Top 11 Interesting Facts About Omega Seamaster [List & Guide]
It’s safe to say that the Omega Seamaster is one of the most iconic and recognized watches out there. It’s at the top together with watches like the Rolex Submariner, Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and the Patek Philippe Nautilus.
But what it is that makes some watches especially iconic and legendary whilst some remain relevant for just a few years and are then forgotten?
History and background of the Omega Seamaster
The Omega Seamaster is a model with a long and rich history. It has been a staple in the watch industry for over 70 years, ever since its introduction in 1948.
Over the years, the Seamaster has changed its design quite a lot until finding its true DNA. Originally, it started out as a waterproof dress watch and today, it is a sporty dive watch with an iconic design featuring distinct design elements such as curved/twisted lugs, a helium escape valve at 5 o’clock, distinctive hour markers, and hands, and oftentimes, a wave-pattern dial. Over the course of the decades, it has undergone a large number of transformations and in particular, improvements that have increased the durability, performance, and longevity of the watch.
One of the defining key features of the Seamaster is its rugged and durable yet versatile design. Whilst it is a professional dive watch at its core, James Bond has proven that it works just as great paired with a suit. Thanks to its rugged and durable build quality, the watch is able to withstand active lifestyles and the most challenging environments.
Over the years, the Seamaster collection has also grown considerably and also branched out to new sub-models and versions that are based on the Seamaster. This means that there is now a huge selection of different dive watches to choose from depending on your style and preferences.
Despite its long history and rich heritage, the Omega Seamaster remains just as relevant today as it was 10, 30, or even 50 years ago. This is the ultimate proof of a timeless design.
If you are looking to learn more about this iconic watch model, you have come to the right place. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the most interesting facts about the Omega Seamaster.
Top facts about Omega Seamaster
1. The Seamaster was originally a line of waterproof dress watches
The Omega Seamaster was first launched in 1948 but the fact is that the original Seamaster looks a lot different than it does today. Bear in mind that during this time, small and elegant dress watches were all the rage and the sizes that are considered standard for men’s watches today were unthinkable at the time.
Today, the Seamaster is also a professional dive watch with a helium escape valve and a unidirectional rotating bezel. But this wasn’t the case back then. At its core, the original Seamaster was just a regular dress watch with a construction that made it waterproof. But still, it was during this time that the need for waterproof wristwatches came around and manufacturers like Omega asked themselves how they could solve the issue of having water damage the watch.
The key difference between the Seamaster and its diving watch predecessors was the use of an O-ring gasket which helped improve its water resistance. Water-resistant watches normally used lead or shellac gaskets which were not as reliable as they were easily affected by temperature changes – something that professional divers would naturally experience when diving.
Omega came up with the idea for O-ring gaskets by looking at submarines used during WWII. Thanks to the new gasket, the Seamaster proved to remain intact at depths up to 60 meters and in temperature ranges between -40 degrees and 50 degrees Celsius.
The bottom line is that it took many decades for the Seamaster to evolve from a classic dress watch to the sporty and iconic watch it is today.
2. The Seamaster is divided into several different collections
What started out as one model has since grown into several different sub-categories. But all are still based on the Seamaster. These include:
- Seamaster Aqua Terra
- Seamaster Diver professional 300M
- Seamaster 300
- Seamaster Railmaster
- Seamaster Proprof 1200M
- Seamaster Bullhead
- Seamaster 1948
- Seamaster Planet Ocean
- Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep
All of the above models are based on the Seamaster but have then been designed and built for specific purposes and with different visions in mind. The Aqua-Terra, for example, is intended as a sporty yet more versatile version of the classic Seamaster Diver. As such, it does not feature the traditional unidirectional rotating bezel to give it a more sleek and elegant look. On the contrary, the Seamaster Planet Ocean is intended as a more sporty variant of the classic Seamaster Diver 300m and therefore has an even more bulky and robust case with even greater water resistance.
Each of these models caters to different people, preferences, and needs. And this is a great thing as it helps everyone find their favorite Seamaster that still features some of the iconic and distinct design features of the classic Seamaster.
3. The Seamaster is the longest-running production model from Omega
It’s safe to say that Omega has a huge collection of different models and versions in its offering. But did you know that the Seamaster is the longest-running production model from Omega?
Originally launched in 1948, it’s clearly not the same as it was when it was first released but it has evolved and improved over the decades to become what it is today.
This fact alone is highly impressive and proves the strength and legendary status of the Omega Seamaster.
4. The first Seamaster was based on designs made for the British Royal Navy
Sports watches back in the day looked a lot different from what they looked like back in the day. As already discussed, the first Seamaster was essentially just a classic and elegant dress watch. And the design of the first Seamaster was actually based on designs made for the British Royal Navy during the end of World War II.
Omega supplied watches for the military during the war and due to the harsh environments and demand conditions that soldiers found themselves in, they needed robust and durable watches that could withstand this. As such, when Omega’s plans for creating a waterproof wristwatch came about, it was only natural that they would use what they already had as a starting point.
5. Gerald Genta designed the Seamaster Polaris
It’s safe to say that Gerald Genta is one of the most legendary and important designers in the watch industry – ever. He has designed several of the most iconic watches ever created, including the Royal Oak, Ingenious, and the Nautilus.
But one watch that is less known to have been designed by Gerald Genta is the Seamaster Polaris.
