The Swiss watch manufacture celebrated a summer festival of superlatives on the trendy Mediterranean island of Mykonos. This summer, Omega celebrated 75 years of the Seamaster, honouring the anniversary of the model with the introduction of no fewer than eleven new timepieces. With each and every piece coming in a distinctive shade of blue, the watches celebrate humanity’s conquest of the sea. The fact that the watches had to travel all the way to the Aegean Sea for the launch may not have much to do with this important anniversary directly, but indirectly, at, least, it does – but more on that later.
While those of us in Northern Europe hang up our freshly cleaned linen jackets and shorts in the wardrobe at the end of August, climate change and the associated El Niño phenomenon are keeping us on our toes this year. In Canada, forest areas the size of the Germany burn up in one summer, and in the Mediterranean, it’s better to be cooling off in the water than tanning beside it. There’s no question about it: summer is a season to which we have to become increasingly accustomed. Those of us who can dip their feet into cold water from the end of April to the end of September, preferably accompanied by a light breeze and a nice watch, can count themselves lucky.
Watches for the most beautiful time of the year
With the introduction of its Seamaster Summer Blue collection, Omega is cementing a trend that had already been embraced by Swiss manufactures in recent years: beach/summer editions. What would have once aroused astonishment in the hardcore collector community is now becoming increasingly popular, especially amongst customers who like to embrace the summer season. Launching watches with a reference to waves, beaches, and the sea makes sense when customers want to treat themselves to watches outside of their big collector purchases, especially during what is often the most important holiday of the year. These days, people get a kick out of ending the season with a nice summer watch on the wrist.
Summer collections take the heat off watch classics
‘A haute horlogerie watch as the ultimate fashion statement for summer’ is how one colleague described it – and that is exactly what these watches are becoming these days: fashion statements that can be worn harmoniously with a light summer wardrobe. Such editions also take away the pressure of always looking timeless. If you don’t like the chilled summer aesthetic look, you can always revert back to a classic. Yet from Hublot’s Big Bang Unico Sky Blue (which first kicked off the summer watch trend back in 2021), IWC’s Top Gun Oceana, and Longines’ Dolce Vita Sylt Edition, it’s clear that summer pieces, launched at beach pop-ups and seaside boutiques alike, are booming.
Omega celebrates the Seamaster in Mykonos for three days
Now, Omega is joining the party – and compared to these Mediterranean festivities, small beach pop-ups suddenly seem like peanuts. The revelries stretch over three days. Anybody who is anyody has been flown in, including 60 people from the press and superstar George Clooney. The welcome dinner is held at the Peruvian club restaurant Coya, a chain that has made a name for itself across 11 exclusive establishments, from Mayfair in London to Paris, Dubai, and Monte Carlo. The likelihood of getting a table in Mykonos city during peak season, even if you have stacks of money, is almost zero. We sit in the centre of its beautiful enchanted courtyard, snacking on wagyu beef with truffle mayonnaise as a starter, indulging in turbot marinated in soy sauce alongside yellowfin tuna. By the main course, our hunger is long gone, but with lobster and US prime rib-eye – and as was the case with several pisco sours that evening – you just can’t say no.
Presentation at the Bagatelle Club Mykonos
The next morning’s presentation, which takes place away from the event hotel Grecotel Mykonos Blue (with its own private beach), is held at the Bagatelle Club in Mykonos town. Offering a direct view out onto the Mediterranean, tourists hover next door, taking photos in front of the famous white windmills. The 13 Bagatelle Clubs in the world are only to be found in places like St Barth, St Tropez, Miami and classy ski resort Courchevel. The club was, of course, specially redecorated for Omega, and here they stand: the eight new models. The collection consists of eight models, accompanied by three bracelet options, making a total of eleven models.
Head of Product Management Gregory Kissling explains the collection
Omega’s Head of Product Management personally explains the collection in detail to Swisswatches. When it was launched in 1948, we learn, the Seamaster collection was the first product line of the manufacture to have its own name. But the aim, says Kissling, was not only to impress with sheer volume – “but above all, to celebrate the various legends of the Seamaster in all its manifestations.” This was achieved primarily by introducing a new colour code, which Omega has christened Summer Blue. All of the products have it in common, despite each one exuding a different feel. The aesthetic darkens from model to model depending on the water resistance, starting with the Aqua Terra models with a water resistance of 150 metres and working up to the 6,000-metre water-resistant Seamaster Ultra Deep. Another common feature of the watches well worth mentioning is the emblematic Seamaster caseback.
