A fine, rare, and oversized stainless steel diver’s chronograph wristwatch with date, 24-hour indicator, and unidirectional rotating bezel

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: Circa 1972
    Reference No: 176.004
    Movement No: 34’243’706
    Model Name: Seamaster 120, "Big Blue"
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Automatic, cal. 4040, 22 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Omega mesh bracelet
    Clasp/Buckle: Stainless steel Omega quick-release clasp, stamped 1247/237
    Dimensions: Case length 52mm diameter, case height 17mm diameter, case width 44mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Literature: A similar reference 176.004 with bracelet is illustrated in John Goldberger’s Omega Sportswatches, pp. 74-75.

  • Catalogue Essay

    When Jacques Cousteau and Émile Gagnan developed the first open circuit SCUBA tank in the mid-twentieth century, they opened the door for growth within both commercial and recreational diving. 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, and Omega was no exception. With the release of the first Seamaster reference meant for professional diving in 1957, Omega began a journey towards technical precision and innovation for those willing to brave the depths of the ocean.

    In looking at the design of the watches Omega was developing in the early 1970s, it is apparent that the Seamaster reference 176.004 "Big Blue" (named for the obvious reasons that it is both large and blue) took architectural cues from several references that were also being introduced in the late 1960s and early 1970s that echoed the futuristic ethos typical of the era such as orange hand of the so-called “PloProf” and the prototype Seamaster 1000 and the oversized tonneau-shaped case of the Flightmaster. It is, however, most similar to the reference 176.002 Speedmaster "Mark III", first introduced in 1971. The case is mountainous, summited by a uni-directional rotating bezel, with vertical brushed finishing throughout.

    Given the expensive price tag of these watches at the time (reportedly 715 CHF), they were bought by those seriously interested in using them for their intended purpose of diving. Thus, it is difficult to find examples of the "Big Blue" in unmolested condition with original parts, making the current lot an incredible find for diving watch enthusiasts.

  • 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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Ο102

Omega

Ref. 176.004
A fine, rare, and oversized stainless steel diver’s chronograph wristwatch with date, 24-hour indicator, and unidirectional rotating bezel

Circa 1972
Case length 52mm diameter, case height 17mm diameter, case width 44mm diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$4,000 - 6,000 
CHF4,000-6,000
€3,500-5,200
HK$31,400-47,100

sold for $6,875

Contact Specialist
Paul Boutros
Head of Watches, Americas
+1 212 940 1293
pboutros@phillips.com

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