In 1948, Omega introduced the world to their Seamaster watch. Omega’s commercial director of that time, Adolphe Vallat requested a watch that was water resistant with an automatic movement. Omega’s designer René Bannwart had a sketch on the shelf that was originally intended to be a new Centenary model (the predecessor of the Constellation) that he found to be too bulky to be an elegant dress watch. Adolphe Vallat happened to find it a perfect match for his request.
So, there it was, the very first Omega Seamaster. 34mm in diameter, a bumper movement and with these superb looking beefy lugs. These very first Seamaster watches (as pictured below) were available with either center seconds or a small sub dial for the second hand. The automatic movements used in these watches were the so-called ‘bumper’ movements due to the rotor that didn’t make a full swing but instead ‘bumped’ back and forth over a smaller angle.
Left is a CK2518 Seamaster with Chronometer movement caliber 343, right is a CK2577 with a caliber 350 movement. Photo by Omega Press.
Omega has used the Seamaster to celebrate the Olympic games before and the most famous model is probably the Seamaster XVI and Seamaster Cross of Merit in 1956. These models were especially manufactured for the 16th Olympic games in Melbourne in 1956 and to celebrate the official sponsoring by Omega for the 25th time in a row. Both of these watches are highly sought-after these days, especially the model with the Cross of Merit on the dial and on the leather box it came in.
Of course, Omega was also the official time keeper of the Olympic games in 1948 in London. For both London (summer games) and St.Moritz (winter games), Omega used a split-second chronograph pocket watch in a protection case. Next year, 2012, the Olympic games are being held in London again, and Omega celebrates it with a limited edition (restricted to 1948 pieces) Seamaster watch. This time however, it is not a fancy version of an already existing model, but an entirely new designed watch with the DNA of those very first Seamasters in 1948. Bulky lugs, a clear dial and dauphine hands. Above, you see a picture that I took during my production presentation meeting with Omega in Basel. The sub dial seconds, dauphine hands, arrow shaped hour markers, original shape Omega logo at 12 o’clock and the wording below could be misleading you that it is a vintage Omega Seamaster in New Old Stock condition. The size of 38mm in diameter, the side of the case and the Co-Axial wording on the dial give away the fact that this is a brand new watch by Omega.
The back of the watch has a gold Olympic games logo embossed in the case and carries the unique number of the watch (of 1948 pieces). As you perhaps can see on this picture, the crown of the watch looks very similar to the original ones used in 1948 (and continued to do so till at least somewhere in the 1950s).
This Seamaster 1948 Olympic is water resistant to 120 meters (400ft), features Omega’s co-axial caliber 2202 movement and is 38mm in diamater. It comes in a white leather box with red and blue accents. List price of the Omega Seamaster Olympic 1948 Automatic Co-Axial will be around 4.000,- Euro.
Want to know more about Omega and the Olympic games timekeeping? Click here.