Omega Seamaster 120
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Omega Seamaster 120

Omega released the first Seamaster in 1948, to commemorate the brand's centennial. The Seamaster took its inspiration from their robust field watches that Omega and many other brands issued to servicemen in World War II and beyond. But the Seamaster departed from its military forebears in the use of a technology that would prove innovative in the history of horology.

Omega was no stranger to producing waterproof wristwatches. In 1932 the brand released the Omega Marine, which was worn by the father of the Aqua-Lung, Yves le Prieur, and descended to a depth of 14 meters with underwater explorer William Beebe in 1936. But these watches achieved water-resistance merely through well-sealed cases, and what gaskets they used were made of materials such as lead and shellac that did not resist changes in temperature. In the design of the Seamaster, Omega employed rubber gaskets or O-rings similar to those found in submarines used during the War. To ensure maximum water resistance, Omega submitted the Seamaster to rigorous testing at the Laboratory for Water Resistance in Geneva, where the cases were exposed to rapid changes of temperature at a simulated depth of 60 meters. 

As underwater breathing technologies such as SCUBA became more widespread, allowing the public to dive recreationally, watch companies recognized the need for specialized diving watches. Brands such as Blancpain and Rolex released their own dedicated dive watches, the Fifty Fathoms and the Submariner. Omega answered the challenge with the release of the Omega Seamaster 300 (Reference 2913) in 1957 (the same year that Omega released the Speedmaster). In 1960 Omega would redesign the Seamaster 300 with features that would distinguish it: sharp sword-shaped hands and a rotating Bakelite bezel. The Seamaster 300 inaugurated the line of "Professional"--that is, profession-specific--watches like the Railmaster and the Speedmaster. 

Omega followed the Seamaster 300 with watches with even greater depth ratings, many of which--like the Omega Seamaster PloProf (Plongeur Professionel)--would go on to become legendary. But Omega also released another successor to the Seamaster 300 in 1970, with a more modest depth rating--a mere 120 meters--but one that would nevertheless retain the distinctive design language of the original. At first glance the Seamaster 120 (Reference 166.073ST) resembles its predecessor, with sharp sword hands and the rotating Bakelite bezel. However, the devil is in the details: the hour markers are faceted in the Seamaster 120, and the case is a chunky, asymmetrical cushion case typical of 1970s horological design. Unlike the 300 meter models which favored black dials and bezels, this SM120 lightens things up with a beautiful blue dial and matching blue bakelite bezel, giving it a truly unique look that has stood the test of time. The overall result is a watch that's a relative rarity on the market, with handsome looks and gently-curved lugs making it a true delight to wear. 

Details

Stainless steel case is approximately 42mm (excluding crown). Reference ST 166.073 ST. Omega Caliber 565 Automatic Movement. Circa 1970s.

Overall Condition: Case is in very good condition, with thick lugs and no signs of over-polishing, showing only light signs of wear from age and use. Dial is in excellent condition with light even patination across the luminescent hour markers and hands. Bezel with Bakelite insert is in excellent condition with only light scratches, no signs of cracking. Original case back and signed crown.

Includes one 22mm steel bracelet (1170/634) with Omega signed clasp. Also includes two 22mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle

SKU: AS01629

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