Marking its 75th year as the quintessential dive watch, the Seamaster is the crystallisation of OMEGA’s commitment to watchmaking innovation and ocean exploration.
An exemplary dive watch, the Seamaster is a pillar within OMEGA’s innovative offerings. Just as the Speedmaster is a revered icon of moon landing, the Seamaster has conquered the deepest point of the world’s oceans. From its beginning as a pioneer to becoming the standard bearer of dive watches, the numerous Seamaster iterations over the years represent Omega’s unrelenting pursuit of watchmaking excellence.
Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023, the collection in fact has its provenance dating back much, much earlier. The saying goes one has to look back in order to move forward; with the Seamaster, success is laid on the foundation built before it.
1932 – The Marine
The precursor to the Seamaster was a true trailblazer. The story began in 1932 when OMEGA offered the Marine to civilian divers in 1932, thereby cementing its place in maritime history as the world’s first dive watch available to the general population. Thanks to an ingenious double case design, enabling superb water resistance, the innovative timepiece quickly endeared itself to legendary explorers. One of them was American marine biologist and explorer Charles William Beebe, known for inventing the bathysphere, a spherical steel vessel used in transporting researchers undersea. The Marine served Beebe well during his historical 14m dive in the 1930s. OMEGA’s enduring relationship with the ocean was thus entwined.
1940s – Prelude To The Seamaster
By the early 1940s, OMEGA had solidified its reputation for producing water-resistant and reliable timepieces. The watches were highly valued by British airmen and sailors. Between 1940 and 1945, more than 110,000 timepieces were delivered to the British Ministry of Defence for use within the Royal Air Force and other branches. In turn, OMEGA acquired increased watchmaking expertise during World War II. It proved a boon to OMEGA’s own transformation. Post-war, demand for elegant everyday timepieces boomed, setting the Seamaster in motion.
1948 – The First-Ever Seamaster
In conjunction with the brand’s centenary, the Seamaster was unveiled in 1948. It heralded OMEGA’s first family of watches and became a symbol of the brand’s relentless pursuit of watchmaking excellence. The historic Seamaster was defined by a strong case, thick lugs and long leaf-shaped hands, in a robust yet sophisticated design. It featured OMEGA’s novel use of the O-ring gasket technology to enable water resistance greater than that of the preceding military watches.
1957 – Birth Of Professional Watches And Seamaster 300
1957 was momentous for OMEGA and a year best remembered for the introduction of OMEGA’s legendary trio – the Speedmaster, the Seamaster 300 and the Railmaster – ushering in the dawn of the Professional line-up.
The introduction of the Seamaster 300 carried the dive watch aesthetics to a new era. OMEGA’s first professional dive watch married exceptional reliability with an easy-to-read display, facilitated with a black dial, luminous indexes and large hands. Tested and guaranteed to 660 feet, a depth well beyond the reach of typical divers, the Seamaster 300 CK2913 came fitted with an external rotating bezel to indicate dive time, with a self-winding calibre implanted into a stainless steel case. Another innovation was located in the crown. While contemporaries persisted with the screw-down technology, OMEGA devised the exclusive “Naiad” crown, where the sealing power of the “Naiad” crown increases with water pressure, tightening the grip of the crown and its sealing material the deeper the diver descends.
1963 – Seamaster 300 2nd Generation
The evolution of the Seamaster 300 continued with improved legibility on the agenda. New additions included luminous baton hands and large tritium indexes. The timepiece was entrusted by the British Royal Navy, particularly as the luminous bezel ensures clear readability beneath the waves.
1971 – Seamaster 600 “Ploprof”
Bearing a distinctive monocoque case, the cutting-edge Seamaster 600 “Ploprof” was engineered as such to withstand the ocean’s most-crushing pressures. The avant-garde design served a purpose, preventing helium atoms from entering the timepiece, as well as housing a system of over-compressed gaskets for exceptional performance. For advanced safety, the crown is protected by a large locking nut, while the red button controls the locking system of the bezel.
1972 – Seamaster Diver 120M
Most notable for its eye-catching radiant blue colour scheme, the Seamaster Diver 120M was equipped with a number of innovations. The substantial case is paired with innovative pushers that could remain operable underwater without jeopardising the superior water resistance. On top of that, the thoughtful design enables two diving measurements, indicating dive time and decompression time, without having to adjust the bezel, thanks to the 60-minute counter at the centre.
1976 – Seamaster 1000
By the 1970s, with decades of expertise and experience, OMEGA had built a reputation for producing dive watches of choice. However, the brand wasn’t prepared to rest on its laurels. The Seamaster 1000 would stand the test of time upon its unveiling in 1976. Until 2009, it was the watch with the highest water resistance rating ever made by OMEGA. Created entirely with major explorations and professional divers in mind, the timepiece was only released to the public after several years of intensive testing. At OMEGA, form and function go hand in hand. To ensure the watch remained firm against a wetsuit, the sturdy “Pilot Line” case was ergonomically shaped to fit the diver’s wrist and bolstered with a ribbed caseback.
