The Omega Seamaster 300 may be well-known as the “James Bond” watch, but it has a rich history in its own right. Yes, being a beautiful timepiece doesn’t hurt it’s case either. The Swiss luxury watchmaker debuted the original Seamaster in 1948 as part of their 100th anniversary. Little did they know, this watch would go on to become the prestigious label’s best-selling watch. Today the Seamaster remains Omega’s longest standing model in the current collection. Besides the illustrious history, the Omega Seamaster 300 has a timeless design, so it’s no wonder it remains so popular today.
Omega Seamaster 300, A Trusted Name in Diving
Long before introducing the Seamaster, Omega had already established itself as a leading name in the world of diving. The brand debuted the Omega Marine, its first diving watch, in 1932. The Marine was worn by the “godfather of modern diving” himself, Yves Le Prieur. He was a French navy officer that invented the modern scuba mask and tank. Just a few years later, explorer Charles William Beebe wore the same timepiece while riding in the bathysphere, an unpowered sea submersible lowered into the ocean by a cable off the coast of Bermuda.
Omega introduced the original Seamaster in 1948. They modeled the initial prototype after the waterproof watches worn by the British military during WWII. However, the innovative feature that separated the Seamaster from previous generations of diving watches was its resilient O-ring gasket. This greatly enhanced the water-resistance of the Omega Seamaster 300 and allowed it to remain intact at depths up to 60 meters and temperatures between -40ºC and 50ºC. Most diving watches to this point either relied on lead or shellac gaskets. They both were easily affected by the constant temperature changes of diving.
The Omega Seamaster 300
The 1950s were a boom time for the sport of scuba diving. Omega took advantage of the sport’s widespread popularity and introduced the new and improved Seamaster 300. The Omega Seamaster 300 was specifically designed for underwater use. While waterproof, the original model from the late 1940s didn’t quite live up to its name. The Omega Seamaster 300 continued the traditional as the go-to timepiece for the world’s greatest divers. Including famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and his team during the 1963 Conshelf II experiments over the Red Sea.
In 1964, the brand introduced a new generation of the Omega Seamaster 300. This sleek version vaulted the watch into contemporary culture. The design was sleeker with broad hands and a wide bezel. The so-called sword hands were also more robust and came equipped with dial markers and luminous properties for increased night diving visibility. This second generation Seamaster 300 was an immediate success not only among divers but also with the military.
Omega Seamaster 300, the James Bond Watch
By the time the 1970s rolled around, the Omega Seamaster 300 had disappeared from popular culture. This all changed in the 1990s when James Bond vaulted the Omega Seamaster 300 back into the spotlight.
During the filming of the 1995 film GoldenEye, the costume designer decided that Omega was the watchmaker most relevant to the British Royal Navy and, in turn, the James Bond character. Therefore, Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond was wearwing an Omega Seamaster 300 instead of the Rolex Submariner like in the novel. Brosnan also wore the Seamaster 300 Automatic Chronometer in three subsequent films Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).
Omega Seamaster 300’s Journey
Daniel Craig was next in line to continue the iconic James Bond character in the 2006 film Casino Royale. During the production of this massively successive film, Craig also chose to don the Seamaster 300. The two sides even decided to celebrate the partnership together leading up to the release of the 2015 film Spectre. At the same time the film hit the big screen, Omega put forth the special edition Seamaster 300 Spectre. It was an ode to the original Seamaster from the 1940s.
The association with James Bond launched the Omega Seamaster 300 from a diver’s specialty to worldwide favorite. The watch will forever be synonymous with one of pop culture’s most legendary characters and film franchises of all-time. It’s really the perfect partnership, as both sides naturally carry the spirit of the other. It’s no surprise that this is a fan favorite. Do you think that it’ll stay a classic in the future?