Sporting the first waterproof watch case design, this Omega Marine has vintage charm written all over it. Oh, and it's extremely art deco inspired!
NB: The watch has undergone servicing and restoration. The case wears it's age and contrasts against the freshly finished dial.
Louis Alix, of whom all we know is that he was from Geneva, patented the design for the case in 1931 as Swiss patent 146310 (and U.S. patent 1,907,700). In 1936, the Omega Marine was sunk in Lake Geneva to a depth of 73 meters, and in 1937 it was officially certified by the Swiss Laboratory for Horology to withstand pressure in depths up to 135 meters. This made the Omega Marine worthy of use on the wrists of some of the earliest pioneers of modern diving.
The innovations to make the Omega Marine a suitable companion for diving were largely threefold: the first, the two-part rectangular case (available in stainless steel or 18k yellow gold) with a seal-skin strap attached to each part, and a spring clip to attach the two together; the second, a rubber (although in the earliest models, Omega used leather, as it was more reliable than the rubber available at the time) gasket that created a seal between the inner and outer cases; and the third, the outer case was fitted with a sapphire crystal which was an incredible innovation for the time. Additionally, the crown was placed at the top of the movement, inside the outer case, to protect it from any external damage.
The Omega Marine was the first watch tested to withstand the rigors of underwater activities!
To find a get-a-round for the Rolex Oyster design screw down crown, Omega simply placed the watch within a secondary case that clipped onto the interior case.
As the watch descended into deeper depths and pressure increased, the clip tightened to the case and improved water-tightness, alongside the multiple rubber gaskets sealing the watch. Also, two separate crystals protected the dial!
When diving watches are thought of, in the modern era, you imagine a 40-50m chunk of stainless steel, with a huge bezel, sat on your wrist; this watch, on the other hand, has such an elegant blend of Art Deco lines and a beautifully laid out dial with no luminous material. It combines this with it's sheer functionallity.
Whether you're a fan of dive watches or more elegant designs, it's hard to deny that this unusual Omega is an incredibly rare and attractive watch.
Reference: CK 679
Year: Between 1935 and 1939
Case No: 9268168
Movement No: 8492870
Material: Stainless steel
Dimensions: 23mm width; 34mm length; 9mm thickness
Caliber: Manual winding 19.4.T1 movement
Bracelet/Strap: Hirsch Lord Calf Leather Watch Strap With Deployment Clasp
Lug Width: 18mm
THE NITTY GRITTY
The watch is original, with original dial having been re-finished. The strap is new. The only other new addition was the inner glass which had been smashed.
The dial has been refinished to a very high standard. You will see in images that the numerals are inset which adds depth to this deal, as opposed to a standard printed dial. Obviously I am aware that purists will hate this, but the dial was far gone and this gave it a new lease of life.
The blued-steel hands offer a beautiful contrast against the dial. These are 100% original.
The case and lugs show some light scratches and signs of wear, as does the hinge on the caseback. There is some twisting to the case, noticeable under close inspection of the lines going across horizontally. This is very subtle though.
This watch wears similar to a Reverso on the wrist due to its elongated lugs and thick case.