Even if you've just started exploring Omega, chances are you've already come across one or several members of the Seamaster family. The Seamaster has been part of Omega's catalog for over 70 years and is loved and admired by many. You'll find a Seamaster on the wrist of James Bond and the Duke of Cambridge. It is at home in most settings and has gained a lot of attention over the last few decades. Today I will take you through the Seamaster's history, some of the current models in the Seamaster family and provide some additional Seamaster resources at the end.
Omega Seamaster History
The Early Years
The Omega Seamaster has been around for over 70 years, but its origin can be traced back to 1932 when Omega introduced the Marine to the world. The Omega Marine was the first real divers watch that the company launched and the expertise and design knowledge that was gained from this early diver certainly served as the foundation for the first Omega Seamaster.
As with most technology, war drives innovation and in WWII, Omega delivered more than 110,000 watches to the British Ministry of War. The British government set some basic requirements for the watches Omega provided. They had to be tough, water-resistance and have a degree of anti-magnetism. While not yet very sophisticated, seals were added to the military specification watches out of such materials as lead. However, wartime research allowed Omega to launch the Seamaster line in 1948.
The Seamaster was Omega’s first official ‘family’ of watches and the first series of Omega watches to feature rubber gaskets. They boasted greater water-resistance than their military counterparts thanks to the novel use of O-ring gasket technology. Omega turned to the hatches on submarines used during the war for inspiration and came up with their resilient rubber seal. Later, in 1954 the Seamaster was officially certified to be water-resistant to 60 meters and temperature-resistant between -40 to +50 degrees centigrade. Despite all these additions, the Seamaster was primarily designed for the sporting gentleman. The intent was that they could be worn in all situations, whether you were wearing a suit or lounging by the pool.
The Golden Years
The Seamaster remained more of a dress watch until Omega released its Professional line (trilogy) of watches in 1957. The Professional line included the Railmaster, Speedmaster and the Seamaster 300. They were considered the three new ‘Master’ watches, fit for land, sea, and air. In 1957, The Seamaster 300 had a broad-arrow hour hand that was neatly counterbalanced by its luminous arrow-shaped hour indexes. Omega also added the Seahorse engraving on the Seamaster's case back, which was inspired by the historical markings on gondolas in Venice. In addition to its design features, the Seamaster 300 also fielded a new method of assembly, where the crystal was inserted through the back of the case and then screwed in. This was to prevent the crystal from popping out of the case when the watch was exposed to intense pressure.
Although the Professional line was launched in 1957, Omega maintained dress watches in the Seamaster family. To reduce people's confusion with the Seamaster family, Omega made the distinction between professional and dress watches clearer, by introducing the Seamaster De Ville in 1962. Seamaster DeVille watches were produced until 1967 when the DeVille line became its own family of watches.
By 1968, the Seamaster had made a strong name for itself and began a bid for a partnership with the French company COMEX (Compagnie Maritime d'Expertises). Although this was a bid that Omega lost to Rolex, the research that resulted from this effort led to the launch of the Seamaster Ploprof in 1971. This impressive dive watch that became commercially available was able to go to a depth of 1000 meters. The Ploprof used a special type of steel, that was being used for diving bells. Unlike the commonly used watch materials, the steel known as Urano steel prevented certain chemical reactions that would threaten the integrity of a watch at certain depths. The use of this steel pioneered by Omega is more commonly known as 904 steel today.
The Modern Seamaster
While the Seamaster continued to go through various iterations in the 1970s and 1980s, it wasn't until the 1990s that the Seamaster truly took the stage again. In 1993, the Seamaster Professional 300M changed the game for the modern Omega brand.
In 1995 Seamaster Professional 300M appeared on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye. It became a modern classic, appreciated by many, such as the late Princess Diana who gifted her son William Seamaster Professional 300M. The Duke of Cambridge, who is a naval officer himself, still wears his Omega today.
Since the introduction of the new professional line of the Seamaster, Omega has also launched the Seamaster Aqua Terra in 2002 and the Seamaster Planet Ocean in 2005. In a sense, the Planet Ocean is now the sum of the Seamaster’s legacy. In 2018 Omega celebrated 25 years since its modern reboot, introducing a bold new Professional Diver 300M collection with an in-house-manufactured Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 movement. The Master Chronometer certification set an unprecedented standard for precision, performance, and magnetic resistance and is conducted by the Swiss metrology institute, METAS. While the international standard ISO 764 sets the expectation that a watch must be resistant to 60 gauss, the new METAS standard demands that the watch must be able to resist 15,000 gauss. That is the difference between a fridge magnet and the strongest permanent magnet commercially available.
