Early wrist watch manufacturing was all about accuracy. Omega’s 1932 brand slogan read, “Omega – Exact time for life” and they meant it. The brand’s exceptional performance spoke for itself at the ever-important Geneva Observatory, exclusive to Geneva-based companies, and Neuenburg Observatory, open to global makers, competitions throughout the early 20th Century.
At the 1945 Geneva Observatory competition in a group specifically for wristwatch movements, Omega’s caliber 30 was awarded first prize against the likes of Patek Philippe and Rolex. At the time, this was a huge deal. Massive amounts of press and notoriety came to both the brand and the movement. Having been available for commercial purchase since 1939, Omega’s caliber 30 series of movements, on the tailwind of observatory victory, would come to be a backbone for the brand. Offspring of the same base caliber 30 remained in new Omega wristwatches until 1966.
With a history dating back to 1848, Omega has seen many focuses beyond its days fighting for accuracy. None more notable than the late 1960s and 1970s following the Speedmaster’s involvement on NASA’s maiden voyage to the moon. The sister model to the speedy at the time, the Seamaster, quickly transformed from time only and dress chronographs to include sport chronos mirroring the look of the now more popular brother.
The Ref. 145.029 is a seriously underrated chronograph from what is one of Omega’s most prolific decades, the 70s. More so than the Speedmaster which was designed in the 1950s and refined throughout the 60s, this Seamaster is a great interpretation of what the customer was asking for in a sports watch during the funky 1970s with its deep blue metallic dial and touch light, almost Carolina, blue hand accents.
Beyond the look of this watch is the relative rarity, Omega just did not make all too many of these, especially with a stainless steel case and this blue dial configuration. The Omega caliber 861 ticking inside is, of course, worth noting as it is the same heart as the Speedmaster of this time period therefore reliability is proven and parts are easy to come by.
The Case and Bracelet
General condition of the example for auction is excellent to collector grade. The case is in excellent condition with few small scratches and nicks such as that between the short lugs at 12 o’clock. This watch looks like it was rarely worn and sports its original starburst finishing on the case’s top surface, we believe the case to be unpolished and completely original. Very of the era is the cushion shape of the case. The correct crown and pushers are fitted, given the condition elsewhere they appear to be original.
The caseback condition is good to great with no scratches or gouges but some wear to the lightly stamped hippocampus logo and “SEAMASTER” text. The acrylic crystal shows small scratches that could be buffed out but is Omega signed at the center and appears to be original to the watch.
The original Omega signed ref. 1170 bracelet pairs very well with the watch although shows a few more nicks and scratches than the case. Correct Omega ref. 625 endlinks are fitted.
The Dial and Hands
The dial of this Seamaster chronograph is in excellent to collector-grade condition with no significant flaws to note. The blue metallic inner portion is vibrant, not faded in the slightest, and the same is true with the outer white minute and tachymeter tracks. The lume plots at each hour marker are full and have aged gracefully to a light cream patina.
The handset is in great to excellent condition and is completely correct for this reference. The lume in the hour and minute hands matches that of the dial perfectly at a light cream color.
The Omega caliber 861 is in running condition, service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, Cal. 861|
|Dial||Metallic blue inner, matte white outer|
|Case Material||Stainless Steel|
|Band Material||Stainless Steel|