Posted on July 4, 2016
The Omega Seamaster range was created in 1948, the first Omega Seamaster 30 wasn’t introduced until 1962. The “30” in the model name refers not to the depth of water resistance, but instead to the size of the movement. Omega’s 30mm hand-wound movements proved exceedingly popular and were produced in large quantity in the mid twentieth century, ending with Calibre 269. The first Seamaster 30 watches used Calibre 286 (created in 1961), a 17-jewel movement with 42-hour power reserve and sweep seconds.
All Seamaster 30 watches feature a circular stainless steel case with signed Omega crown and a solid caseback with the hippocampus logo. The overall aesthetic, with thin hour indices and a clean undecorated dial, was similar to that of other Omega dress watches including the well-known DeVille. For some time there were both dress watches and sport watches bearing the Seamaster name, but eventually Omega phased out the dressier Seamasters altogether.
While these watches were water resistant (back then, they could still use the term ‘water-proof’), few had functions other than basic display of the time and occasionally the date
In the 1970’s, OMEGA took the Seamaster line in a much sportier and often trendier direction. During this decade, Seamasters took on a heavy sport and functional look and came with more diver-oriented features, such as higher depth ratings, calibrated rotating bezels, chronograph functions, and high-visibility dials.
Military watch enthusiasts will be drawn to rare Seamaster 30s like the one pictured below, which features a black dial with railroad-style minutes track, Arabic numerals, and luminous hands and plots on the dial.
An original R.A.F. issue Omega navigational watch. A small number of Seamaster 30 watches featured dials of similar design.
Before the De Ville became a stand-alone collection of watches, Omega used this name for some of the dress watches in its Seamaster collection. A number of these Seamaster dress watches actually are not that much different from the Constellation watches, except that the Constellation models always had chronometer-certified movements and the cases were a bit fancier.
The De Ville was born in 1960 as OMEGA’s elegant dress watch. Aside from the aesthetics the model was also self-winding and water-resistant. There are many variations of this popular Omega watch, which was the most varied of all OMEGA lines by 1967. In 1999, the De Ville became the first watch in the world to contain a co-axial escapement and free sprung balance. The De Ville Co-Axial had increased exactitude and shock-resistance, and also required servicing less often. The De Ville’s case finish is one of its most highly praised features. Not only is the watch classically elegant, it also boasts very advanced movement technology – the perfect combination.
Omega case, movement is removed through the front by taking off the crystal bezel. Case has a solid caseback.
Typical auto movement used in a DeVille.
DeVille with a Co-Axial movement
In the 1963 James Bond movie ‘From Russia with Love,’ Sean Connery wore an OMEGA Seamaster De Ville.
Another great blog. I never realized that the DeVille was such a beautiful watch. Thanks, Mark!Reply
Mark, I have the watch picture under the comments on the Omega Seamaster Deville (gold tone) where you talk about case removal. Bought it in 1965. I’m interested in having you check out my watch for good working order so I can get (or my son really!) another 50 years out of her!