1978 – Seamaster Professional 200M Recognised
On the back of a brilliant design and a host of practical features, the Seamaster Professional 200M was considered one of the definitive dive watches of the 1970s. The feather in the cap was its recognition, selected in 1978 as the watch of choice by The Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service (SHOM), the French government agency responsible for producing the official maps and charts for divers at sea and demanding work. It is more commonly known as the OMEGA Seamaster Professional “SHOM” today.
1993 – Seamaster Professional Diver 300M
To celebrate the much-anticipated return to the world of dive watches, OMEGA presented the Seamaster Professional Diver 300M in bold design, most distinguished for its waved dial, skeletonised hands, perfectly circular indexes and a helium escape valve for serious explorations.
1995 – James Bond Partnership
A watch that transcended watchmaking and propelled into pop culture. 1995 saw the start of the enduring partnership between OMEGA and James Bond, with the Seamaster taking on a supporting role to Bond in the film GoldenEye. In every 007 film since, Bond has never been seen without his trusted accessories. Limited editions of the Seamaster have been presented to commemorate respective films, satiating the spy’s penchant for style and need for faultless equipment. The watch is indispensable to his persona, much like fast cars and Martini, shaken, not stirred.
2002 – Seamaster Aqua Terra
In 2002, OMEGA introduced a bold new range known as the Aqua Terra, a Latin name chosen to reflect the original Seamaster models’ reliability on land and sea. The contemporary timepiece is crafted with the modern lifestyle in mind, delivering respectable shock and water resistance. With 40 models presented in various sizes (41 mm, 38 mm, 35 mm and 28 mm), the minimalist watch revealed a pared down design suitable for day or night that is quintessentially Seamaster at its core.
2005 – Seamaster Planet Ocean
While the first Planet Ocean sought inspiration from the design of the Seamaster 300 from 1957, the watch established its own distinct identity through the bold colour scheme of orange. Raising water resistance to 600m, it benefitted from the inclusion of the revolutionary Co-Axial Calibre 2500 equipped with the proprietary Co-Axial escapement, thereby reiterating OMEGA’s commitment to making watchmaking innovation accessible.
2008 – Seamaster Aqua Terra Evolved
To ensure the Seamaster Aqua Terra remained relevant to the changing times, the collection underwent a redesign in 2008. The most significant change was the introduction of the “teak” pattern to the dial, evocative of the wooden decks of luxury sailboats, as a homage to the Seamaster’s maritime roots. Though some design aspects continue to evolve over the years, signature elements have remained constant such as the case shape and hands that are now regarded as uniquely Aqua Terra.
2013 – Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15000 Gauss
Pushing the boundaries of watchmaking possibilities, OMEGA successfully developed a ground-breaking mechanical movement resistant to magnetism in excess of 15,000 gauss in 2013, christened the Co-Axial 8508. The first watch to thrive on this movement was the aptly named Seamaster Aqua Terra > 15000 Gauss. The anti-magnetic breakthrough added to OMEGA’s admirable list of innovations. Instead of shielding the movement from magnetism with a traditional inner case, the ingenuity lies with the use of selected non-ferrous materials in the movement itself.
2019 – Seamaster Planet Ocean Ultra Deep Professional
When submersible pilot and adventurer Victor Vescovo, the first person to reach the highest and lowest points on the planet, set out on his Five Deeps Expedition, the world’s first manned expedition to the deepest point in each of the five oceans, it provided OMEGA the perfect opportunity to put dive watch technology under extreme examination. For that, OMEGA created the original Ultra Deep, recognisable for the distinctive case wholly machined out of forged grade 5 titanium.
The real test came in April 2019, when two Ultra Deep watches were attached to the submersible’s robotic arm, while another was strapped to a data-gathering unit known as a Lander, joined Vescovo on his voyage, down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Initially recorded as 10,925 m (35,843 ft) and later updated to 10,935 m (35,876 ft), the depth is the deepest any human or watch has ever reached. All three watches survived the 12-hour dive and surfaced completely unscathed as a testament to OMEGA’s peerless build quality.
2022 – Seamaster Planet Ocean 6000M Ultra Deep
The 6000M Ultra Deep collection was made available to the public in 2022, following the historic accomplishment in 2019 by the purpose-built Ultra Deep. The retail collection buoyed by the exploit came in signature colours, made of robust materials such as Grade 5 Titanium and O-MEGASTEEL, debuted in the initial dive and adapted for the public. Coupled with high-performance materials and patent-pending designs, the Ultra Deep cemented OMEGA’s legacy in dive watches.
The OMEGA Seamaster collection represents the acme of technology, precision and reliability in watchmaking excellence, built upon 75 years of know-how and innovation.