An extremely rare and attractive stainless steel electronic diver’s prototype wristwatch with date and Bakelite bezel

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1974
    Movement No: 00003748
    Model Name: Seamaster 1000 Prototype
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Quartz, cal. 1220
    Bracelet/Strap: Isofrane rubber strap
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Omega buckle
    Dimensions: 50.5mm. Diameter
    Signed: Case and dial signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by an Omega watch pouch and furthermore delivered with Extract from the Archives confirming production of the present watch in 1974 and delivered to Switzerland.

  • Catalogue Essay

    It was not until the mid-20th century that Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan developed the first open circuit SCUBA tank that allowed for growth within both the commercial and recreational dive fields. Alongside this new technology arose the need for precision timepieces that were not only waterproof, but also maintained integrity at depth and decompression. Many watch brands sought to enter the field of dive tool watches.

    Omega sought the advice of Frédéric Robert founder and owner of the Geneva based dive firm, “Aquastar”. They sought to develop and test designs watches that must endure some of the toughest environments in the world. The 1960s saw the increased use of saturation diving, in which a diver’s bloodstream was saturated with helium at the same pressure as the surrounding water. This was done pre-dive and allowed the decompression time and dive duration to be independent of each other. While this allowed for longer dives multiple days a day, it created a problem for watch brands, helium seeped in to the watch during the saturation process with no effect, however during decompression, the gas would forcible come out of the watch, often blowing the crystal off the watch. Frédéric Robert suggested a new design with mono-block case to keep helium from entering the watch in the first place.

    Omega created two watches the “PloProf” with angular case and the Seamaster 1000 with a rounded case. Both watches underwent testing and while both were successful, divers found the rounder case and easier operating bezel of the Seamaster 1000 more compatible. Both models would be commercialized, but it would take longer to bring the Seamaster 1000 to market.

    Omega released the Electronic F300Hz Seamaster Chronometer in 1972 in response to the growing demand for watches that could be used to measure time at depth. Their 300hz models did not tick like a quartz movement, but rather the seconds hand glided around the dial. If one puts the watch to their ear, they can hear it hum. The oversized 50.5mm case allowed for a large minute hand that is easily read along with the Bakelite bezel. The “Souris” hack mechanism chronometer movement also featured a quick-set window aperture.

    In excellent original condition, the present watch has a big look and feel. From 1974, this extreme rare watch is a prototype which was destined for the American firm Underwater Contractors who were to test the model for saturation dive condition. This watch lacks a screw-down crown and therefore may not actually have been use in field tests, but was a working model. The dial is an interesting study as it was made by the Omega “Test & Prototyping” department. The green five plot may be a repair, or a possible requirement for the watch, while in a dive saturation. It has been described as a “pre-series” and is probably an attempt by Omega to find the right look and feel for the dial. This watch is extremely rare and with it interesting historical background makes a wonderful addition to any collection. It is a synthesis of all the designs and experiments that lead to some of the most important dive watches of the 20th century.

  • Maker Bio

    Omega

    Swiss • 1848

    Omega's rich history begins with its founder, Louis Brandt, who established the firm in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds. In 1903, the company changed its name to Omega, becoming the only watch brand in history to have been named after one its own movements. A full-fledged manufacturer of highly accurate, affordable and reliable watches, its sterling reputation enabled them to be chosen as the first watch company to time the Olympic Games beginning in 1932. Its continued focus on precision and reliability ultimately led their Speedmaster chronograph wristwatch to be chosen by NASA in 1965 — the first watch worn on the moon.

    Key models sought-after by collectors include their first, oversized water-resistant chronograph — the reference 2077, early Speedmaster models such as the CK 2915 and 2998, military-issued versions of the Seamaster and oversized chronometer models such as those fitted with their prestigious caliber 30T2Rg.

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FROM AN IMPORTANT SWISS COLLECTOR

Omega

An extremely rare and attractive stainless steel electronic diver’s prototype wristwatch with date and Bakelite bezel

歐米茄,「Seamaster 1000 Prototype」型號,原型精鋼石英腕錶,配日期顯示和「Bakelite」塑膠錶圈,約1974年製。附錶袋

1974
50.5mm. Diameter
Case and dial signed

Estimate
HK$120,000 - 200,000 
€13,200-22,000
$15,400-25,600

sold for HK$750,000

Contact Specialist
Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2030
thomasperazzi@phillips.com

Ziyong Ho
Specialist
+852 9386 2032
ziyongho@phillips.com

Jill Chen
Specialist
+852 2318 2033
jillchen@phillips.com

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: SIX

Hong Kong Auction 29 May 2018