The Omega Seamaster has garnered a reputation for being one of the most prominent Bond watches. However, the history of the watch dates back decades before the fictional British super agent first swapped it on his wrist.
In this lineup’s 70-year history, the Omega Seamaster became highly renowned, to say the least. It was a watch that could be worn as a sophisticated dress watch or a heavy-duty solid steel diver. Let us rewind time and see how this timeless horological masterpiece came to be.
The History of the Omega Seamaster
The first model of the Seamaster was launched back in 1948. These models were based on designs of a watch that Omega had made for British airmen during the Second World War. It came with an O-ring gasket and had improved water resistance, which is why it was called “waterproof” at the time. It had a depth rating between 10 to 30 meters.
This was an improvement from previous water-resistant watches that relied on shellac or lead gaskets. The problem with such watches is that they were easily affected by temperature changes. That’s what a diver would experience at several depths. So to get around this, Omega looked upon World War 2 submarines as an inspiration. From that inspiration, the brand included a resilient rubber gasket in the Seamaster’s final design. The new case allowed the models to withstand 60-meter depths and temperature ranges between -40 to 50 degrees C.
The original edition came with two variations: center seconds, as well as small seconds at the dial’s bottom. It was made out of stainless steel material and designed with sturdy, short lugs with a slim profile for everyday use.
In 1955, the Swiss Laboratory for Watch Research tested out 50 Seamaster cases with a 60-meter depth rating. This along with the experimentation for new materials led to the introduction of several new models in the latter decades.
The Omega Seamaster 300 (1957)
Following the testing, Omega rolled out a trio of Master watches starting from 1957 when scuba diving was all the rage. These new watches included the Railmaster, the Speedmaster, and finally the Seamaster 300. The Omega Seamaster 300, unlike its previous models, was actually built to be used underwater. Despite the title, the Seamaster 300 could go as far as 200 meters underwater. Omega claims that it was due to the limitations of the equipment, and not the watch itself.
The CK2913, which was the original reference, displayed the new Naiad winding crown. This was Omega’s response to the screw-down design, the patent which is still utilized over at Rolex.
Omega Seamaster Chronograph 1968
This was a more fashionable take on the traditional diver watch. It had symmetrical subdials that were easy to read and didn’t just appeal to seamen. Interestingly, this watch is what inspired Alaska III which was used on the space shuttle in the 80s. Protopapas says that it predates the future NASA proposal by 10 years.
The Bond Watch or Seamaster 300M (1994)
Somewhere during the mid-1990s, the Omega Seamaster had lost its steam. To make things worse, this decline allowed another fan-favorite in the Omega Seamaster Professional to take over.
It wasn’t until 1995 that the Seamaster 300 achieved global recognition as a James Bond watch. Not only that, the Omega Seamaster officially dethroned Rolex as the favorite new timepiece for the suave British agent.
This was a big deal since Ian Fleming, author of James Bond did include a Rolex in the GoldenEye novel. What’s more, is that he also wore a Rolex himself during the time the book was published. This change was made because the costume designer of the film said that Omega was more relevant to the British Royal Navy. As a result, it was more relevant to the James Bond character.
The model of the watch was the Seamaster Professional 300M that Brosnan’s Bond character worn in GoldenEye. And ever since then, for the next 25 years, the Omega would be the trademark Bond watch. For the next three Brosnan Bond films, the character was sporting the Omega 300 Automatic Chronometer.
When Daniel Craig stepped in as Bond in 2006 Casino Royale, he was wearing two Omega watches. The first was the Omega Seamaster 300 and the other was the Seamaster Planet Ocean that came with a rubber strap for the action sequences. The Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean made another appearance in the Craig-Bond film Quantum of Solace (2008). He later wore the same watch for Skyfall (2012). Then in the 2015’s Spectre, a special edition of the Omega Seamaster 300 was released titled Spectre. This was to commemorate the 20-year partnership of the brand with the Bond franchise. This served as a call back to the first Bond Seamaster.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean (2003)
2003 was when the Planet Ocean range was meant to dive deeper into the sea. These versions came with the Omega Co-Axial 2500 movement. They also came with a 600-meter water resistance rating, a chronometer certification, and a helium-escape valve.
These watches were the first to come with state-of-the-art materials like the in-house Omega 8500 caliber, and the liquid metal bezels. This pretty much explains why this watch was good enough to be a Bond watch starting from Casino Royale.
Seamaster Professional Diver 300m (2018)
In 2018, this watch celebrated the 25th anniversary with a facelift of the 1993 classic with 2018 technology. The saw the release of 14 such models that came in several finishes. Protopapas compared the Omega Seamaster as a classic car design that’s never going to lose its luster.