Released in 1948 and based on designs of a watch used by airmen in World War Two the Omega Seamaster has gone from being the brand’s 100th birthday present to itself to one of their most sought-after offerings. Initially, a slim dress style watch with short thick lugs the Seamaster was designed to try to promote daily wear while remaining functional with 62.5 metres of water resistance. The modern Seamaster we know and love today, however, was born 9 years later when the Seamaster 300 was released. Omega became inspired after they had 50 Seamaster cases with rubber O-ring gaskets tested in 1955 which led them to work with new materials. They then released three new tool watches that would later become the linchpins of the brand’s identity, the Seamaster 300, the Railmaster and the Speedmaster.
While it wasn’t the first diver inspired watch from Omega, that honour goes to the Marine from 1932, it was their first fully dedicated attempt to make a watch for real diving. The Marine was small and wasn’t very legible and was more so marketed as a water-proof watch. The Seamaster 300 was the real deal, however, with 200 metres of water resistance, a large legible 39mm dial, large triangular hour markers and a pair of thick hour and minute hands.
The Seamaster is most famous for being the watch worn by James Bond in the last 8 films. This was the saving grace for the Seamaster as it had fallen out of favour by the mid-90s and being worn by Pierce Brosnan in his debut as Bond in 1995’s GoldenEye gave the model a large boost in sales. Originally Bond wore a Rolex Submariner but that changed after the costume designer, Lindy Hemming, decided that an Omega would be more apt. This was due to their tie to the British military, specifically the Special Boat Service, and as such the Rolex Submariner were cast aside for the Seamaster. The Seamaster has seen numerous reiterations of itself being released in the form of movie and anniversary specials over the past 71 years but it is these reiterations that have kept the essence of the watch so deeply intertwined with Omega’s DNA, and the demand for it so high, enabling it to be Omega’s longest-serving and best-known model.