The OMEGA Seamaster and Speedmaster: A Deeper Look

Two Icons: The OMEGA Seamaster and Speedmaster

The Seamaster and Speedmaster are undeniably two of the most memorable and significant watches in the OMEGA catalog. Both models have a colorful history and have carved their places in our culture. One landed on the moon and the other become a defining feature of an iconic film character, 007. At a glance, the Seamaster and Speedmaster may seem to have a lot in common. The each have a commanding presence and some similarities in their general look and feel. However, if you get more technical, the unique qualities that define each of these iconic models rises to the surface and shines through.

The Seamaster

The first Seamaster debuted in 1948 to commemorate OMEGA’s 100th anniversary. The model added to the brand’s existing dive watch offerings, which included other watches like the Marine. The Seamaster, known for its clean and straightforward aesthetic, features a brushed and polished stainless steel case, black tropical dial with luminous hour markers, and sapphire crystal. These characteristics have remained true to the model through numerous iterations. The original model was a modest 38mm. However, more modern versions of the Seamaster are available in larger sizes.

The Seamaster has certain distinguishing elements. Two of the most notable features allow the Seamaster to be a true diver’s tool. First, the helium release valve lets divers reaching great depths for prolonged periods of time. They expel gases that may become trapped inside the watch. Second, the specific design of the bidirectional rotating black aluminum bezel helps divers keep track of elapsed time. The original Seamaster and other vintage inspired versions like the Seamaster 300 60th Anniversary Limited Edition also feature distinctive triangular hour markers, a Naiad sign on the crown, and an iconic seahorse engraving on the caseback.

The Speedmaster

The Speedmaster made its debut in 1957. The model was first designed as a sports and racing chronograph. It later became known as the Moonwatch after making history on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin during the first lunar landing. Similar to the Seamaster, the Speedmaster boasts a simple and straightforward style with a brushed and polished stainless steel case, black tropical dial with luminous hour markers, and sapphire crystal. Much like the Seamaster, these features have remained largely unchanged throughout the countless variations of the model. Once again, just as with the Seamaster, the original Speedmaster measured 38mm, but more modern iterations offer larger sizes as well.

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A few particular characteristics define the Speedmaster. It was the first model to showcase the brand’s now iconic triple register dial, which gives the watch that real racing look and feel. Also true to the model’s racing-inspired design is the tachymeter scale on the bezel. It is used to calculate speed based on travel time or measure distance based on speed. The Speedmaster was the first chronograph wristwatch to feature the tachymeter scale on the bezel as opposed to on the dial. The broad arrow hands are another distinguishing element of the model. Finally, the original Speedmaster housed a Caliber 321 manual-wind movement. Newer models, like the 60th Anniversary Limited Edition, feature the Caliber 1861 manual-wind movement.

If you’re an amateur diver or racer, there’s no question you should choose the Seamaster or Speedmaster respectively. Of course, these iconic models are equally well-suited for everyday wear. Many people simply gravitate toward them for their look and feel or rich history. However, when it comes to their technical capabilities, the Seamaster is undeniably a dive watch and the Speedmaster most certainly a sport and racing watch.

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  • My father and I traineD astronauts . I have entered your contest to win an Omeag moon watch for my father.
    Your help in this process is respectfully requested.

    • Hi Marcus,

      As long as you followed the entry instructions you have a shot! We wish you good luck!

  • I bought a new Seamaster some years back now. It wasn’t waterproof (even washing dishes) and kept poor time. Then the glass fell off. got it stucl back on. One morning after a jog I noticed the galls and dial knob were missing. Was with omega for some months, came back with a Seiko glass and knob – they didn’t have spares.Glass fell off a further number of times. Finally when in geneva i gave it to an omega agency for repair. they replaced glass and knob and guaranteed the watch was waterproof. six weeks later, in the whitsundays I jumped in for a swim. the watch filled straight up with water. I dried it out in the sun – took a while – and it still worked. but a bit later after gardening i noticed the glass and second hand missing. found only the glass and stuck it on with supaglue.worked for a few months then stopped and lived in the draw for a few years. finally i had to decide whether to throw it away or have it repaired. i made the wrong decision. the repair cost as much as a Seiko presage. I stipulated that it needed to be waterproof but this couldn’t be achieved as the watchmaker said there was a defect in the casing.But it kept impeccable time for the first time ever. only for a year then it went erratic, gaining or losing five minutes a day. My granddaughter has it now.

    My wife’s omega quartz dress watch was a similar disaster.

    I replaced mine with a Rolex oyster which is a fabulous watch.

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