An extremely rare, large, and well-preserved stainless steel anti-magnetic wristwatch

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  • Manufacturer: Omega
    Year: 1957
    Reference No: 2914-1
    Movement No: 15’330’563
    Model Name: Railmaster
    Material: Stainless steel
    Calibre: Manual, cal. 284, 17 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Stainless steel Omega ladder bracelet, end links stamped no. 6, additional leather strap
    Dimensions: 38mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.
    Accessories: Accompanied by Omega Extract from the Archives confirming the production of the watch on September 6, 1957 and its subsequent delivery to Sweden.
    Literature: A similar example, but of a reference 2914-2, is illustrated in John Goldberger’s Omega Sportswatches, pp. 86-87.

  • Catalogue Essay

    There is nothing quite like the appeal of the original, and the present lot is one of the best preserved examples of the very first generation Omega Railmasters to appear on the market. Omega was experimenting with anti-magnetic wristwatches as early as 1924 and up until 1952, but it was not until the release of the Railmaster in 1957, alongside the first iterations of the Seamaster and the Speedmaster, that the manufacture serially produced an anti-magnetic watch incorporating the culmination of their research and technical advancement. The Railmaster had relatively little success, in part due to its niche target market as well as strong competition from contemporaries like the Rolex Milgauss, the IWC Ingenieur reference 666, and the Blancpain Fifty-Fathoms. This resulted in both lower production numbers and a narrower production run of only six years (1957-1963), making original Railmaster watches from this era especially rare.

    The first Railmaster was manufactured with the ability to withstand between 900 and 1000 gauss, specifically for those in professions required to withstand magnetic fields beyond what is considered normal. Many vintage watches in the modern age, however, can be affected by magnetic fields through innocent actions such as air travel and exposure to everyday electronics such as laptops. According to advertisements of the time, the Railmaster was targeted to “scientists, technicians, electricians, etc., who worked in close proximity to electrical currents.” Additionally, the Railmaster was water-resistant to 60 meters, or 200 feet.

    The classic "broad arrow" hands, sharp, dagger-like luminous indexes, and beautiful matte black dial – all original and in superb condition in the present lot - is typical of the Railmaster, Seamaster and Speedmaster, though the Railmaster design is the simplest of them all, with no diving or tachymeter bezel. Its case measures a large 38 millimeters in diameter, thanks in part to the presence of a soft iron inner case. Inside ticks a noteworthy time-only movement with sweep seconds – the caliber 285, used only from 1957-1958. The inner case providing anti-magnetic protection of the movement, was made of "mu-metal" a nickel-iron alloy, acting as a Faraday cage. Early Railmasters such as the present lot did not feature caseback engravings, and the dial itself was 1.0 millimeter thick, as opposed to the 0.4 millimeter thickness found on later dials.

    Despite a lukewarm reception at its launch, modern revivals of the Railmaster remain popular, and a focus on anti-magnetism remains central to Omega’s current offerings. In fact, it was this exact model, the 2914-1, that Omega used as the tomographical blueprint for the reissue of the 1957 Trilogy 60th anniversary limited edition piece, released in 2017 to much fanfare. Finding another in such original and appealing condition is no easy feat, rendering this a very rare opportunity for the collector of vintage watches to own a best-in-class example of a landmark reference from the storied Omega brand.

  • 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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48

Omega

Ref. 2914-1
An extremely rare, large, and well-preserved stainless steel anti-magnetic wristwatch

1957
38mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement, and bracelet signed.

Estimate
$15,000 - 30,000 
CHF15,000-29,900
€13,000-26,100
HK$118,000-235,000

sold for $45,000

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

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