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President John F. Kennedy stated that, “Knowledge of the oceans is more than a matter of curiosity. Our very survival may hinge upon it.”
At the time President Kennedy spoke those words, the United States and the Soviet Union were embroiled in a quest to send a man to space, ultimately to the Moon. But while man’s eyes were fixed on the stars, the Americans and the Soviets also competed in another arena: supremacy of the world’s oceans. It was a struggle that began with the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, and by the middle of the 1960s it had reached a fever pitch.
With the world’s oceans now being prowled by submarines bearing weapons deadlier than any known to man, President Kennedy’s remarks contained a sense of urgency—one which author John Steinbeck shared.
In a Letter to the Editor of Popular Science, Steinbeck stated that the study and investigation of the world’s oceans was just as crucial as sending a man to space:
“… We have invented the cold war, a continuing state of hostility between wars, which keeps our inventiveness in the mechanics of destructiveness alive… Meanwhile, the intricate and expensive skyrockets litter space with an orbiting junk pile, and we can easily justify it as a means of defense… But it is possible that we may be driven back to our mother, the sea, because we are running out of supplies…”
Though Steinbeck lamented the lack of curiosity about the world’s oceans, there were some that took his words to heart. The increasing popularity of SCUBA diving meant that more and more people were delving into the world’s oceans. Starting in the 1950s, brands like Blancpain and Rolex released purpose-driven dive watches.
Omega soon followed suit, releasing the Omega Seamaster 300 in 1957. Three years later, it was redesigned with features that would come to distinguish it: sharp sword-shaped hands and a rotating Bakelite bezel. Other variants would follow, including some with a date window; but perhaps the most desirable, and the most rare, are those with a distinctive luminous triangle at 12 o'clock.
This particular example, a Reference 165.024, is one of those. Known as "Big Triangle" dials, these watches feature a large triangular plot at 12 o'clock most commonly associated with military-issued models. Finding an untouched original Seamaster 300 today is becoming a truly difficult endeavor, never mind a Reference 165.024, but the tiny pips in the lume at 12 and 6 o’clock are telling signs that this one, at least, is untouched.
It features an honest case with normal wear, the bezel insert, dial, and hands speaking of thousands of hours in sun and sea. It comes on a 1035 bracelet with 516 end links, which the watch was sold on from the mid-1960s (when this watch was made) to the early 1970s. Whether on the bracelet or dressed-up with a leather strap, this versatile diver is a joy to wear, as stylish as it is sturdy.
Stainless steel case is approximately 41.5mm (excluding crown). Omega Seamaster 300 Ref. 165.024. Omega Calibre 552 Self-Winding Movement. Circa mid-1960s.
Overall Condition: Stainless steel case is in very good condition with sharp lugs. Case does have minor signs of use and wear in keeping with its age, including some dings on the left side of the case near the crown. Bakelite bezel insert is in very good condition with minor signs of wear. Dial is in very good condition, with fine greenish hue to the luminescent elements of the hour markers. Luminescent material of the hands have been relumed to match that of the hour markers. Omega crown. Omega case back has some signs of wear and use but is in otherwise good condition.
Includes one 20mm 1035.516 bracelet dated 1/68. Bracelet shows some stretching due to age but is in otherwise very good condition.