You may have seen it on the seafloor, where it's been at the forefront of amateur and professional diving since the 1950s, or on the wrist of beloved British superspy James Bond in films from Goldeneye to Spectre. Now you'll find the Omega Seamaster in a new position: the official CHRONEXT best-seller of 2017.
That's right, the numbers are in: CHRONEXT customers were more likely to purchase the legendary Omega chronometer than any other timepiece in 2017. Whether the Seamaster's look is becoming more fashionable, or Omega prices are getting more attractive, many of the watch family's models proved too tempting for collectors to pass up. The Seamaster has been a highly prized and widely admired timepiece since the original version debuted in 1948, but it rarely appears at the very top of lists like these.
So just what was it about this iconic diving watch that propelled it into first place in the 2017 CHRONEXT list? Let's take a look at its three most popular incarnations.
The first Seamasters established much of the handsome, timeless design that would make the watch so enduring and fashionable. But they lacked the serious water-resistance credentials required to put it on the map as a sports watch. That changed in 1957 with the Seamaster 300 Metres, which boasted greatly improved diving technology and a prestigious endorsement from Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the father of modern diving, who wore it on many of his well-documented undersea adventures.
While the tech has advanced significantly in the sixty years since then, the 300M has always remained a pioneer. Upgrades such as the unidirectional bezel, bright-lume displays and, of course, the helium escape valve could all be found on the Seamaster before going on to become more or less obligatory across the industry. Today, the Seamaster 300M continues to present everything that collectors love about Omega: classic good looks, flawless attention to detail, and advanced technological know-how. It is the standard bearer of Omega's considerable horological heritage.
Of course, it hasn't hurt being adopted by probably the most on-brand icon of the silver screen: the one-and-only James Bond. A quartz-powered Seamaster 300M was first used by Pierce Brosnan in Goldeneye (1995), and automatic versions can be clearly seen in his subsequent movies from Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) to Die Another Day (2002), as well as the critically acclaimed first Daniel Craig entry, Casino Royale (2006). This last film brings us on to the second of our best-selling Seamasters, the Planet Ocean.
Craig may have worn a 300M at the poker table in Casino Royale, but he used an Omega Planet Ocean for the action scenes. The watch was brand new at the time, but it was an instant winner. A little bolder, a little brighter, and a little more attention-grabbing - without ever becoming garish - the Planet Ocean is the Seamaster's sportier, extra-stylish cousin.
After decades of success with traditional Seamasters, Omega could have rested on its laurels, but it is a testament to the brand's ability to combine heritage with forward-thinking innovation that it decided not to do so. Instead, it created a new evolution of it's most popular collection, complete with a design that pays homage to the original while simultaneously forging its own path. The Planet Ocean was unafraid to try new colours, especially a range of striking orange-bezelled versions.
The Planet Ocean would go on to become the sole Bond watch in sequel Quantum of Solace (2008), but in the next entry, Skyfall (2012), it was joined by a third Seamaster: the Aqua Terra.
Where the Planet Ocean went sportier (like many great watches of the 00s), the Aqua Terra went dressier. Representing another superb feat of innovation in its own way, the Aqua Terra was also a means of getting back to basics - after all, before 1957's 300M, the Seamaster was very much intended as a sophisticated dress watch. In many ways, it was perfect for James Bond, who also selected it in the opening scenes of Spectre (2015).
The Aqua Terra was first conceived in 2003, and it was immediately notable for its brilliant take on the classic design - an understated version with a gorgeous "teak concept" pattern on the dial, inspired by the wooden boards of luxury yachts. But the model really came into its own with 2013's spectacular upgrade: a technological leap forward that was touted as the first completely anti-magnetic watch in history. Able to survive fields of up to 15,000 gauss, the movement used no ferrous components at all, and the dial enjoyed delightful yellow highlights. Since then, the Aqua Terra has gone from strength to strength, with the watch proving equally popular among Omega ladies' watches.
All things considered, it's not hard to see why the Seamaster has proven so popular among CHRONEXT patrons and secret agents alike, especially with Omega watches' price tags being a little more reasonable than some competitors. We don't expect its dominance to let up any time soon!
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