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New & Noteworthy: The Omega Seamaster Skeleton 50th Anniversary

The Omega Seamaster is one of the most famous divers watches in the world. It’s been worn by fictional icons like James Bond and non-fictional ones like the current U.S. President Joe Biden. It’s one of Omega’s flagship watches, and when it came time to celebrate this beloved diver, Omega didn’t hold back. These are the exceptionally rare—1 of 50—Omega Seamaster Skeleton reference 2932.80.00 in 18k white gold, and 2931.80.00 in yellow gold, made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Seamaster. 

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History 

The Seamaster is Omega’s longest-running product line, and its roots go all the way back to World War II. During World War II, Omega developed and supplied watches to the British military, and because of the rigors of war, these watches had to be much tougher than a standard wristwatch. Omega later parlayed their experience of making durable watches into a commercial wristwatch that they would call the Seamaster in 1948. Over the years, the Seamaster has evolved from a durable but elegant waterproof watch to a whole catalog of watches that ranges from versatile daily wearers to legitimate divers tool watches. This watch is modeled after one of the most famous Seamasters, the Seamaster Professional 300m, otherwise known as the “Bond Seamaster.” Released in 1998, this hand-finished, solid gold Skeltonized Seamaster celebrates the historical line and showcases just how important it is to Omega and the broader watch world.

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Design Details

The biggest thing that stands out on these two Omega Seamaster Skeleton references is the amount of handwork that went into the skeletonization and engraving of its calibers. Each component has been handcrafted and hand-finished in an intricate and beautiful pattern. This level of hand craftsmanship has rarely, if ever, been seen on an Omega wristwatch and especially not on an Omega divers watch. You’ll also notice the bezel is not aluminum on the white gold reference—which was standard on Seamasters from this period—but instead is made of solid white gold with polished numerals against a recessed matte backdrop. Design wise their 41mm cases are almost identical to the Bond Seamaster, aside from being crafted of precious metals. Present, of course, is the helium escape valve and the trademark skeleton hands, which are fully lumed, as are the hour plots ensuring that this divers watch is still very legible and usable as a tool despite being much more fancy than usual. 

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Special attention was also given to the bracelet of this watch which comes with quite a few features that are ahead of their time. First, this bracelet is sized and adjusted with screws, not pins like the Bond model. Additionally, the clasps are made entirely of gold and contains a sliding adjustment mechanism to help ensure a perfect fit. Overall while the case and bracelet match the Bond Seamaster, the dial makes this watch look more suited for a Bond villain. Something about the large Omega Logo and Hippocampus, as well as the skeleton view of the detailed hand-engraving, make me feel like this watch would look right at home on Elliot Carver’s wrist.

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Inner Workings

The highly decorated movement in these Seamaster references is the automatic caliber 2400. You’ll notice that the two references use contrasting gold for the construction of their calibers, as well as the fact that this is an incredibly rare instance where a Seamaster case is fitted with a display caseback to properly enjoy a view of its caliber. This is different from the standard Omega caliber 1120 found in other Seamasters during the late ’90s. One of the main reasons for the different caliber is that the 2400 is a larger movement than the caliber 1120. This allows it to fill out the case better, making it more aesthetically pleasing. As stated but worth repeating, each component in this movement has been handcrafted and hand-finished.

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This level of craftsmanship is something that is usually only seen on high-level independent watches, not Omegas, which are typically mass-produced. This is not a knock on Omega watches—which I’m a fan of and feel are built incredibly well. It’s just that this model has been given a level of attention and care that is not possible at scale, and it speaks to just how important this anniversary watch is to the brand. In addition to the excellent finishing, the caliber 2400 has a 38-hour power reserve, a rhodium-plated finish, a shock absorber mechanism, and a skeletonized and engraved rotor, which is engraved with “50 YEARS OF OMEGA SEAMASTER – CAL. 2400.” 

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Versus The Competition

Competition for this watch is exceedingly slim. There are essentially no direct comparisons to be made here, and I suspect if you want this watch, you probably will spend more time looking for it than cross-shopping it. That said, there are a couple of other divers watches that are almost as rare and distinct as this one. First is the Project X Heritage Submariner HS01. This is an after-market modified Rolex Submariner 114060 that Project X created in conjunction with Daniel Bourn of Vintage D.B. and Philipp Stahl of Rolex Passion Report. Their goal was to create a modern Rolex with many of the desirable traits of a vintage one. Project X has done an incredible job with these timepieces, and it’s obvious that a lot of high-level craftsmanship went into them. If you love dive watches but are looking for something rare and different, this 1 of 60 HSO1 could scratch that itch. 

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Another eccentric and rare dive watch is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Pro Geographic Navy SEAL Q1852670. This is an incredibly over-engineered dive watch that was made to celebrate JLC’s relationship with U.S. Navy SEALs. It also happens to be made of solid gold and is a limited edition of 300 examples. It’s a 46mm 18k rose gold diver with 1000ft of water resistance and all the subtly of an angry toddler in a quiet restaurant. This example is rare but much more common than the other two—300 were produced—and aesthetically is words apart, but if you’re on the hunt for unique divers watches, this could fit nicely into your collection. 

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Personality

I already mentioned I think this watch is the perfect watch for a 90’s Bond villain, but as we’re no longer in the ’90s and Bond exists in a fictional universe, that won’t do. In reality, this watch is for the hard-core Omega fan. The fact that it’s a celebration of such an important part of the brand’s history and that it’s arguably the most luxe Seamaster ever makes it a must-own grail for any serious Omega collector. 

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Final Thoughts

This Omega Seamaster Diver Skeleton 50th Anniversary represents 90’s Omega at their best, and it also offers possibly the greatest artisanal watchmaking ever to come from Omega. A watch like this may never leave the Omega factory again and the fact that only 50 did the first time make it a true piece of horological history. If the opportunity to own one arises, don’t hesitate, pull the trigger, Mr. Bond. 

See More of the Omega Seamaster Skeleton White Gold

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