Vintage Omega Seamaster Watches
Omega has been producing the Seamaster for over 70 years. As a result, the market contains a vast array of vintage models ranging from simple dress watches to chronographs and professional diving watches.
Over 70 Years of Watchmaking History
The Omega Seamaster made its debut all the way back in 1948. It began as a robust, water-resistant diving watch based on the timepieces Omega supplied to the British military during World War II. This design heritage lives on in the modern Seamaster Aqua Terra series.
The iconic diving watch most associated with the Seamaster name premiered in 1957. That year, Omega took the dress watch and transformed it into a professional diving watch known as the Seamaster 300. It boasted a rotatable diving bezel, luminous hands and indices, and improved water resistance, all features that still define the current collection. The earliest models were only rated to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft) – the greatest depth they could test for back in the 1950s. However, later tests revealed that these timepieces were actually water-resistant to 300 m (30 bar, 984 ft), as their name implies. Today, all Seamasters have a depth rating of at least 300 m except for the Aqua Terra, which has a rating of 150 m (15 bar, 492 ft).
Over the decades, Omega has regularly added new models to the Seamaster collection. For example, in the late 1960s, the company released the Seamaster Bullhead. This watch gets its name from its shape, which resembles a bull's head. The Seamaster 600 Ploprof and Seamaster 1000 followed a few years later. These professional diving watches made waves with their impressive depth ratings of 600 m (60 bar, 1,969 ft) and 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft), respectively, and the Ploprof 600 has developed a cult following thanks to its unconventional design. The Seamaster Chronograph ST 145.0023 comes from the same period. Fans have dubbed this model "Darth Vader" thanks to its angular black case made of tungsten.
Quartz-powered models like the rectangular Seamaster Marina dominated in the 1980s. Omega then returned to the classic tool watch aesthetic about a decade later. Many people gravitated toward the Seamaster Professional 300 M, which likely had something to do with its role as James Bond's watch in 1995's "GoldenEye."
Reasons to Buy a Vintage Seamaster
- A large selection of models
- Dress watches, diving watches, and chronographs
- Several interesting collector's items
- Quartz, automatic, and manual calibers
Prices at a Glance: Vintage Seamaster Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Year of production, movement|
|Seamaster 300, 2913-3||21,000 USD||1957, automatic cal. 501|
|Seamaster 300, 14755||12,000 USD||1961, automatic cal. 552|
|Seamaster Chronograph Anakin Skywalker, 145.023||9,800 USD||1970, manual cal. 861|
|Seamaster Bullhead, 146.011-69||9,600 USD||1969, manual cal. 930|
|Seamaster 600 Ploprof, 166.077||8,600 USD||1970, automatic cal. 1002|
|Seamaster Chronograph, 2451||4,700 USD||1948, manual cal. 321|
|Seamaster Calendar Automatic, 2627||4,000 USD||1952, automatic cal. 353|
|Seamaster Montreal Albatros, ST 396.0839||2,300 USD||1976, quartz cal. 1611|
|Seamaster Polaris Chronograph, 386.1231||1,900 USD||1988, quartz cal. 1670|
|Seamaster Automatic, 2577||960 USD||1949, automatic cal. 351|
|Seamaster Polaris, 396.1022||600 USD||1986, quartz cal. 1438|
|Seamaster, CK 2848||600 USD||1956, automatic cal. 491|
How much does a vintage Seamaster cost?
The Seamaster collection has been a staple of the Omega portfolio for over 70 years. The selection of vintage models is vast and offers something for every budget, with prices beginning around 600 USD on Chrono24. At this price, you'll mostly find hand-wound dress watches from the 1950s and quartz models from the 1970s and 80s.
Early Seamaster 300 models occupy the other end of the spectrum. The original CK2913 from 1957 regularly sells for between 16,500 and 30,500 USD. Specialized timepieces like the Ploprof 600 and original Bullhead fall somewhere in the middle, with prices ranging from 9,600 to 11,000 USD.
Vintage Seamaster Dress Watches
In the early 1950s, the Seamaster hardly resembled a diving watch. Instead, Omega designed it to be an elegant dress watch with water resistance to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft) thanks to a rubber O-ring. The collection quickly expanded to include stainless steel, gold-plated, and solid gold timepieces. While many modern men's watches dwarf the early Seamaster's 34-mm size, these vintage models are well suited to those with smaller wrists.
Most Seamasters from this period feature a white silver-plated or champagne-colored dial; however, there are some models with black or blue dials. Those with "pie-pan dials" are especially popular among collectors. Much like its namesake bakeware, this dial type has sloped edges. Finally, you can choose between watches with a central second hand or a small seconds.
The 34-mm Seamaster ref. CK2576 combines a stainless steel case with a slightly domed white silver-plated dial and a small seconds at 6 o'clock. Applied triangular indices mark the hours, and each has a dot of luminous material. Additional Arabic numerals appear at 3, 9, and 12 o'clock. Glow-in-the-dark dauphine hands complete the look. The automatic caliber 342 powers this timepiece. This movement is a so-called "bumper" caliber that winds itself using a pendulum instead of a conventional rotor. While Omega equipped many early Seamasters with this movement type, you will also find watches with manual calibers or automatic rotors. You can purchase a well-maintained CK2576 for less than 1,200 USD. The pie-pan edition with central seconds (ref. 2577) demands as little as 960 USD on Chrono24.
Models With a Date and Chronograph Function
The Seamaster Calendar also comes from the collection's early days. You can recognize this model by its date display, which sits at 3 or 6 o'clock, depending on the variant. Most versions feature automatic calibers. A used Seamaster Calendar in good condition will set you back about 760 USD in stainless steel (ref. CK2766) and 4,000 USD in solid yellow gold (ref. 2627).
