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Omega - Bronze Is The New Gold

Omega Bronze Is The New Gold

Three new Seamaster 300 models add a new chapter to the story of this legendary collection.

There are some years that bear great significance in any aficionado of the Omega Seamaster. The first is, of course, 1948 — the year the Seamaster was launched. At the time, Omega had an existing relationship with the British Ministry of Defence, being their largest supplier of standard-issue timepieces. In World War II alone, Omega provided almost half the watches issued to British army and navy servicemen, a total of around 110,000 pieces. The company’s reputation for producing large volumes of robust and high-performance watches was already at a high, especially on the back of the acclaimed “WWW” (Waterproof Wrist Watch) ref. CK2444, when they debuted the Seamaster. The original 1948 Seamaster was a watch of relatively classic elegance, a look that belied its ability to withstand water pressure. Its precise depth rating, though not advertised at the outset, was later benchmarked with official tests — first to 60m and subsequently even 100m and more.  

Seamaster 300

Seamaster 300 © Omega

The year 1957 is meaningful not only to Seamaster enthusiasts, but Omega lovers everywhere. That year, the “Professional Trilogy” of Omega timepieces — the Speedmaster, the Railmaster and the Seamaster 300 — were introduced. At the time, it was not out of the ordinary for watch references to bear some aesthetic variation, and the first Seamaster 300 model (ref. CK2913) is known to exist in a few variants. The version that came to possess the most appeal, thus defining the standard iconography of the Seamaster 300, is the one with a dauphine hour hand, arrow minute hand and “lollipop” second hand.  

Other features, such as the black dial, the dart indices with Arabic numerals at the quarters, the slim dive bezel with luminous bezel countdown marker, Naiad symbol set within the Omega logo on the crown, and Hippocampus engraving on the caseback, also became part of Omega Seamaster design lore.

An important thing to note at this point is the use of the term “Broad Arrow” in a horological context. Strictly speaking, the term refers specifically to the glyph that was used by the British Ministry of Defence to mark military equipment. In watches, this is mostly visible on the dial or caseback. You will frequently see the style of arrow-tipped hands seen on the Seamaster 300 described as “Broad Arrow” as well; while this is not perfectly accurate, it is now considered acceptable usage in some circles (depending on how pedantic your collector friends are).

Seamaster 300

Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold © Omega

Back in 1957, although the Seamaster 300 had the figure 300 prominently printed on its dial, the watch was not officially rated to 300m of water resistance. Omega legend tells us that the Seamaster 300 was engineered to have an official 300m water-resistance rating, but the laboratory equipment that they used for testing could only measure up to 200m of water resistance. (There is a modern-day echo of this story in the record set by the Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra 150m >15,000 Gauss in early 2013 — the rather unwieldy “>15,000” part of the watch name was mandated by the fact that the watch was presumably resistant to even higher levels of magnetism, but 15,000 Gauss was the limit of the testing equipment.)

Seamaster 300

Seamaster 300 Bronze Gold © Omega

This year’s new Speedmaster 300 models add two completely novel chapters to the overall Seamaster story. The first is the use of a sandwich dial, a specific dial construction that combines a luminous base with an upper opaque dial layer bearing cut-out sections so that the luminous material below can show through. Secondly, one model comes in Omega’s proprietary new alloy, bronze gold. The alloy is primarily inspired by ancient Greek references to an alloy called Corinthian bronze that combined bronze and gold (or silver), and using it in the Seamaster collection makes allusion to the historical association between the nautical realm and bronze.

Seamaster 300

Seamaster 300 © Omega

In the new stainless steel models, the lollipop second hand has also been revived, a move which will doubtlessly be welcomed with delight by fans of the early Omega Seamaster. Powered by the Omega Co-Axial Master Chronometer cal. 8912, the new Seamaster 300 models come with a full 5-year warranty.

 

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