Seamaster 1000, f300 Prototype

The Seamaster 1000 model passed through many phases of development, as shown in the parent section. The goal for this professional tool watch was to have a highly water and gas resistant watch (without Helium Escape Valve) with optimal visibility under water, the possibility to monitor decompression time and with the goal common to all professional watch developments: the least interaction with the wearer concerning time and eventual date setting, long service intervals and easy maintenance.

The most logical step in parallel of testing a well established automatic version of the watch, was to experiment a battery powered version, as was done at the same time for the ‘Alaska III’ prototypes for use in space. The advantages are clear and fit the aforementioned requirements perfectly: no repeated setting of time and/or date, service would theoretically be limited to a battery change which ideally would be made by the wearer.

Hence, already in 1973/74, at the same time of the functional testing of the mechanical Seamaster 1000 by professional divers and again in parallel with the testing of battery powered watches within the ‘Alaska III’ project, the work on a battery driven version of a professional diving watch started in the Omega Marine prototyping department.

Seamaster 1000, Ref.: 166.093, f300 prototype, 1973 /74

Category: proof of principle, functional prototype

Description: Custom stainless steel cased (most probably made by Ervin Piquerez SA, Bassecourt, known as EPSA), Seamaster 1000 prototype. Stainless steel case back with screwed retaining ring. Case back exterior shows a hand scratched ‘Ω 1250’, interior is engraved with ‘Cal Ω 1250’. Stainless steel unidirectional rotating bezel with patinated acrylic inlay. Matte black ‘tropical’ dial signed in white ‘Merusa’ at ‘6’, with tritium (now patinated) hour markers, Omega logo and model details printed in white, date aperture at ‘3’. White printed minute markers. All original, silver colour hour and minute hands, red second hand. Original mineral glas crystal. Original signed and screwed crown.

Dimensions: 45 mm (without crown), lug – lug: 50 mm, lug width: 24mm

Movement: Omega cal.: 1250, production version but unnumbered, brass Ω logo applied on empty production number cartouche

Additional info: The case of this prototype is clearly inspired by the one used for the ‘Speedmaster Mark IV’ released in 1973, which in its turn is inspired by the ‘Speedmaster Mark II’ of 1969. To the contrary of the ‘Speedmaster Mark IV’ case design, this version shows a protruding crown protection which is recessed on the back for allowing an easier grip of the screwed crown.

This is what appears to be one of the earliest versions of this battery driven prototype series. Another hint towards latter assumption, apart of the case design, is the lack of the trapezoidal, red Omega logo, which normally is located at ’12’ in all electronic driven Omegas of the period. The access to the movement and thus to the battery is shifted to the back for easier access to the battery, as compared to the front loading automatic version. The problem being, that most probably this practical, technical solution of closing the case back is not compatible with a water resistance of 1000m. It is unknown, if this watch was experimentally pressure tested, but this watch being an early prototype, most probably it has never been exposed to water.

The unidirectional rotating bezel is secured and can be only released and turned by pushing the bezel down, which is a very elegant and simple system, compatible with the use of gloves.