Omega is famous for its precision watches, built with impeccable craftsmanship and designed to withstand a lifetime of rugged adventure. Best known for its iconic Speedmaster and Seamaster models, the firm is an undisputed leader in bringing precision Swiss technology to sports watches.
While the Omega Seamaster is known as a dive watch, it wasn’t originally made for divers. Introduced in 1948, it was marketed as a dress watch for posh modern gentlemen and featured new waterproofing technology developed by the firm during World War II.
In 1955, diver Gordon McLean wore the Seamaster on a dive in Australia that took the watch a record-breaking 62.5 meters beneath the surface. In 1956, Omega strapped a Seamaster to the hull of a DC-6 aircraft for a flight across the North Atlantic. It was examined after the flight and deemed to be functioning perfectly.
Introduced in 1957, the Seamaster 300 was a new iteration of the original 1948 model with improved water resistance, to a tested depth of 200 meters and an estimated depth of 300 meters.
The successor to the Seamaster 300, the Seamaster Diver 300M, gained fame and popularity in the 1990s when Omega became the official watch of Bond — James Bond — starting with 1995’s Goldeneye, the first film in the franchise’s Pierce Brosnan era. Daniel Craig has worn Seamasters in all of his Bond movies, too. To commemorate the partnership, the firm created 007 editions of the Seamaster and even released a James Bond 60th-anniversary edition of the Diver 300M.
Since it first released the iconic Seamaster, Omega has expanded the line to include the sleek, understated Aqua Terra, introduced in 2002 as a dressier version of the Seamaster, and the Planet Ocean, which debuted in 2005 with a heftier profile, sportier colors and water resistance to 600 meters.
Whether you’re looking for a vintage Seamaster to wear at formal events or need a dive watch to explore the ocean depths, there’s a Seamaster for you. Before you begin your search for the model of your dreams, get to know the collection and what makes it special. Here, we explain what to look for to determine whether the watch you have your eye on is the real deal — or a deep fake.
The Omega Logo
On an authentic Seamaster, the famed Omega logo — the Greek letter omega centered above the word omega in all caps — is stamped or engraved on the dial. Centered below that, in a retro script, is the word Seamaster. Counterfeiters generally paint the logo on the face, resulting in letters that are too thick or too thin.
The details on the dial are key, because that’s where so many of the graphic elements of an Omega Seamaster are displayed. In general, look for spelling errors, unevenly spaced numbers or time markings and inconsistent fonts. The print on an authentic Seamaster never bleeds.
The second hand of a genuine Seamaster doesn’t make a ticking sound. It moves smoothly, steadily and silently, with great precision. To ensure accuracy, when you pull out the crown to set the time, the second hand will stop completely until you push the crown back in.
The Date Window
It’s very difficult for counterfeiters to replicate the construction and magnification of an Omega date window. On authentic watches, the date is perfectly centered in the window, and the numbers cover the entire area. The magnification is crisp and clear.
Seamaster watches have luminescent markings, or lumes, that glow brightly to illuminate the face in darkness. In the past, the lumes were made of radioactive materials, but nowadays photoluminescent pigments are used.
Authentic Seamasters have clear, substantial lume lines for the time markings, the hands and a dot located on the rotating bezel. Reproductions typically sport thinner, much dimmer lines that don’t fill the entire surface of the elements they’re meant to illuminate.
To check the lumination of a watch, set it under a bright light for 10 or 15 minutes to charge, then examine it in a dark room. Genuine Seamaster lumes are identical in color.
The Helium Escape Valve
Replicating the helium escape valve, which prevents water damage when the watch is submerged, is the most difficult part of counterfeiting a Seamaster. For that reason, many fakes don’t include it. The valve is located on the side of the case, and on a genuine Seamaster, its left edge aligns with the 10 o’clock indicator. Most fakes that include a helium escape valve have it centered on the 10 o’clock position or placed below it.
Some fake Seamasters have crowns that are in the wrong position or don’t work. The crown of an authentic model is aligned with the 3 o’clock indicator.
The case of an Omega Seamaster is made of high-quality metals, like stainless steel, gold or titanium. It should feel solid and weighty. Counterfeits are usually made with low-quality steel and feel flimsy and lightweight.
Omega case backs often have intricate designs that are hard to replicate with accuracy, featuring sharp, consistent lines. Some Omega case backs are transparent, so you can see the inner workings.
The Bracelet or Strap
Seamaster bracelets are made of metals like stainless steel; the straps are made from materials like leather, rubber and nylon. Any stitching on the strap should be straight, with even stitches and no fraying.
Omegas have crystals of synthetic sapphire. The material feels smooth and cool, and it’s strong and scratch resistant and has an antireflective treatment.
The movement of an authentic Omega watch involves more than 200 parts. If you can’t view the movement of a Seamaster (opening the case requires professional tools), check the moving parts that are visible, like the crown, hands and date. These should move smoothly and precisely.
The Serial Number
All Omega watches have serial numbers. Those made before 1944 have seven-digit numbers; from 1944 on, the numbers have eight digits. On vintage models, the serial number is engraved on the inside of the case back. On later ones, it’s on the back of one of the lugs (the part of the watch that connects the case to the bracelet or strap). You can cross-reference this number online to verify that it’s valid — and view the ownership history, if the watch is preowned.
Omega movements have serial numbers, too. They’re stamped on the barrel bridge — which is located near the center of the movement and holds in place the cylindrical metal barrel that stores the energy — or the train wheel bridge, which is located near the bottom of the movement and holds in place the gear train that transmits energy. The movement serial number indicates when it was made; this should fall within a year or two of the watch’s manufacturing date.
More Tips on How to Spot a Fake Omega Seamaster
The most reliable way to determine whether a putative Omega Seamaster is authentic or not is to have a professional appraiser evaluate it. A watch that meets all the criteria at first glance could be a reproduction. And one whose authenticity seems questionable could turn out to be legit.
The second-best way to avoid getting scammed is to purchase your Seamaster from a certified Omega dealer or a reputable online marketplace like 1stDibs, where sellers are highly vetted and buyers concerned with the authenticity of items they purchase can report an issue at any time.
Omega watches come with certificates of authenticity. If possible, review the one associated with the piece you’re considering and make sure the two match. If no certificate is available, look up the serial number online. Also, make sure to research average prices: Be wary of purchasing any valuable object — whether a watch, a ring or a handbag — priced far below what it should fetch.