The History of the Omega Seamaster


This is Seno from Vintage Watch Life.

In today's article, I will explain the history of the Omega Seamaster, which everyone loves.

The Speedmaster is probably the most representative model from Omega, but their diver's watches should not be underestimated either.

By reading today's article, I hope you will get a rough overview of the Omega Seamaster and understand the differences and appeal of each model, so please read to the end.

So let's get started right away.

The Seamaster was born in 1948

OMEGA: The world's first waterproof watch, Marine poster

So it's not like Omega just suddenly started making the Seamaster.

Prior to this, they released a square watch called the Marine, taking note of the success of Rolex's Oyster.

The Marine is a square watch, and even though it has a double wall structure, it is not particularly waterproof.

The world then entered World War II, and Omega began making watches for the military.

A typical example is the Dirty Dozen, made for the British Army, which required military watches to be antimagnetic and waterproof.

The specs required at this time are as follows:

1. "Screw-in back cover" and "O-ring"

Omega Dirty Dozen movement and O-ring on the back

Close-up of the O-ring on the Omega Dirty Dozen movement and case back

The screw-on back seals the gap between the case and the case.

However, since gaps will form when combining metals together, an O-ring is placed between the case and the back cover.

There are many more watches, but since we are talking about the Seamaster today, I will skip them.

If you are interested in learning more about the appeal of Omega's military watches, please watch this video:

In response to such wartime needs, the first Seamaster was completed in 1948 after much trial and error and accumulated technology.

This watch was created in the memorable year of Omega's 100th anniversary.

However, when it was first released, it was not the Seamaster for professional divers that we imagine, but rather a regular watch with waterproof functionality.

It feels like a luxurious version of the Dirty Dozen delivered to the British Army with a white dial.

Therefore, it was initially marketed as an all-round model that could be worn anywhere - in the city, at the beach, or in the suburbs.

Therefore, although it does have a waterproof function, in 1954 it was found to be "waterproof to 60 meters" when tested by the Swiss Watch Institute.

This was probably because, with the end of the world war, management decided that demand was coming from the civilian sector rather than the military.

Early Seamasters. | Omega Forums

The first Seamaster was released as a standard model with a center second hand, and as a chronometer model with a small second hand.

The movement was a half-rotor automatic caliber 350 (caliber 341 for the small second hand).

Demand for this model led to an increase in the variety of Seamaster models.

Small seconds are now available on standard models, while center seconds are available on chronometer models.

Furthermore, various Seamasters were produced throughout the 1950s, including hand-wound models and ladies' models.

1955: The birth of the Seamaster, a genuine diver's watch

In 1955, seven years after the release of the first model, the Seamaster 300 was introduced as a diving model.

This Seamaster 300 is the Seamaster that we imagine, and it was released seven years after the first model.

1966: The birth of the Seamaster 120

In 1966, we would like to introduce the Seamaster 120, the younger brother of the Seamaster 300.

The success of the Seamaster 300 prompted Omega to design a smaller model that was water resistant to 60m, and that retained the DNA of the larger model but was more affordable.

The Seamaster 120 comes in a cushion-shaped 37mm tonneau case as standard, but it is also available in a boys' size of 31mm.

What's particularly noteworthy about the Seamaster 120 is that it was Omega's first diver's watch with a date display.

One year after the introduction of the date display on the Seamaster 120, the function was also introduced on Omega's premium model, the Seamaster 300.

In contrast to the Seamaster 300, which was only available with an automatic movement, the Seamaster 120 was available in both manual and automatic versions, and both with and without a date display.

There are four main references for the Seamaster 120:

1. Reference 135.027: Manual winding, no date, caliber 601, 611 (17 jewels, 19,800 vph, 48-hour power reserve)

2. Reference 136.027: Manual winding, date display, Caliber 613 (17 jewels, 19,800 vph, 48 hour power reserve)

3. Reference 165.027: Automatic, no date, caliber 552 (24 jewels, 19,800 vph, 50-hour power reserve).

4. Reference 166.027: Automatic, date display, Caliber 565 (24 jewels, 19,800 vph, 50 hour power reserve)

Omega Seamaster 120 Automatic and Manual Caliber Comparison (Cal. 565 and Cal. 613)

By the way, the boys' size is Ref. 535.007 , manual winding, no date, caliber 630.

