The Omega Seamaster celebrates 70 years in production in 2018, with this year’s Baselworld hosting the release of two commemorative editions, based on the original 1948 Seamaster and limited to 1,948 pieces, in stainless steel cases. Now, as the anniversary year draws to a close, Omega follows them up with two additional models in platinum cases with an even more limited run: just 70 pieces, one for each year of the iconic watch’s existence.
Longtime fans of the modern Seamaster divers’ watch may be taken aback at first by the understated look of the Seamaster 1948 editions, but the design is very faithful to the vintage timepiece to which it pays homage. Released to the market in the wake of World War II, the Omega Seamaster made its mark in watch history by incorporating the water-resistant technology Omega used in the military watches it provided during the war years for the British Royal Air Force and others — including the innovative rubber O-ring gasket — into an everyday dress watch. (It wasn’t until 1957 — with the launch of the Seamaster 300, an anniversary commemorated last year — that the Seamaster transitioned fully into a sports watch.) In the new models, 950 platinum is used for the period-appropriate 38-mm stainless steel cases as well as the opaline, domed dials. The hands, applied numerals and indices, and vintage-style Omega logo (aka the Greek letter Omega), which were in white gold on the steel versions, are in Omega’s 18k Sedna gold on these platinum editions.
The watches — like their steel brethren, offered in a Central Seconds and Small Seconds iteration — differ from each other somewhat subtly in their details. Obviously, one has a center-mounted hand for the running seconds while the other displays this function on a subdial at 6 o’clock. Looking more closely, one will note that the hands on the Central Second model are Dauphine-style, with a slight dome to both the minute hand and seconds hand, while the hands on the Small Seconds are leaf-shaped, with only the minute hand domed. The Central Seconds model comes on a brown leather strap, while the Central Seconds is on a hunter green leather strap; both fasten to the wrist with a polished-and-brushed 950 platinum buckle emblazoned with the Omega symbol.
Inside each watch’s case — behind a sapphire pane laser-engraved and hand-lacquered with a 70th Anniversary logo and the images of a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor plane, visual tributes to the RAF and its historic usage of Omega’s earliest water-resistant watches — we find an Omega Master Chronometer movement, Caliber 8807 in the Central Seconds and Caliber 8805 in the Small Seconds. The movements, the only ones in watchmaking to meet the exacting standards for both COSC chronometer certification and Omega’s in-house METAS criteria, are self-winding, magnetic-resistant to 15,000 Gauss, high-frequency (25,200 vph), decorated to exacting haute horlogerie standards, and possessed of a hefty 60-hour power reserve. The movements in the platinum watches stand out from those used in the steel-cased versions with their incorporation of a Sedna gold rotor and balance bridge.
The Seamaster 1948 Central Second in platinum is priced at 39,000 Swiss francs; the Small Second version, at 39,500 Swiss francs. Each comes with Omega’s five-year warranty and is packaged in a soft brown leather collectors’ box, with additional leather straps and a strap-changing tool.