No sapphire crystal caseback, but a famous emblem returns
As Kissling explains, “[We] have deliberately developed a closed caseback that adorns an emblem that is very special to us and that Omega fans naturally know: Poseidon, the god of the sea and son of Chronos, the ruler of time.” Poseidon with his trident, ploughing the seas with his two seahorses, has been present on the back of Omega Seamaster models since 1956. The result is impressive: the logo has never been so detailed. Kissling continues, “To mark the occasion, we have brought back the design of the very first seahorses from 1956 and used it as a template, marrying it with the current design.”
The roots of the Poseidon motif
In the 1950s, Omega set out to create a symbol for the entire Seamaster collection. It was intended to express the maritime legacy, refined style, and robust spirit of the collection. Designer Jean-Pierre Borle found his inspiration on a trip to Venice: the sculptural representations of Neptune’s seahorses adorning the city’s legendary gondolas. Each of the watches in the collection therefore features the eye-catching commemorative caseback. With the exception of the Ploprof and the Seamaster Ultra Deep, which have engraved casebacks, the new models’ casebacks are three-dimensional in stainless steel.
Colourful nuances making all the difference
There’s one very successful detail that will please many people, not only the watch enthusiasts dreaming of buying all the watches right away. In addition to the darkening colours related to water resistance, all models with rhodium-plated hands and indices have a new shade of the luminous material Super-LumiNova in common, which contains a slight blue tint. What might read as something rather banal is actually the highlight of these watches. It really gives the models that certain something required to put the icing on the cake for the summer and beach watch trend.
Water resistance is tested with water at Omega
Kissling knows that he doesn’t really have to emphasise to the guests present that all the products are of course certified as Master Chronometers by METAS, which not only includes 15,000 gauss magnetic resistance and not only a rate accuracy of 0/+6 seconds per day, but also, unlike many manufactures, the water resistance of each watch is measured and certified under real conditions with water pressure.
Elegant and spacious: The Omega pop-up store in Mykonos
After the presentation, the group moves on to the city centre to take a look at the pop-up store, specially constructed in a private apartment. The villa-like property with 4-metre-high stucco ceilings almost makes the guests forget that they are standing in the old town of Mykonos, which is not exactly known for its spaciousness. The highlight is a life-size Neptune sculpture with seahorses, which looks as if it had been carved from glacial ice. Dotted around it are the nine historical models of the collection, brought specially from the Omega Museum in Biel.
A summer festival of superlatives that seems never-ending
For the gala evening, Omega naturally thought up something special to take Poseidon and his seahorses out to town: not Scorpios, aka one of the hottest clubs in the Mediterranean, but rather to a secluded bay, over an hour’s drive out of town. Could this perhaps be because of the presence of brand ambassador George Clooney?
This turns out to be the case. What’s more, the location is the Lia Beach, which has its own club that was more or less newly built for the occasion. On this particular evening, the Lia Beach is pretty much the most exclusive place you can be in the Mediterranean. Resembling a temple, a huge open pavilion was erected under the open sky with a view of the sea, in the middle of which the new timepieces sparkle in the setting sun. At the end of the pavilion stands George Clooney himself, appearing to be in high spirits. Ample security surrounds the club, extending to the surrounding mountain ridges. Meanwhile, the 100 guests cool off with various drinks named after the depths of the sea; one highlight is bourbon with a touch of peach. Omega leaves nothing to chance when it comes to the setting; even the plates feature historical seahorse motifs, matching to the napkins embroidered with the same imagery.
In conversation with Omega President Raynald Aeschlimann
What does Mykonos have to do with Omega? Omega President Raynald Aeschlimann has the answers. Aeschlimann, by the way, deserves credit for having laid the foundation for the success of the Seamaster series years ago, and for having helped it out of its shadowy existence behind its big sister, the Speedmaster. The event and the presentation of this complete collection can be seen as the keystone of his endeavours, which continues to entice more and more customers (read the full interview with him about his strategy here).