Although Omega has been making watches for more than 170 years and the Seamaster family has been around for more than 70 years, the company remains a strong innovator!
Omega's current Seamaster family
Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150M
The first Seamaster Aqua Terra was released in 2002 and took its inspiration from more classical Seamaster designs. Almost 20 years later, the Aqua Terra has gone through a few changes but remains relatively consistent with its original. That being said, there are currently 324 different variants of the Aqua Terra in Omega's catalog. Cases are available in steel, steel & gold, gold, titanium, and platinum. Prices also vary from US$ 2,750 for a 38.5 mm quartz variant to just under US$ 50,000 for a 43mm world timer with Co-Axial Master Chronometer.
A favorite is the 41 mm Co-Axial Master Chronometer that retails for about US$ 5,500. It promotes sea-styled nostalgia and tasteful design principles. But the watch’s intricate dial steals the show here, calling upon a subtle sun-brushed blue exterior, horizontal teak stripes. It is certainly an everyday watch that won't disappoint.
Omega Seamaster Professional 300M
The Seamaster that hardly needs an introduction was first introduced in 1993 and was catapulted to fame in 1995 on the wrist of Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in GoldenEye. Today the Seamaster Professional 300M enters its 27th year as a distinguished member of the Omega family. You can get the SMP 300 in 49 different variants, in steel, gold, titanium, and tantalum, ranging from a miniature 28 mm to 44 mm case size. Prices range from about US$ 3,000 to $US 50,000.
A favorite is the 42-millimeter stainless-steel case Co-Axial Master Chronometer. It has a blue ceramic bezel, with laser-engraved waves and a recognizable white enamel diving scale that harkens back to its use in the 1950s. Below its scratch‑resistant sapphire crystal, the watch’s polished blue ceramic dial, skeletonized hands, and raised indexes boast a unique, rhodium-plated finish, and have been filled with white Super-LumiNova for enhanced visibility in dark areas. At its heart, an OMEGA Master Chronometer Calibre 8800 movement can be seen through the watch’s wave-edged case back, accenting a specialized, conical helium escape valve, and over 1000-feet of water resistance.
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M
In 2005 Omega introduced the Seamaster Planet Ocean, which was the first diver the brand outfitted with their caliber 2500 movement that featured a lubricant-free co-axial escapement. When the Planet Ocean first launched its case size was a unique 39.5-millimeter stainless-steel case. Today there are 121 variants of the Planet Ocean in Omega's catalog with case sizes ranging from 37.5 mm to a very large 45.5 mm. Prices range from just under $US 6,000 to over US$ 100,000 if you want a bit of bling to adorn your Planet Ocean.
A favorite is the Co-Axial GMT that retails for around US$ 7,700 but can be picked up on the pre-owned market for a nice discount. While the watch doesn't feature the master chronometer certification, it comes at a much more wearable size of 43.5 mm. It is a "true" GMT with an independently jumping hour hand. It has a polished black ceramic bi-directional rotating bezel and on its face, a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal that protects the watch’s Co-Axial Calibre 8605 movement.
Omega Seamaster Ploprof 1200M
The original Seamaster Ploprof was launched in 1971 and although you don't see many of these on people's wrists, Omega re-launched the Ploprof in 2009. It is certainly the most robust Seamaster of the family and unlike in 1971, it is now officially rated to a water resistance of 1200 meters. Despite the watch being a whopping 55mm wide, its lug to lug size is quite wearable. At 48mm its lug to lug size is smaller than of both the Seamaster Professional and the Planet Ocean on this list. Omega offers the Ploprof in 10 different variants, starting at US$ 9,400 for a steel case on a rubber strap, up to US$ 18,000 for a two-tone titanium and sedna gold case with mesh bracelet.
A favorite is the titanium on titanium version that retails for US$ 12,600. The main reason for this is that the titanium will make the watch much lighter than if you were to wear it in steel. This will make the watch much more wearable despite its large size. This near-indestructible watch is a reliable companion for any adventure.
Additional Omega Seamaster Resources
The Omega Seamaster 300 Ultimate Guide - Fashionbeans
Omega Purchase Guide - TheEverydayWatch
The Complete Guide To Omega Watches - Hiconsumption
Planet Ocean: The Full Story Of Omega’s Iconic Modern Dive Watch - Ablogtowatch
The Seamaster Chronicles - Monochrome Watches