large collection, where you can find not one iconic watch but a host of iconic pieces – with elegant dress watches from the 1960s to big and rugged professional dive watches from the 1970s and modern, reliable and superbly crafted sports watches today. This year, in 2018, Omega celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster and the 25th anniversary of the Seamaster Diver 300M, a.k.a the James Bond Watch. In this first part of the Seamaster Chronicles, MONOCHROME will be talking to Omega’s International Brand Heritage Manager and Museum Director, Petros Protopapas, about the history of the icon that is the Omega Seamaster.
To quote Petros, “this is actually quite a long story“… But what should be reminded is that the Omega Seamaster was born on the expertise that Omega gained with watches developed and delivered to the British Ministry of War. The main requirement with these watches was, besides being accurate, that they had to be waterproof and amagnetic. This led Omega to develop all kinds of technologies, which were used during wartime. Later this was the knowledge and know-how that the brand used for the creation of the Seamaster collection. It is because of this incredible experience gained with the production of thousands of military timepieces that Omega could come to the market, only the years after the war, with such an accomplished product. The technology was “war-tested” but commercialised as a “child of peace”.
Unlike present models, the very first Seamaster watches were simple, elegant looking timepieces. Robust for sure, featuring for the first time a rubber gasket, but still “gentleman-styled” watches. It is only by 1957, with the introduction of the Seamaster 300 ref. CK2913, that the face of this model will change forever. At this precise point in history, Omega’s professional watches were born.
On this topic, Petros Protopapas explains how well-made and designed that first professional Seamaster ref. CK2913 actually was; look for the part about how the crystal is secured, making this one of the first vacuum-proof watches. And there’s more, much more! The introduction of the Seamaster De Ville collection for instance and the developments Omega undertook with Comex, the PloProf project, the creation of helium-proof cases, and something that probably only a few know about – the use of 904L steel at Omega. Then there’s the comeback of the Seamaster with the Seamaster Diver 300M in the 1990s, the 007 connection and the modern collections. All of these topics are perfectly explained in this first instalment of the “The Seamaster Chronicles”, which you can watch in our video at the top of this article.
Enjoy and stay tuned for two more episodes of “The Seamaster Chronicles” in the following weeks!