The Seamaster Polaris was designed in 1982 and was launched in 1983. It remained in production up until 1994. The Polaris was a very interesting watch from a technical standpoint. The very first edition of the watch was launched in titanium – a material that was not very common at the time.
5. The Seamaster broke a diving record in 1955
Today, the standard Seamaster offers a water resistance of 300m. Models like the Planet Ocean offer a water resistance of 600m and the Ultradeep has a staggering water resistance of 6000m.
Of course, all of these numbers were unthinkable and thought impossible during the time when watch brands had only begun thinking about making water-resistant watches.
But still, in 1955, Omega managed to impress with its Seamaster by breaking a diving record. The record was broken when the diver Gordon McLean reached a depth of 62.5 meters (205 feet) in Australia. It may not sound very impressive today but at the time, it was a way for Omega to show that its Seamaster was the best and most durable dive watch out there.
6. Omega strapped a Seamaster to the hull of a Douglas DC6 in 1956
To further prove the durability and water-resistant properties of the Seamaster, Omega subjected the watch to an extreme challenge in 1956.
During a polar-route journey across the North Atlantic, a Douglas DC6 had a Seamaster attached to the hull.
Due to the use of O-ring gaskets for the Seamaster, Omega was very confident about the water-resistant properties of the Seamaster and wanted to prove it to everyone else. Of course, the watch remained intact during the whole journey.
7. James Bond was first seen wearing a Seamaster in 1995
Today, we closely associate James Bond with Omega. And for good reasons. Since 1995, James Bond has worn Omega watches. Before this, he wore Rolex, just like in Ian Flemming’s novels. But Omega successfully pushed away Rolex as the costume designer at the time and found that Omega was more historically relevant considering the model’s historical relationship with the British Royal Navy and thus the James Bond character.
1995 became the first year that James Bond was seen wearing an Omega in the movie. This was also the year that Pierce Brosnan took over the role of James Bond. In the movie GoldenEye, he can be seen wearing an Omega Seamaster Professional Diver 300m Quartz reference 2541.80.00.
In all the movies to follow, James Bond has been wearing various Seamaster models. In Skyfall, Daniel Craig wears a Seamaster Aqua-Terra and a Planet Ocean. In No Time to Die, he wears the titanium ”No time to die” special edition Seamaster.
Moreover, in many of the Bond movies, the Seamaster watches that Bond has worn have been equipped with various special features. In Spectre, the Seamaster 300 he wears has a bomb that is activated via the countdown bezel. The Seamaster Pierce Brosnan wears in GoldenEye and Die Another Day (Seamaster Professional Diver 300M 2531.80.00) has a laser that can cut through objects, amongst other things.
8. Omega first added the Co-Axial escapement to the Seamaster in 2006
In 2006, a new era in the Bond franchise began with Daniel Craig taking on the role and the same year, Omega equipped the Seamaster 300 with the revolutionary Caliber 2500. This mechanical movement marked the first commercial application of Omega’s hallmark Co-axial escapement, which had previously been introduced in the Omega De Ville in 1999. Since then, Omega has included the Co-axial escapement in all of its watches, with the exception of the Speedmaster Moonwatch, until its integration in 2021.
To pay homage to the first Seamasters specifically designed for diving, Omega released the Seamaster 300 Master Co-Axial in 2014. This timepiece combines vintage design elements with modern functionality, positioning it as a worthy competitor to the renowned Rolex Submariner.
9. The Seamaster 300 was launched in 1957
In the early days of the Seamaster, professional diving and deep diving weren’t really a thing. But in the 1950s, diving was popularized and became very cool. As such, Omega needed to up its game to meet the demands of divers and make the Seamaster so that it had the water resistance to support diving.
Omega launched the Seamaster 300 in 1957 but interestingly enough, this watch was only water-resistant to 200m/660 feet. Omega claimed that this was not due to the limitations of the watch but rather the limitations of diving equipment. But still, the key difference was that the new Seamaster was actually built and designed for underwater use, not just to handle water splashes and less demanding situations revolving around water.
10. Jacques Cousteau’s team wore Seamaster 300 watches
The legendary diver Jacques Cousteau and his team wore Seamaster 300 watches during their Conshelf II missions in the Red Sea in 1963.
With Cousteau being the front figure of professional diving at the time, he played a crucial role in the growth of the popularity of diving and therefore contributed greatly to the Seamaster’s prestige and reputation as a professional dive watch at the time.
11. Omega launched a deep-dive version of the Seamaster in 1970
During the 1960s and 1970s, watchmakers were continually raising the bar for dive watch water resistance and Omega was among the leading companies in this effort. In 1970, the brand joined forces with French commercial diving company, COMEX, which had previously collaborated with Rolex on the Sea-Dweller, to create its most extreme divers’ watch to date, the Seamaster PloProf, also known as the Seamaster 600.
Designed for professional divers, this watch featured an asymmetrical monobloc steel case and doubled the water resistance of the Seamaster 300 to 600 meters. In a few years, Omega introduced the PloProf, commonly referred to as “The Grand,” with the ability to withstand depths of up to 1,000 meters. Although it never became a mainstream hit, the PloProf was highly regarded among diving enthusiasts and was even spotted on the wrist of Jacques Cousteau. In 2009, Omega re-released the Seamaster PloProf with a water resistance of 1,200 meters, and it remains in the brand’s collection today.