The case backs of all four models feature a lightly etched hippocampus, a result of chemical engraving used in the manufacturing process.

Case backs with deep engravings are best avoided as they are more likely to be fake.

Additionally, all four of these 37mm references share the same case, matte bezel, hands, and 5.5mm crown.

The difference between the automatic 165.027 and 166.027 and the hand-wound 135.027 and 136.027 is the shape of the case back: the hand-wound ones are flat, while the automatic ones are domed (necessary for the amount of winding).

Omega Seamaster 120 case back *Omega Seamaster 120 case back

Checking for authenticity

When buying a Seamaster 120, beware of outright fakes with an Omega movement inside.

These movements are then put (and ultimately removed) from other, cheaper Omega watches, and very often the cases they are fitted into are fake.

As prices for vintage Seamasters like this one rise, we are seeing more and more of these far-fetched watches on the market that resemble the Seamaster 120 but are actually questionable.

That said, replacement parts (jewels, crowns, hands, bezels) and restoration work (refurbished dials, polished cases) are considered perfectly acceptable, provided all details are properly disclosed in the watch description, both buyer and seller are aware of it, and it is reflected in the price of the watch.

That said, whenever you're spending a significant amount of money on a watch, buying from a reputable dealer is part of making an informed decision.

Mistakes will happen, but how the dealer responds when something goes wrong will say a lot about their integrity.

Reputable retailers will always offer a full refund if the watch has been misdescribed or is of questionable provenance.

If you are buying from a retailer for the first time, it is a good idea to inquire about their refund policy before making a purchase.

A genuine Seamaster 120 reference will have small notches in the case at the "3" and "9" positions.

Omega Seamaster 120 Side view image How to tell if it's genuine or not - Check if there are cutouts

Additionally, as mentioned above, the etching on a genuine watch case should be shallow and commensurate with the wear on the rest of the case.

Make sure the engraving on the case back is spelled correctly.

This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but simple mistakes like this are surprisingly common.

The "A" in "SEAMASTER" and "WATERPROOF" is genuine and has a flat top.

This is especially important for watches that are 60 or 70 years old and show little to no wear or damage.


The De Ville was introduced in 1963.

Although the De Ville is now an independent collection, its roots lie in the Seamaster.

1963 Omega Seamaster Deville


Omega Seamaster 600 Ploprof - Stainless steel, Very good condition

In response to the demands of professional divers who work at great depths, the PloProf was introduced as a diver's watch with water resistance of 600 meters.

It is now water resistant to 1200 meters, making it the most water resistant series of Omega watches.

The word "Ploprof" is a coined word derived from the French word " plongeur professionnel ," which means "professional diver."


300 (James Bond)

In 1993, the company released the still popular Diver 300M. It is also famous for being worn by James Bond in the 1995 film "GoldenEye."

From this point onwards, the model became more and more strongly associated with Bond watches.

James Bond Watches

By the mid-1990s, the popularity of the Omega Seamaster had waned slightly, with newer versions like the Omega Seamaster Professional gaining popularity among fans instead.

However, the Omega Seamaster 300 benefited greatly from being James Bond's watch of choice.

Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books, featured Rolex watches in his novels and also wore a Rolex himself.

However, when the film's costume designer realised that Omega had a stronger historical connection to the Royal Navy and therefore to the character of James Bond, it was decided that Omega would be used in the film rather than Rolex.

As a result, in the 1995 film GoldenEye, Pierce Brosnan's James Bond was seen wearing an OMEGA Quartz Seamaster Professional 300.

Brosnan also wore an OMEGA Seamaster 300 Automatic Chronometer in the next three James Bond films: Tomorrow Never Dies (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999) and Die Another Day (2002).

