Conflict, although devastating, often drives innovation; and OMEGA’s new Seamaster Limited Edition timepieces are rooted in World War II history.
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 or Navy. The watches were valued by British airmen and sailors for their water-resistance and reliability in combat. After the end of the war OMEGA 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 timepieces were given greater water-resistance than their military counterparts by OMEGA’s use of the O-ring gasket technology, which is a standard today. In 2018, the 70th Anniversary of the Seamaster, OMEGA is paying tribute to these 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 a product of the 21st century. They are driven by Master Chronometer movements 8804 and 8806, which have been tested by the highest level of watch industry.
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 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 were former users of 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 nowadays also rely on the water-resistance of the Seamaster, as the new models are water-resistant to 6bar/ 60m/ 200ft.
Both watches are presented in their own collector’s box, made of soft brown leather. In each box, the watch is kept upright but easily moveable due to a magnetic floor. A spare NATO strap in the original Admiralty grey colour, a leather strap and strap changing tool are also included. Each model is limited to 1,948 pieces.