It is well known that some of the technological innovations and products we use today were actually developed for war purpose. For example, the ARPANET established by United States Department of Defense in 1969 laid foundations for a civilian version a network technology that is today’s internet. Likewise, in horology, the trench watches used by troops during First World War gave birth to the concept of wrist worn watches.
Unveiled at Baselworld 2018, the new Seamaster Limited Edition timepieces pay tribute to the Swiss watch brand’s contribution in creating watches for Armed Forces.
Between 1940 and 1945, OMEGA delivered more than 110,000 timepieces to the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) for use within the Royal Air Force and its other branches. The watches were highly valued by British airmen and sailors for their water-resistance and reliability in combat. The end of the war and the ensuing optimism found OMEGA at the height of its creativity and the brand responded to the demand for a timepiece with the same robust technology and reliable conception, but more aesthetically suited to civilian life.
Launched in 1948, the Seamaster line was OMEGA’s first family of watches. The beautifully designed timepieces, which were given greater water-resistance than their military counterparts by OMEGA’s novel use of the O-ring gasket technology, would go on to become universally recognised and respected.
In 2018, the 70th Anniversary of the Seamaster, OMEGA is paying tribute to these exceptional timepieces by releasing two Limited Edition models in the spirit of the 1948 classics.
Though both watches stay true to the original post-war design, the Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds and the Seamaster 1948 Central Second are powered by calibres which are very much a product of the 21st century. Driven by Master Chronometer movements 8804 and 8806 respectively, these watches have been battle-tested at the watch industry’s highest level.
A stainless steel case, polished bezel, opaline silvery domed dial and polished crown, embossed with vintage Ω are common to both watches; but a closer look at the diamond polished 18K white gold hands reveals subtle differences between the two.
On the Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds, the hour and domed minute hand are in leaf style, while the Central Second is graced with Dauphine style hour and minute hands filled with white Super-LumiNova. On the Central Second model, both the minute and seconds hands are domed.
The Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds includes a small seconds indication at 6 o’clock and is presented on a brown leather strap with a polished-brushed stainless steel buckle. The strap of the Central Second model is blue-grey leather. Like the original straps, both buckles include a vintage OMEGA logo.
The caseback of each watch features an oriented and patented OMEGA “NAIAD LOCK”, engraved with SEAMASTER, LIMITED EDITION, the Limited Edition number and “NAIAD LOCK”. As a further tribute to the many aviators and mariners who have placed their trust in OMEGA’s timepieces, the flat sapphire crystal itself is laser engraved and lacquered by hand with a 70th Anniversary logo, a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft, the first jet plane used by the Royal Air Force. Present day adventurers can also rely on the integrity of the Seamaster, as the new models are water-resistant to 6bar/60m/200ft.
Both watches are beautifully presented in their own special collector’s box, made of soft brown leather. In each box, the watch is kept upright but easily moveable thanks to a magnetic floor, while a spare NATO strap in the original Admiralty grey colour, leather strap and strap changing tool are also included. Each model is limited to 1,948 pieces.