Omega Seamaster 300 James Bond

When actor Daniel Craig was chosen to be the next James Bond in 2006's Casino Royale, he wore an Omega Seamaster 300 and an Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean, even wearing a rubber strap during the action scenes.

Craig followed up with a Seamaster Planet Ocean in Quantum of Solace (2008) and a Seamaster in Skyfall (2012).

To celebrate the release of the 24th James Bond film, Spectre (2015), and its 20-year partnership with the Bond franchise, OMEGA has released the Seamaster 300 Spectre, a watch designed to evoke the original Seamaster first worn by James Bond.

Year 2005

Planet Ocean

The Planet Ocean was released in 2005. It is a higher-end model than the Diver 300M and boasts water resistance of 600M.

The design is inspired by the 1957 Seamaster 300, with Arabic numerals at 12, 6, and 9.

The use of arrow hands also seems to be a reference to the Seamaster 300.

The current Seamaster 300 was released in 2014, a reproduction of the 1957 Seamaster 300.

Reissue of the Seamaster 1948

The Seamaster has had such a history.

There is a limited edition model made to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the original Seamaster from 1948, which is the origin of the Seamaster.

2018 Omega New Seamaster 1948 Master Chronometer | Gressive, the official website for branded watches

There are two types: small second model and center second model.

Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm

Seamaster 1948

Article number: 511.

Case diameter: 38 mm

Water resistance: 6 ATM

Price: 748,000 yen (tax included)

Limited to 1948 pieces

Seamaster 1948 Co-Axial Master Chronometer Small Second 38mm

Seamaster 1948

Article number: 511.

Case diameter: 38 mm

Water resistance: 6 ATM

Price: 814,000 yen (tax included)

Limited to 1948 pieces

They both have a very similar feel, but there are some subtle differences.

The shape of the hands is leaf-shaped for the small seconds and dauphine-shaped for the center seconds.

In addition, the index and scale of the center second hand are longer and the scale is also on the inside.

On the other hand, the small second hand has railway markings on the outside.

There are subtle differences, but I think this is a matter of personal preference.

What the two have in common is the back cover.

As mentioned earlier, the Seamaster's roots lie in its military watches supplied to the Royal Air Force.

The case back of the watch pays tribute to the many pilots and sailors who placed their trust in OMEGA.

Flat sapphire crystal with "70th Anniversary" logo.

It is laser engraved with images of Chris-Craft ships and the RAF's first jet fighter, the Gloster Meteor, and then hand-lacquered.

This is a watch I really want!

Omega Seamaster 300 60th Anniversary Limited Edition

In 2017 at Basel, Omega unveiled a limited edition 60th anniversary Omega Seamaster.

This is a tribute to the Seamaster (reference number CK2913) that was released in 1957.

This anniversary Seamaster looks almost identical to the original, but it actually features improved materials.

The hour markers are now made of Super-LumiNova instead of radium, and the bidirectional rotating bezel is now made of durable aluminium instead of acrylic.

Inside the watch, the original model was equipped with the caliber 501 for automatic winding, but this has been changed to the evolved caliber 8806.

In addition, attention has been paid to even the smallest details, with a surface finish that recreates an elegant vintage look.

Omega 60th Anniversary Seamaster Limited Edition

Looking at the history and stylish design of the Omega Seamaster, it's easy to see why this watch remains a fan favorite and maintains its place as the oldest model in the brand's modern collection.

Seamaster Diver 300M

Diver 300M Co-Axial Master Chronometer 42MM

Seamaster Diver 300M

Article number:

Case diameter: 42mm

Waterproof: 300m

Price: 616,000 yen (tax included)

Here it is.

The ceramic bezel and dial are beautiful and give the watch a modern look.

What's great is that the basic design has remained largely unchanged since its launch in 1993.


With prices for vintage Seamaster 300s beginning to rise rapidly, the Seamaster 120 remains an attractive and valuable watch for enthusiasts wanting to experience Omega's authentic diver heritage.

Its classic 37mm size, matte black dial and bezel and OMEGA logo exude class and timeless elegance in both formal and casual settings.