One watch would have been far too few for the Seamaster’s anniversary
Donning a relaxed white linen shirt, navy blue chinos and brown suede loafers, Aeschlimann welcomes Swisswatches. “As much as I am Swiss, I also feel at home here in Mykonos and in Greece, because our name and logo come from Greece and we like them rather a lot.” He adds with a smile, “As much as we love Greece, of course all of our watches are in line with our Swiss philosophy, right down to the last detail.” When asked why Omega has launched so many watches and not just one, he has a clear answer: “We celebrate this line with several watches because the Seamaster story cannot be described with just one attribute. It’s about precision on the one hand and adventure on the other, which have added up to a whole string of pearls of incredible stories over all these decades.”
A collection unique in the history of the manufacture
One thing was certain for Aeschlimann from the start: he didn’t want to remake just any old vintage timepiece and repeat another story. This led him to making a major step, which is also unique in Omega’s corporate history: to redesign the entire portfolio of Seamaster models, and the largest line in the product portfolio at that.
As Aeschlimann explains, “There is a lot of storytelling in the watch industry – we prefer real stories.” There is little to add to that, so the question is rather: which watch should collectors buy? “If you don’t already have the original Ploprof, the monobloc reissue is a worthy ready-to-wear model, or if you have a narrow wrist, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M in the new 39.5 mm case is the first choice, at least for me. All wearers will also be protected for the next 75 years by the Greek god of the sea, Poseidon, the deity from Greek mythology, who celebrated a beautiful resurrection on the new Seamaster models.”
A Hollywood star who does not want to leave
As the sun sinks down into the sea, thousands of LED candles illuminate the beach, casting such a spell over the secluded Mediterranean spot that even George Clooney doesn’t want to go home. When the star finally gets up around midnight, there is a sense of pride amongst those from Omega: this is the longest time this man has ever been seen at a PR event anywhere in the world, but these kinds of summer evenings are also very, very rare, even in the Mediterranean.
Meet the Omega Seamaster Summer Blue collection:
Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M (38 MM)
Presented back in 2002, the Seamaster Aqua Terra, with its very discreet dial, is somewhat reminiscent of the clean lines of the original Seamaster 300 from 1957. The new Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M 38 mm is directly linked to the Swiss company’s latest product launch, the Aqua Terra models with colourful dials. This model also comes with the completely new polished and brushed stainless-steel bracelet with rounded links. Powering it is the Master Co-Axial calibre 8800. The Omega Summer Blue appears on the lacquered dial in light blue, with a slight outward gradation. The hour indices are particularly elegant, and are shaped like “mini hulls of sailboats seen from above”, as Gregory Kissling informed us in Mykonos.
Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M (41 MM)
The Aqua Terra 150M in 41 mm features the same Summer Blue hue on the dial, but a sunburst finish runs across the familiar pattern of the dials reminiscent of teak-bottomed yacht decks. This watch is also available in a version with a matching blue rubber strap. It is powered by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8900.
Seamaster Aqua Terra Worldtimer 150M
As mentioned, the Aqua Terra line, first introduced back in 2002, received the ‘Worldtimer’ function in a 43 mm case to mark its 15th anniversary in 2017. This model likewise comes with the emblematic vertical teak stripes on the dial. The highlight is the laser-worked and coloured globe viewed from the North Pole, made of titanium and featuring an exceptionally detailed texture and relief of the continents. With its day and night displays and the city ring with worldwide travel destinations, the Aqua Terra Worldtimer, which is also water-resistant to 150 m, is the ultimate adventure watch. A hesalite crystal around the globe, printed in light and dark blue, combines the outer and inner indications with a 24-hour display. The Omega Master Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8938 powers the new watch, which is available with a steel or Summer Blue rubber strap.
A new interpretation of the famous Seamaster 300 from 1957, also in Summer Blue, is not to be missed. That famed model was offered at the end of the 1950s, as part of the so-called ‘Professional Trilogy’ together with a Railmaster and the early Speedmaster. This model also comes with a blue ceramic bezel with light blue numerals and a sandwich dial with the iconic lollipop hand, while the recessed hour markers and open numerals are filled with the distinctive new Super-LumiNova. Inside this watch, of course, ticks the Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8912, certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Meteorology (METAS).
