Omega celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster with the launch of two Limited Edition models that pay homage to the 1948 classics. Though both watches stay true to the original post-war design, state-of-the-art movements power the Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds and the Seamaster 1948 Central Second.
The 1940s were an interesting period for Omega. It produced more than 110,000 watches for the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) for use within the Royal Air Force and other branches between 1940 and 1945. Some of these watches are highly collectible in the vintage market today.
Launched in 1948, the Seamaster line was Omega's first family of watches and coincided with a period when the brand was at its creative best. These classically styled timepieces were given greater water-resistance than their military counterparts by the brand’s novel use of the O-ring gasket technology.
Both watches use a 38 mm stainless steel case with a polished bezel and a domed sapphire crystal. The polished crown has an embossed vintage Omega symbol. Both watches use a domed opaline silver dial and 18K white gold hands to indicate time. These watches are water-resistant to 60 meters.
On the Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds, the hour and domed minute hand are in leaf style, while the Central Second uses Dauphine style hour and minute hands filled with white Super-LumiNova. On the Central Second model, both the minute and seconds hands are domed.
The Seamaster 1948 Small Seconds includes a small seconds indication at 6 o’clock and is presented on a brown leather strap with a polished-brushed stainless steel buckle. The strap of the Central Second model is blue-grey leather. Like the original straps, both buckles include a vintage Omega logo.
The flat sapphire crystal of the caseback is laser-engraved and lacquered by hand with a 70th Anniversary logo, a Chris-Craft boat and Gloster Meteor aircraft, the first jet plane used by the Royal Air Force. This is Omega paying tribute to the many aviators and marines who used their timepieces in that era.
Special mention must be made of the presentation box. A real collector’s delight, it is made from soft brown leather and within the box, the watch is kept upright but easily moveable thanks to a moveable floor. A magnet anywhere near a mechanical watch would have been unthinkable in the 1940s but Omega can afford to do this now thanks to its Master Chronometer movements that can remain unperturned by magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss.
While the METAS-certified Caliber 8804 powers the Small Seconds version, the Central Second Version uses Caliber 8806. Both watches feature rhodium-plated bridges, blackened screws, free sprung balances and co-axial escapements.
Also included in the box is a spare Nato strap in the original Admiralty grey color and a strap changing tool. Each model is limited to 1,948 pieces and is priced at CHF5,800 ($6,116 or AED22,450) for the Central Second and CHF6,200 ($6,530 or AED24,000) for the Small Seconds.