The Seamaster family celebrates its 70th Anniversary this year: we take a look at two new watches inspired by some of the very earliest to carry the name.
by James Buttery
To celebrate 70 years of the Seamaster family in 2018, Omega has released a brace of watches directly inspired by some of the first watches released using that famous name.
The Seamaster collection, Omega’s first family of watches, came about in the post-war years as the brand sought out a civilian application for the horological technology it had developed during the Second World War, when it had delivered around 110,000 watches to the Ministry of Defence.
While the watches were well received by servicemen, Omega upped its game by offering even greater water resistance in its civilian watches than it had done during the war years thanks to the development of an O-ring gasket.
These modern reissues – both watertight to 60m – are exceptionally close to the original duo and both models, a Small Seconds and an ever-so-slightly slimmer Central Second, share the same highly polished, perfectly proportioned stainless steel case with flat bezel and glass box sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. Unlike last year’s Omega 1957 Trilogy, which were 1:1 reproductions, these pieces are larger than their forebears.
If you concentrate on the crystal keenly enough you’ll find a surprise in miniature: the Omega symbol engraved into the sapphire just above the central axis of the hands. It would appear to be an anti-counterfeiting measure that once observed, cannot be unseen.
Where the models differ, both from each other and from their ancestors, is their use of movement. The Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition Small Seconds uses a Calibre 8804 (60 hours power reserve) while the Seamaster 1948 Limited Edition Central Second uses a Calibre 8806 (55 hours power reserve). Both models are 25,200vph automatic Master Chronometer movements.
The dials of both watches differ too, with the Central Seconds the slightly dressier of the two with applied logo, indices and numerals, printed minute markers and a sharp 18ct white gold dauphine hand set. Personally, I prefer the Small Second for its more elegant leaf hands (also white gold), a minute railway track that frames the entire dial neatly and the asymmetry resulting from the placement of the small second dial at the six o’clock.
A laser engraved and lacquered sapphire crystal caseback – aligned using Omega’s slightly perplexing NAIAD locking system – is a slightly anachronistic flourish given how clearly vintage the intention is here. The 70th Anniversary logo features a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft.
Omega’s original intention had been to sell these two models as a paired set, however they were separated out shortly before their presentation at Baselworld with each watch available in limited runs of 1,948 pieces. Each watch comes in a presentation box with magnetic stand (which shouldn’t trouble the amagnetic Master Chronometers in the slightest) and are priced at £4,950 for the Small Seconds and £4,550 for its Central Second companion.