Seamaster Diver 300 M
The Seamaster Divers 300M Summer Blue showcases a somewhat darker shade of blue, which changes from light to dark blue and corresponds to the 300 metre water resistance. First introduced in 1993, this diver’s watch, with its distinctive diving scale and indices (also in light blue Super-LumiNova in this version, of course), was chosen by James Bond as the first Omega film watch shortly afterwards, in 1995. This iconic model has been given a darker blue ceramic bezel, and the diving scale is in blue Grand feuille enamel. The laser-cut wave pattern of the blue lacquered ceramic dial is reminiscent of the historic reference. The 42 mm Seamaster is available with a steel or rubber strap. The details here are truly charming: the blue numerals on the diving scale of the ceramic bezel match the colour of the Super-LumiNova-lined indices and skeletonised hands exactly. Importantly for divers: underwater, the minute hand and the marker on the diving scale glow green to distinguish them from the light blue of the hour functions. The diver’s watch is powered by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer calibre 8800, which also ticks in the Seamaster Aqua Terra.
Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
For me personally, the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M is the real star of the novelties (alongside the original Ploprof). Launched in 2005 with an orange bezel and helium valve, it was the first diving watch from Omega to incorporate the famous Co-Axial escapement developed by George Daniels. This watch is not only worn daily by diving pioneer Victor Lance Vescovo – it is simply the perfect modern diving watch. However, with one addition: the Planet Ocean 600M is now available for the first time in a 39.5 mm case. For me, having a slender wrist, this is the first time I have ever been able to consider the watch.
Seamaster Ploprof 1200M
Let’s move on to the official highlight of the event – Gregory Kissling was visibly proud at its presentation. With the 1200 metre water-resistant Ploprof, Omega presented what is actually the third generation of the famous watch (short for Plongeur Professionnel – French for ‘professional diver’). A bull’s eye for all fans of the classic. Developed in the sixties and brought onto the market in the seventies (1971), the model, which was not created by a designer but by an engineer, has always been for special personalities: Gianni Agnelli famously wore it over his cuff. Whether used by diving pioneer and scientist Jaques-Yves Cousteau or later by Comex divers, it was a real tool watch.
Originally, it was water-resistant to 600 metres, and never needed a helium valve thanks to its monobloc construction and special seals. Kissling is particularly proud of the new model coming even closer to the original, not compromising on quality: “We wanted to keep the exact dimensions of the original with twice the water resistance. So, we used our own steel alloy, O-MEGASTEEL, to achieve that.” Interestingly, the new watch is housed in a true monobloc case for the first time. The bezel ring is now made of a sapphire crystal, modelled on the chemically reinforced monolithic glass used in the early versions. This transparent glass is lacquered blue on the back, revealing the light blue diving scale underneath and perfectly matching the Summer Blue sunburst dial. A perforated blue rubber strap completes the look of the 70s. The biggest difference today is, of course, the movement, the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer 8919.
Seamaster Ultra Deep 6000M
Going even deeper into the depths of the oceans is the Omega Planet Ocean Ultra Deep with its whopping 6,000 metres of water resistance, as a tribute to the world record dive of 2019. With this watch, you could indeed easily dive to the deepest point of the Mediterranean, which is not far from Mykonos at all. The so-called Calypso shallow, which reaches 5,267 metres, is just a few nautical miles away. This watch celebrates the explorer and scientist Victor Lance Vescovo (here’s our in-depth interview with him) who, since 2019, not only holds the world record for reaching the deepest point on earth with his 10,935 metres. A true adventurer of the modern age who, as a scientist, deserved at least one watch as a dedication, is paid tribute to with the Ultra Deep – and very charmingly at that. The 45.5 mm model has a case and bracelet also made of O-MEGASTEEL and a very unusual dial: it shows the above-mentioned Challenger depth in an elaborately printed 3D relief, which was translated into this dial structure by means of over one million topography points. The watch is only blue in parts, and towards the edge turns black, with a black lacquered dial and bezel, which in turn has Super-LumiNova inserts in light blue. Inside, of course, ticks Omega’s 8912 calibre, the same one that powers the Ploprof. Omega could not resist a charming gimmick, which only becomes clear under water or UV light: on the dial, as if handwritten in Super-LumiNova, are the words ‘OMEGA WAS HERE!’ in violet, referring to the world record dive of 10,935 metres and showing the outlines of the western, central and eastern basins with a tiny Omega logo in the middle.