Welcome to Dialed In, Esquire’s weekly column bringing you horological happenings and the most essential news from the watch world.
Omega’s legendary Seamaster celebrates its 75th snniversary this year. To fête the milestone and introduce a whole new family of Seamaster-derived pieces, Omega selected the Greek island of Mykonos as the venue. Not, you understand, for its doubtless charms as a hedonistic paradise (thought that didn’t hurt except for the morning after). In fact, it’s because it’s the nearest viable island to the deepest point in the Mediterranean Sea, the Calypso Deep.
The new family of Seamasters is unified by a striking new light blue Super-LumiNova—developed by Omega—for the principal markings, which glows a similar light blue at night. In one watch, this would be an eye-catching enough debut. In eight, it’s highly unusual and a great way to coax out the collectors and mark such a major milestone. To go through all eight watches here would take far too long, so here’s our pick of the best of the bunch.
Number one is the Ploprof (a contraction of plongeur professionel or professional diver). First made in 1971, the whopping experimental 55mm by 48mm monobloc steel case gave it a 600m depth rating but made it almost unwearable on dry land, unless you were Gianni Agnelli, who his famously wore one over his shirt cuff. The new version comes in grade 5 titanium and features a sapphire crystal bezel with blue markers underneath.
Second, the 300M diver, whose granular sandwich dial fades from light to dark blue and, taking its cues from the 1957 original, is one of the cleanest looking 300s we’ve seen in a while. Finally, the Ultradeep, the production model of a watch that was taken to the Challenger Deep in 2019, the deepest point of the Marianas Trench. Its 45mm titanium case is rated to 6,000 meters below sea-level. In this special edition, blue transparent lacquer sits over a dial etched with the exact topography of the seabed of Challenger Deep, taken by mapping almost one million sonar points.
To wrap things up, how about a little history to put these new releases in their proper context?
Since 1948, when the first Seamaster debuted as a simple three-hand watch modeled on the wartime watches Omega had made for the British military, the Seamaster has evolved into numerous iterations, all predicated on the idea of ever-superior water resistance at ever-greater depths. Omega was in the dive watch game back in the early 1930s, equipping Yves Le Prieur, French navy officer and the creator of the first aqualung. While the space race made the Omega Speedmaster Professional arguably more famous—it was, after all, the watch selected by NASA in the early 1960s for all its space missions—the Seamaster is no slouch neither.
Debuting in 1957, alongside the Speedmaster and the Railmaster, The Seamaster equipped Jacques Cousteau’s team on its 1963 Conshelf II mission to a specially constructed underwater research complex below the waves, off Sudan. Here, Cousteau and his team conducted experiments into sustaining life for long periods of time underwater, aided, in true gallic style, with copious supplies of red wine and cigarettes. The 300M has also served James Bond longer than any other watch, appearing in every Bond movie since Pierce Brosnan’s debut in the role in 1995.
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