Omega also produced models with a chronograph function. One example bears the reference number 2451. This 35-mm watch has a stainless steel case and boasts the manual caliber 321. This movement also appears in the Omega Speedmaster Professional, which went down in history as the first watch on the Moon in 1969. It comes with a minute counter at 3, an hour counter at 6, and a small seconds at 9 o'clock. Be prepared to spend between 3,000 and 4,500 USD, depending on its condition. The same watch with a yellow gold case requires an investment of roughly 7,200 USD.
Quartz-Powered Seamaster Models
Quartz calibers had their heyday in the 1970s and 80s and even made their way into the Seamaster collection. Some of the most famous quartz models include the Polaris and Mariner. The watches in the Seamaster Polaris series embrace the era's trends with their cushion-shaped cases and integrated bracelets. Some also feature gold plating on their bezels or cases. Polaris timepieces feature round dials in black, white, gray, or gold. You can choose from simple three-hand editions, chronographs, and the Polaris Multifunction. The Multifunction has both analog and liquid-crystal displays. The ring-shaped LCD sits inside the minute track and can show additional information such as the date or time in a different location. Prices for a Seamaster Polaris vary by model and condition and range from 960 to 2,000 USD.
The Seamaster Mariner is a close cousin of the Polaris. It also has a cushion-shaped case and an integrated bracelet. However, it features an octagonal bezel around its round dial. Together with the bezel's four decorative screws, the watch has a slightly edgier look. Omega later introduced the Mariner II with a rectangular case. You can call a Seamaster Mariner your own for between 780 and 1,700 USD.
Collectors should keep an eye out for the Seamaster Albatros Chrono-Quartz, which Omega created in honor of the 1976 Montreal Olympics. This unique timepiece has a rectangular case that measures 34 x 47 mm. The right side of the dial features an analog time display with a date window, while the left side has two digital displays for the chronograph function. This extraordinary model sells for approximately 2,300 USD.
Seamaster 300: A Classic Diving Watch
Omega's first diving watch, the Seamaster 300, began rolling off the production lines in 1957. The earliest version is the ref. CK2913. By the time its production ceased in 1961, the manufacturer had produced eight different versions of this model. Omega used different second hands for each variation. Some feature an arrow tip, while others end in a round "lollipop" tip or have no special tip at all. The various CK2913 models are also available with either a normal 60-minute diving bezel or a countdown bezel. Inside each watch, you'll find an automatic caliber from the 500 or 501 series.
Well-kept CK2913 models are highly coveted among collectors. Prices depend on the exact version and its condition but generally range from 15,500 to 29,000 USD.
The CK2913's successor is the ref. 14755. This timepiece offers a more affordable alternative. It was in production from 1961 to 1963 and sets itself apart from its predecessor with its movement, the flatter caliber 552. You can purchase a 14755 for about 12,000 USD. The Seamaster 300 ref. 165.014 is even less expensive. Omega produced this model in the mid-1960s. Defining features include a wide bezel and an updated dial design. Here, the hour markers are trapezoids instead of triangles. Furthermore, sword hands have replaced the arrow-tipped dauphine hands. Prices for watches from this series sit around 10,000 USD.
Ploprof, Darth Vader, and Others
The Seamaster collection is also home to some truly unique vintage watches. One example is the Seamaster 600 Ploprof ref. 166.077. The term "Ploprof" comes from the French "plongeurs professionnels," which means "professional divers" in English. Introduced in 1970, Omega developed this model as a practical tool for professional divers. Two things immediately stand out about this watch upon first glance: first, its massive 54 x 45 x 15-mm case, and second, its unusual shape. The crown sits on the left side of the case at 9 o'clock and is protected by a massive crown guard. On the right side, you'll find a prominent security pusher that prevents accidental adjustments to the diving bezel. The watch is water-resistant to 600 m (60 bar, 1,969 ft). You won't find a helium escape valve, as the case is able to keep out helium molecules altogether. This stainless steel watch can be yours for roughly 8,600 USD.
The Seamaster Bullhead ref. 146.011-69 from 1969 is also a coveted collector's item. This chronograph gets its name from its wedge-shaped case with the crown and chronograph pushers on top. An additional crown at 6 o'clock operates the internal diving bezel. Its power comes from the manual caliber 930. This movement is based on the Lemania caliber 1873 and features a date at 3, a small seconds at 6, and a 30-minute counter at 12 o'clock.
The Bullhead's dial design is just as noteworthy as the case. The internal bezel, checkered minute scale, and small seconds are all black and white, while the center is light brown. Omega's designers also added a special touch to the chronograph subdial, which stands out in red, black, and blue. Finally, the chronograph seconds hand pops in bright red-orange. Be sure to have about 9,600 USD on hand to purchase a Bullhead 149.011-69.
The Seamaster Chronograph ST 145.023 is yet another vintage stunner. Its stainless steel case is shaped like a rounded octagon with a circular dial at its center. Omega created two versions of this watch: one with a black ceramic coating and the other coated in a tungsten-chrome alloy. Fans were quick to dub the black edition "Darth Vader" due to its unique shape and color, which call to mind the famous "Star Wars" villain. Appropriately, the other model goes by "Anakin Skywalker," a reference to Vader's name before he joined the dark side. Omega equips both versions with the chronograph caliber 861. This same movement powers second-generation Speedmaster Professional watches. Prices for these remarkable chronographs come in at roughly 9,800 USD.