Baselworld 2018: A Vintage Dive into Both Omega Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions

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Omega definitely has the early lead on the best release of Basel 2018 with the two Seamaster 1948 Limited Editions (and when all is said and done, I would not be surprised if these turn out to be the hit of the show).

Omega isn’t new to the current heritage craze (a craze that I happen to be quite fond of), and they really hit the mark with this pair. Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Seamaster line, both variants of the Seamaster 1948 are patterned after their historical counterparts, capturing the aesthetic feel of those watches while incorporating some excellent technical updates worthy of a modern Omega.

New next to old.

Both models are housed in 38mm steel cases with exhibition case backs and a water resistance rating of 60 meters. Both also feature gently domed silver dials and applied metal markers. Fortunately, neither model is plagued with a date window. Too often, heritage remakes have an added date function where the original did not (a terrible trend not often dictated by aesthetics), and I am relieved that Omega has not fallen into that trap here.

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There are some notable differences between the two models. As you can see from the above image, the one on the left has dauphine hands and a central seconds hand, while the one on the right has leaf hands and a sub-seconds dial. The center seconds model also has a thin line of lume running along the middle of the hour and minute hands, and there are small lume dots at the base of the arrow markers at the other hour positions (a detail pulled right out of the original vintage model). Finally, the model on the left has minute ticks running along an inner track, while the one on the right features a railroad-style minutes track further out along the edge of the dial.

 

Worth noting are some of the vintage details incorporated into the design. One that really stands out is Omega’s classic four-notch “clover leaf” crown that is synonymous with vintage Seamasters. Then there are the fat, chamfered lugs—a key element that helped define the beautiful case lines of the historical model.  Vintage fat-lugged Seamasters are highly sought after today, and you can plainly see why here.

The case has been upsized here to 38mm from the original 34/35mm case size. This gives the watch more of a contemporary presence, but despite the scaling up of the case, it doesn’t feel like the watch is digressing too far from the source material. 

 

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Of course, the biggest update here is the movement. Both models are powered by Omega’s 35-jeweled Co-axial Master Chronometer calibers: the center seconds features the caliber 8806 (55 hours of power reserve), and the sub-seconds the caliber 8804 (60 hours of power reserve).

They are resistant to magnetic fields up to 15,000 Gauss and they, of course, feature Omega’s free-sprung balance and co-axial escapement. As you’d expect, the movements are beautifully finished and can be seen through the decorated exhibition backs.As an avowed vintage watch fanatic, I can confidently say that Omega has hit a grand slam with the Seamaster 1948 collection. By taking an iconic classic and tinkering with it only ever-so-slightly, Omega has achieved a marriage made in heaven for vintage watch fans everywhere.

Each piece is limited to 1,948 units, and the prices come in at CHF 5,700 for the center-seconds variant and CHF 6,200 for the sub-seconds one. Omega

Christoph (Instagram’s @vintagediver) is a long time collector and lover of all things vintage, starting with comic books when he was a kid (he still collects them). His passion for watches began in 1997 when he was gifted a family heirloom vintage Omega Genève by his step-father. That started him on the watch collecting path—buying and selling vintage watches of all sorts, with a special appreciation for vintage dive watches and Seiko.
vintagediver
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